One of the popular collecting themes in Egyptian philately is that of the Hotel post offices, which is enjoyed not only by Egyptian philatelists but also by worldwide collectors of hotel postmarks. The study has been well documented over the years, with several important articles, including a full list of markings and dates, appearing in the QC over the last few years. Even a century later, however, new finds still appear to surprise us.

Egypt was one of the first countries on the tourist track, offering warm weather in the winter months and its splendid monuments that captured the imagination of all of Europe by the end of the nineteenth century. Wealthy Europeans naturally wanted to send home details of their travels, so the Egyptian Post Office established branch post offices in many of the main hotels, with the convenience of European-speaking clerks: the first were opened in Shepheard's Hotel and the Continental Hotel, both in Cairo, on November 1, 1891.

The service was gradually extended to other major hotels in Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan, and there are records of postal markings from no fewer than 16 hotels. The high period of use was from the turn of the century until the 1960s or 1970s, and though some markings survive after that date post-monarchy postmarks clearly struck are not easy to find. Many hotels now use named machine cancels, and most of the classic postmark-hotels closed their doors - or at least their postal counters - half a century ago. As an adjunct to the Hotels study, the Egypt Study Circle adds "proprietary" postmarks of other establishments serving tourism in its widest sense, of which there are four recorded establishments

Cover from the seamans home, one of the proprietary establisments having its only post office.

Egypt, Stamps and Postal History Peter A.S. Smith, 1999

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