20g letter to the Reich = 12 Rpf.
Registry fee = 30 Rpf.
Special delivery fee = 40 Rpf.
Luxemburg, 5 March, 1941,
to Munich, 6 March 1941
Here two 3 Rpf. Hindenburgs and a 10 Rpf. Hindenburg are used with eleven (count ‘em!) 6 Rpf./10c Charlotte surcharges. Who has a commercially used European-size cover correctly franked with more than 14 stamps?
Earlier this year in a post entitled “Lilliputian Postal History,” I wrote about my fascination with visiting cards (the article is here). Now, thanks to a collector in Luxembourg, I’ve been fortunate to add a visiting card and cover from Arsdorf to my collection. Here it is:
M. & Mme. Jos. Jaaques,
Parole der Woche Nr. 6/Zentralverlag der NSDAP., München
Luxemburg 1, 26 Mar 1941,
NSDAP was the acronym for the Nationalsozialislistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei [National Socialist German Workers’ Party], commonly known in English as the Nazi Party. Parole der Woche translates as “Slogan of the Week.”
According to the rate books, the 5-centime concession postal card rate to Belgium took effect on 1 July 1909 and ended on
1 February 1919. The postal card rate to other countries, including Germany, during this period was 10 centimes.
But from August 1914 until the Armistice in November 1918, Luxembourg and most of Belgium were German-occupied and German-controlled, even though the lower-echelon civil servants remained in place. Mail from Luxembourg to Belgium was routinely censored in Trier, Germany. German stamps overprinted ‘Belgien’ were introduced in Belgium on 1 October 1914 and remained in use until the occupation ended.
Did the German occupiers in Luxembourg suspend (or simply ignore) the 5-centime concession rate on Luxembourg to Belgium mail? To my knowledge, postal historians have not addressed this question.
Consider the 5-centime postal card below, which was posted on
7 December 1917 from Luxembourg-Ville to Liège, Belgium, marked ‘T’ along with a German boxed ‘Porto’ and blue crayon manuscript ‘10’ and the Trier censor mark:
Then, consider the two 10-centime postal cards below. The first was posted from Dommeldange to Antwerp on 6 June 1917; the second, from Luxembourg-Gare to Brussels on 26 June 1917. Both were censored in Trier and paid a ten-centime rate. Why were 10-centime postal cards used for commercial correspondence when the rate to Belgium was 5-centimes?
Check your postal cards and postcards. Do they support my belief that the 5-centime concession postal card rate to Belgium was not honored during the World War One occupation? Was the concession rate reinstated after the war ended?
Dieter Basien kindly advises that during the World War I German Occupation, UPU rates were in effect from Luxembourg to Belgium from 1 January 1915 onward.
Here is the revised rate chart for page 76 of Basien & Hoffkamp ratebook, Tarife der Briefpost in Luxemburg 1852-2002, with additions shown in red:
Pictured above is the Graf Zeppelin being moored at Hanworth Air Park outside London upon arriving from Friedrichshafen at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 2, 1932. You can watch British Pathé’s film clip of the mooring here:
The inimitable Maury Swartz, then living in Kayl, prepared colorful postal stationery cards that were carried on the flight. Here are two from my collection (judging by the registry numbers, there must be others):
75c/90c Second Écusson
40c Charlotte Side Profile
Luxembourg-Ville, 29 June 1932,
UPU postal card = 1.00 F
Cachet seen on the back of each card.
1 June 1932
2 June 1932
Sometimes a card or cover refuses to give up its postal history secrets. That seems to be the case here!
The postal card rate to Belgium was 40 centimes, beginning December 1, 1929, and continuing until February 1, 1935. And this Echternach view card—posted on June 1, 1932—pays the
40-centime rate. The card was not tax-marked as insufficiently paid, but two Belgian 10-centime postage due stamps were applied upon its arrival on June 2, 1932 in Lichtervelde, a small town in the Belgian province of West Flanders. Why? Pourquoi? Warum?
Was the addressee a collector who liked to add postage due stamps to his incoming mail? Well, there certainly is no suggestion in the message that the card is a philatelic creation of the Flemish recipient “M. Demunster, fabricant.” It just seems to be typical commercial correspondence.
Similarly, the amount of postage due charged (20 centimes) does not suggest confusion by the Lichtervelde postal clerk with any particular rate then in effect. Nor was any special service provided that would justify a 20-centime fee.
Can you solve this mystery? I’d welcome your thoughts!
Philatelic covers—those created by collectors to obtain a marking or particular usage—are nothing new. Long before the era of wallpaper commemoratives, collectors designed covers that suited their fancy for the unusual.
