Monday, December 22, 2014

In 1894, did the UPU printed-matter rate apply to mimeographed text? Maybe not! (But updated below.)

The mimeograph machine or stencil duplicater dates back to the mid-1880s.  These devices, which I remember from my high school days producing the school paper, worked by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper.  No typesetting or skilled labor was necessary.  In the late 1960s, mimeographs were gradually supplanted by photocopying and offset printing.

1889 Advertisement
for the Edison Mimeograph

And since we occasionally see postal cards with mimeographed text, a postal historian might wonder whether such text qualified as “printed matter” under the UPU definitions fixing the special printed-matter rates.  At least in the case below, it either did not or was not recognized as mimeographed printing:

Mähr. Ostrau-Moravská Ostrava,
15 Nov 1894
Rumelange, Luxembourg
17 Nov 1894

The 2-Kreuzer Bohemian-language Kaiser Franz Joseph postal card was taxed 15 centimes, apparently because the mimeographed text was not recognized as printed matter.


A kind correspondent writes that “[t]he key to printed matter is the definition:  anything can go as printed matter as long as it is not in the nature of ‘true correspondence’.  From the image you present, it would easily be taken for ‘correspondence’ by its layout as not everyone would be familiar with ‘modern’ technology in the period.”  

The writer also reminds me that another requirement for a card to go as printed matter was that any reference to “Postcard” or “Postal Card” had to be crossed out and the word “Imprimé” substituted.  This card failed that criterion.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A little bit of Belgium in Luxembourg—another geographically-challenged postal card



Last month’s geography lesson was “Luxembourg, France.”
Today’s lesson is “Arlon, Luxemburg”



Monastyriska, Austria
[today part of the Ukraine]
21 Feb 1895, to “Arlon, Luxemburg.”

Luxembourg-Gare, 24 Feb 1895, 11:00 a.m.-Noon.

Arlon [Belgium!], 24 Feb 1895, 10:00 p.m.

Improperly sent at the printed matter rate,
so the 2-kretzer Polish-text card was taxed 15 centimes.


Well, until 1839 Arlon was part of the Grand Duchy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

United States APO-BPO 30c Airmail to Rodenbourg in 1946



U.S. Army Postal Service
11th BPO
29 August 1946

The 30c/½ oz. European airmail rate remained
in effect from 28 Apr 1939 to 1 Nov 1946.


BPO [Base Post Office] 11 was located in Paris, France, from 22 Oct 1944 to 1 Apr 1947. APO 513 (shown here as the sender’s return address) was also located in Paris during 1946.

The 6c Monoplane air envelope only paid United States military concession airmail service to addresses in the United States. Mail to other addresses had to be paid at the standard United States rates. Thus, this air mail cover was marked “Postage Due __ cents” with ms 24, after which a pair of the 12c Taylor Prexie was added uprating the cover to the 30c airmail rate, and the postage due auxiliary mark was then crossed out.

APO and BPO mail to non-domestic addresses is uncommon.  A more direct and less expensive alternative would have been to post the letter through the French postal service.  The result, however, is an especially attractive and unusual use of the 12c Prexie!



Monday, December 15, 2014

Incoming mail in 1920 from where? Yes, Cilicia!






20 para



1 piaster




Cilicia comprises the south coastal region of Asia Minor, as seen on the map. From December 1918 to October 1921, after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the French controlled Cilicia. Although Cilician Armenians sought to create an independent Cilician state under French authority, the French relinquished Cilicia to Turkey on October 21, 1921, under the Treaty of Ankara.

During this 23-month period, the French administration in Cilicia used stamps of Turkey, France, and the French Offices in Turkey overprinted T.E.O. Cilicie [Territoires Ennemis Occupés] or O.M.F. Cilicie [Occupation Militaire Francaise].

Surely mail between this short-lived political entity and Luxembourg must be uncommon as little connects the two countries. An example—the only one I’ve encountered—is the view card shown here, which was posted from Adana, Cilicia, on January 25, 1920, as part of a postcard exchange with a correspondent in Esch-sur-Alzette.

Two Cilicia overprints are tied to the view side by the Adana cancel: a 1916 Turkish 20-para commemorative showing the old general post office in Constantinople overprinted in black T.E.O. Cilicie and a 1-piaster Turkish pictorial from the 1913 issue showing the Mosque of Selim at Adrianople also overprinted T.E.O. Cilicie, but in red. On the reverse is the French Control Postal censor mark.


Quite a nice item if you enjoy unusual incoming mail to Luxembourg!