Sunday, June 10, 2018

Monsoon morning postage due puzzler

Sometimes rating postage due charges on covers and cards plumbs the depths of postal historians' knowledge.  

Consider these two lovely first issue postal view cards with postage due.

30c Mondorf Postal Viewcard
View 6 - Bridge
Prifix 89-6 Lhbk 84-6

 Luxembourg-Ville to Rollingergrund
11 Jun 1928
Rate:  35c (15 Dec 1927-1 Jul 1930)

5c shortpaid, so correctly charged 10 centimes postage due (double the 5-centime deficiency).

But ...

35c/40c Mondorf Postal Viewcard
View 1 - Vase
Prifix 93-1 Lhbk 88-1 

Esch-sur-Alzette to Bonnevoie
6 Feb 1928
Rate:  35c (15 Dec 1927-1 Jul 1930)

The 35-centime rate was correctly paid.  So why was 30 centimes postage due charged?

My theory:  The card is addressed to Bonneweg "Postfach" (Post Office Box), but no box number is given.  Possibly the recipient did not even have a box at the Bonnevoie post office.  Therefore, a 30c Poste Restante fee was charged to collect the card.

Or was the postage due just a bit of chicanery by the recipient -- Alfons Ennesch, a stamp dealer -- to enhance the value of the card?

What do you think?  

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Postage Partially Due - Taxed Under-franked Letter to Germany in 1917

Taxed Under-franked Letter to Germany in 1917

A letter from Diekirch, 23 May 1917,  censored at Trier, to a soldier stationed in Coburg, Germany in 1917.  It is shortpaid 7½c but was taxed 20 centimes ("T" hs and blue crayon "20").  Why?

Under the postal convention of 20 August 1902 with the German Empire, unfranked letters were charged 30 centimes.  This under-franked letter was treated as unfranked less its 10-centime postage, leaving 20 centimes unpaid and payable by the addressee.  Per Lars Böttger, the 20 centimes postage due was converted into pfennig at a rate of 10 Cent. = 8 pfg. -> 16 pfg.; the 16 pfg. was then rounded to 20 pfg.  The conversion to pfennig should have been indicated by the Diekirch post office.

The small circular "porto" marking at the top was probably applied at Coburg.  There are no markings on the back side. 

The cover provides an interesting "sole use" of the 10-centime Marie-Adélaïde definitive!

Belgian Congo to Heffingen - WW1 Returned to Sender 1914-1915

Five-centime postal viewcard sent as printed matter (ms Imprimé) from Bukama, Belgian Congo, 25 Oct 1914, to Heffingen, Luxembourg, returned by the Prisoner of War Censor in London as inadmissible as Luxembourg had been occupied by Germany and Great Britain had declared war on the Central Powers in August 1914.

A Long Journey Back

Postal viewcard dated 25 Oct 1914

Bukama, Belgian Congo, ~25 Oct 1914

to Heffingen, Luxembourg

British red circled P.C. Prisoner-of-War censor
with boxed Retour á l’Envoyeur and
violet sl Undeliverable L.P.S.
[London Postal Service]
Lusamba, Belgian Congo, 16 Mar 1915

Kabinda, Belgian Congo, 28 Mar 1915

Elisabethville, Belgian Congo, 5 May 1915

Back to Bukama (blue crayon), but then redirected
to Ebo, Belgian Congo (blue crayon)

World War 1 postal history remains a fertile field for research.  Years ago, I hoped that some day we would have a scholarly treatment of Luxembourg World War 1 postal history.  Now we do!  You shouldn't be without Lars Böttger, Handbuch zur Besetzung von Luxemburg im 1. Weltkrieg 1914-1918 und der alliierten Besetzung (2014).

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Common 15c Marie-Adélaïde Cover? Perhaps not - take a close look at the stamp!

31 Mar 1921
1 Apr 1921

Domestic 20g letter rate  = 15c
(12 Apr 1920—1 Apr 1921)

A nice rate cover, but look closer!

15c Marie-Adélaïde with
Caisse d'Epargne 
'star' perfin
(bottom center) 

Antunes and Basien, writing in Luxemburg Perfins (August 2015), state that the Caisse d'Epargne perfin was used from 1905 to 1928.  

Although this perfin is not particularly uncommon, uses on cover are scarce.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Mysterious Incoming Advertising Card

What was it?

 Const.-Apparat. "Benzing"

Advertising cards and covers sometimes offer a glimpse at obscure creations that have otherwise been pretty much lost in time.  Here is an example:  the "Benzing," replete with a crank, clock, handle and patent number.

What was it?  How was it used?  Was it ever commercially marketed?

