Thursday, December 24, 2009

A spectacular double-censored 1945 Allied Nations semi-postal cover to Sweden!




The four-value semi-postal set thanking the Allied Nations for liberating the Grand Duchy appeared on March 1, 1945, and remained valid until June 1, 1946.  First day covers are plentiful, but despite the lengthy period of validity, we seldom see any other uses of these stamps.  Perhaps the 11.50 F supplement that was added to the 8.50 F face value of the set was a deterrent during the frugality that characterized post-World War II reconstruction.  But here's an exception.

On March 12, 2006, I posted another exception, an O.A.T. cover that you can see here, which was posted October 19, 1945 to New York City.

This double-censored, registered, special delivery cover was posted by the Echternach postmaster, August 10, 1945, to his counterpart in Avesta, Sweden. 

On the front, we see the red German occupation registry label still in use.  And on the back we see the pre-World War II Luxembourg-Ville bridge cancel dated August 11, 1945, and the Avesta receiver dated 43 days later, September 22, 1945.  From Avesta, the cover was forwarded to Krylbo, a nearby train station.  In both Luxembourg and Sweden, the censors opened and resealed the cover. 

Curiously, applying the pre-October 1, 1945 UPU postal rates, the 10.45 F franking (the 8.50 F set plus 1.25 F and 70c definitives)appears to leave the cover underpaid by 5c (perhaps the sender did not want to destroy the six-stamp arrangement he had created?):

  • 2.50 F   20 g UPU letter
                • 3.00 F   Registry fee
                • 5.00 F   Special delivery fee

The contents are also interesting.  They include the August 10, 1945 letter from the Echternach postmaster to his Swedish counterpart that accompanied the cover, and a Swedish registry receipt postmarked at Avesta, July 7, 1945.  Presumably the receipt was saved by the addressee for what undoubtedly was his letter to the Echternach postmaster requesting the cover. 




Monday, December 21, 2009

Luxembourg stamp dealer J-G. Paquelet writes to a Canadian counterpart in 1898


Stamp dealers used to exchange stamps by the hundreds and thousands.  Here's a letter written in English by J. G. Paquelet at the turn of the century to a dealer in Canada:

                   Luxemburg              June 6th '98

Dear Sir

Your price list July in hand.  Please send me 1000 or 2000 Canadian stamps, 10 to 20 varieties equally mixed and you will receive 1000 or 2000 Luxemburg stamps in same mixture.  All stamps in good condition.

I should be glad to have 500 to 1000 South and Central America and Newfoundland in exchange for better values of Luxemburg.

Yours very truly

J. G. Paquelet

Comptoir de Timbres to Luxembourg

P54-Paquelet Canada 1898 back

P54-Paquelet Canada 1898

Luxembourg-Ville, June 6, 1898 to London, Ontario, Canada,
received June 18, 1898.

And here's his 1898 buying list, which he sent worldwide (and in this instance, 10 days after sending a card to A. F. Wicks, Esq. in Canada).

You'll notice he was offering 1000 "Cartes postales usées, 5 valeurs, le 100, 1 fr. 75; le 1000, 12 fr."  I'll take 10,000!


P53-Paquelet pricelist to England 1898


P53-Paquelet pricelist to England 1898 front

Luxembourg-Ville, June 16, 1898 to Colchester, England,
sent at the five-centime UPU printed matter rate

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The five Grand Duke Adolphe Reply Cards



For postal stationery enthusiasts, properly returned reply cards present significant challenges.  There just aren't many available.  So over the past 50 or so years, I've diligently pursued acquiring them whenever they've come on the market.

At an FIAP show in Seoul, Korea earlier this year, I noticed a Nicaraguan postal stationery exhibit in the court of honor.  Guess what -- none of the double cards was shown returned from abroad.  This has motivated me to share some of the scarce Luxembourg reply cards in my collection, hoping philatelic jurists will recognize the challenge acquiring these cards presents.  Many of the great Luxembourg stationery collections (including that of Costerus) have lacked uses of the reply cards.

