Salvaged Mail of 1953 Comet crash


The cover

This cover appeared in ebay a while back, and won by a fellow Sabahan collector. As the ending time got nearer, the bid prices also soared to a final price that's hard to imagine. It is basically an airmail cover from Sandakan to Glasgow, Scotland bearing two 8 cents and two 20 cents stamps. It also bears the interesting hand-stamped mark of "Salvaged Mail//"Comet crash", near Calcutta.//2nd. May 1953" in violet. I think this is the very reason why it is such a rare cover. There is some water staining on the top left aspect due to the effects of the crash and one stamp on the top right corner has been washed off.  We don't know how many more covers from North Borneo flown in the ill-fated Comet flight - could there be more covers?

The Comet Crash

In May 2, 1953, a BOAC comet 1 brought 43 people on board from Calcutta airport to London. It was thought that the plane then crashed 6 minutes after taking off from Calcutta airport due to 'exceptionally' severe tropical storm. This killed all 43 passengers abroad. Historically, this was the third crash of the Comet flight in the first year of the company's operation, and this was followed by a series of other crashes in 1954 as well.

Pic: Similar salvaged mail from Singapore to London.


Anonymous said...

Hi Marcel,

Thank you for the hard works and picture of the Cover from Singapore.

Best regards.


Marcel said...

Hi Anthony,

Well done for getting the nice cover! Happy hunting! :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Marcel,

Just learn this from SSS Journal that there is 2 types of cachet for this accident and we can notice this by comparing both covers here as the cachet on the North Borneo cover is the misspelt Galcutta for Calcutta and the cachet on the Singapore cover is the correct one.(SSS Journal Volume 8, page 108)so may be this is the reason why the final price went so high.



Anonymous said...

Hi Marcel and others,
Just noticed your page. We lived in Seria in British North Borneo and my father posted a letter from Labuan (island nearby as he flew there every day from Anduki the little airport at Seria) to my grandmother in Greece on April 30th 1953. I have the envelope beside me as I write. It is the "rare version" with the "SALVAGED.........."Comet" Crash, Near G.......... 2nd MAY 1953". Note the "G". It has all its BN Borneo stamps (2 x 30 cents, 1 x 10c, 1 x 5c, 1 x 4c, 1 x 1c. It is in excellent condition and my grandmother had the sense to be careful with it and keep it! Do you know much about its rarity and value?

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