28 August 2015

Five assorted stamps

The changing colours of 25 öre

This letter cover is not of the best quality. A little shredded and stained, blurry cancellation . . . Ah well, lets have a closer look. Five stamps from the 50s. Three 25 öre blue Gustaf VI Adolf type I, one 10 öre Gustaf VI Adolf and a 5 öre red New Numeral Type type I. The sum is 90 öre and there is also a note about that on the right of the stamp cluster. The label tells us that this postal item is an air mail. That seems correct since the postage rate for airmail to North America was 90 öre between September 1952 and June 1962.

International letter  fee: 40 öre + airmail fee 5 - 10 g fee: 50 öre
1954, 4 February. 25 öre blue Gustaf VI Adolf type I. Qty: 456,000,000
1954, 12 April. 10 öre brown Gustaf VI Adolf type I. Qty: 320,000,000
1951, 29 November. 5 öre red-violet New Numeral Type, type I. Qty: 140,000,000

The 25 öre denomination of the Gustaf VI Adolf type I series came in four different issues. Some what of a record having in mind that the type I existed just between 1951 and 1956, a mere six years. The first 25 öre stamp from 1951 was grey. Its single use was domestic letter  - 20 g. A year later the 25 öre red showed up in July and the reason was that the rate for international postcards was raised from 20 öre to 25 öre. The rate for domestic letter  - 20 g was untouched. The stamps for international postcards have to be red since Sweden still complied to the UPU-colours of international mail which stated that the colour has to be red and no other denomination could be red. The effect of following these rules have been presented in this blog post. The red 25 öre was one of the last Swedish stamps to follow the UPU rules since Sweden abounded this practice in 1953. The next 25 öre stamp became blue and arrived in early 1954. There were no raises in the postal rates to trigger a change in colours. Instead the Swedish Post was a little bit unhappy with shades of the colours of the whole series. They thought that the previous colours often was to light and shallow. Finally in June 1957 a fourth 25 öre stamp was issued, this time in a brown colour. It was issued at the same time as the first stamps of the the new revised type II series. That is pretty strange - to issue both old and new stamps. What was the reason? You can find a part of the explanation in the next paragraph. The brown 25 öre was replaced with the 25 öre brown Gustaf VI Adolf type II in October 1957

However the blue 25 öre set a new standard for the colouring of the denomination for the domestic letter  - 20 g (the most common postal rate), not unlike the UPU-colouring practice that was just abounded. It became blue for the years to come resulting in 30 öre, 35 öre, 40 öre and 45 öre blue stamps, until March 1969, when the new stamp for domestic letter first weight class, the 55 öre Gustaf VI Adolf type III, became red. The postage rate for was raised from 25 öre to 30 öre in July 1957. The new 30 öre became blue to mark that this denomination was for domestic letter first weight class. The old 25 öre blue had then to be cancelled and was replaced by the 25 öre brown. Maybe the decision of keeping the blue colour for the most common rate was made pretty quickly and there was no possibility to engrave a new 25 öre in the type II version of the series? I think that is a likely explanation.

The 10 öre changed colours only once. The first 10 öre was green and had to be coloured that way because it single use was international printed matter, even if the rate was still 10 öre it got its new brown colour in April 1954.

The letter was sent on Wednesday 20 June 1956 and the stamps were cancelled at the Post Office Stockholm 23 at 16 Yngliga Saga Street (Ynglingagatan 16), the Ynglinga saga is an old Icelandic traditional folk saga. We have had a postal item sent from that Post Office before, look here.

The back of the cover tells us that the sender was Dr. Jakob Möllerström. He was quite famous and he is regarded to be the father of Swedish biochemistry, he did biochemical studies already in the 20s and was internationally recognized for his research. His son became quite successful also, but in another field, as a composer of music and later professor. His name was Bengt Hambreus.

25 August 2015

First red-violet than wine-red

2 kr in two colours

2 kr was the last denomination to be issued in the long running Three Crown series. It was however the second time it was issued. The first 2 kr Three Crown, the red-violet one, is from July 1952. The event that triggered the release was that the rate for domestic parcels 3 - 5 kg was raised from 1.70 kr to 2 kr from 1 July. The last raise to 1.70 kr occurred just a year earlier but the 2 kr rate was effective until 1 July 1961, a long time for a parcel rate.

As usual with the Three Crown series the old rates kind of traveled down the weight classes and 2 kr became the new rate for the next weight class the 1 - 3 kg. The rate 2 kr lasted only a year, until 1 July 1962. After that the 2 kr covered the lowest weight class  - 1 kg. It did so until 1 July 1965. Which meant that the 2 kr red-violet did good service on domestic parcel cards for 13 years in a row. It was also used as single stamps for insured and express deliveries as well as various money orders during those years. 2 kr was also a good denomination to use for higher rates since it was easy to use many 2 kr stamps to count the correct sum. A very versatile Three Crown stamp indeed.

