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Gallery » Danzig Report 77 - October, November, December 1992 » 2. UNINSURED MAIL DELIVERED BY THE POST OFFICE


A serial number is assigned to each cachet, label and wax seal for ease of future reference using a scheme similar to that adopted for the Dresden Office (reference 5). The first number 1 refers to the office number assigned to the Berlin W8 Office. The next character is either a C for cachet, L (plus lower case letter) for label, N for inspector’s number or S for wax seal. The next number is used to indicate major type differences followed by a lower case letter to indicate minor variations. In table A of inspectors’ cachets, the lower case letters are the same as those used by Dahnke in his substantial article (reference 1).

Dahnke found many documents dealing with the exchange control inspection in Bavarian Post Office Archives. One of the documents dated 2 May 1922 Øves guidelines on how postal items were to be treated and the inspection carried out. This has been translated into English and is provided as an addendum to this paper. It is perhaps worth reading before proceeding with the rest of this article, as it gives an excellent description of what was meant to happen. Earlier guidelines no doubt existed but have not yet been found. Full references to various other documents are not given here as they can be found either in Dahnke’s articles or in this author’s previous work (references 11 & 12 particularly).


The bulk of the mail inspected in the Berlin W8 PU Office was uninsured mail delivered by the Post Office in sacks. Until October 1920 this included unregistered mail as well. During February 1923, the inspection of mail from foreign countries ceased. The inspectors were not able to open every item, and letters that were not opened can only be identified with Berlin by the type of inspectors’ cachet or other cachet used. The items which were opened can usually be identified by the office number assigned to Berlin W8 which was used on the sealing labels. This was number 1, because Berlin was the first office when names of all Offices were placed in alphabetical order. This was apparently done in late May 1919 (reference 12).


During 1919, the inspectors at Berlin W8 do not appear to have used personal cachets on the letters they opened. Sometimes they wrote their initials or a number, and occasionally both on the back of the envelope. In early 1920 nearly all letters bear an inspector’s number and initial. From February 1920 onwards, some of the inspectors used numeral cachets of various heights (iNla, lNlbl etc.) similar to those used earlier at Berlin 0 17. Figure 1 illustrates this and other inspectors’ cachets from Berlin W 8; further details are given in Table A. During March 1920, three pictorial cachets (lNp) were used, depicting a bee, a beetle and a butterfly. As only five covers are known with these cachets, their details are given:


Danzig Report Vol. 1 - Nr. 77 - October - November - December - 1992, Page 7.

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