Saturday, July 20, 2013

A 3.07½-franc UPU Parcel Post Rate in 1915


002a 20c + 37½c + 2½ Fr = 3.07½ Fr


Luxembourg-Ville VI, 3 May 1915 [6:00-7:00 p.m.]
Transit Luxembourg-Gare, 3 May 1915 [10:00-11:00 p.m.]
Transit Strassburg (Elsass), 4 May 1915
Transit Kais. Deutsch B.P.A. 19, Basel, Switzerland, 5 May 1915
Geneva, Switzerland [green customs cachet], 5 May 1915


Luxembourg’s UPU parcel post rates were set at the 1906 Rome UPU Convention.  The rate for a 5-10 kg parcel to Switzerland was set at 1.90 Fr.  So why was this 8.4 Kg parcel to Geneva, Switzerland, franked at a 3.07½-franc rate?

The answer to this conundrum is surprisingly simply.  The parcel was surcharged 50% for being bulky or otherwise cumbersome (in French: “encombrant”), and therefore required special handling. 
Article 13.2 of the Rome Postal Convention provides:

2. — Les colis encombrants sont soumis √† une taxe additionnelle de 50 pCt qui est arrondie, s'il y a lieu, par 5 centimes.

And this shipment also incurred a 15c charge for 250 francs of insurance (the parcel post insurance rate was 15c per 300 francs of value).  Thus:

Basic postage for parcels of 5 kg – 10 kg to Switzerland = 1.90 Fr

Parcel post insurance fee for 250 francs of insured value = 15c

Bulkiness surcharge: 50% of 2.05 Fr = 1.02½ Fr

Total postage and fees = 3.07½ Francs

That’s unabashed philatelic pulchritude!  How many commercial uses of the 2.50 Fr William IV definitive do you have in your collection?

You can find the 1906 Rome Convention parcel post rates here:

The parcel post tables begin on page 828.  I don’t think you’ll find them anywhere else.

The takeaway from this post is that you will surely enjoy your postal history material a lot more if you master the pertinent rates.  Do it!


Thursday, July 04, 2013

Pre-occupation 3-franc Postage Due used in Mondorf-les-Bains in 1941!



Bad Mondorf – 04.2.41 – T-41 cds

Used examples of the 3-franc postage due—the high value of the set—with town cancels aren’t seen very often.  And this example, postmarked Bad Mondorf, February 4, 1941, might be unique. 

As we know, Luxembourg’s pre-occupation stamps were invalidated on October 1, 1940, when the Reich rates (in Reich pfennigs and marks) came into effect.  So what fee could this postage due stamp have paid? 

November  15, 1940, was the last day to exchange Luxembourg stamps for the Hindenburg overprints.  The exchange rate was one Luxembourg franc to 10 Rpf.  So maybe the 3-franc due was accepted to pay 30 Rpf. due?

Which Michel Rodange stamps? Updated below!



Koetz  T. 193 – machine slogan cancel used in 1931

The slogan reads (in French):  “Buy the Michel Rodange stamps.”  But in 1931 there weren’t any postage stamps to buy that commemorated the Luxembourg poet Michel Rodange (1827-1876)!

Could the “stamps” be the Michel Rodange poster stamps like the example below?


If so, were they sold at the post offices?  And for how much?  I’m clueless.  Why in 1931 would Michel Rodange poster stamps justify a slogan cancel?  Surely collectors in the Grand Duchy must know the answer!


Luxembourg-Ville, 17 April 1931. 

The 1.25F sole franking would have paid the 20g letter rate to Germany or France.  Incidentally, the 1.25F yellow (Prifix 223) is scarce on cover.


The eminent Luxembourg philatelist Dieter Basien provides the answer, which is contained in section 12.4 [“Werbeheftchen” (or advertising booklets)] of the Handbuch zur Philatelie in Luxemburg/Manuel de la philat√©lie luxembourgeoise:

Michel Rodange1

 Michel Rodange2

You’ll find the handbook here:

Thanks, Dieter!