22 February 2016

Air mail to Chicago

Another post with two letters. Both letters were sent to Borg-Warner Corporation in Chicago, Il in the end of 1954. The first one was sent on Friday 5 November and it was a registered letter dealt with by the Post Office Stockholm 1, the main post office of Stockholm situated on 28 - 34 Wasa Street (Wasagatan 28 - 34).  Stockholm 1 was also co-located with the head office of the Swedish Post, where the Swedish Post actually filled up two blocks along Master Samuel's Street (Mäster Samuelsgatan) . The stamp print shop was also located there but in the middle of the two blocks towards Klara North Church Street (Klara Norra kyrkogata).

Registered air mail  - 10 g. Fee: 90 öre + registration fee: 40 öre
1954, 15 March. 30 öre red Gustaf VI Adolf type I. Qty: 14,900,000.
1952, 1 July. 50 öre grey Three Crowns. Qty: 23,700,000

There are three labels on the letter cover. The blue one is the air mail label - Par Avion. To the left there is the mandatory registered mail label marked Stockholm 1 with a running number. Below a green label with the text "Utförsel medgiven" which means that the letter also had to pass Swedish Custom. The international registration fee was 40 öre at the time and it all summed up to 1.30 kr. Everything seemed to went well and as you can see the letter arrived in Chicago on the 8th of November according to the U.S Postal Service:

Arrival stamps by U.S. Postal Service in Chicago.
Left: "Old Post Office Stat."
Right: "Reg. Div.

The next letter was sent a month later, on Wednesday 8 December 1954, and handled by the Post Office Gothenburg 1 (Göteborg 1). This letter was slightly heavier, but since no registration was needed the cost was less, 1.15 kr.

The three stamps on a row are the classic line-up of Swedish definitive stamps in the fifties and sixties (at least the first part of the decade). To the left the New Numeral Type a series for complementary low denomination, denominations below the most common postal rates. At the time there was only one stamp the 5 öre, but the series would get both 10 and 15 öre stamps later on. In the middle the Gustaf VI Adolf series used for letters, domestic and international of different weight classes, post cards and printed matter and much more. This was the work horse of the Swedish definitive stamp series. Finally to the right the long running Three Crown series with mainly higher denominations and it did heavy duty for parcels.The orange 1 kr was the Three Crown stamp printed in the highest quantity in the series.

Air mail  - 15 g, fee: 1.15 kr
1951, 29 November. 5 öre red-violet New Numeral Type, type I. Qty: 140,000,000
1954, 12 April. Gustaf VI Adolf type I. Qty: 320,000,000
1939, 22 September. 1 kr orange Three Crowns. Qty: 141,000,000

There are no traces of the firm Autopart that sent the letter above but the sender of the first letter Sjöö Fabriksbolag AB still exists and at the same address they had in 1954 - 15 Industrial Road (Industrivägen 15) in Solna, a suburb very close to Stockholm. Borg-Warner is still a prosperous company. In 1954 the address 79 E. Adams Street was the Pullman Building. Built by the famous Pullman Palace Car Company in the 1880's. Four years later the Borg-Warner corporation moved into the  Borg-Warner building that they built on the same spot. That building is still standing, but Borg-Warner has moved away.

Both letters went trough this door.
Pullman building, Chigaco, Il.
(undated picture found on the Internet)

9 February 2016

Two letters to UK - 40 öre blue

The first letter was sent by J. D. Viktor Bemfelt, Stockholm,  an electrical engineer to EMP Electric Ltd, London UK. Mr. Bemfeldt used to be the Country Manager for the German giant AEG's subsidiary in Sweden and had a 25 year long career in the company until 1950 when he started his own firm - V. Bemfelts Elektriska AB (V. Bemfelt Elecric Inc.). In the beginning of May 1953 he apparently had an urgent matter to discuss with EMP Electric Ltd, a well reputed supplier of advanced electrical fuses.

A 40 öre blue Gustav VI Adolf type I was applied on the letter cover and the letter was initially handle by the Post Office Stockholm Ban, the Post Office at the Stockholm Central Station. 40 öre was the fee for first class international letters ( - 20 g). The 40 öre fee was in effect for ten years, from June 1952 until June 1962. In those days the postal rates were pretty much fixed. That would change from 1962 an on wards.

The 40 öre stamp had at the time to be of a blue colour  since the Swedish Post still was compliant with the UPU-colouring rules and blue was designated for international letters first class. 1953 was actually the last year when Swedish Post followed those UPU-rules. The 40 öre blue was replaced by the 40 öre olive-green in January 1954. Here is a post about UPU-colouring and its consequences - UPU-colours.

International Letter  - 20 g, fee 40 öre
1952, 1 July. 40 öre blue Gustaf VI Adolf type I. Qty: 12,600,000.

Twelve years later 40 öre could still bring a letter to UK. In this case it is a Christmas card that was sent on Monday 20 December and it was taken care of the Post Office Göteborg 1, in Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast. The stamp is a 40 öre blue Gustaf VI Adolf type III. Did the Swedish Post revert to old UPU-colouring rules? Not at all, in December 1965 the postal rate for international letters was 60 öre and the designated stamp in the Gustaf Adolf series for those letters was coloured red. The Swedish Post had however always special rates for Christmas cards both domestic and international ones. The rate for Christmas card distributed abroad was 40 öre in 1965.

International Christmas card, special rate: 40 öre
1964, 25 June. 40 öre blue Gustaf VI Adolf type III. Qty: 416,000,000.

The normal use for the 40 öre blue Gustaf Adolf stamp in 1965 was for domestic letters  - 20 g. The reason why the stamp became of a blue colour is more likely dependent of the fact that the Swedish Post still only had one-colour printing capabilities. The Gustaf Adolf stamp for domestic letters was also always issued in slot machine booklets. Since different stamps had to be used in the booklets they all had to be of the same colour. The sum of the slot machine booklets was limited to 1 kr and depending on the actual rate for domestic letters the numbers of stamps could vary, but it was since 1957 always combined with the 10 öre blue New Numeral Type, type II, link to New Numeral Type. Hence the blue colour.

At Christmas card time special charity stamp looking stickers were sold and one of those is placed on the back of the cover.

Season Greeting sticker.