Friday, May 23, 2014

Mourning Cover from Diekirch in 1916 to Violin Virtuosa Alma Moodie

Alma Templeton Moodie, born in Queensland, Australia, in 1898, was a child prodigy who became the foremost female violinist of the inter-war years. At age 9, she left Australia to study at the Brussels conservatory. She remained in Europe until her untimely death in 1943.

In studying the mourning cover below, which was sent to Holland, I noticed that the addressee’s name did not sound German or Dutch. And after web research, I realized why—the recipient was the then eighteen-year-old Alma Moodie!

Diekirch, 4 Feb 1916
Censored in Trier
To Roermond, Holland [b/s ? 24 Feb 1916]
20g UPU letter rate = 25c


Kay Dreyfus, the author of a recent biography of Moodie entitled Bluebeard’s Bride: Alma Moodie, Violinist (2013), writes in response to my inquiry about Moodie’s connection to Holland:
Exactly what she was doing during the first world war years would be something I probably don't know in great detail. I know she and her mother fled from Germany back to Brussels where, I had thought, they stayed for the duration of the war. I only have a very general idea of what they actually did during the war years or how they survived.  I have a copy of a scrapbook which contains copies of programs of (semi-private) concerts Moodie gave in Brussels during that time, but I have no evidence that she went anywhere else.  I know that in the 1920s she went to Holland on tour regularly[.]
So we do not know who was being mourned, who Frau Frauenberg the sender of the cover was, nor who Madam Ahrens was—the cover having been addressed to Moodie in care of her residence.  But thanks to Kay Dreyfus, we know quite a bit about the fascinating person to whom the mourning cover was sent.

The esteemed conductor Werner Reinhart, Alma Moodie,
and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, in the 1920s.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

12-Rpf Hindenburg Overprint Pays Postage Due on Incoming Feldpost Mail in 1940





Feldpost b – 18 Oct 1940
Feldpost Number 27438

To Binser [Biwer?] [Post: Wecker] – 21 Oct 1940

Marked ‘T’ - 12-Rpf Reich 20g letter rate paid with a 12-Rpf Hindenburg Overprint!

But wasn’t incoming Feldpost free to the recipient?



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Local Delivery Rates During the World War II Occupation

"Ortstarif" Rates 1940-1945

Easily overlooked by postal history collectors are the reduced rates for local delivery of postcards and letters that first began during the World War II occupation.

The so-called “ortstarif” rates took effect on October 1, 1940, when the Reich currency was implemented. These rates continued in francs and centimes after the occupation until October 1, 1945.

Here are three examples from the occupation period:

5-Rpf. Local Postcard Rate
Kayl – Local Use
7 November 1941


8-Rpf. Local 20g Letter Rate
Düdelingen im Moselland – Local Use
25 January 1944


16-Rpf. Local 20g-250g Letter Rate
Mixed Franking
6 Rpf Charlotte (2nd) & 10 Rpf Hindenburg
Luxemburg 1 d – Local Use
18 February 1941


From the Bofferding brewery to the brewers’ association!

16-Rpf. Local 20g-250g Letter Rate
Turned Envelope
Free mail sent by the Finanzamt Esch (Alzig)
Esch-Alzig n, 24 Jun 1943, to D
Returned by the recipient Esch (Alzig) g – Local Use
16-Rpf Hitler Head – Sole Use!
18 May 1944

This turned cover also reminds us of the paper shortages that were experienced toward the end of the occupation.

38-Rpf. Local
20g Registered Letter Rate
Fels (Moselland) a – Local Use
15 August 1942
8-Rpf postage + 30-Rpf registry fee


Gemeindeverwaltung Heffingen = Heffingen Local Government

After the occupation, the 20g local letter rate was 80 centimes, and 1.60 Fr for 20g-250g local letters. The local postcard rate was 50 centimes.

Add Ortstarif covers to your collection. They are a small but interesting part of Luxembourg’s postal history!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

A 70c Domestic Registry Fee in 1926? Yes! Updated below.

Rate Turbulence in the 1920s

In the mid-1920s, postal rates worldwide were changing frequently as world economies moved closer to the Great Depression that hit in 1929. Consequently for the postal historian, this is a fascinating period in which to study the interaction of politics, economics, and postal charges.


A 70c Registry Fee in 1926?

The Luxembourg Postman’s Calendar for 1926 (excerpted above) indicates that the 1926 domestic registry fee was 70 centimes, an increase of 20 centimes from the prior 50-centime rate. When was this 70-centime registry fee in effect? From the Basien-Hoffkamp rate book, we know that an 80-centime registry fee took effect on August 1, 1926. Was the 80-centime fee preceded by a 70-centime fee? If so, when did the 50c rate end and the 70c rate begin?

Here is an example:


Domestic COD Postcard
 1F Blue Vianden + 30c Charlotte
Luxembourg-Gare, 31 May 1926
Bigonville [post: Perlé], 31 May 1926

Domestic postcard rate = 20c
Domestic registry fee = 70c
COD fee to collect 319.40 F = 40c



  Dieter Basien confirms the 70-centime registry fee, thus:

01.10.1925 0,50 F.

01.01.1926 0,70 F.

01.08.1926 0,80 F.

Here is the announcement from L’Memorial of 26 December 1925:

70 C.

Danke, Dieter!