The example shown here, addressed to a stamp dealer, features the 1c, 2c and 10c Haarlem Coat of Arms definitives mixed with the 2c and 10c Allegories to correctly pay the 15-gram,
25-centime letter rate on January 20, 1884, to Hanover, Germany, from Relais Postes No. 7 [Kleinbettingen]. There is a faint Luxembourg transit on the front and a Hannover receiver dated January 21st on the back.
But for the poor preservation, I’d put this cover on the philatelic catwalk during Bangkok fashion week! It has been in my collection of relay cancels for over fifty years.
Luxembourg-Ville VI, 3 May 1915 [6:00-7:00 p.m.]
Transit Luxembourg-Gare, 3 May 1915 [10:00-11:00 p.m.]
Transit Strassburg (Elsass), 4 May 1915
Transit Kais. Deutsch B.P.A. 19, Basel, Switzerland, 5 May 1915
Geneva, Switzerland [green customs cachet], 5 May 1915
Luxembourg’s UPU parcel post rates were set at the 1906 Rome UPU Convention. The rate for a 5-10 kg parcel to Switzerland was set at 1.90 Fr. So why was this 8.4 Kg parcel to Geneva, Switzerland, franked at a 3.07½-franc rate?
The answer to this conundrum is surprisingly simply. The parcel was surcharged 50% for being bulky or otherwise cumbersome (in French: “encombrant”), and therefore required special handling.
Article 13.2 of the Rome Postal Convention provides:
2. — Les colis encombrants sont soumis à une taxe additionnelle de 50 pCt qui est arrondie, s'il y a lieu, par 5 centimes.
And this shipment also incurred a 15c charge for 250 francs of insurance (the parcel post insurance rate was 15c per 300 francs of value). Thus:
Basic postage for parcels of 5 kg – 10 kg to Switzerland = 1.90 Fr
Parcel post insurance fee for 250 francs of insured value = 15c
Bulkiness surcharge: 50% of 2.05 Fr = 1.02½ Fr
Total postage and fees = 3.07½ Francs
That’s unabashed philatelic pulchritude! How many commercial uses of the 2.50 Fr William IV definitive do you have in your collection?
You can find the 1906 Rome Convention parcel post rates here:
The parcel post tables begin on page 828. I don’t think you’ll find them anywhere else.
The takeaway from this post is that you will surely enjoy your postal history material a lot more if you master the pertinent rates. Do it!
Bad Mondorf – 04.2.41 – T-41 cds
Used examples of the 3-franc postage due—the high value of the set—with town cancels aren’t seen very often. And this example, postmarked Bad Mondorf, February 4, 1941, might be unique.
As we know, Luxembourg’s pre-occupation stamps were invalidated on October 1, 1940, when the Reich rates (in Reich pfennigs and marks) came into effect. So what fee could this postage due stamp have paid?
November 15, 1940, was the last day to exchange Luxembourg stamps for the Hindenburg overprints. The exchange rate was one Luxembourg franc to 10 Rpf. So maybe the 3-franc due was accepted to pay 30 Rpf. due?
Koetz T. 193 – machine slogan cancel used in 1931
The slogan reads (in French): “Buy the Michel Rodange stamps.” But in 1931 there weren’t any postage stamps to buy that commemorated the Luxembourg poet Michel Rodange (1827-1876)!
Could the “stamps” be the Michel Rodange poster stamps like the example below?
If so, were they sold at the post offices? And for how much? I’m clueless. Why in 1931 would Michel Rodange poster stamps justify a slogan cancel? Surely collectors in the Grand Duchy must know the answer!
Luxembourg-Ville, 17 April 1931.
The 1.25F sole franking would have paid the 20g letter rate to Germany or France. Incidentally, the 1.25F yellow (Prifix 223) is scarce on cover.
The eminent Luxembourg philatelist Dieter Basien provides the answer, which is contained in section 12.4 [“Werbeheftchen” (or advertising booklets)] of the Handbuch zur Philatelie in Luxemburg/Manuel de la philatélie luxembourgeoise:
You’ll find the handbook here:
Common Luxembourg domestic postal stationery can be a fertile source not only of cancels but also of routes.
Mostly we find:
Luxembourg-Gare to Luxembourg-Ville
Luxembourg-Ville or Gare → Village
Village → Luxembourg-Ville or Gare
Village → Luxembourg-Ville or Gare → Village
Village → Village
But here is something different—three-village routings without a Luxembourg-Ville or Luxembourg-Gare transit mark:
Village → Village → Village
Vianden → Rumelange → Pétange
28 October 1897
Village → Village → Village
Redange-sur-Attert → Ettelbrück → Dommeldange
30 December 1898
Village → Village → Village
Hosingen → Redange-sur-Attert → Bettborn
14 September 1896
Village → Village → Village
Hosingen → Echternach → Junglinster
16 October 1893
How many three-village routings do you have in your collection that do not include a Luxembourg-Ville or Luxembourg-Gare cancel?