Sunday, July 19, 2009

St. Helena ... where?




Raymond Thill of Rumelange, who we remember as the maker of many attractive first day and first flight covers, addressed this 13-franc cover posted February 19, 1951, to "Stamp Brokerage Co.,
St. Helena."  Initially, I thought: "Wow!  What a spectacular South Atlantic ocean destination.


St. Helena Island

Upon closer inspection, I noticed "U.S.A." typed at the lower left corner of the cover.  Next to it was an Omaha, Nebraska receiving cancel dated March 8, 1951.  And above it was the manuscript notation: "No such company at St. Helena, Nebr." plus "Try California."


Saint Helena, Nebraska
Cedar County
Population 86


After having cleared customs at New York City and transited through Omaha on its journey to "St. Helena," the cover stopped at Saint Helena, Nebraska, in the United States heartland on March 12, 1951.


Saint Helena, California
Napa County
Population 5,950


Five days later, on March 17, 1951, the cover reached its final destination -- Saint Helena [pronounced "Saint he-LEE-na"], California, amidst the beautiful March greenery of the Napa Valley wine country, undoubtedly a refreshing change from the late winter bleakness of Saint Helena, Nebraska.

The cover is also remarkable for its franking.  The 10-franc General Patton commemorative is seldom seen on commercial mail.  Here it pays part of the 13-franc rate for a 40-60 g UPU surface letter (9 F) plus the 4-F UPU registry fee. 


As a used single, off cover, Prifix currently prices the stamp at 55 euros; Scott 2008 is more conservative at $37.50.   Issued on October 24, 1947, the stamp was valid until December 31, 1951. 

I'm pleased to have it on a commercial cover, even if that cover didn't go to St. Helena Island!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Incoming mail from British India 1898-1911

 British India


Formally the British Indian empire existed for ninety years -- from 1858–1947.  It consisted of large parts of most of the countries in South Asia.

British India was established in 1858 out of the East India Company lands as a colonial possession of the United Kingdom directly ruled by the British Crown. Indirect control was exercised over of the remaining princely states of Baluchistan, Hyderabad, Kashmir, Mysore, Rajputana, and Travancore.  The term British India also applied to parts of  Burma.

The earliest card seen here was sent to the 1890s Luxembourg stamp dealer J-G. Paquelet.  Two others are from the correspondence of Diekirch's Charles Schaack; the fourth is from present day Bangladesh, and the fifth from  correspondence of the Carmelite cloister in Luxembourg-Ville.

1-anna Queen Victoria postal card

Bombay, July 1898, to Luneville, France,
forwarded to Luxembourg-Ville,
received August 9, 1898.




1-anna Queen Victoria reply postal card

Shembaganur Madura, July 26, 1905

Transit:  Sea Post Office, July 29th

Arrival: Diekirch, August 14th





1/4-anna King Edward VII Postal card

(uprated with a 1/2-anna definitive)

Bandura, Hashnabad, Dacca [today: Dhaka, Bangladesh]

January 14, 1905

Transit:  Sea Post Office, January 20th

Arrival: Luxembourg-Ville, February 4th




1-anna King Edward VII postal card

Darjeeling, July 21, 1909

Transit:  Sea Post Office Bombay-Aden A, July 24th




1-anna King Edward VII postal card

Tangasseri Travancore, July 25, 1911

Arrival:  Luxembourg-Ville, August 12th



Sunday, July 05, 2009

Outbound mail to Sumatra (1901) & Java (1924)





Luxembourg-Gare [B], March 10, 1901, Singapore, April 7, 1901,
to Palembang, Sumatra, April 11, 1901

Palembang, a scarce destination in the then-Netherlands East Indies, is the capital city of South Sumatra Province of today's Indonesia.  It's the second largest city in Sumatra after Medan and the seventh largest city in Indonesia.





Rodange, June 28, 1924, to Bandoeng, Java, July 23, 1924

Bandung [Bandoeng], another scarce destination in the then-Netherlands Indies,  is the capital of today's West Java province of Indonesia.  Although badly foxed, this card from the philatelic correspondence of Rodange's Adolphe Fischer is nonetheless precious for those of us who appreciate the scarcity of
pre-World War II mail from Luxembourg to any Asian destination.