One of three known examples of the large crude New York Post Office 24c hand stamp, and the only one on a cover bearing the British 1sh embossed adhesive.
Beginning in July 1, 1840, Samuel Cunard’s line of British packet steamers began carrying letters between the U.S. and U.K., at a rate of 1 shilling (equivalent to 24c). With tens of thousands of letters on each ship, this became a substantial source of income for Cunard (and because of their contract with him, the British Government). However, in July 1847, the U.S. Ocean Line began carrying letters from the U.S. to the U.K. in competition with the Cunard steamers, also at a rate of 24c. The British, fearing a loss of revenue, decided to charge these incoming letters an additional 1 shilling (24c), even though they had performed no transatlantic service. After a year of unsuccessful negotiations, the U.S. government decided to retaliate, and to similarly charge an additional 24c on letters carried on Cunard steamers (which were already subject to a 1sh charge in the U.K.). This letter was sent via the Cunard steamer Caledonia, on the first westbound saying under the retaliatory rates. It was posted in Norwich, England and sailed from Liverpool on June 24, 1848, reaching New York on July 8. The six-month “retaliatory rate” period finally brought the British to the bargaining table and led to the first U.S.-U.K. Postal Agreement in December 1848. Click here to see Mark Schwartz’ Retaliatory Rate exhibit, which won the Single Frame C of C in 2014.