Royal Reels: Gambling


The entire has a red PAID SHIP LETTER/ [Crown]/ JY 25/ 1840/ SYDNEY with three legible manuscripts, ‘p Union’ and is rated in black ‘2s/8d’ and in red 2s/2d. The reverse (not seen) has a Ship Letter cachet and a London arrival of November 25, 1840, both in red (Figure 1).

The firm obviously had more than one site of operation for another cover per ‘Steamer’ was addressed to the same company in Liverpool, was rated at 6D and had postmarks of Southampton, London and Liverpool (Figure 2).

The company had a far flung interest in many countries and this entire was rated at 2s/3d was sent from HAVANA/ AP 10/ 1847 (Figure 3).

The next was an outward bound registered letter sent to French Morocco in 1903 with a 2½d Great Britain stamp, which shows a HUTH perfin (Figures 4 & 5).

(John, a name not used by him) Frederick Andrew Huth, (formerly Johannn Friedrich Andreas Huth), merchant and merchant banker was born in the village of Hartesfield in Germany in 1774 and started as a trader in Hamburg. He eventually moved his business to Corunna in Spain where he married his wife Manuella. They had to escape the country during the Peninsular Wars and he came to London in 1809. In 1814 he took John Frederick Grüning, into partnership and the resulting firm, Huth and Company was formed. He was one of the first Merchant Bankers, and with his contacts in Spain and Germany he built up one of the country’s largest firms.

Throughout the 19th century the firm was described in London Directories as ‘merchants’, and only from 1904 was the description ‘bankers’ added, although it is clear that the businessalways included banking. From 1912 the firm had a fur warehouse, and from 1921 it also had a tea warehouse. In 1936 the company was dissolved, the banking business was acquired by British Overseas Bank Ltd and the fur business by C M Lampson & Co Ltd.

The amazing life of Frederick Huth is detailed in Andrew Murray’s ( a descendant) book Home from the Hill, and Huth was to leave the huge sum of £500,000 on his death in 1864. There is an enormous volume of letters held in the Frederick Huth & Company Archives mainly in British libraries with out-going letters from England, Germany and Spain, as well as in-coming letters from America, France, Germany, Holland, India, Ireland, Russia, Scandinavia, Scotland and Spain. A picture of Frederick Huth is seen in Figure 6.

Henry’s sons were to enjoy the wealth that he created, whilst his so-in-law, Daniel Meinertzhagen continued to run the Bank. Of philatelic interest is that one of the firm’s partners, Louis Ernest Meinertzhagen (1887-1941) was a prestigious philatelist, being a Member of the Expert Committee of the Royal Philatelic Society of London; awarded a medal for his Sicily Exhibition in London 1923; author of Les Planches de L’Emission de Bordeaux (1925) for which he received the Tapling Medal, 1926; and, wrote the 1849-75 section of France in the Kohl handbook.

Addendum:  A N.SW. entire with a red PAID SHIP LETTER/ [Crown]/ MA * 31/ 1841/ SYDNEY was sent per Spartan to Messrs Fred Huth & Co, London and was rated ‘8’.  It had a black handstamp SHIP LETTER and a red reception postmark on 20 SP2O/ 1841 (Figure 7).

Categories: Business, Postcards, Postmarks