Monday, October 19, 2009

Redirected Cross-border Mail Incoming to the American Embassy in Luxembourg in 1958


Seemingly ugly covers sometimes sit around for years waiting for attention. This legal size commercial cover with its vertical creases and staple holes is a good example.  It had spent 15 or 20 years in a box of covers that I've never really liked, well ... it had been a cover I never really liked until I took a closer look at it tonight.  You'll see that this cover actually is a fine example of redirected cross-border mail incoming to Luxembourg.


It was originally posted on March 5, 1958, within Washington, D.C., at the 3c United States domestic letter rate as shown by the red Pitney Bowes meter mark.  Then it was redirected the next day to the "Amer[ican] Embassy / Luxembourg, G.D." as seen by the pencil notation on the front and the March 6th  Washington, D.C. machine cancel on the back.  

The New York Exchange Office taxed the letter 15 gold centimes (equal to US 5c).  Why?  Because the surface rate to Europe at the time was 8c per oz.  Only the 5c difference between the foreign surface rate and domestic letter rate was charged in accordance with the UPU rule for redirected mail at the time, which I explained in my December 13, 2008 blog entry:

 If the first dispatch had been fully prepaid and the charge for the further dispatch had not been paid prior to the redirecting, then the difference between the amount of postage already paid and that which would have been required if the article had been originally dispatched to the new destination was charged to the addressee.

There was no penalty for cross-border forwarding.  Thus, the 15 gold centimes tax was converted to 2.50 F in Luxembourg, with the postage due paid with 2.50 F of Luxembourg postage due stamps cancelled Luxembourg-Ville, March 18, 1958.

The addresse, William Harold Christensen (1909-2000), was the American chargé d’affaires ad interim in Luxembourg at the time.  A career diplomat, he had served as vice consul in Barbados and consul in Martinque and later served as the chargé d’affaires ad interim in Trinidad and Tobago.

It's time to relocate this cover to my redirected mail album.  It's not that ugly after all!

Another recent example - Domestic Postal Card
Redirected to Belgium



Fifteen-centime postal card paying the 15c domestic postal card rate from Pétange to Luxembourg-Gare, March 17, 1925, addressed to a guest at the Hotel Clesse near the railway station.  Forwarded to Bruxelles, Belgium, with 5c postage due charged the next day in Bruxelles for the difference between Luxembourg's 15c domestic postal card rate and its 20c rate for postal cards to Belgium.

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