Saturday, January 05, 2013

An oxymoronic postal stationery card – the scarce “common” 20c large Arms card (Prifix No. 80)


Sometimes writers speak of a deafening silence or a mournful optimist.  As a postal historian, I consider non-uprated uses of the (otherwise common) 20c large-size (148 x 104 mm) Arms postal stationery card to be scarce.

This card appeared in January 1926 to pay the 20c domestic postal card rate and the 20c rate to Belgium.  However, that rate, which began January 1, 1926, ended shortly thereafter on July 31, 1926, just 212 days later.  Apparently very few of the cards used during that 212-day period were saved because I’ve only found two in over 50 years of searching.  Yet the card per se is not scarce.  You’ll find many uprated uses—at the 30c and 40c rates to France, Germany, and the Saar, and at the 90c UPU rate.  You’ll also find the card surcharged to 25c (Prifix No. 82).

Even searching through a stock of 3,500 cards from this period, I could not find a single use that was not uprated to pay a higher rate.  So I thought I would share with you my two uses of this card used at the 20c postal card rate: one to Belgium, and the other a domestic use, uprated but only to pay the registry and COD charges.  (The 70c registry fee is documented on the rate schedule shown on the 1926 facteurs’ official calender.)

If you have five or ten non-uprated uses of this card in your collection, let me know; then, I’ll modify this post!


21 June 1926,
to Hasselt, Belgium




22 February 1926,
to Steinfort to collect 16.80 F
(returned to sender uncollected)
Postal card rate = 20c
Domestic Registry fee = 70c
Domestic COD fee = 40c



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