Gallows letter

In postal history, a gallows letter was a letter with a "gallows" mark meaning "very quickly".

Gallows letter, England, 21 August 1598

Gallows letters were official letters or dispatches used by the Privy Council of Elizabeth I of England. To express an extreme degree of urgency of delivery, the letter had on the address panel a rough drawing of a gallows. Sometimes the picture included a hanging body. These drawings could also have repeated written directions as "haste haste", "post haste", "haste for life", "for life haste", etc.[1]

There are also modern forgeries of such letters. This is when counterfeit gallows marks have been applied onto original letters.[2]

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ReferencesEdit

  1. Beal, P. (2008). "Gallows letter". A Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology: 1450 to 2000. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 169—171. ISBN 9780199576128. eISBN 9780191727955. Archived from the original on 2015-05-14. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  2. Vollmeier, P. (2002). "Forgeries of handwritten indications on old letters". Fakes, Forgeries & Experts (5). Archived from the original on 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2015-05-14.