Domestic parcel card 15 kg fee: 14 kr
1952, 1 July. 2 kr red-violet Three Crowns. Qty: 84,800,000
1958, September 17. 5 kr blue Royal Palace, Stockholm II. Qty: 16,500,000 

The parcel address card from 1968 above is an excellent example where the 2 kr was used for higher rates. It was sent from the Post Office Göteborg 2 at 3 Oak Groove Street (Ekelundsgatan 3) in Gothenburg on Friday 1 November 1968 and arrived three days later at the Post Office Stockhom 1, the general post office at 28 - 34 Vasa Street (Vasagatan 28 - 34). Stockholm 1 was also co-located with the head office of the Swedish Post, where the Swedish Post filled up two blocks. Among many functions the stamp print shop was located there at the back towards Klara North Church Street (Klara Norra kyrkogata). Also at the back in the corner of Brewer Street and North Klara Church Street (Bryggargatan/Klara Norra Kyrkogata) was the special parcel office where this parcel was picked up on 5 November 1968.

The parcel card was actually sent just two months before the new version of the 2 kr showed up, the 2 kr wine-red. To me it is puzzling why the Swedish post as the last stamp in this series of 34 stamps choose to issue another version of the 2 kr stamp. Why? They could have kept the 2 kr red-violet. In the end of the 60s the Three Crown series was slowly phased out in favor of the new kind of definitive stamps for parcels that begun with the 3.50 kr olive-grey Ale´s Stones in 1965 and the three new parcels stamps from the spring of 1967, the 3.70 violet the Lion Fortress, the 4.50  red Uppsala Cathedral and the 7 kr blue/red Gripsholm castle.

Below is a domestic parcel card with the new 2 kr wine red Three Crowns, as earlier mentioned the last stamp issued in the series. Yes, it was sent outside the time period for this blog, but it looked so similar to the one above and all the stamps were issued before the end of 1973 so I made an exception . . .

Domestic address parcel card  - 5 kg fee: 9.80 kr + fragile 50% extra fee: 4.90 kr,
over franked with 10 öre.
1969, 20 January. 2 kr wine-red Three Crowns. Qty: 67,700,000
1971, 22 January. 80 öre blue/brown the Waxholm Boat. Qty: 58,100,000
1973, 12 November. 10 kr six-coloured Goosegirl. Qty: 14,700,000

23 August 2015

From the first one

Six stamps on a letter cover and the sum is 85 öre. This letter was bound for U.S. via airmail in December 1948. After some research I can not confirm any 85 öre postal rates for airmail to North America in 1948. The nearest I got is 80 öre for the weight class 5 - 10 g which was the rate effective from 1 January 1947 to 30 November 1949. My guess is that the sender did not have the right denominations at hand for exactly 80 öre and had to over frank the letter. The letter cover is not marked "5 g" which also indicates the higher weight class 5 - 10 g.

International letter fee 30 öre + airmail 5 - 10 g fee 30 öre,
over franked with 5 öre.
1948, 1 April. 10 öre green Gustaf V, right profile. Qty: 82,600,000, 3-sided perforation,
. . .  from the 84th booklet.
1945, 14 February. 15 öre brown Gustaf V, right profile, version I. Qty: 18,400,000 (pairs), 3-sided perforation,
. . . from the 71 th booklet.

According to the back side of the letter cover the sender was Professor Nanna Svartz, Stockholm. Mrs. Svartz was a pioneer in Swedish academics and she actually became the first female Professor in Sweden in 1938 at 48 years of age. She was a Professor in general medicine with a specialization in intestinal and rheumatic diseases.

To me it looks like it is a private letter to Dr. Amandus Johnson at Pennsylvania University. However that was apparently not the right address, some one has changed the address to 1300 Locus Street with a pencil. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is residing at that address which indicates that Dr. Johnson is not a medical doctor. He was not, Dr Johnson was an American historian, author and the founder of the American Swedish Historical Museum. He came with is parents to Minnesota in 1880 when he was three years old. He became a quite famous Swedish-American, at least in Sweden.

18 August 2015

New and old Cash On Delivery

This post is about two C.O.D. parcel address cards. The first one is of an older version. The parcel was handed over to the Post Office Bromma 19 in Nockeby a suburb of Stockholm on Monday 2 December 1968. The odd thing is that they used a card designed in January 1939 [more precisely form 398 b.] almost thirty years old by that time. Nockeby was built in the 30s and maybe this card was from the original stock from the opening of the Post Office?

