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Gallery » Danzig Report 12 - November, December 1976 » HISTORY OF DANZIG’S MAIL AND POSTAL CANCELLATIONS


The first mail traveled thru Germany in 1519 Franz von Taxis had been given the license without the princes’ surrendering the mail privilege itself, On February 17, 1646, Danzig was connected to Riga via Königsberg.

In Prussia it was the “Grosse Kurfürst” who recognized the advantage of having a permanent postal institution and the importanœ of Danzig for such an institution connecting Cleve and Memel. The results of his negotiations with the Danzig municipal master of messengers were (a) a twice weekly pony express, Königsberg - Danzig, and (b) the swearing in of the Danzig postulions for Danzig and for the electoral service as well.

In 1649, the state took over the running and administrating of the postal service. The journey via Berlin was shortened by 24 hours. There was no lack of disputes with Danzig. Poland, too, involved herself in these at Danzig’s request.

By means of a contract with Danzig, postage in 1654 was 7 Groschen for 100 ducats from Danzig to Memel; to Königsberg it was 3 Groschen; to Hamburg 20 Groschen. As it was for letters, postage for packages was levied according to decagrams (10 grants). The fare for people was 3 Groschen per mile plus a tip of 6 Groschen per station for the postillion. Occasionally, postage schedules were printed and posted together with postal reports in post offices and administrative offices for information. In 1660, the Danzig City Council demanded that the mail be carried all the way to the border. In the peace treaty of Oliva, a stipulation was attached (upon Polish insistence) to the surrender of the city of Elbing that the “Grosse Kurfürst” close his post office in Danzig; consequently, Brandenburg relocated her post office to Wutzkow.

The traveling speed of the mail was generally one mile per hour; the processing time was to 3/4 of an hour. Postage for 10 grams from Danzig to Stettin was 3 Groschen.

In 1696, the Danzig postmaster, who had been installed by Poland, was engaged to intercede with his government that from then on Brandenburg’s official mail should be carried thru Poland by electoral dragoons rather than by Polish mail. At the same time, it was demanded

Figure 2: Earliest known Danzig letter; carried by ship captain, endorsed “p(er) mare”, Danzig to London April 30, 1650.


Danzig Report  Nr. 12 – November - December - 1976, Page 6.

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