A help to MAP research of Egyptian Postal History

In the last philatelic exhibition Emirates 2022 held in Dubai from 19 to 23 January, I had the lucky opportunity to see book “The Mohamed Aly Post (MAP) The True Origin of the Egyptian Vice Royal Post” by Mahmoud Ramadan presented in competition book class by the Egyptian commissioner Ahmed Youssef who, noting my interest, provided me with a copy (fig 1 and 2).

fig 1

fig 2

To thank and hopefully help in understanding this difficult branch of Arab postal history, I would like to add a piece on the puzzle that I think interesting. Is a copy of the cost’s note concerning mail sent by the Sardinian General Agency and Consulate in Alexandria for the second half of 1856 (fig 3).

fig 3

Among the numerous items concerning shipments made mostly with the French Post, the one that I marked in red on 1 August concerning the item “Abbuonamento alla posta per Cairo /secondo semestre 1856/ 125” (Mail subscription for Cairo /second semester 1856/ 125) where this last figure corresponds to 125 Sardinian Lira (at the time 1 Sardinian Lira was equal to 1 French Franc). From this it is clear that as written by M. Ramadan, the official/consular mail was transported on the Alexandria-Cairo route by the MAP and not by the European Post of the Italian Tito Chini who took over from Carlo Meratti in the administration of this postal transport company. What is unpublished is that until now it was believed that official mail was transported free of charge by the MAP while this document shows was instead a half-yearly subscription service. Looking below at the notes concerning the shipment with the Austrian post, we note that these were strangely paid in Egyptian Piastres. Happy strangeness because it allows us, through the fussy official who drafted the document, to carry out elementary calculations that provide us with the value of the Sardinian Lira corresponding to approximately 3 Piastres and 34 paras (40 paras = 1 Piastre), simplifying 3.85 Piastres which multiplied by the sum of the subscription of 165 Lire make the sum of 635 Piastres and 10 paras or, 6 Egyptian Pounds, 35 Piastres and 10 paras. This sum is certainly not negligible if by itself it result just under half the half-yearly postal expenses of the Sardinian Consulate.

Another observation regarding the note that I marked in green of 8 December 1856, is written in Italian “Trasporto lettere al Divano” (Letters trasporting to Diwan), recalling that the Diwan was the administrative headquarters of the Vice Kingdom, this contradicts what was stated above regarding the exclusivity of MAP for the transport of official letters but it could be letters of some importance delivered by private paid courier. I conclude by recommending to everyone the purchase of the book which aims to give light to the postal service established by the administration of the Vice Kingdom of Egypt under Mohamed Aly reign and increased by his successors.

Bernardo Longo