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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Help with due cover

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David Teisler (Teisler)
19 Apr 2007
07:07:36pm
I've already posted this cover with our sister organization, US Stamp Specialist, Steve Davis' wonderful US group, where Jeffrey Wallace has done a fabulous job walking me through some of the vagaries of Great Britain's postage due regulations. Together, we've surmised quite a bit about this very interesting cover. I'm looking for help now from those who understand the Dutch postage due system and/or who read Dutch.

cover

To bring you up to speed on what we surmise, this cover was sent from Elizabeth NJ to NYC, where it was forwarded to London. Tony W's book on the forwarding of mail and his other book on international rates lead us to believe that the 3c PSE was correctly assessed 10 centimes due (10 centimes = 2c) in NYC (but not collected) and forwarded to London, where it was sent to three different hotels, whereupon it was forwarded again at each, and at each a postage due stamp was affixed BUT NO FEE PAID. At the third hotel, it was forwarded to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. There are two Dutch due stamps, one of which has been hand stamped twice, with Rotterdam receiving date cancels only. A second Dutch due stamp is twice cancelled also, once with a boxed notation and once with an Amsterdam receiving date cancel. There is also an Amsterdam receiving date cancel (Lighthaven, Amsterdam) over a missing stamp, which we surmise to have been an earlier applied GB due. closeup

My questions, after all this, are what would 2c (or 10 centimes) equal in 1937 Dutch cents; what is the translation of the Dutch in the boxed cancel; and can you explain the process by which the cover is first sent to Amsterdam and then to Rotterdam and any rules or things that are happening.

We think we can account for the two visible and one presumed missing GB dues (they were assessed but never collected, at each of the three hotels). Now, help us with the Dutch aspect of this cover.

Please.

I can supply higher resolution scans. And the back of the cover has only the sender's return address; there are no postal markings.
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Jan-Simon
20 Apr 2007
02:07:36am
re: Help with due cover

if you can send the high resolution scans to jansimon (at) yahoo.com It is hard to read it from small scans, but what i could decipher was that the box cancel says NIET / AFGESCHREVEN / (something) what would translate to something like "not paid" or "not concluded". The Amsterdam receiving cancel must be "Luchthaven Amsterdam" = Amsterdam Airport, a.k.a. Schiphol. The handwritten K.L.M. (I am not an expert on handwriting, but I would say it is not Dutch writing, so probably done in London)

I think that in Amsterdam the letter could not be delivered either, and it was returned to sender (that would make it ending up in your possession more logical). In order to spend too much cash on such a lost case, it is probably returned by boat, with the Holland-America-Line. This shipping service departed from Rotterdam.

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Jan-Simon
24 Apr 2007
01:11:08pm
re: Help with due cover

David, please let me know if you received my e-mail. My first reply through my yahoo account bounced because your mailserver has decided that all yahoo is bad. ;-)
I then tried with my normal mail, did not receive an error message, but am not sure if the message reached you either.

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David Teisler (Teisler)
24 Apr 2007
02:34:56pm
re: Help with due cover

Here's a write-up explaining the cover about which i had asked. I will be repeating some information already discussed, but it seemed the cleanest way to tell the whole story, which is pretty interesting.

Three of us, Jeffrey Wallace, Jan-Simon Hoogschagen, and I, or a philatelic representative from one of each of the countries through which this cover has traveled, have, I believe, deciphered the mystery.

I bought it because it was, well, well-travelled. It's a 3c US postal envelope (design U93, sorry i'm worthless with most of these dies), mailed from a private box in Elizabeth NJ to (presumably) a guest at the Hotel Gotham in NYC on 9.29.1937, as evidenced by the machine cancel. It is then forwarded to the Hotel Savoy, in London, and receives a slogan machine cancel in NYC on 9.30.37. It is probably at this point that the purple "T" with "NY" and "10 centimes" double circle is added. This is where it gets tricky.

Tony W in his book mail forwarding indicates that any mail being forwarded from one UPU signatory to another is assessed ONLY the difference between domestic rate paid and international rate owed,after which no other fees are due. Both England and Netherlands are signatories, as is US. So, why the 4 different dues assessed on different dates in different countries. I think the 1p should have covered the full difference between 3c domestic paid and 5c surface rate (2c difference). So why the Dutch dues? If they truly were owed, shouldn't that have been paid in London?

Besides the return address, there is nothing on the reverse of the cover.

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David Teisler (Teisler)
24 Apr 2007
02:36:34pm
re: Help with due cover

There are 4 London circular hand cancels, two of which cancel 1D dues (either J2 or J10). If I have this correctly, it reaches the Savoy and is forwarded again to the Cumberland Hotel, also in London, on 10.7.37 and receives the first of the two due stamps (1D = 2c, the deficiency between the 3c paid and the 5c surface rate from the US to UK). On 10.8.37, a second 1D due is canceled and the violet boxed instructions “Charge Not Collected / Fresh Label Required” is added [I can't tell if this happens before the subsequent forwarding or after]. From the Cumberland, it is forwarded to the Grosvenor House, still in London, and from the Grosvenor House, it is forwarded to Amsterdam, to the Waalhaven, in Rotterdam. From the cancels, it looks as if it bounced around at various hotels in London for up to, but no more than, 2 days. There is one stamp missing, and it's either US or, much more likely, British. A second violet boxed hand stamp “Charge Not Collected / Fresh Label Required” had been placed over a stamp, meaning it was applied prior to leaving the UK. Jeffrey notes that the italicized 1D handstamp adjacent to the missing stamp was applied by the clerk converting 10 centimes into Sterling equivalent. This confirms that the missing stamp is another 1D Postage Due. At each of the hotels, per Jeffrey, an attempt is made to collect the 1D due, and a due postage stamp is applied, but the funds are NOT collected. When it is forwarded to the Waalhaven in Rotterdam, there is a notation “c/o K.L.M. Amsterdam,” which, according to Jeffrey, suggests it travelled by air to Holland because the UK began dispatching mail ‘all up’ at the UPU rate in March 1937. I happened to be reading Boyle’s Airmail Operations During World War II and Boyle mentions the UK moving mail all up at this time. This is one of those fortuitous occurrences, where a friend mentions something concurrently to my reading it elsewhere on an unrelated mission. It will stick.

It receives its first Amsterdam cancel on 10.9.37 cancelling a Dutch 5c due (J51), which also receives a second postal hand stamp " NIET / AFGESCHREVEN / sterna" [my transcriptions are not to be trusted]; a Lighthaven Amsterdam cancel on 10.11.37; and a pair of Rotterdam cancels on 10.13.37, one of which cancels a second 5c due.

According to Jan-Simon, that the box cancel says "nietig / afgeschreven te / Amsterdam" This means that the letter has been delivered in Amsterdam, but the recipient did not want to pay the dues, and refused the letter. Translation would be something in the line of "declared void (or unpaid) at Amsterdam." The Amsterdam receiving cancel must be "Luchthaven Amsterdam," which is the Amsterdam Airport, a.k.a. Schiphol. The handwritten K.L.M., according to Jan-Simon, is not typical of Dutch cursive script, so it was probably done in London.

I think that in Amsterdam the letter could not be delivered either, and it was returned to sender (that would make it ending up in my possession more logical, per Jan-Simon). In order to avoid spending any more on such a lost cause, it is probably returned by boat, with the Holland-America-Line. This shipping service departed from Rotterdam.

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David Teisler (Teisler)
24 Apr 2007
02:36:57pm
re: Help with due cover

From Amsterdam it probably went back to the sender. At the bottom of the letter is written "Waalhaven R'dam". This can mean two things. Either it went by airplane back to England or the US, as Waalhaven near Rotterdam was the second airport of the Netherlands before WW2. As a matter of fact, for most of the 1930s it was as important as Schiphol, but when it wasn't upgraded in time for newer types of airplanes and more incoming flights, it went out of favor and into decline. On top of that, the threat of war made the Army's Airforce dept. commandeer the airport as a military airfield, in order to protect the important harbor installations.

Another option is that Waalhaven was also the harbor where the Holland America Line steamships departed for New York. The photo I have included shows both the airport and the harbor on the background. As no one seems to be making up the deficiency for the surface rate to the UK, it is unlikely that this would be returned to the sender via air mail (I don’t know the rates from Holland, but airmail from the UK to US was 1’3 D. [1 schilling 3 pence]).

To recap the rates, the US rate to GB in 1937 was the UPU rate of 5c on the first oz, 3c on each additional oz or fraction. Concurrently, the inland domestic GB rate was 1½ D on a letter up to 2 oz and ½ D for each additional 2 oz. The international surface rate from GB to Holland was 2½ D on the first oz and 1½ D on each added ounce.

David Teisler, with essential help from Jan-Simon Hoogschagen and Jeffrey Wallace (a member of Steve Davis' US Specialized Society, an outgrowth of this group)

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Jan-Simon
25 Apr 2007
05:14:44pm
re: Help with due cover

it has become a nice story. Glad that I was able to help out with some of the details.
I found out a little bit more. I do not know exactly what the airmailrates were in the Netherlands in 1937, but what I do know is that the normal foreign letter rate (up to 20 grams) was 12.5 cents.
What might be more interesting is that the normal domestic letter rate was 5 cents. This might explain why there were two duestamps of 5 cents were attached: the Dutch postal service obviously thought that the forwarding of the letter was not part of the service paid for and should be considered as a new sending. Once from Amsterdam to the airport, where the recipient was supposed to be, and then from there to Rotterdam. Both were not paid for...

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David Teisler (Teisler)
25 Apr 2007
07:38:41pm
re: Help with due cover

thanks Jan-Simon, your contributions to this story are indeed essential. You and Jeffrey Wallace have indeed given me great information on the postal rules of the UK and the Netherlands.

I think that the USPOD operated differently from either the UK or Dutch POs in that, if I understand the use of our dues correctly, affixing a postage due stamp to a letter indicated payment was made, whereas in UK and Netherlands, it represents money owed. Our "T" accomplished that without the use of a label that also represented money.

Thanks again, Jan-Simon,

David

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