Forwarding Agent cachets stamped or manuscript have been found on mail since the 1600's when posts started.
Many of the handstruck inked types came into use from the early 1800's and continued to around 1853 when it became compulsory for letters to be prepaid in stamps.
Forwarding agents worked in conjunction with the Post Offices. A forwarding agent was a person, agency, or business involved in the collection, shipment, and delivery of letters to a designated place.
Many postal services would terminate their routes at frontiers, area's of war or conflict or seaports. Individual firms of exporters, shipping companies etc would set up as forwarding agents in order to supply onward transmission of letters. One of the earliest was Lamfranchi of Antwerp who is known forwarding from 1579 between Venice and London, Donere of Paris and Calai is also an early forwarding agent.
Index to pages: