Sunday, March 24, 2013

Three-village routings in 1893, 1896, 1897 & 1898


Common Luxembourg domestic postal stationery can be a fertile source not only of cancels but also of routes.

Mostly we find:

Luxembourg-Gare to Luxembourg-Ville

Luxembourg-Ville or Gare Village

Village Luxembourg-Ville or Gare

Village Luxembourg-Ville or Gare Village

Village Village

Local Use

But here is something different—three-village routings without a Luxembourg-Ville or Luxembourg-Gare transit mark:


Village  →  Village →  Village

Vianden → Rumelange → Pétange


28 October 1897
Vianden – 5:00-6:00 a.m.
Transit Rumelange – 11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
étange3:00-4:00 p.m.






Village Village Village

Redange-sur-Attert → Ettelbrück → Dommeldange


30 December 1898
Redange-sur-Attert – 4:00-5:00 p.m.
31 December 1898 
Transit Ettelbrück – 6:00-7:00 a.m.
Dommeldange – 8:00-9:00 a.m.




Village Village Village

Hosingen → Redange-sur-Attert → Bettborn


14 September 1896
Hosingen – 5:00-6:00 a.m.
Redange-sur-Attert – 8:00-9:00 a.m.
Schandel [post: Bettborn – 7:00-8:00 p.m.]




Village Village Village

Hosingen → Echternach → Junglinster


16 October 1893
Hosingen --4:00-5:00 p.m.
Transit Echternach – 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
17 October 1893 
6:00-7:00 a.m.


How many three-village routings do you have in your collection that do not include a Luxembourg-Ville or Luxembourg-Gare cancel?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Collectible, but seldom collected: Part 1—Printed Backs on Postal Cards


When I study Luxembourg postal cards, I enjoy the printed backs, the cachets (or “chops”) of the senders, and the auxiliary and manuscript markings applied by the postal clerks.  Yet, little has been published on any of these collecting possibilities.  It’s a shame.

Is there an unspoken prejudice against printed backs?  When asked about the significance of printed backs, a well-known American stamp show judge once told me that show judges were only interested in what the government printed (or otherwise put) on the cards.  Rather, the judge seemed enamored of comments on exhibits such as “only one recorded,” “one of three recorded,” and so on—of course, without any reference to “the record” where the pretentious claims could be verified. 

In fact, just like postmarks and government-printed indicia, printed backs provide primary data helping us understand the role postal cards played in late 19th and early 20th century commerce, showing notices, orders, invoices, and advertisements.  Without an appreciation of printed backs, our understanding of postal card use would depend largely on historians’ secondary accounts.

Here are a few examples:



Prosper Schwartz & Cie.

Early 1900s





Werling Lambert & Cie.










Ch. Bernhœft
Photographe de la Cour





Imprimerie Jos. Beffort
3 Place-d’Armes





Breistroff & Schmitt,
Düdelingen (Lux.)






Luxemburger Landes-Dbst und Gartenbau Verein
Hotel Brosius, Luxemburg



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ottange to Esch-sur-Alzette in 1898 – “Reverse use” of the 10c Adolphe UPU postal card (1st issue)


“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where –"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.” 

             Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


Like Alice, this 10-centime UPU postal card seems to have lost
its way. 



Oettingen (Lothringen) 
4 Jun 1898,

transit Luxembourg-Gare,
5 Jun 1898


Posted within Luxembourg, this 10-centime UPU card would have overpaid the domestic postal card rate by 5 centimes.  But once the card strayed across what today is the French border to Ottange [back then, Oettingen in the German Lorraine], just a few steps south of Rumelange, it lost its entire value.

Dutifully marked off with blue crayon, the 10-centime stamp imprint was invalidated.  In manuscript, the card was taxed 12½ gold centimes, which amount was converted (in blue crayon) to 20 Luxembourg centimes (double the postal card rate then in effect between Germany and Luxembourg).

Perhaps the card thought it was the reply half of a 10c+10c message-reply card.  Some of these cards from my Invalid Uses album seem to have their own personality.


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Special Delivery to Trier in a couple hours – Use of the 10c Adolphe Postal Card (1st Issue)



Luxemburg-Karthaus TPO,
1 July 1902 [9:00-10:00 a.m.],
Trier, Germany,
1 July 1901 [12:00-1:00 p.m.]

Postal card rate to Germany = 10c
Special delivery fee = 30c


Train service at the beginning of the 20th century was efficient and reliable.  This card, carried on the rail line to Karthaus (near Trier), was received at the Trier, Germany, post office just a couple hours after it had been posted.

Marked “Eilboten” in blue crayon, surely the addressee received the card later that dayon the afternoon of Tuesday, July 1, 1902.

The 10c UPU card is nicely uprated with the 10c and 20c Adolphe adhesives to pay the special delivery fee.  Sadly, today efficient delivery service costs a lot more than three times the price of a UPU-rate postal card, here or anywhere else!


Friday, March 08, 2013

Postal cards to Léopold Richard in Monaco at the Prince de Galles Hotel in 1899 & 1901



Prince de Galles Hotel
Built in 1865 with 64 rooms

Those of us who collect postal cards inevitably become voyeurs into the lives of the card recipients.  We momentarily travel back in time, sharing in the recipient’s experiences.  Much of what we read about are mundane details of the sort more often encountered in diaries.  But these details give us a very real glimpse into what life was like long ago.

I’ve seen many cards addressed to the philanthropist Léopold Richard in Wiltz in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  But here are two that are special because they were sent to him from Luxembourg while he was staying at the Prince de Galles hotel just outside of Monte Carlo, Monaco, in February 1899 and February 1901.  Perhaps he found the harsh Ardennes winters disagreeable.  In blue crayon on the cards, we even see his hotel room numbers.



13 February 1899,
Monte Carlo, Monaco,
15 February 1899





Schimpach-Kautenbach TPO, 
5 February 1901,
Transit Paris, France
6 February 1901,
Monte Carlo, Monaco,
7 February 1901



But during the winter of 1906, Monsieur Richard was staying at the Hotel du Helder in Monte Carlo, where he received news from Wiltz about a lovely four-year-old St. Bernard dog:



3 March 1906,
Monte Carlo, Monaco,
6 March 1906


Registered UPU Use of the 10c Adolphe Postal Card (1st Issue) to Russia in 1899



Luxembourg-Ville VI, 14 Sep 1899
Odessa, Russia [5 Sep = 17 Sep 1899]*

*During the 19th century, there was a 12-day difference
between the Russian Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar
used in most of Europe
.  See my post here.


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Domestic COD Use of the 10c Adolphe (3rd issue) UPU Postal Card in 1906




Luxembourg-Ville IV,
11 Dec 1906 [3:00-4:00 p.m.],
11 Dec 1906 [7:00-8:00 p.m.]

Domestic postal card rate = 5c
Domestic registry fee = 20c
Domestic COD fee for 5.45 F = 10c


Thanks to Léon Masseler, who sent out annual dues notices as treasurer of the Société des Naturalistes Luxembourgeois, we have many interesting COD uses of the early 20th century postal stationery.  This example is especially nice because it’s from the scarce third issue Adolphe postal stationery, valid only from August 1906 to the end of 1908.

Somebody else also must have liked this card, as there is a tiny red vanity mark at the bottom right on the back! 

The 6 pf. Hindenburg Reply Card Returned from Luxembourg-Ville during the WWII Occupation





21 May 1940,
to Hannover, Germany


This reply card, postmarked just 11 days after the WWII German occupation, is an example of early resumption of post-occupation mail service. 

The sender dated it “17.5.40” in the space provided for the return address.  It shows the German censor’s red cachet and number “19” in a rectangle. 

This is the only use I’ve seen of the Hindenburg 6-pf reply card from the 6pf+6pf message-reply card returned to Germany from Luxembourg during the WWII occupation.

The Scarcest 20th Century Returned Reply Card?


The third issue of Grand-Duke Adolphe postal stationery included a 10c+10c message-reply card.  Despite the ridiculously low Prifix valuation for the 10c reply card, I’ve only seen one used example (shown below) in 50 years of collecting Luxembourg postal stationery. 

Prifix 62 is my candidate for the scarcest 20th century Luxembourg reply card.  Do you agree?

What other 20th century Luxembourg reply cards are scarce commercially used in period?



Longwy-Bas, Meurthe et Mlle, France,
19 July 1908 [4:00 a.m.]

Luxembourg-Ville V,
19 July 1908 [7:00-8:00 a.m.]


The third Adolphe stationery issue is something of a mystery.  We don’t know the exact date of issue (August 1906 is given in the FSPL Handbook) nor the quantities printed.  Grand Duke Adolphe had already died in November 1905; and the modern Coat-of-Arms stationery had already appeared in July 1907.  Moreover, the Adolphe adhesives and stationery were demonitized at the end of 1908, leaving a short, 29-month life span for the third issue, including the 17 months during which the Arms stationery also was available. 

The earliest use I have is the 10c card used to England on November 27, 1906.  Occasionally a card is seen used after the demonetization date.