Monday, December 10, 2007

Invalid, Dubious & Questionable Uses (IDQs)

Let me ask you, “How should we organize those Luxembourg covers and cards that were used in unusual ways, but which don’t fit nicely into traditional postal history categories?” There is a body of philately devoted to EFOs (errors, freaks and oddities). Why not develop one devoted to the study and showcasing of IDQs?

We might begin with these categories (and any others you can think of):


Invalid, Dubious & Questionable Uses


Luxembourg franking no longer valid


Luxembourg franking valid, but not for the requested service


Luxembourg franking used abroad & foreign franking used in Luxembourg


Luxembourg and foreign franking used in combination


Luxembourg postal card imprint cutouts used as postage


Non-postal use of Luxembourg stamps and stationery


Luxembourg revenue stamps used to pay postage


Reuse of previously used Luxembourg stamps

Type 1 ─ Luxembourg Franking No Longer Valid

T-1 ─ Invalid Use ( 25c 1891 Adolphe): Attempted use of the 25c definitive to pay the 20 g UPU rate on a letter to the United States from Dalheim, April 3, 1911.

However, the 1891 Adolphe issue had been demonitized on January 1, 1909. In accordance with UPU regulations, the Dalheim post office marked off the invalid stamp with blue crayon, indicating with a zero that it had no monetary value and that postage due was to be charged to the recipient. The New York exchange office then taxed the letter ten US cents (double the five-cent UPU letter rate).

T-1 ─ Invalid use (30c Charlotte & 4 Rpf. Hindenburg): Letter posted from Luxembourg-Ville to Rumelange, September 10, 1944, the day Luxembourg was liberated from WWII German occupation and 10 days after the Nazi administration in Luxembourg had collapsed. Although the letter was censored on December 6, 1944, domestic mail delivery to towns outside Luxembourg-Ville was not resumed until March 26, 1945. The March 26, 1945, Rümelingen backstamp shows that this letter was delivered on the first day that inland deliveries were permitted, 196 days after it had been posted.

Two of the stamps were invalid on the date of posting. The 30c 1926 Charlotte had been invalidated on October 1, 1940; the 4 Rpf. Hindenburg on January 1, 1942. The 4 Rpf. Hitler head remained valid until September 29, 1944. However, as the letter rate was 12 Rpf., the Rumelange post office only charged postage due for a 1 Rpf. deficiency in the franking after giving the sender 11 Rpf. credit for the three stamps. (The 30c Charlotte was converted to Reichpfennings at the rate of 10 centimes to 1 Rpf., thus being worth 3 Rpf.) The 20-centime postage due charge reflects the 1 Rpf. deficiency doubled.

T-1 -- Invalid Use (1970 Chateau II Caritas semi-postals): A philatelically-inspired use of the Chateau II set posted from Luxembourg-Ville, October 19, 1972, to Andernach, Germany, taxed double the three-franc, 20-gram letter rate to Germany (T 6/3) for use invalid postage, as the last day of validity for the Chateau II set was December 31, 1971, 293 days before this letter was posted.

T 2 -- Luxembourg Franking Valid, But Not For Requested Service

T-2 ─ Airmail Use Disallowed: Reply card from a 75c+75c Luxembourg Ècusson double card mailed May 4, 1936, on the special German automobile postal service between Berlin and Leipzig with a blue Luxembourg airmail label and 75c Luxembourg airmail adhesive added purporting to pay supplemental postage for return of the reply card by airmail.

Airmail service (apparently) was not available or offered for return of foreign reply cards, as indicated by the German post office having marked off the adhesive stamp with blue crayon, crossed out the airmail etiquette and indicated no postal value for the adhesive. The 75c Luxembourg postal stationery imprint on the reply card correctly pays the 75c postal card rate in effect at that time between Luxembourg and Germany.

Type 3 ─ Luxembourg Franking Used Abroad & Foreign Franking Used in Luxembourg

Used within Germany

T-3 ─ Illegal Use in Germany: Attempted use of a five-centime 1882 Allegory postal card uprated with a 5-centime 1895 Adolphe definitive to pay postage from Rüttgen to Bad-Kreuznach, Germany, September 23, 1895. At that time, Rüttgen was part of the German Lorraine, on the German side of the border with Luxembourg. Today it is part of France and known by its French name, Roussy-le-Village.

The writer dated the card two days earlier at Frisange, a nearby village in Luxembourg. As the card was posted on the German side of the border, the German post office correctly marked off the Luxembourg stationery imprint and stamp with blue crayon, indicating their invalidity and postage due of 10 pfennig.


Used within France

T-3 ─ Illegal Use in France: Attempted use of a 35-centime Charlotte definitive to pay postage on a viewcard sent from Thionville to Roubaix, France, August 16, 1933. The Thionville post office marked off the stamp with blue crayon to indicate its invalidity, taxed the card, and applied a pair of French postage due stamps. As the card was refused by the addressee, it was sent to the dead letter office in nearby Lille.


Illegal use1898

T-3 -- Illegal use from Germany to Luxembourg in 1898:

Attempted use of a 10c G.D. Adolphe (1st issue) postal card from Oettingen in the then-German Lorraine, June 4, 1898, to Esch-sur-Alzette via Luxembourg-Gare the next day, taxed 20 centimes, [blue crayon] double the 10c UPU postcard rate.

