Red letter day for envelope

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A CREASED and crumpled envelope which cost only 10 pence to send to Sheffield from Australia 156 years ago has sold for £450 at auction - £100 more than expected.

Before the auction at Spink in Bloomsbury, London, the blue envelope addressed simply to ‘Mr A Leon, Sheffield, England’ had been expected to fetch between £300 and £350.

It is valuable because of its short-lived dull bluish green two shilling stamp, and was posted from Melbourne, Australia, on May 16, 1855.

It finally reached Sheffield 82 days later, on August 6, 1855, after a tortuous 10,663 mile journey, mainly by ship and also possibly by camel overland from the Red Sea, and then either by horse-drawn mail coach or train to Sheffield.

German-born Abraham Leon, the original recipient of the envelope, was a hardware merchant, who lived at Solly Street, Sheffield, before moving to Endcliffe Vale, Ecclesall.