Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Cap to Cap Caper

Time frame 1—Probably August 15, 1904, somewhere in Luxembourg

  • Sender buys a picture postcard of Larochette in Luxembourg
  • Sender addresses the postcard to a woman in Cappellen prés [by] Anvers, Belgium [town name is spelled with a double “p”]
  • Sender puts a five-centime green Belgian stamp in the upper right corner of the postcard
  • The 5-centime Belgian stamp would pay the Belgian domestic postcard rate if the postcard were mailed in Belgium

Time frame 2—Morning of August 16, 1904, Steinfort, Luxembourg

  • Sender presents the postcard for mailing at the Steinfort, Luxembourg post office
  • Steinfort postal clerk requires that Luxembourg postage be used to send the postcard to Belgium
  • Sender buys and affixes a ten-centime Luxembourg Adolphe definitive stamp to the postcard below the five-centime Belgian stamp to pay the ten-centime foreign postcard rate to Belgium
  • Steinfort postal clerk accepts the postcard for dispatch to the addressee
  • Steinfort postal clerk marks off the Belgian stamp with blue crayon to show that it is invalid for use in Luxembourg.
  • Steinfort post office cancels the ten-centime Luxembourg stamp Steinfort, August 16, 1904, 10-11 [a.]m.

Time frame 3—Morning of August 17, 1904, Capellen, Luxembourg

  • Postcard is mistakenly delivered the next day to nearby Capellen, Luxembourg [the town name is spelled with only one “p”], near the Luxembourg-Belgian border
  • Postcard receives an incoming postmark Cap, [August] 17, 1904, 7-8 [a.]m. [Although the town's name is “Capellen,” the name has always been shortened to "Cap" on the cancelers used by the town's post office, perhaps because the canton in which the town is located also is called "Cappellen."]
  • Capellen, Luxembourg post office redirects the postcard to Belgium, underlining in blue crayon “prés Anvers,” to draw the dispatcher’s attention to the correct destination of Cappellen near Antwerp [Anvers] in Northwest Belgium.

Time frame 4—Late afternoon of August 17, 1904, Brussels, Belgium

  • En route to Cappellen, Belgium, the postcard transits in Brussels, where the five-centime Belgian stamp that had been improvidently affixed earlier is now cancelled August 17, 1904 at 5-6 p.m. Bruxelles Depart.
  • Seeing the uncancelled five-centime Belgian stamp, the Belgian transit clerk probably presumes that the postcard had been deposited in the Belgian domestic mails and therefore cancels the stamp.

Time frame 5—August 18, 1904, Cappellen, Belgium

  • Postcard arrives at Cappellen, Belgium, where it receives an incoming postmark, Cappellen, 18 Aout, 1904, 6-7 [a.m.?], and presumably goes on to be delivered to the addressee, thus ending the Cap to Cap caper!


jangli said...

Hey Allan,

enjoyed looking through your "blog" today. Your doing a great job - could turn into a book. Several years ago when I got serious about classifing and sorting the Belgium parcel post cancels, it took me forever to figure out that the cappellen in Belgium had two P,s and Luxembourg capellen only one. Funny how I was looking right at it, but didn't see it. Where did you find the stash of US postcards to Luxembourg. Nice little stack of cards.


pa said...

Just found your blog, it's really interesting. This story about Capellen is amusing and you did a great job figuring that stuff out. I've put your blog adress on my list about luxembourgish blogs on Feel free to change your information!