Monday, August 01, 2016

† Arsdorf (19 Jun 1880–8 Apr 2016)



Last Day Cover 
Arsdorf a 8800
8 April 2016

Arsdorf post office

The 8th of April, 2016, was a sad day, indeed, as operations of the Arsdorf post office ended on that day after 135 years, 9 months, and 21 days of postal service.

Many thanks to the inimitable Dieter Basien for the Last Day cover.  But Dieter, it should have been a mourning cover edged in black!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Bovange (Boegen) to Bulgaria in 1898 with Postage Due on a 5c G.D. Adolphe Postal Card!


G.D. Adolphe 5c Postal Card (1st issue)
Bovange (Boegen),
29 Jun 1898,

Clervaux transit,
30 Jun 1898,

Sofia, Bulgaria
21 Jun 1898
(Julian calendar)

=’s 3 Jul 1898
(Gregorian calendar)
5c underpaid for the 10c UPU rate.  Taxed double the 5c deficiency, with a pair of
5 stotinki 1896 Bulgarian postage due stamps affixed.
It’s always a pleasant surprise to find a common domestic postal card with a scarce use, franking, and cancel!
Written at Allerborn and addressed to a Capuchin friar in Sofia.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Uprated Uses of the 75c Colmar Berg Postal Card


Two new postal cards appeared on 1 October 1945, in the aftermath of World War 2 --- a 75c card and a 2.00-franc card.  They remain underappreciated despite offering the specialist a trove of interesting post-war rates, uses, and cancels. 

Here are three unusual uprated uses of the 75c card.

Uprated in 1950 For Domestic Use


Remich to Mondorf-les-Bains
22 Jun 1950

The 75c domestic rate was increased
to 1.00-franc on 1 Jan 1949.


Printed Back

Jean Maroldt, Notary

Uprated in 1946 for Use to France


Larochette (Belgian-style cancel) to Strassbourg, France
19 June 1946

Although the postal card rate to France was set at 1.50-franc as of 20 Feb 1945, a new card was not issued for this rate in 1945.


Uprated in 1946 for Special Delivery to Belgium


Luxembourg-Ville to Brussels, Belgium
4 Jan 1946

Uprated 7.00 francs to pay the special delivery fee!


Monday, April 11, 2016

First Day Use of the 75c Colmar-Berg Postal Card



1 October 1945

[5:00-6:00 p.m.]
Ixelles-Bruxelles, Belgium


Luxembourg issued two postal cards on 1 October 1945:  a 75c card featuring the Grand Ducal residence at Colmar-Berg paying the domestic rate and the rate to Belgium, and a 2.00-franc card for UPU use (including Germany). 

The rate to France was set at 1.50-franc as of 20 Feb 1945, but a card was not issued for that rate.

The card shown here was sent on the first day of issue by J. P. Wallenborn, a well known Luxembourg stamp dealer, to the postal stationery enthusiast, August Wery, in Belgium. 

Wallenborn writes: 

    Voici la première et l'autre va à votre adresse de Paris

Uses of these two cards in 1945 are scarce!


Monday, March 28, 2016

Sole Uses Do Not Exist of the 30c/40c 1927 Mondorf-les-Bains Viewcards–Here’s why!



40-centime card surcharged to 30 Centimes
(one of nine views)

The 40-centime card was issued on 15 April 1927 to pay the treaty rates to France and Germany. But with (or in anticipation of) the increase in those rates from 40c to 60c on 15 December 1927, a small quantity of the soon-to-be or now already obsolete 40-centime cards was surcharged, sometime during December, to 30 centimes for use to pay the 30c domestic rate and the 30c treaty rate to Belgium. But also on 15 December 1927, those two 30c rates were increased to 35c!

So then the remaining 40c card stock was surcharged to 35 centimes, probably late in December 1927.  27 December 1927 is my earliest use of the 35c/40c card (shown below at the bottom).  The Luxembourg Handbook incorrectly lists the earliest date as “1928.”

As a consequence, I know of no sole use of the 30c/40c surcharged card! Any such use would have had to pre-date 15 December 1927, but the 30c/40c surcharged card apparently was not issued until shortly after 15 December 1927. (If I’m wrong, please show me the proof!)

Here’s a  23 December 1927 use posted from Wecker by the controversial  Berbourg stamp dealer, N. Wagner.  His message to the esteemed postal stationery enthusiast,      P. W. Broekman in Amsterdam, mentions that he has three (new) surcharged cards.  Take a look!






35c/40c Used 27 December 1927



Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Stampless Official Mourning Cover--Mourning the Death of Grand Duchess Charlotte in 1985



The reign of Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, began in 1919, when her older sister, Grand Duchess Marie Adélaïde, abdicated. She continued to reign until her own abdication in 1964 in favor of her son Jean.


Mourning_July 18, 1985

The stampless mourning cover seen here, postmarked Luxembourg-Ville, July 18, 1985, mourns the death of Grand Duchess Charlotte just 9 days earlier, on July 9, 1985. The blue straight-line handstamp Service du Grand-Duc and the Administration des Biens de S.A.R. Le Grand-Duc de Luxembourg corner card indicate that the mourners are the then-Grand Duke Jean’s official staff.

Grand Duke Jean, who recently celebrated his 95th birthday, abdicated in 2000 in favor of his own son Henri.  His gala birthday party was attended by many of Europe’s royals and featured the Luxembourg Philharmonic orchestra singing happy birthday.

Modern mourning covers from Luxembourg are uncommon, but at least among the Grand Ducal royalty in 1985, the tradition of edging envelopes in black during a period of mourning continued. I’m quite pleased to have added this modern cover to my collection.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Overlooked Rates—Post-WW2 Treaty Rates to Italy and the Netherlands


Beginning in the late 1940s, postal treaties provided for substantially reduced postal rates from Luxembourg to Italy and the Netherlands.  Although commercial covers from this period are plentiful, I’ve had a hard time finding treaty-rate covers to these two countries.  How many do you have in your collection?  Take a look!

For example, here are some of the post-WW2 rates for a 20g letter:

To Italy: 

               1966-1976 = 3.00 F
               1976-1983 = 6.00 F
               1983-1986 = 10.00 F
               Thereafter, CEPT and Europa rates applied

To the Netherlands:

                1 Apr 1947-1949 = 1.50 F
                1949-15 Jul 1958 = 2.00 F
                15 Jul 1958-1 Oct 1973 = 3.00 F
                1 Oct 1973-1976 = 4.00 F
                1976-1 Jul 1980 = 6.00 F
                1 Jul 1980-1 Jul 1983 = 8.00 F
                1 Jul 1983-1986 = 10.00 F
                1986-1 Jul 1988 = 12.00 F
                 Special rates continued until 1 Jul 1997!

UPU rates:

                   1 Oct 1945-1949 = 3.50 F
                   1949-15 Jul 1958 = 4.00 F
                   15 Jul 1958-16 Sep 1963 = 5.00 F
                   16 Sep 1963-1 Jul 1971 = 6.00 F
                   1 Jul 1971-1976 = 8.00 F
                   1976-1 Jul 1981 = 12.00 F
                   1 Jul 1981-1986 =16.00 F
                   1986-1991 = 20.00 F

To the Netherlands in 1954
at the 2.00 Fr Letter Rate

NL rate

NL rate_x

         Luxembourg-Ville to Scheveningen, Netherlands
27 Jul 1954

To Italy in 1969 at the 3.00 Fr Letter Rate

(+ 12.00 Fr special delivery fee)



Luxembourg-Ville ab,
20 May 1969,
Special delivery to
Rome, Italy,
22 May 1969

To Italy in 1979 at the 6.00 Fr Letter Rate
(+ 20 Fr registry fee)


Luxembourg 2h, 
21 Aug 1979,
registered to Montebelluna, Italy,
25 Aug 1979






Monday, February 15, 2016

5c Adolphe (3rd issue) Domestic Reply Card–Used from Arsdorf to Diekirch During the 1918 Paper Shortage

Arsdorf Adolphe 5c Reply card 1916 use

Emergency Use of Obsolete Luxembourg Postal Stationery
During the World War 1 Paper Shortage

In early 1918, World War 1 was winding down. Due to wartime demands, paper shortages were widespread. Here’s how the government responded when Enschedé in Holland temporarily lacked the paper needed to print government orders for the then-current Coat of Arms postal cards.

The Allegory postal stationery had been demonetized as of January 1, 1906, and the Adolphe stationery as of January 1, 1909, but approximately 5,000 to 7,000 unused Allegory and Grand Duke Adolphe postal cards remained in government storage. By directives dated April 18 and April 23, 1918, the government ordered that these obsolete postal cards be distributed to post offices whose supplies of postal cards had been depleted.

Before distributing the obsolete cards, the government invalidated the stamp imprint with a three-concentric-ring obliterator and instructed postal clerks to add adhesive stamps.


5c Adolphe
(3rd issue)
Reply Card

15 June 1918,


This emergency use of the 5c Adolphe Reply card (3rd issue) is notable for three reasons:

First, the third issue of Grand Duke Adolphe postal stationery appeared during the latter half of 1906 (August 1906 is the frühdatum listed in the FSPL handbook), well after Adolphe’s death in November 1905.  It was superseded about a year later, in July 1907, by the Coat of Arms postal stationery.  As a consequence, even the 5c and 10c third issue cards are uncommon, and commercial uses of the third issue 5c+5c domestic and 10c+10c UPU cards are seldom seen.  Here the 5c reply card has been recalled from storage and invalidated with the three-concentric-ring obliterator, with a 5c Coat of Arms stamp added to pay the domestic-rate postage.

Second, unlike many emergency uses of the obsolete stationery, the 5c stamp was applied next to rather than over the invalid 5c stamp imprint.  And just to be safe, the Arsdorf postal clerk canceled both the stamp and the stamp imprint!

And third, obsolete cards were only distributed to post offices whose supply of postal cards had been depleted. This is the first example recorded as written and postmarked at Arsdorf.

A remarkable postal history and postal stationery card, indeed!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Uncommon use -- A Postal Card Sent Registered, Special Delivery in 1932!

40c Charlotte Profile
(Luxembourg view)
Luxembourg-Gare to Luxembourg-Ville
14 Nov 1932
Domestic postal card = 40c
Registry fee = 1.75F
Special Delivery fee = 1.50F

We occasionally see postal cards sent by registered mail or special delivery.  However, use of these two special services for the same card is uncommon.  I like this example!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Hanky-Panky — the 20c ‘Brown’ Adolphe S.P. Official Overprint!




n. Slang

1. Devious or mischievous activity.


003z 003zz 003zzz

20c Orange

20 Brown
P. 11½

P. 11½x11


The 20c orange GD Adolphe definitive (Yvert 61; Michel 59) appeared in sheets of 100 in 1893.  It is occasionally seen chemically altered, so as to appear to be the unissued 20c brown (Yvert 61a).  And that is also what has been done to the 20c GD Adolphe S.P. official seen on the cover shown below.

The unissued 20c brown was produced in 1891, along with the first two GD Adolphe values (the 10c and 25c) in small sheets of 25 stamps perforate 11½.  As the brown color of the 20c differed from the orange color that had been announced in the government journal Le Mémorial, only the 10c and 25c were initially issued. 





Luxembourg-Ville VI, 5 April 1894
to Frankfurt (Main)

15g Letter to Germany = 25c
Add'l 15g = 25c
Registry fee = 25c



The 20c ‘brown’ overprinted S.P. for official use seen on this cover, however, is perforate 12½, so it cannot be from the 1891 printing.  Also, from chemical treatment the paper shows a slight yellowish tinge, unlike the white paper of the 12½c and 25c stamps seen on the cover.  And under natural light, a little bit of film remains on the 20c stamp from the chemical used to alter the stamp’s color.

*   *   *

Below, you can see the genuine 20c brown (perforate 11½!) used as part of the franking on a registered letter from Grevenmacher to Leipzig in 1905.  It presumably was posted by the mischievous Mr. Wagner, who at one time had acquired all of the unissued 20c brown stamps, and who in the spirit of hanky-panky succeeded in posting a number of registered letters with the unissued 20c brown and other franking.  This cover is one of only a couple 20c brown covers that Wagner posted from Grevenmacher.





Grevenmacher, 29 May 1905
to Oetzsch-Gautsch by Leipzig

20g Letter to Germany =  12½c
Registry fee = 25c


So, call it hanky-panky, hokus-pokus, or skullduggery, whatever you will; as philatelists, we have more to fear than ISIS or the boogeyman!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Official Mail to Egypt's Delegate to the 1897 UPU Congress in Washington, D.C.

The 5th UPU Congress met in Washington, D.C. from 5 May to 15 June 1897.  The cover shown below, franked with the 25c G.D. Adolphe S.P. official, was posted from Luxembourg-Ville on 22 May 1897, to Youssef Saba, Egypt’s delegate and plenipotentiary to the Congress, and is backstamped 3 Jun 1897 at Washington, D.C.

On the reverse is the Grand Ducal Coat-of-arms with a special wax seal created for the Congress,  inscribed:

Govt G-D de Luxembourg – UPU Congress.