A philatelic journey of adventure
Zanzibar a former pirate stronghold in the Indian Ocean, a tiny paradise of pure white sandy beaches, crystal clear blue waters and shady palm trees. This is how it probably looked in 1873 when at 5 pm in the evening in St. Gallen, 8000 kilometres away, a letter with an 85 centime stamp started on its long journey to Zanzibar via Brindisi and Aden.
The contents of the letter auctioned by Rolli is unknown. However, because of its intended recipients we can hazard a guess that is was an entrepreneurial quest connected to the St. Gallen cotton industry. The addressees were two men Brenner and Fischer. A German researching in Africa and a St. Gallen businessman, both living on the island for some time with the objective of finding new suppliers for the ailing cotton industry. This was not entirely an easy undertaking that would become increasingly difficult considering the economic conditions at the time.
Sadly we do not know the outcome of the two men’s adventure. But one thing is for certain is that they would never have dreamt that a letter addressed to them, 140 years later would be the centre of such an intense bidding war in the auction room at Rolli Auctions and Philately.
The rare destination of this letter was certainly a factor in this lot far exceeding its starting price to sell for an enormous CHF5800. An exciting end to this philatelic journey into the historic past of an Island that has still retained its charm to date.