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France 1870 Fifteenth Balloon of the Siege entire letter

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SKU JC3274

France Fifteenth Balloon of the Siege: 1870 entire letter to Angouleme franked by Napoleon III 20c Empire, tied by Star mark with Paris Rue St. Lazare circular date stamp for ‘17 OCT’, carried on the Balloon 'Victor Hugo', which departed Paris on 18th October. Backstamped with Angouleme arrival mark for ‘22 OCT’.

A very fine quality entire letter, with the contents attractively written in violet ink. An exceptionally pleasing quality and fascinating piece of postal history.

During the Siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War, the post from the capital survived thanks to a fleet of balloons and a host of carrier pigeons. At the time, Paris had been shelled by the Germans and Napoleon’s empire had fallen.

The renowned author and poet, Victor Hugo was invited by the Balloonist Jean Pierre Alfred Nadar to attend the departure on the 18th October 1870 of his namesake flying machine. Upon receiving the invitation, he said to Nadar ''I ask for nothing better than for you to take me up into the heavens''. The balloon however departed early and Hugo missed the event by mistake!

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