Friday, December 31, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
April 10, 1931 -- Luxembourg's first airmail stamps used on a registered airmail letter to Liechtenstein on the first day of issue -- the beginning of two-country frankings?
Basien and Hoffkamp, however, suggest that airmail service using two-country frankings was possible as early as 1929, although I don't ever recall seeing a pre-April 10, 1931 Luxembourg airmail cover. If such covers exist, they must be exceedingly rare. Who has an example?
In their rate book, Basien and Hoffkamp quote Post-Instruktion 980/63, which in turn refers to Rundschreiben Nr. 80 dated May 7, 1929, thus:
Die luxemburgischen Postämter können einfache und eingeschriebene Sendungen der Briefpost annehmen, welche der Absender per Luftpost schickne möchte. Diese Sendungen unterliegen, außer den gewöhnlichen Gebührensätzen, einem speziellen Luftpostzuschlag, der unterschiedlich ist, je nach Fluglinie und Flugstrecke.
Provisorisch wendet die luxemburgische Post auf den Flugpostsendungen den Zuschlag an, der von dem Land festgesetzt ist, an das die Sendung vermittelt wird. Das Postamt Luxemburg-Stadt dient als Austauschbüro. Nur dort wird der Zuschlag in Briefmarken des betreffenen Landes aufgeklebt.
Für Luftpostsendungen, die in einem anderen Postamt aufgegeben werden, muss man sich an flogende Richtlinien halten: Das Ausgangsbüro frankiert die Luftpostsendung gemäß dem normalen Tarif und schickt sie, zusammen mit einem formulaire de déboursé, enthaltend den Namen des Postamtes und der Aufschrift Avion an das Postamt Luxemburg-Stadt. Dieses Amt klebt den Aufkleber Avion und die entsprechenden ausländischen Briefmarken als Zuschlag auf die Sendung, für den Leitweg, den der Absender angegeben hat. Das Austauschbüro vermerkt den Zuschlagsbetrag in Luxemburger Franken auf dem formulaire de déboursé und schickt dieses dann zurück an das Ausgangspostamt. Dieses Büro erhebt den entsprechenden Betrag beim Absender der Sendung, verrechnet die Summe in Portomarken auf dem formulaire de déboursé und sendet dieses zurück an die Postdirektion. Folgende Angaben gelten als Richtinie für die Berechnung der Flugpostzuschläge:
Für die Lander Europas und Nordafrikas übersteigt der Zuschlag kaum 2.00 Fr.-Lux je 20 g.
Für die Flüge über Kairo nach Basra sind es etwa 3.00 Fr. je 20 g.
Für Nordamerika und Dakar etwa 4.50 Fr. je 20 g.
Für Südamerika (über Dakar) etwa 15.00 Fr. je 5 g.
Genauere Angaben können telephonisch beim Postamt Luxemburg-Stadt angefragt werden.
the first airmail stamps
- Luxembourg-Ville, 2:00-3:00 p.m., 10 Apr 1931
- Trier, Germany [b/s], 10:00-11:00 p.m., 10 Apr 1931
- Köln, Germany Luftpostamt, 11 Apr 1931
- Zürich, Switzerland Flugplatz Luftpost, 11 Apr 1931
- Vaduz, Liechtenstein [b/s], 13 Apr 1931
The cover is unusual for two reasons. It does not bear the circular green cachet that was applied to the "official" first day covers for this issue. All of these show the Luxembourg-Ville cds with the time indicated as 8:00-9:00 a.m. This cover was posted later on the first day of issue. The Luxembourg-Ville cds shows the time as 2:00-3:00 p.m. The cover did not reach Trier, Germany until 10:00-11:00 p.m on April 10th.
"Poste Aerienne/ Luxembourg/10 Avril 1931"Posted by Maury Swartz, the Luxembourg-Ville cds for April 10th shows the time as '8-9 M'. The Brussels oval cds indicates that the cover was received in Brussels at 3:00-4:00 [a.m.?], April 11, 1931. A Belgian 60c adhesive pays the airmail supplement for airmail service from Brussels to England. The PAR AVION etiquette differs from that seen on the first day cover to Liechtenstein.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Why do we see so many covers—all philatelic creations—franked with the 30c Marie Adélaïde definitive surcharged to 17½c in combination with the one-franc surcharged to 87½c? There was no one-franc-five-centime rate, yet dealers often put optimistically high prices on these plentiful philatelic souvenirs.