Let's start with the Grand Duke Adolphe postal stationery that appeared between 1895 and 1906.  You'd think reply cards from this era would be plentiful.  Yet they're not, and those that appeared in 1906 as part of the third G.D. Adolphe stationery issue are among the scarcest in my collection.

The Three G. D. Adolphe Postal Stationery Issues

The first G.D. Adolphe stationery issue appeared on May 4, 1895, consisting of 5-centime and 10-centime single and double cards with the abbreviation “N.B.” (Latin: nota bene) printed in the bottom left margin along with instructions in French and German specifying that the front of the card is reserved exclusively for the address.

In 1903, a second Adolphe stationery issue appeared, this time just with 5-centime single and double cards.  The "N.B." notation of the first issue  is absent.

Last, in 1906 a third Adolphe issue appeared with 5-centime and
10-centime single and double cards that show two lines for the sender's address at the left front margin.

The G.D. Adolphe stationery was superseded on July 25, 1907, by the first Écusson issue.

Postal Card Rates:  1895 - 1909

The 5-centime card paid the domestic postal card rate and the UPU printed matter rate; the 10-centime paid the UPU postal card rate, the treaty postal card rates to Belgium and France, and until October 1, 1902, the treaty postal card rate to Germany.  On that date, the German treaty rate was reduced to 5 centimes.  On October 1, 1907, the German treaty rate was again set at 10 centimes until the rate increases of May 10, 1920.

Luxembourg demonized the G.D. Adolphe definitives as of January 1, 1909.  Presumably the demonitization applied to the stationery as well.

(a) 5c+5c Reply Card -- First Adolphe Stationery Issue (1895)


Uprated with a French 5-centime adhesive and returned from Tours-Gare to Luxembourg-Ville in 1898 at the French treaty and UPU postcard rate!

P55R-French uprating

P55R-France-back to-Luxbg Uprated French adhesive

Tours-Gare, France, March 18, 1898, to Luxembourg-Ville
stamp dealer, J. G. Paquelet, received March 19, 1898


Returned from Luxembourg-Ville to Kayl in 1900

(a round trip in just six hours!)


Message Card - Kayl, September 24, 1900 (7-8 a.m.)

Transit Luxembourg-Gare (8-9 a.m.)

Received Luxembourg-Ville (10-11 a.m.)

P55R-Kayl-LuxVille-Unsevered pair

Luxembourg-Ville, September 24, 1900 (12-1 p.m.), to Kayl


Returned from Wiltz to Diekirch in 1901

P55R-Wiltz incoming cancel

Incoming cancel:  Wiltz, February 21, 1901


Wiltz to Diekirch, February 25, 1901


Returned from the Luxembourg-Ulflingen TPO
to Diekirch in 1901


Luxembourg-Ulflingen TPO to Diekirch, August 28, 1901


Returned from Clervaux to Luxembourg-Ville in 1903


Clervaux, June 21, 1903

Incoming transit cancel:  Luxembourg-Gare, June 16, 1903


Previously posted

Uprated and returned from Tunis, Tunisia to Diekirch, March 8, 1896, here.

Uprated and returned from 's-Gravenhage, Holland to Larochette, July 27, 1901, here.


(b) 10c+10c Reply Card -- First Adolphe Stationery Issue


Returned from Neufchateau, Belgium in 1897

P56R-Neufchateau incoming cancel

 Incoming cancel (May 4, 1897)


Neaufchateau, Belgium, May 17, 1897, to Luxembourg-Ville


Returned from Arlon, Belgium in 1897

P56R-Arlon incoming cancel

Incoming cancel (May 20, 1897)


