Sunday, April 25, 2010

Luxembourg's use of official seals to repair damaged incoming and outgoing mail


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 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





Corner ornament

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:



1933 underpaid letter from
Lisbenge, Belgian Congo
to Luxembourg-Ville




Corner ornament

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:





1936 letter from
Luxembourg-Ville to Berlin, Germany
damaged by the machine canceller

Officail postal seal cover

Official postal seal cover bk 

Official postal seal coveraaa

Corner ornament

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:


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