The explanation is straight forward, and nicely explained in Hans von Rudolphi’s scholarly tome — Handbuch der Briefmarken-kunde: Lieferung 16/17 - Luxemburg, published in 1944. Here is a summary.
In July 1916, two new rates to Germany took effect: a 17½c letter rate and an 87½c rate for parcels weighing up to 5 kg. But to pay the latter rate, the 87½c William IV definitive (issued 6 Jun 1908) was no longer available. This stamp had been surcharged to 62½c on 29 Feb 1912. So to meet the immediate need for an 87½c stamp, Luxembourg on 14 Aug 1916 released the one-franc Marie Adélaïde definitive surcharged to 87½c (the 30c stamp was surcharged to 17½c to pay the new letter rate).
The 17½c and 87½c Marie Adélaïde definitives did not appear until 1 Mar 1917. Thus, the most interesting sole uses of the 17½c and 87½c surcharges are on letters and parcels sent to Germany between 14 Aug 1916 and 1 Mar 1917. And the most challenging use of the two by far is a proper sole use of the 87½c surcharge since very few parcel cards were saved.
The parcel card seen here is illustrative. It’s a proper sole use of the 87½c surcharge with the stamp paying the postage from Luxembourg-Limpertsberg, 2 Nov 1916, for a 950 gram parcel sent to Herne in Westfalia, Germany. The back shows the Luxembourg-Gare 3 Nov 1916 transit, the Trier, Germany, transit of the same date, and the Herne cds of 6 Nov 1916 documenting the arrival of the parcel.
17½c and 87½c Surcharges in Combination
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Louis Aston Knight (1873–1948) was a French-born American artist noted for his landscape paintings. One of his paintings, The Afterglow, was purchased by U.S. President Warren G. Harding in 1922 to hang in the White House.
In early 1907, Knight met Caroline Ridgeway Brewster (1882-1959), a distant cousin from Rochester, New York, while she was traveling through Europe with her mother. Knight returned to America with Caroline in October; they married in Raritan, New Jersey. The couple settled in Paris, but lived in New York during WWI, moving back again to the United States in 1940 after the occupation of France, where they remained until their deaths.
This letter from the United States Foreign Service in Luxembourg-Ville postmarked November 30, 1949, was sent to Louis Aston Knight's widow in New York City the year after his death. The address -- 114 East 84th Street -- is an eight-floor apartment building built in 1915.
The 4F, 20-gram letter rate and 3F airmail supplement are nicely paid by the 7F 1948 Tourist View sole franking.
A thousand years from now, covers like this will be remembered as relics of the pre-electronic mail era. So you'd better save 'em now!
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Bridge & Bar cds
Censored in Trier
Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
1. The Service Public label
A postal historian can never be too curious. Thanks to Google and Bing, I now know that classic typewriters are just as collectable as classic stamps.
The Postal was an appealing portable typewriter that used an interchangeable hard-rubber typewheel and a three-bank keyboard with double shift. The Postal was invented by William P. Quentell and Franklin Judge. It was introduced in 1902 by the Postal Typewriter Company, based first in New York and then (1904) in Norwalk, Connecticut. It was made until 1908 or shortly thereafter.
The Postal originally sold for $25 ($27.50 with a veneered oak case) -- a nice price compared to the "standard" machines, which cost $100. The company boasted that theirs was "the only low-priced Typewriter combining Universal Keyboard, Powerful Manifolding and Mimeograph Stencil Cutting." With features such as these, the Postal enjoyed some popularity; the company employed 2,000 salesmen in the U.S., and the typewriter was exported to Great Britain, Germany, Austria, France, and even Russia.
In the early 1900s, when the phone was not ubiquitous and telegraphs were inconveniently located outside the home, the mail, or the post, was convenient because messages were delivered three times a day. . . . With a Postal Typewriter, people could write a quick letter -- a post card -- and have it delivered by the day's end. . . .
Monday, September 20, 2010
Here is the lovely embossed slate blue seal of C. Pasquali, Luxembourg, personalizing an unusual herring-bone-design envelope.
Elegant ephemera such as this is scarce but often little appreciated and seldom collected. Yet the unmistakable beauty of this eminently collectible seal deserves to be preserved in a postal history collection for others to enjoy. Imagine the thoughtfulness that went into its design.