Arlon, Belgium, May 20, 1897, to Luxembourg-Ville


Returned  from Paris, France in 1899


Paris, France, August 16, 1899, to Luxembourg-Ville


Returned from Magdeburg-Sudenburg, Germany in 1900


Magdeburg-Sudenburg, July 16, 1900, to Luxembourg-Ville


Returned from Metz, [then in] Germany in 1900


Metz, Germany, August 4, 1900, to Luxembourg-Gare


Returned from Wien, Austria in 1901


Wien, August 31, 1901, to Luxembourg-Gare


Returned from Trier, Germany in 1902


Trier, Germany, August 30, 1902, to Luxembourg-Ville


Returned from Blankenberghe, Holland in 1905


Blankenberghe, Holland, August 12, 1905, to Luxembourg-Ville


Returned from Rome, Italy in 1906


Rome, September 25, 1906, to Welcheid
(Post: Ettelbruck, September 27, 1906)


Returned from Einsiedeln, Switzerland in 1906


Einsiedeln, Switzerland, December 21, 1906, to Obermartelingen (Post: Perle, December 23, 1906)


Returned from St. Gilles, Belgium in 1908

(Very late use)

P66R-St. Gilles (Ch. de Charleroi)

St. Gilles (Ch. de Charleroi), Belgium, July 21, 1908,
to Luxembourg-Ville, July 22, 1908


Previously posted

Returned from Ragaz, Switzerland to Hamburg, Germany, May 31, 1900, here.


(c) 5c+5c Reply Card -- Second Adolphe Stationery Issue (1903)


Returned from Mulhausen [then in the German Alsace-Lorraine] to Luxembourg-Ville in 1905 at the
5-centime German treaty rate effective in 1902


Mulhouse, December 9, 1905, to Luxembourg-Ville


Returned from Clervaux to Mersch in 1907


Clervaux, February 16, 1907, to Mersch


Previously posted

Uprated and returned from Leipzig, Germany to Trier, Germany, May 26, 1904, here.


(d) 5c+5c Reply Card -- Third Adolphe Stationery Issue (1906)


Used from Diekirch to Strasbourg, [then in the German Alsace-Lorraine], in 1909

P61R-Used to Germany

This very scarce reply card was apparently used as a message card from Diekirch, January 11, 1909, eleven days after the demonitization of the G.D. Adolphe definitives.  It is the only used example I've seen.  There was none in the Costerus collection.

P61R-reverse used to Germany


(d) 10c+10c Reply Card -- Third Adolphe Stationery Issue (1906)


Returned from Longwy-Bas, France,
to Luxembourg-Ville in 1908


A proper use of this very scarce card from Longwy-Bas, July 18, 1908, to Luxembourg-Ville.  This is the only example of this reply card that I've seen.  There was none in the Costerus collection.

P62R-reverse-used France to Luxbg



The first G.D. Adolphe issue was used for almost a decade.  Despite the long usage period, the reply cards are uncommon; however, the diligent collector will almost certainly eventually acquire them.

However, the second issue is scarce, and the third issue very scarce, making the acquisition of proper uses of these three cards problematic.  We do not even know the quantities printed, exact dates of issue, or extent of distribution of these two issues.  The third issue was short-lived, appearing about a year prior to the appearance of the first Écusson issue on July 25, 1907.  Consider yourself privileged if you have examples of one or more of these reply cards in your collection!

The message cards from these five double cards are less scarce.  Apparently, the reply card often was not used, and very few of those that were used may have been saved.



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another 5-franc Three Towers official sole franking




On December 13, 2008, I posted a registered COD cover to Belgium with the 5-franc Three Towers official nicely (and exactly) paying the postage and fees. 

Recently, I was pleased to find the 5-franc Three Towers stamp overprinted officiel used as a convenience sole franking paying the 4.20-franc postage and special delivery [EXPRÈS] fee on a cover from the Luxembourg Commissariat Général for the Grande Saison Internationale de l’Eau à Liége en 1939.  Sent from Luxembourg-Ville to the Commissaire Général adjoint de l'Exposition de l'Eau in Liege, Belgium, March 11, 1940 (11:00-12:00 a.m.), the cover was received at Liége, 8:0o-9:00 p.m. later that day for special delivery to the addressee.