Cash On Delivery parcel 2 kg fee: 3.70 kr + C.O.D fee 0.70 kr + unknown fee 1.20 kr
1958, 17 September. 5 kr blue Royal Palace, Stockholm II. Qty: 16,500,000 (2-sided perforation)
1967, 16 October, 30 öre red-orange/blue Outer archipelago of Stockholm. Qty: 184,000,000

The total sum paid was 5.60 kr. The fee for a parcel weighing up to 3 kg was 3.70 kr in 1968 and the C.O.D. fee was 0.70 kr. That makes 4.40 kr but the sum is 1.20 kr more. My guess is that this parcel was bulky since that fee was an extra 50%, which is the missing 1,20 kr. Maybe the bulky lable came off or they just forgot to label. Anyways the stamp 5 kr blue Royal Palace Stockholm II was first issued in 1941 but then printed on panes. The 2-sided perforated version in coils actually on the card arrived not until 1958. The 30 öre red-orange/blue Outer archipelago of Stockholm single use was for printed matter, but it was a new kind of definitive stamps. One can say that it replaced the New Numeral Type series from the fifties when it came in 1967.  The 30 öre stamps belonged to a series called just Definitive Stamps. The denominations of the series were 5 öre, 10 öre, 30 öre and 90 öre. Read more about the Definitive Stamps series - here.

The content of the parcel were boots and they were bound for the shop called The Shoe Company (Skokompaniet) on King's Street (Kungsgatan) downtown Stockholm. The parcel was picked up the next day. We can also note that the sender filled in the correct postal code 111 22. Postal codes were a novelty for 1968 and introduced in May.

The second C.O.D. parcel address cards was sent more than a year earlier, on Wednesday 25 October 1967, but it looks much more modern. The card came in 1964 and was called form 2010.5. In this case the card has to be printed 1965 or later beacuse the card has the new logotype that was introduced the same year. The parcel was sent from the town Linköping to the village Tandsbyn in the province of Jämtland. The weight was 3 kg and the fee was in this case the same as above, 3.70 kr, the C.O.D. fee was 70 öre totaling 4.40 kr. It was sent from Post Office Linköping 1 situated in a magnificent building at 18 - 20 St. Lars Street (S:t Larsgatan 18 -20).

C.O.D. parcel 3 kg fee 3.70 kr + C.O.D. fee 0.70 kr
1967, 15 February, 3.70 kr violet the Lion Fortress. Qty: 16,000,000
1957, 1 June. 70 öre orange Rock Carvings type II. Qty: 10,900,000

In this case it is the 3.70 kr violet the Lion Fortress that is new, issued in February 1967. The 70 öre orange Rock Carvings is a definitive stamp of an older generation where the first stamp in that series was issued in 1954 as a complement to the long running Three Crown series. In the fifties the Rock Carving series felt fresh and it stayed around at least as long as in the beginning of the 70s. On this card both stamps are a nice couple of Swedish definitive stamps.

Here is where the Post Office Bromma 19 used to be. (Google)
. . .  and here is where you could find the Post Office Linköping 1. (Google)

Where are the places?
Nockeby is situated 8 km W of Stockholm
Tandsbyn is situated 446 km NW of Stockholm.
Linköping is situated 174 km SW of Stockholm.

11 August 2015

From unknown to known

Shorter life spans

The stamp 3.70 kr violet the Lion Fortress from spring 1967 had as a purpose to cover parcel rates. It covered parcels weighing 1 to 3 kg.  The domestic parcel address below got one Lion Fortress stamp and it was sent from Helsingborg Thursday 13 June 1968 to Stockholm. Mr. Münch the sender did not have the correct address to Mrs. Wedar, as it seems. Apparently Mrs. Wedar did not live on 2 Tor's Street (Torsgatan 2). That building was used as office building and was not residential. The address card got stamped "back to sender" on the front and "address unknown" on the back. However the Post Office Stockholm 1 did not give up and sent it to its special bureau for finding addresses.

Domestic parcel 2 kg fee: 3.70 kr.
1967, 15 February, 3.70 kr violet the Lion Fortress. Qty: 16,000,000
The back side of the parcel address card.

On Monday 17 June the card got in the hand of the special address bureau according to the oval stamp on the back and they sorted out the problem quickly. The parcel was intended for the Swedish magazine Swedish Journal (Svenska Journalen). The correct address was added to the card on the front. Mrs. Wedar worked there as a journalist, she was also an author of several books. The parcel was picked up the next day.

The 3.70 kr violet the Lion fortress was a new kind of definitive stamps that replaced the old Three Crowns series. The new thing in 1967 was the fact that it was just a single stamp not a series of stamps with the same motifs but different denomination as before.