C. Pasquali's envelope exudes its own grace, nicely postmarked Luxembourg-Gare, 4 Jan 1923, with 20c and 30c G.D. Charlotte I definitives paying the 50-centime 20g UPU letter rate to Firenze, Italy. It's definitely a keeper!
Thursday, September 09, 2010
First Day of Issue!
- 24 Oct 1947 - General Patton set (4)
- 5 Aug 1948 - Tourist views (4)
- 6 Oct 1949 - UPU 75th Anniversary (4)
- 25 Oct 1951 - Europa precursors (6)
- 20 Aug 1952 - Olympic sports (6)
- 1 Apr 1953 - Royal Marriage (6)
4 F - UPU 20 g letter
4 F - UPU registry fee
24F - Airmail supplement (8 F/5 g = 24 F)
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Grenville Clark (1882-1967) was a distinguished American corporate lawyer remembered for his efforts to promote world peace through world law. In 1985, the 39c denomination of the Great American series was issued in his honor [Scott #1867 seen above].
The interesting cover below was sent to Clark in Dublin, New Hampshire, where he resided, by Grand Duchess Charlotte's staff, but was initially directed to Dublin, Ireland, as no destination country was indicated in the typed address. Dublin, Ireland is much better known than its namesake in the United States state of New Hampshire.
The postal clerk's pencil notation reads:
Insufficient address - not known Dublin Eire /s/
And the clerk added "USA" to the address, along with blue crayon X's, redirecting the cover to Dublin, New Hampshire, USA.
This cover initially appealed to me as an unusual example of redirected official mail, having been missent to Ireland. But it is interesting from several additional perspectives as well. Apart from having been sent to a famous person, it's a nice sole use of the 4 F Royal Marriage issue, with the attractive blue commemorative paying the 20 g UPU surface letter rate that was in effect from 1 Jan 1949 to 15 Jul 1958. Likewise, the machine slogan cancel dated 9 Jan 1954, urging use of the annual charities semipostals, is certainly collectible. More significantly however, this is mail from the Royal household, as shown by the corner card reading Département du Grand Maréchal de la Cour and the purple straight-line auxiliary mark indicating SERVICE DE LA GRANDE-DUCHESSE.
Yes, this engaging postal history cover shows minor damage, but the sale price on eBay was only $2.58. Y0u never know when another bargain like this might up on the world's biggest flea market!
We could use a few more Grenville Clarks these days, as philately ebbs and the world becomes increasingly chaotic. I could say more, but this is a philatelic blog.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Here are two lovely William IV stamps: the 2½ F with the cds of Colmar-Berg, 6 May 1913, and the 5 F official, with the cds of Luxembourg-Gare. Both carry hefty catalog values in Scott and Prifix:
|Scott 2009 Classic||Prifix 1997|
|2½ F Wm IV||$ 91.50||€ 100|
|5 F Wm IV official||$ 47.50||€ 60|
As a juvenile collector in the 1950s, I built a worldwide collection with penny approvals. It was many years later before I could acquire gems like these. And then, they were not acquired for pennies!
But today you can buy stamps like this for little more than I paid for penny approvals in 1955. These two stamps — offered as "Luxembourg Mi 82-3 used stamps CDS cat 165 euro" — sold for $20.50 (plus $1.28 shipping) after drawing two bids on eBay on August 1, 2010. In 1955 dollars, that would have been $2.56 (plus 16c postage). And whether in 1955 or 2010 dollars, that is little more than chump change for these two scarce stamps.
Granted, the 2½ F might not be as scarce as its catalog value suggests, but with the Colmar-Berg cancel it holds its own in my collection of bridge & bar cancels, some of which are shown below. And my experience has been that the used 5 F official is considerably scarcer than the used 2½ F definitive, catalog values to the contrary notwithstanding.
Results such as this are commonplace on eBay. So when reading catalog values for most 20th century Luxembourg stamps, just move the decimal point one place to the left. The prices will then be a lot closer to actual market value, given the increasing amount of material entering the market and the paucity of collectors who still collect 20th century stamps.
FSPL Type 33
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Incoming international mail to Luxembourg almost always transited Luxembourg-Gare or Luxembourg-Ville for delivery to outlying towns. But here is an exception.
