Scandinavian Collectors Club



            During the 18th and 19th centuries, over 80 open mail boats crashed along the Norwegian coast. Mail, much of it damaged, was salvaged from half of these wrecks. Author Egil Thomassen is usually associated with aerophilately. However, in this book he now records chronologically the details of these mail boat losses.


            For each event he identifies the locale, the route, and details of the tragedy. Minor incidents have a brief paragraph while major events can run one or more pages. Notes indicate if mail was lost and whether there was also loss of postal personnel or any survivors. The names of those working in the postal service that were involved with the event are mentioned.


            In most cases unnamed small mail boats were involved and there has not been a central record of these tragedies until now. Practically no examples of letters are shown. Illustrations consist primarily of maps, old prints, and photos. Thomassen has thoroughly researched the events using government archives, museum records, postal history sources, knowledgeable collectors, and special libraries.


            One table lists the instances where mail was salvaged showing the route, the place of departure, and the date and place where the loss occurred. A name index lists those involved with the incident, whether or not they died as a result, and whether or not they were a member of the postal service. The list includes those who were boat rowers, sailors, passengers, postal inspectors, or others together with their occupations.


            Thomassen provides sources for each incident including church records and newspaper articles. This book will be especially useful for those who have “home” collections and seek to identify salvaged mail. The layout is pleasing to the eye and the illustrations bring us closer to each of these sad events.

Alan Warren