Take the 1.70 kr red Three Crowns for example. That stamp had the same main purpose as the Lion fortress. It was issued in 1 June 1951 and then it covered the new rate for domestic parcel 3 - 5 kg. In June 1952 it covered the new rate for 1 - 3 kg parcels and finally in June 1961 it covered the new rate for parcels up to 1 kg until July 1964 when the rates were raised again. The denomination 1.70 kr propagated through the postal rates for parcels. After that the 1.70 kr faded away.

The Lion Fortress on the other hand did not last after the raise of the parcel rates in January 1969. The reason was that in the sixties the raises had to become much more substantial than before. Often these specific stamps just lasted during one period of parcels rates.

The life span of the 1.70 kr Three Crowns as a stamp for domestic parcels [öre]

June 1951 to June 1952 to June 1964
- 1 kg 1 - 3 kg 3 - 5 kg
110 140 [170]
140 [170] 200
[170] 200 250

The life span of the 3.70 kr the Lion Fortress as a stamp for parcels [öre]

January 1967 to December 1968
- 1 kg 1 - 3 kg 3 - 5 kg
280 [370] 450

8 August 2015

Holland Michigan

Ordinary Gustaf VI Adolf stamps

On Wednesday 1 April 1970 the incorporated company Proinvestements Scandinavia in Stockholm sent a letter to Surplus Service in the town of Holland in Michigan, US. Two 55 öre red Gustaf VI Adolf type II and one 10 öre blue/black Swedish ship in Öresund made 1.20 kr. The letter cover has no Air Mail label but the sum 1.20 kr was the rate for air mail letter to North America 5 - 10 g. The rate for sending the letter by surface would have cost 70 öre.  The 55 öre Gustaf VI Adolf single use was domestic letter  - 20 g since March 1969 until October 1971. Two 55 öre Gustaf VI Adolf would cover the fee for international letter 20 - 40 g. The 10 öre stamp was a complementary denomination and belonged to the quite revolutionary series called Definitive Stamps from 1967. Read more about the Definitive Stamps series - here.

Air mail to North America 5 - 10 g fee: 1.20 kr
1969, 28 February. 55 öre red Gustaf VI Adolf type III. Qty: 269,000,000
1967, 16 October, 10 öre blue/black Swedish ship in Öresund. Qty: 156,000,000

The letter was handled by the Post Office Nacka 1, but the address of the company Proinvestments Scandinavia was 33 King Street down town Stockholm, definitely a quite posh address, at least thirty years earlier. The closest Post Office would have been Stockholm 1. Nacka is a suburb south of Stockholm.

In 1970 the address of the sender was 33 King's Street in Stockholm. (Google). Just besides one of the two famous King's Towers, Stockholm's first skyscrapers,    . . . well, high raises) and the crossing bridge of  the Ridge Dividing Street (Malmskillnadsbron).
Read more about the King's Tower - here.

There are not much traces of Proinvestments Inc. The Surplus Service in Holland, Michigan, seems to have been in business at least during the sixties and seventies. The regularly advertised in magazines as the Popular Mechanics or the Field & Stream. They sold any kind of government surplus to the public. Just write for inquiries,  . . . so did indeed Proinvestment.

Add from Field & Stream July 1970.

4 August 2015

Bound for a box in Argentina

This letter cover has a some what puzzling address. I am not sure what Casilla means in Spanish, Casilla Correros seems to be mail boxes. Maybe it is a Post Office Box? That would mean mail box number 4327 in Buenos Aires. Must be a lot of Post Office boxes in that big city.

There are two 2 kr wine-red Three Crowns and a 20 öre green-black St Stephan, the Stable-Boy on the cover summing up to 4.20 kr. The letter was sent by air and it was also a registered letter. The postage rates for air mail have varied a lot over time and depending on which country. It is quite a research effort to sort that out, unlike surface mail that had a flat rate for every country since 1874.

Air mail to Argentina fee: 1.70 kr  + registered fee 2,50 kr
1971, 23 April. 20 öre green-black St Stephan, the Stable-Boy. Qty: 36,200,000
1969, January 20. 2 kr wine-red Three Crowns. Qty: 67,700,000

But there is one thing we know for sure - the fee for registered letter: 2.50 kr.  Then the air mail fee must have been 1,70 kr to Argentina in the fall of 1972. The registered fee was raised to 2.50 kr as of 1 October 1971.

The letter was dealt with at the Post Office Stockholm 1 the General Post Office at at Wasa Street on Thursday 30 November 1972. When Señor Juan Lukan received the letter is unknown.