This well-preserved UPU postal card emanated from Weltevreden in the then-Netherlands East Indies, January 18, 1888, addressed to Diekirch. The Dutch rectangular auxiliary marking reads 'NED: INDI/VIA MARSEILLE,' so we know that the European port of entry was Marseille. But the incoming postmark on the morning [10:00 to 11:00 a.m.] of February 22, 1888, is that of Troisvierges! The postmark of Diekirch [7:00-8:00 p.m.] shows that the card arrived later the same day.
We will never know why this card managed to travel from the south of France by rail through Luxembourg-Ville (and presumably past Diekirch) to Troisvierges in the far north, only to be routed back to Diekirch in central Luxembourg for delivery.
Ah ... if postal cards could talk, what a delightful story many of them could tell!
Well, they can sort of "talk." Take a look at the cross-writing on the back of this card.
See also: Outbound mail to Sumatra (1901) & Java (1924) (posted July 5, 2009).
Sunday, April 25, 2010
To my knowledge, almost nothing has been written about the official seals used by the Luxembourg postal service to officially seal or reseal damaged incoming or outgoing mail. This is surprising as postal historians have recently shown a keen interest in this aspect of postal history.
The fine website Officially Sealed Mails of the World at www.poseal.com is devoted to documenting and displaying worldwide official postal seals. According to the website author, Todd A. Hirn, "The earliest recorded on-cover use of an official seal was in Italy in 1864." He says that official seals have been recorded from some 185 countries. However, he notes that few countries continue to use post office seals today. Most postal authorities now use special tape to repair damaged mail, or they enclose badly damaged items in plastic 'body' bags.
Surely the readers of this blog can help me document the official seals that the Luxembourg post has used.
Here are three examples of such mail. These imperforate translucent glassine seals were used to repair damaged mail. They are easily differentiated by their fancy corner ornaments, the text and text font. (I classify them separately from the attractive small embossed seals that the Luxembourg post and many other government agencies once used to "seal" their outgoing mail.)
1921 twice resealed registered letter
Brod, Yugoslavia to Berbourg, Luxembourg
Registered letter from Brod, Yugoslavia [today: Croatia] posted October 18, 1921, to Berbourg, Luxembourg [misspelled: 'Bernburg Luxenburg'], franked with six 25-para King Alexander definitives and a 1-dinar King Peter definitive (Scott No. 6 and 10, respectively).
The letter was initially routed to Dresden, Germany [cds 21 Oct 1921], where it was opened for inspection under the German currency control laws and officially resealed.
Due to the misspelling of Berbourg, the letter was missent from Dresden to Bernburg, Germany [on the back: Bernburg cds 14 Nov and 15 Nov 1921].
The letter was then redirected to Luxembourg-Ville [cds illegible]. As it was extensively damaged, it was officially resealed before being sent on to its destination in Berbourg [post: Wecker cds, 17 Nov 1921].
The official seals read:
ADMINISTRATION /DES POSTES ET DES/TELEGRAPHES/LUXEMBOURG
1933 underpaid letter from
Lisbenge, Belgian Congo
Letter from Libenge, Belgian Congo [today: Democratic Republic of the Congo] posted 29 Sep 1933 to Luxembourg-Ville. The 1.25 F Belgian Congo pictorial only paid the treaty rate to Luxembourg for a 20-gram surface letter. An additional 75c postage was required for second-step (20-40 gram) letters, as apparently was the case here. The 75c deficiency was doubled upon receipt in Luxembourg-Ville, 8 Nov 1933.
Arriving badly damaged, the letter was resealed with two official postal seals. They read:
ADMINISTRATION/ des POSTES et des/TELEGRAPHES/LUXEMBOURG
1936 letter from
Luxembourg-Ville to Berlin, Germany
damaged by the machine canceller
Meter mail machine cancelled at Luxembourg-Ville, 2 Apr 1936, posted to Berlin, Germany. The postal clerk's pencil notation in French on the back reads "damaged by the machine canceller."
The meter franking of 2.75 F pays the treaty rate to Germany for a third-step, 40-60 gram letter. The thickness of this heavy letter probably was the cause of the damage from the machine canceller.
The letter has been repaired with an official seal that reads:
POSTES,/ TELEGRAPHES/ et TELEPHONES/ LUXEMBOURG