Friday, February 15, 2013

Luxembourg to the S.S. Daphne in Colombo, Ceylon in 1897


Revisiting covers accumulated over many years often brings back memories of their discovery.  Back in the 1990s, eBay was still in its infancy and most auction houses had not yet developed searchable web catalogs, so dealers who plied their stock at stamp shows and bourses still remained a fertile source of new acquisitions.


Luxembourg-Ville [VI], 7 Jan 1897,
Transit Luxembourg-Gare [B] [b/s], 7 Jan 1897,
Transit London, England, 8 Jan 1897,
Colombo, Ceyon [b/s], 26 Jan 1897

15g-30g UPU letter rate = 50c
UPU registry fee = 25c


Travelling with my then ten-year-old daughter in Europe in 1998, we happened to stay at a hotel not far from where Trevor Davis staged London bourses for stamp dealers.  Of course, we visited Trevor’s bourse as soon as the doors opened.  But I didn’t find much Luxembourg material.  One dealer thought he had a Luxembourg cover, but he couldn’t find it.  Then, as we were walking out of the venue, I heard the dealer yelling that I should come back—he’d found the Luxembourg cover, which you see here.  It has long been one of my favorite Adolphe covers.

I especially like the 75c Adolphe franking, the unusual destination and excellent preservation, and the distinctive address:

Capitaine Burgstaller
Austrian Lloyd’s S.S. Daphne
Colombo [Ceylon]

The cover brings back memories of that pleasant trip. 

Today Trevor Davis is gone and there aren’t as many local bourses as there used to be, so instead we sit in solitude in front of our computers searching for material, missing the delight of hearing a dealer yell: “Come back, I’ve found that cover!”



Luxembourg to Vervins (France) misdirected to Verviers (Belgium)—April 6, 7, 8 & 9 (1895) & Special Delivery to a Wine Bar in Metz (1899)


In the late 1800s—before cars, trucks, and buses were commonplace—mail delivery was accomplished with remarkable efficiency.  This was partly due to the extensive development of rail service and government recognition of the commercial importance of prompt delivery. 

In contrast, today the conversation in the United States, for example, is about the postal service’s pension-driven deficits, yet another increase in the first-class letter rate, and the imminent end of Saturday delivery.   It sort of gives “progress” a bad name.

Here are a couple enjoyable examples of 1890s efficient mail handling as I assemble an album of Grand Duke Adolphe covers:

Luxembourg to Vervins (France)
via Verviers (Belgium)




6 Apr 1895,
6:00-7:00 p.m.



Misdirected to:
Verviers (Station), Belgium,
7 Apr 1895,
12:00 noon


Redirected from:
Verviers (Station), Belgium
8 Apr 1895,
7:00 a.m.


Received at:
Vervins (Aisne), France
9 Apr 1895


From the famous Luxembourg rose growers,
Ch. Gemen & Bourg


Special Delivery to a Rheinische Wine Bar
in Metz in 1899

Four-color Franking!


28 Nov 1899,
6:00-7:00 a.m.,
to Metz in the then-German Lorraine,
28 Nov 1899,
1:00-2:00 p.m.

10c postal card rate
30c special delivery fee
[25c registry fee paid? but card was not registered] 


Saturday, February 09, 2013

Privately printed registry label used in 1886!






Luxembourg-Ville [IV],
30 May 1886 [11:00-noon],
Transit Luxembourg-Gare,
30 May 1886 [5:00-6:00 pm],
Transit London, England,
31 May, 1886, to
Gosport, England,
1 June 1886



Ant. Berger’s red Recommandé label, used here in 1886, anticipated those used today in countries such as Belgium.

The socked-on-the-nose cancel is also special.  The cover is addressed to a member of the Royal Irish Rifles.

Fiscal Use of the 3rd Series Charlotte Definitives



Two checks from Iseghem, Belgium,
in 1948

Belgian revenue stamps on the front;
Luxembourg postage stamps on the back!




Paying a negotiable instrument fee,

16 March 1948



2-franc & 20-franc

Paying a negotiable instrument fee,

18 February 1948


Who knows more about the rates and instruments for which fees could be paid with postage stamps?

Sunday, February 03, 2013

So Ugly, It’s Beautiful!



Hasler 102
[FSPL Type L]

Used by the

Internationale Bank in Luxemburg
17 Jan 1941 to 19 Aug 1943

While writing up sole 25 Rpf. WWII frankings this evening—
25 Rpf. being the first-step foreign letter rate from 1 Oct 1940 to the end of the occupation—I noticed this ugly duck.  Where does it fit?

The undated meter stamp imprint is one of several Hasler octagonal-type imprints used between 1926 and 1950.  The address was applied with some kind of addressing machine.  On the back are the German censor marks and tape that were applied at Frankfurt [code ‘e’].



In its simplicity, the cover offers an ascetic elegance, I think.  And unlike my 25 Rpf. Hindenburg, 25 Rpf. Charlotte surcharge, or 
25 Rpf. Hitler-head covers, there’s only one 25 Rpf. meter-mark sole franking in my WWII occupation collection. 

Really, it’s not ugly at all!


Machines à Affranchir Autorisées au Luxembourg: Catalogue des Cachets de Type Hasler (FSPL, 2000).