Result list 31 October 2020

The results of our October 31 sale are now online. Unsold items can be obtained in our aftersale until November 29 (first come, first served). .

Lotnumber: 582
PARIS. Cert. de Propriété de Part d'intérêt F5000. black. # 400. No 98. Heavy central fold and some pin-holes. The idea of linking France to England by rail is not new. In 1802 the French engineer Mathieu proposed a road route under the Channel. This was proposed during a brief peace in the war between Napoleon's France and England. However, war soon broke out again, and the idea was rejected out of hand. Cartoons showed French troops walking under the sea in a road tunnel! The scheme existed only on paper. Engineers lacked the necessary technology and geological knowledge. Later various English and French geologists and engineers studied the idea, and on a sounder scientific basis, the means of creating such an underwater link. In 1857 the Frenchman Thomé de Gamond worked hard to find answers to the problems of geology, ventilation and England's defense, and his scheme, involving a port built midway across on the Varne sand bank; trains would run a double track through a single gas-lit tunnel. The railway companies could foresee big profits from running though such a tunnel, and together could fund the work, but the British government was very hesitant. It was only in 1867, after the Universal Exhibition, that a serious design was put forward, and a French-English committee was formed to submit definite proposals to the two Governments. Two years later, the examination of it was entrusted to a Commission. 1874 brought a formal demand for a concession, and, by the law of 2 August 1875, the French Assemblée Nationale declared the idea to be in the national interest, and gave a concession to a company, of which the President was a very prominent politician and economist Michel Chevalier, the French portion of a railway under the channel between France and England. Negotiations opened for a treaty between the two countries; the protocol was signed on the 30 May 1876. This French company and its English counterpart started digging seriously in 1881 from the cliffs between Dover and Folkstone and Sandgate, west of Calais. Technically, it was a success -driven by compressed air, the boring-machines worked well, and there was so little flooding that they switched on the pumps for only 1/2 day every two weeks! Within the first year each side had bored almost 2km of tunnel, and expected to complete a 7-foot pilot tunnel across the Channel within 5 years. However, in 1882 the English company faced political opposition - the two Governments had quarreled over the Suez Canal and colonies in Africa. The British military did not trust the French, and in 1883 further building of the tunnel was banned. The French gave up, believing the British would always want to remain an "island fortress". Michel Chevalier died at this time. The experience of the Great War showed the economy in human lives, the vast expense, the sacrifices and suffering of all sorts which would doubtless have been saved if the British had earlier realised the enormous advantages of having a fast and safe route of communication between the two countries. It was estimated that a tunnel could have shortened the War by two years. After WWI there were further trial borings but the idea still foundered on lack of mutual trust. It was only in 1973, when Britain finally joined France in the Common Market that the idea was seriously resurrected, but then rising oil prices brought financial constraints. In the 1980s the project finally went ahead, and work started on both sides in 1987, with final opening in 1994. Hand-signed by Michel Chevalier, as president. Only 400 pieces issued, and extremely rare.
Date: 30 March 1875
Quality: VF
Startprice: € 500