Friday, August 27, 2010

Retired Mountie Solves Canadian Postal Mystery

Reporter Katie Bartel of British Columbia's Chilliwack Progress pens, "Cecil Coutts has finally achieved some closure on a 111-year-old mystery that had dogged the retired police officer for 17 years.

"But it's not the kind of case you would think would capture a cop's attention — no missing person or murder or theft.

"Rather, the mystery involved postage stamps and postal history, a hobby in which the 78-year-old Coutts has been heavily involved for more than 55 years."

Coutts got stuck on stamp collecting when he was a 22-year-old rookie cop at Royal Canadian Mounted Police headquarters in Saskatchewan.
According to the write-up, "While attending an international conference of stamp collectors in Portland, Ore., Coutts happened to pick up a free copy of La Posta: A Journal of American Postal History. Days after he returned home, he cracked open the magazine, and six pages in, his police instincts started vibrating.

"A headline, 'Mystery Cover,' with a photo of an envelope dated 1899 caught his eyes.

"The envelope, which was addressed to a "Miss Lobdell" in Connecticut, had no postage stamp or postmark of origin but it did have a forwarding stamp from Vancouver and a notation that read, "Lost In Fraser River... 1 July Recov'd 22 J'y."

"The owner of the envelope, a Seattle resident, posed the question to La Posta readers: How did this cover get into the Fraser River?"

To find out, click here.

Shown above, Cecil Coutts and the mystery envelope.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM