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Monday, March 13, 2006

Esch-sur-Alzette to Singapore in 1879!


Postal cards used from Luxembourg to destinations outside Western Europe prior to 1880 are especially scarce. And cards to Asia and Oceania, in particular, are great rarities, often realizing high prices at auctions. You should keep in mind that Luxembourg's population did not reach 200,000 until 1880, and at that time the population of the capital, Luxembourg-Ville, was only about 20,000. At the same time, Belgium (which is often characterized as a "small" country) had a population of 5,500,000--making it over 27 times more populous than Luxembourg in 1880.
Thus, I was delighted recently to acquire this 1879 ten-centime card [Prifix 32] paying the UPU rate to Singapore, then part of the Straits Settlements, as there surely was little commercial correspondence between Luxembourg and the Straits Settlements in 1879.

Posted from Esch-sur-Alzette, October 5, 1879, the card also bears a November 9, 1879, PENANG AND SINGAPORE arrival cancel on the front and an October 8th Brindisi transit cancel on the back.

This postal card (part of the Ninth Coat of Arms issue) was issued on February 19, 1879, to pay the ten-centime UPU rate that took effect on April 1, 1879. Kaufmann's study identifies five major types and 21 minor types of this card, of which this is Type 1.1, which is identified by the length of the bar under UNIVERSELLE (8 mm.) and a grave instead of an acute accent over the last e of réservè.


Although 56,528 of these cards were issued, uses to interesting destinations are seldom seen. If you can find 100 unpicked used examples of this card, I'd venture that 90 to 95% will turn out to be uses to Germany, and most of the others to Belgium or France. Even uses to other major European countries such as England, Switzerland, Italy or The Netherlands are difficult to find.

1 comment:

Cl said...

very nice website!