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The steamer Alaska was run by the Guion Line of Liverpool and was sailing for her home port from New York when fire broke out amongst the mail and newspapers aboard on 12 September 1882. Ten sacks of newspapers and two bags of mail were destroyed out of 300 bags carried. This blue cover from the GPO returned letter office in London is the ambulance envelope used to forward a very charred mail item, which contained used NZ postage stamps to the stamp dealer Whitfield King & Co. in Ipswich, where an arrival mark was applied dated 23 September 1882.