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Thursday, December 24, 2009

A spectacular double-censored 1945 Allied Nations semi-postal cover to Sweden!

 

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The four-value semi-postal set thanking the Allied Nations for liberating the Grand Duchy appeared on March 1, 1945, and remained valid until June 1, 1946.  First day covers are plentiful, but despite the lengthy period of validity, we seldom see any other uses of these stamps.  Perhaps the 11.50 F supplement that was added to the 8.50 F face value of the set was a deterrent during the frugality that characterized post-World War II reconstruction.  But here's an exception.

On March 12, 2006, I posted another exception, an O.A.T. cover that you can see here, which was posted October 19, 1945 to New York City.

This double-censored, registered, special delivery cover was posted by the Echternach postmaster, August 10, 1945, to his counterpart in Avesta, Sweden. 

On the front, we see the red German occupation registry label still in use.  And on the back we see the pre-World War II Luxembourg-Ville bridge cancel dated August 11, 1945, and the Avesta receiver dated 43 days later, September 22, 1945.  From Avesta, the cover was forwarded to Krylbo, a nearby train station.  In both Luxembourg and Sweden, the censors opened and resealed the cover. 

Curiously, applying the pre-October 1, 1945 UPU postal rates, the 10.45 F franking (the 8.50 F set plus 1.25 F and 70c definitives)appears to leave the cover underpaid by 5c (perhaps the sender did not want to destroy the six-stamp arrangement he had created?):

  • 2.50 F   20 g UPU letter
                • 3.00 F   Registry fee
                • 5.00 F   Special delivery fee

The contents are also interesting.  They include the August 10, 1945 letter from the Echternach postmaster to his Swedish counterpart that accompanied the cover, and a Swedish registry receipt postmarked at Avesta, July 7, 1945.  Presumably the receipt was saved by the addressee for what undoubtedly was his letter to the Echternach postmaster requesting the cover. 

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