T-3 ─ Illegal Use to the USA from France: The message discloses that the writer had stopped in Luxembourg on a drive from Wiesbaden, Germany, to Verdun, France. The picture postcard, which shows a night time view of the Adolphe Bridge in Luxembourg-Ville, is franked with a pair of Luxembourg six-franc 1977 Europa stamps, but it was posted from Verdun, France, October 12, 1977, to San Diego, California.

In accordance with 1974 UPU convention regulations for calculating postage due, the Luxembourg stamps were given no value (indicated by "= 0 in red) by the French post office. Postage due was calculated by multiplying the T 100/140 fraction by the US first-step foreign surface rate of 18 cents. This amount (12.86 US cents) was rounded up to 13 cents and a 20-cent handling charge was added, resulting in a postage due charge of 33 cents, as shown by the New York exchange office.

T-3 ─ Illegal Use to Great Britain from Germany: Attempted use of 3.50 francs of Luxembourg stamps to pay postage on a picture postcard from Volkingen, Germany, to Goldsithney-Penzance, England, August 25, 1967. The German post office marked off the stamps with blue crayon to indicate their invalidity. On arrival in England an auxiliary mark was applied reading “Stamp Not Valid - To Pay 10p,” payment of which is shown by three British postage due stamps. The writer notes that “As I write this, we are now traveling through Germany towards Saarbrücken.”

T-3 -- Illegal Use in Luxembourg of German postage to France: Attempted use of the 5 pfg. Germania definitive on a picture postcard posted at the 5c printed matter rate from Luxembourg Ville I, July 15, 1906, to Mersault, France, taxed and charged 10 centimes postage due in France (double the 5-centime deficiency).

T-3 -- Illegal Use in Luxembourg of Belgian postage to Germany: Attempted use of the 4-franc Belgian Abdication of Charles V commemorative (Scott #487) to correctly pay the 20 g letter rate to Germany from Belgium but posted from Luxembourg-Gare, July 8, 1955, invalidated in blue crayon and taxed 0.40 gold centimes (T 0.40 ct or) in Luxembourg, with the tax doubled on arrival in Bielefeld, Germany (Nachgebuhr 80).

Type 4 ─ Luxembourg and Foreign Franking Used in Combination

T-4 ─ Luxembourg & Italian Franking: 6-centime reply card from an 1875 6c+6c double card returned from Milan, Italy, September 23, 1906, used in combination with a five-centime Italian adhesive to make-up the ten-centime UPU rate then in effect. It was received in Luxembourg-Ville, September 24, 1906, and not taxed, as this practice was widely tolerated by European postal authorities although technically violative of UPU regulations, which required that the return card be entirely franked with the country of origin’s postage.

T-4 Luxembourg & German Franking: 5-centime Allegory postal card for domestic use, illegally uprated with a 5-pfennig German adhesive to pay the 10-centime postcard rate to Germany, posted from Luxembourg-Ville, October 21, 1892, to Cöln-Ehrenfeld, Germany, but the illegal combination franking apparently was not noticed by the Luxembourg post office.

T-5 ─ Postal Card Imprint Cutouts Used as Postage

T-5 ─ Use of a 5c postal card imprint: Attempted payment in 1915 of five centimes of the ten-centime letter rate to France with a five-centime Écusson postal card cutout, but noticed and taxed by the Luxembourg-Ville post office. The return address is that of the Carmelite Tertiary nuns, the frugality perhaps reflecting their vow of poverty.

T-5 Use of a 45c postal viewcard imprint cutout: Attempted payment in 1935 of part of the 70-centime domestic letter rate on a sealed letter to the suburb of Limpertsberg, otherwise franked only with a 35-centime Charlotte adhesive. Although an illegal use, the 45-centime imprint was nicely hand canceled and no postage due charged.

T-6 ─ Non-postal Uses

T-6 Oberpallen Private Overprint: Nicolas Gallé, who was the customs and immigration officer in charge of the Oberpallen border crossing between Luxembourg and Belgium in the late 1800s, must have been something of an eccentric. He apparently had five-centime Allegory postal cards overprinted “Oberpallen.” across the stamp imprint by letter press in purple. These cards were used to record the names of persons who crossed the border at Oberpallen each day and are all addressed to Mr. Gallé.

Oberpallen has never had a post office, and an examination of these cards readily reveals that none ever passed through the mails. They lead my list of dubious and questionable items. Use of the Allegory postal cards in this curious manner probably was unauthorized, may have been illegal, and likely served no revenue purpose.

T-7 & T-8

I have yet to discover a Luxembourg revenue stamp used in lieu of a postage stamp. Likewise, I have not (yet) seen an example of an attempt to reuse a previously cancelled Luxembourg stamp. Certainly such uses must exist.

Today might be a good time to organize the IDQs in your collection and share them with the others.

An earlier version of this article appeared in Castellum.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Luxemburg Airmail franking was not valid in Germany since with reply Cards any additional Service - such as Airmail Service had to be paid with local stamps - in your case German stamps. Very nice item.