Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Was the 5c Concession Postal Card Rate to Belgium Suspended During the WWI German Occupation? (Updated below!)

According to the rate books, the 5-centime concession postal card rate to Belgium took effect on 1 July 1909 and ended on 1 February 1919.  The postal card rate to other countries, including Germany, during this period was 10 centimes.

But from August 1914 until the Armistice in November 1918, Luxembourg and most of Belgium were German-occupied and German-controlled, even though the lower-echelon civil servants remained in place.  Mail from Luxembourg to Belgium was routinely censored in Trier, Germany. German stamps overprinted ‘Belgien’ were introduced in Belgium on 1 October 1914 and remained in use until the occupation ended.

Did the German occupiers in Luxembourg suspend (or simply ignore) the 5-centime concession postal card rate on Luxembourg to Belgium mail? 

To my knowledge, postal historians have not addressed this question. Consider the 5-centime postal card below, which was posted on 7 December 1917 from Luxembourg-Ville to Liège, Belgium, marked ‘T’ along with a German boxed ‘Porto’ and blue crayon manuscript ‘10’ and  the Trier censor mark:


Then, consider the two 10-centime postal cards below. The first was posted from Dommeldange to Antwerp on 6 June 1917; the second, from Luxembourg-Gare to Brussels on 26 June 1917. Both were censored in Trier and paid a ten-centime rate. Why were 10-centime postal cards used for commercial correspondence when the rate to Belgium was 5-centimes?


Check your postal cards and postcards. Do they support my belief that the 5-centime concession postal card rate to Belgium was not honored during the World War One occupation? Was the concession rate reinstated after the war ended?


Dieter Basien and Lars Boetger kindly advise that during the World War I German Occupation, UPU rates were in effect from Luxembourg to Belgium from 1 January 1915 onward.

Here is the revised rate chart for page 76 of Basien & Hoffkamp ratebook, Tarife der Briefpost in Luxemburg 1852-2002, with additions shown in red:


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Postal Stationery Carried on the Graf Zeppelin’s 1932 England Flight



Pictured above is the Graf Zeppelin being moored at Hanworth Air Park outside London upon arriving from Friedrichshafen at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 2, 1932.  You can watch British Pathé’s film clip of the mooring here:

The inimitable Maury Swartz, then living in Kayl, prepared colorful postal stationery cards that were carried on the flight.  Here are two from my collection (judging by the registry numbers, there must be others):

75c/90c Second Écusson
View Card Issue
Mondorf-les-Bains View



40c Charlotte Side Profile
1st G.D. Charlotte View Card Issue
Diekirch View


Luxembourg-Ville, 29 June 1932,
Friedrichshafen (Bodensee), Germany, 2 July 1932,
Dorchester, England, 4 July 1932

UPU postal card = 1.00 F
Registry fee = 1.75 F
Zeppelin carriage = 75 pf.



Cachet seen on the back of each card.

Postage due paid in Belgium—but why?



1 June 1932

Lichtervelde, Belgium
2 June 1932


Sometimes a card or cover refuses to give up its postal history secrets.  That seems to be the case here!

The postal card rate to Belgium was 40 centimes, beginning December 1, 1929, and continuing until February 1, 1935. And this Echternach view card—posted on June 1, 1932—pays the
40-centime rate.  The card was not tax-marked as insufficiently paid, but two Belgian 10-centime postage due stamps were applied upon its arrival on June 2, 1932 in Lichtervelde, a small town in the Belgian province of West Flanders.  Why? Pourquoi? Warum?

Was the addressee a collector who liked to add postage due stamps to his incoming mail?  Well, there certainly is no suggestion in the message that the card is a philatelic creation of the Flemish recipient “M. Demunster, fabricant.”  It just seems to be typical commercial correspondence.

Similarly, the amount of postage due charged (20 centimes) does not suggest confusion by the Lichtervelde postal clerk with any particular rate then in effect.  Nor was any special service provided that would justify a 20-centime fee.

Can you solve this mystery?  I’d welcome your thoughts!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Arsdorf Prephilately – French Period 1794-1814



Administrative Cachet

Maire D’Arsdorff,

Arrt de Dickirch

* ( Forets. ) *


Service du Maire d’Arsdorff: D. Loring



Official folded letter dated 12 May 1810






New additions to my communal revenue post UPDATED!

Updated 2017:  The communal revenues now have their own blog at:

Go to the new blog to see revenues from more than 100 of Luxembourg's communes, past and present!  Send me scans of those that do not appear on the blog.  I'm

I’ve updated my communal revenue stamp post at 

adding many previously unlisted stamps.  

The post now comprises revenue stamps from 78 villages and towns.  New additions include tax stamps from Frisange, Mompach, Mondorf-les-Bains, Remich, Schuttrange, Steinsel, and Vichten.  A link to the post is here.

Help me add to the listing by sending me scans of communal revenues that are missing from the list.  My email address is:  There must be many hundreds of unlisted Luxembourg tax stamps out there!

Revenue philately is one of the few areas in which organized philately is continuing to grow.  Stamp collecting is just the tip of the iceberg.  Revenue stamps cover the entire gamut of social history. Unfortunately, revenue stamp collecting has been held back by the lack of catalogs and other literature.  Now, with the advent of desktop publishing and the Internet, we can remedy that deficiency.