Friday, May 15, 2015

Luxembourg Ephemera—Much to Collect but not Much is Collected!



The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ephemera as “paper items (as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles.”  So the address sticker shown above, which I found on the back of a rather boring 10-centime GD Adolphe postal card, falls well within the definition.  And the implication is obvious.  As philatelists, our study of covers and cards should extend not only to what governments and their postal services put on or did to the covers and cards but also to what non-governmental users added to the covers and cards.  Collectors of air mail labels have already recognized the philatelic significance of ephemera.  Likewise, the forward-looking FSPL has published a monograph on government-printed labels that we find on covers.

Every philatelist should have an album reserved for these beyond-the-back-of-the-book treasures.  Many are one-of-a-kind, and often the artistry is exquisite, giving us a glimpse into the cultural tastes of a long-gone era.  Don’t neglect this fascinating but little appreciated area.




28 Nov 1899

to nearby

Longwy-Bas, France




Lowen-Apotheke, Esch a/Alzette

Green & Black Circular Label

”St. Welschbillig”

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Postal Stationery with Printed Backs—Luxembourg’s Notaries

Common postal stationery from the 1900s becomes anything but “common” if you collect printed backs.  And a fertile source of printed-back stationery is the correspondence of the early notaries.  Unfortunately, stamp show judges criticize exhibitors who include printed backs in their exhibits saying that only government-printed text is relevant.  This short-sighted view fails to take into account the relevance of understanding how postal stationery was used and who used it.  Stamp dealers are a lot smarter than the show judges—most of them charge a premium for any card that has anything printed on the back.

Consider Dalheim.  These were Dalheim’s early notaries:

1842-1881  Louis Eugene Majerus
1880-1913  Francois Edouard Velter
1914-1920  Adolf Gantenbein
1920-1929  Paul Cravat

And here is an example of Adolf Gantenbein’s printed-back postal stationery:



1 Aug 1918
Peppange [post: Bettembourg II],
1 Aug 1918
Domestic Postal Card Rate = 7 1/2c
1 Jul 1918—12 Apr 1920

The complete list of Luxembourg’s notaries is here:

You can put together a “topical” collection of printed backs by choosing those from a particular category of professionals or merchants.  This is a much overlooked aspect of Luxembourg postal stationery collecting.