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.

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