Monday, February 15, 2016

5c Adolphe (3rd issue) Domestic Reply Card–Used from Arsdorf to Diekirch During the 1918 Paper Shortage

Arsdorf Adolphe 5c Reply card 1916 use

Emergency Use of Obsolete Luxembourg Postal Stationery
During the World War 1 Paper Shortage

In early 1918, World War 1 was winding down. Due to wartime demands, paper shortages were widespread. Here’s how the government responded when Enschedé in Holland temporarily lacked the paper needed to print government orders for the then-current Coat of Arms postal cards.

The Allegory postal stationery had been demonetized as of January 1, 1906, and the Adolphe stationery as of January 1, 1909, but approximately 5,000 to 7,000 unused Allegory and Grand Duke Adolphe postal cards remained in government storage. By directives dated April 18 and April 23, 1918, the government ordered that these obsolete postal cards be distributed to post offices whose supplies of postal cards had been depleted.

Before distributing the obsolete cards, the government invalidated the stamp imprint with a three-concentric-ring obliterator and instructed postal clerks to add adhesive stamps.


5c Adolphe
(3rd issue)
Reply Card

15 June 1918,


This emergency use of the 5c Adolphe Reply card (3rd issue) is notable for three reasons:

First, the third issue of Grand Duke Adolphe postal stationery appeared during the latter half of 1906 (August 1906 is the frühdatum listed in the FSPL handbook), well after Adolphe’s death in November 1905.  It was superseded about a year later, in July 1907, by the Coat of Arms postal stationery.  As a consequence, even the 5c and 10c third issue cards are uncommon, and commercial uses of the third issue 5c+5c domestic and 10c+10c UPU cards are seldom seen.  Here the 5c reply card has been recalled from storage and invalidated with the three-concentric-ring obliterator, with a 5c Coat of Arms stamp added to pay the domestic-rate postage.

Second, unlike many emergency uses of the obsolete stationery, the 5c stamp was applied next to rather than over the invalid 5c stamp imprint.  And just to be safe, the Arsdorf postal clerk canceled both the stamp and the stamp imprint!

And third, obsolete cards were only distributed to post offices whose supply of postal cards had been depleted. This is the first example recorded as written and postmarked at Arsdorf.

A remarkable postal history and postal stationery card, indeed!

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