Inet since 17.05.1999
Last edit:  23.12.2007

ISSN 1212-8945
Bret Janík

Japhila ww philatelic e-zine • Japhila filatelistický on line magazín


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Svaz českých filatelistů  


Bret Janík, Prague, translated by Henry Hahn, Fairfax


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While rummaging through a fellow collector's stock at a bourse about a year ago, my eye caught a postal dispatch form card with imprinted revenue stamp used   for international parcel service in 1930. The form, having traveled through the mails for a full seventy calendar days, appeared to illustrate some features characteristic of international parcel post service of that period. That led me to trace its full travel itinerary. I owe a major part of my findings, particularlz with respect to means of transportation and postal routes of contemporary Germany, France and Morocco to Mr. Svatopluk Zampach.
The form used for international parcel dispatch bears a Czech-French text. It was initiated (i.e. filled out) on the 24th of July, 1930 at 8 a.m. and received the dispatch number 1076 (Fig. 1, RS 2) at the PRAGUE 24 post office, where it was post marked (RS 1). The imprinted 50h revenue stamp (RS 3) was canceled with the regular post mark (same as RS 1) which was applied the same day. The object of the dispatch was a box valued at 1,152 Kc. In accordance with the regulations of the International Postal Union, this value was also expressed as 164,58 gold francs. Due to its value, the adhesive label "V" (black on white background) was applied (RS 4). The sender paid in accordance with its weight (9,50 kg) - 41,65 Kc plus insurance of  3,50 Kc in addition to a so-called "expedition fee" of 2,50 Kc - i.e. a total of 47,65 Kc. Proof of payment is the post mark  itself in the space marked "Dispatch Post Mark" (RS 1) rather than stamps, which at that time were not used for prepayment of international parcel mail. The destination of the shipment was the port of Mazagan in Morocco. From the PRAGUE 24 post office the shipment was transferred to the main customs office in Prague (Fig. 2, WS 1) which passed it as "free of duty and routed it by train to the border post office of CHEB 2. The latter was the departure post office for Germany and for mail passing through Germany, as shown by the direction label (RS 5). The shipment was transferred at the railroad postal station KARLSRUHE 2 in the State of Baden, Germany on July 26, 1930, between the hours of 6 and 7 p.m. (RS 6). The international window of this post office applied the marking AUSLAND. I.e. ABROAD in the lower portion of the marking and passed the shipment on to the postal railway car, i.e. ambulatory postal station Karlsruhe - Strassburg - Metz in Alsace, France. The collection and transit post office in Metz applied the marking (WS 2) directing the shipment east, i.e. "EST". From there it is presumed to have been forwarded by rail to a "TRAMP" streamer, which generally traveled along the coast touching many ports, arriving on the 15th of September at the Moroccan Atlantic port of Mazagan (RS 7). In accordance with local regulations the shipment was charged 10 centimes "manipulation fee" as evidenced by the Moroccan revenue stamp (RS 8). It is difficult to determine why the shipment could not have been delivered to the addresse, since the form bears no such notation. The fact is that the box was to be returned to Prague. The heavy blue pencil notation reads "Non Reclame - Retour" (Undeliverable - Return) and the original delivery address is crossed out. At the main post office in Casablanca the form was post marked with a red "return" marking (RS 9), and was dispatched on its return journey.
Hence again by steamer and train to Metz (without post mark) and thence to Karlsruhe, where it was post marked on October 2nd between 10 and 11 a.m. (WS 3). On October 5th at 6. a.m. the shipment was received at the PRAGUE - CUSTOMS postal station (WS 4) where it was again processed and transferred on October 7th, 1930 to the PRAGUE 22 post office, window 7a (WS 5), which in turn transferred the shipment to the care of the clerk at window 4b, who applied a 50h postage due stamp (Scott J63) which he canceled. On the same day the shipment was delivered to the originator at 12 noon as "undeliverable". Receipt of the shipment was confirmed by the signature and rubber stamp (of the firm) … Hermann, factory for the manufacture of shoes (WS 8).

Thus ended the trail of the box from Central Europe to North Africa and back. The trail of the dispatch form would have ended as postal scrap (since it had   to be surrendered) and hence would have met its demise, particularly since it was stampless, except for a person, somewhere along the line, with an eye to collecting. Yet, thought this item tells a long and arduous story, its renaissance had to wait until now, when it has become a valued source of information for today's generation of postal history buffs.




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Since 17.5.1999