Having grown up in a small Minnesota village where Luxembourg pioneers in the 1880s dedicated the local Roman Catholic church to
St. Willibrord, I enjoy collecting covers with a ‘Willibrord’ connection. Here is my favorite:
1.75 F + 50c
1938 St. Willibrord semi-postal
Sole Luxembourg franking — two-country airmail cover
Until May 1, 1939, Luxembourg franking paid the applicable UPU or treaty rate on outgoing international airmail, with the airmail charge paid with stamps of the neighboring country from which the airmail service began — France, Germany, or Belgium.
Here the visually striking 1.75 F Luxembourg semi-postal commemorative issued for the 12th centenary of St. Willibrord’s death pays the UPU rate for a 20g letter to Italy. A 75c French definitive pays the additional charge for airmail service from Strasbourg. The foreign stamp was stocked and sold at the Luxembourg post office and applied when the letter was mailed in Luxembourg, but the regulations provided that it was to be cancelled upon arrival at the foreign (in this instance, French) airport of dispatch.
On 20 September 1938, this cover was routed to Strasbourg’s airport postal facility and then apparently flown from Strasbourg to Bâle [Basel], Switzerland. It then traveled on the Luxembourg A Bâle and Chiasso [Switzerland] to Milan [Italy] TPOs the next day, reaching its destination of Merano in the southern Tyrol region of Italy early on the morning of 22 Sep 1938.
Here is my explication of the cancels:
· Luxembourg-Ville, 20 Sep 1938 (11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon)
· Strasbourg Pl. de la Gare, 20 Sep 1938 (9:00 p.m.)
· Strasbourg Gare Avion, 20 Sep 1938 (11:00 p.m.)
· Luxembourg a Bale, 21 Sep 1938
· Amb. Chiasso Milano, 21 Sep 1938
· Merano (Balzano), Italy, 22 Sep 1938 (6 a.m.)
Semi-postals were seldom used on these airmail covers with two-country frankings. This cover is a remarkable exception.