I wonder if anyone can help me to explain this astonishing cover? Addressed in Arabic to an insurance company in Cairo, it was "franked" with a total of eleven 1-millième stamps of the 1944-52 Farouk Marechal issue, and dated in manuscript 20 April 1949, though no CDS is apparent. To put it kindly, most of the adhesives are not in good health, and three of the bottom four singles, and the pair and single at top right have all been provided with blue-pencil "O" markings signifying "invalid" - clearly because they were reused specimens. The two at the right appear to have no manuscript marking, but the pair at top left - in excellent condition - have been blue-pencilled with a large "X". At bottom left is a boxed "T" indicating tax to be raised, and alongside is a strike of the unusual boxed "O" marking signifying invalid (this has manuscript initials in Arabic?). On the reverse are manuscript indications that delivery was attempted on April 23 and 24, but clearly it was not successful. Eleven stamps is one too many for the 10m rate of the time anyway, and the central blue-pencil "16" marking in Arabic appears to indicate that the tax due was 16 millièmes, ie, double a deficiency of 8m, in other words, that the two X-ed-out stamps were accepted as valid. So why were they X-ed? And what does the pencil Arabic at centre left read?

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