Milspe, Westfalen
21 Apr 1904
22 Apr 1904

Corner card:
Carl Woeste
Gevelsberg i. W.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mixed Adolphe & Arms UPU Uprating
from Boevange (Boegen) in 1907


Boevange (Boegen)
2 Nov 1907 [7:00-8:00 a.m.]
Transit Clervaux, 2 Nov 1907 [10:00-11:00 a.m.]
Cavalese, Austria, 4 Nov 1907

Apart from the unusual mixed uprating, I was confused by the destination -- Cavalese in Sud/Tirol, Osterreich. Isn't Cavalese, South Tyrol, part of Italy? Yes, but in 1907 it wasn't. South Tyrol, situated at the northernmost point of Italy, was formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was not annexed to Italy until 1919, after World War 1. Thus, the card is correctly addressed to Cavalese in Sud/Tirol, Osterreich.

Even cards as common as this 5-centime Arms card offer collecting challenges.  Intended to pay the domestic rate, uses can be found from the country's many small villages.  I especially like village-to-village uses.  Uprated UPU uses to other than neighboring countries are also difficult to find.  And in this instance the mixed uprating itself is uncommon.  No surprise that the return address is that of a stamp collector -- E. Schuster, Allerborn b/Wiltz!

The ten-centime UPU rate remained in effect until 10 May 1921.  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

When did WW1 German censorship of incoming mail end?

Chemical Censorship of Incoming Mail
9 Days before the 1918 WW1 Armistice


2 Nov 1918

 Violet Trier censor handstamp
and chemical swabs front and back



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Two views of Clervaux are found on the 40c Second Series of Postal Stationery Viewcards!

Have you noticed? 

The Clervaux view
was redrawn in 1931!

LHBK 97-01a --- Prifix 102

21 Jul 1930 Printing

LHBK 97-01b --- Prifix 102

1931 Printing (redrawn view)

11 Jul 1931
Bruxelles, Belgium

The other 11 views in the 1931 printing were not redrawn.  Why was the Clervaux substantially redrawn?  

Also, on the 1931 printing of the 40c Clervaux view the stamp imprint appears in a deeper green than it does on the 1930 printing, and the view is printed in a deep reddish-brown, whereas the 1930 printing is in brown.

The two different Clervaux views are listed in the Luxembourg Handbook.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Modern postal stationery varieties: 40c/90c Mondorf Viewcard with Full Offset (Abklatsch)

Prifix 94 --- LHBK 96-01

40c/90c Vase
Full Offset

23 Jan 1931
Munich, Germany
Uprated to pay the 75c
rate to Germany

Not previously reported.

A scarce Mondorf postal viewcard -- sole use of the 40c/90c surcharge!

Prifix 94 --- LHBK 96
Nine Mondorf Views 

When the 40c/90c surcharged Mondorf viewcards appeared sometime in 1930, the 40c postal card rate to France and Germany had already ended on December 15, 1927.  Thus, sole uses of the 40c/90c card are only possible domestically (from 1 Jul 1930 to 1 Feb 1935) and to Belgium (from 1 Dec 1929 to 1 Feb 1935).  In 50 years of collecting, I have only acquired two sole uses -- that's one every 25 years on the average!  How many do you have?

Statue -- View 96-02
22 Oct 1930
Esch-sur-Alzette to Rodange

Commercial correspondence.

Bridge -- View 96-06
2 Apr 1932
Luxembourg-Ville III to
Berbourg [Post: Wecker]

  Stamp dealer correspondence.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Proofs of the 1927 Mondorf-les-Bains Postal Viewcards

Complete Set of 9

 View 1 - Vase
Designer:  Harry Rabinger

 View 2 - Statue
Designer: Harry Rabinger

View 3 - Fountain
Designer: Harry Rabinger

View 4 - Dock
Designer: Harry Rabinger
 View 5 - Arch
Designer: Jean Schaack
 View 6 - Bridge
Designer:  Harry Rabinger
 View 7 - House
Designer: Nico Klopp 
 View 8 - Park
Designer: Jean Schaack
View 9 - Park in Octagon
Designer: Nico Klopp

The artistic beauty of these designs is evident, surpassing that of subsequent viewcard issues!


Monday, May 29, 2017

Unusual domestic use of the 90c Mondorf UPU-rate Postal Viewcard!

 90c UPU-rate
Mondorf Postal Viewcard
Fountain View
Prifix 91 - LHBK 86-03


Beaufort (old dbl-circle cncl), 9 Mar 1932
Luxembourg-Ville [b/s], 9 Mar 1932
Payment refused
Returned transit Diekirch, 15 Mar 1932
Beaufort (bridge cncl), 15 Mar 1932


Domestic postal card = 0.40 F
Registry fee = 1.75 F
COD fee [198 F] = 0.75 F

Total: 2.90F

90c paid by 90c UPU-rate Viewcard
2.00 F paid by:

2F Clervaux View

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A 'fishy' postal card

Nic. Feipel's 
Return Address 'Chops'

Nic. Feipel

Nic. Feipel

2 Jun 1924

Monsieur Dubois

Le Havre, Seine Inférieure,
3 Jun 1924 [b/s]

The imaginative chops and cachets found on postal cards provide an entertaining sideline for the specialist.  Nic. Feipel's fish and crayfish chops (both seen on the card above) are among my favorites!