I recently bought the cover illustrated from an EBay seller. It is, at first glance, a run of the mill 4d Chalon cover to Bethnal Green, London, sent in January 1856 and arriving in May of the same year. It is cancelled with a Hobart 68 and there is a third type Crowned Circle handstamp. The top has been trimmed slightly. What attracted my attention was the 'L' in circle that is clearly under the datestamp and so must have been applied in Hobart. The handstamp is clearly faded, so the original colour could have been green or red. If it was red, then the same pad as the datestamp has not been used as that is still clearly red.
My question is: can anyone identify the 'L' in circle handstamp or its purpose? I have consulted Rendall Askeland who does not know, and read through Tony Orchard's volumes on the Postal Acts and Regulations and can find no reference to any service that would require this handstamp.
The only thought is that it might relate to the mysterious 'Listed mail' service, about which I have no details, but which is the probable reason for the existence of the large 'L' at Launceston in 1905 that is on the 'Mrs Genders' cover (illustrated opposite page 34 of Part II of the Green Books). A number of modern (relatively) official covers are pre-printed with an 'L' in circle, so it must have some significance, but the meaning is hard to find. It has been suggested to me that 'Listed' mail is a special category of Registered mail, but I have no idea what the differences might be.
All sensible contributions gratefully received!