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Gallery » Danzig Report 97 - October, November, December 1997 » Aus dem Briefkasten by Bill Ruh


A word of explanation seems to be appropriate as an introduction to Bill Ruh’s excellent article. Auf dem Briefkasten was not a uniquely Danzig event; it had appeared on Germ an covers and had been part of the German postal system for some time.Therefore, we should also look at covers that were not from Danzig in order to illustrate its use.

This is what happened with the 1868 wrapper to Philadelphia in Figure 2. The Aus dem Brief kasten imprint was applied, along with a Recomandirt hand stamp. Since the stamps paid the proper rate for registered mail to the United States, it was sent on its way. Both hand stamps received cancels along with the stamps.

FIGURE 2: Cover from Chemnitz. Germany. 3 Nov. 1868, to Philadelphia, 21 November, 1868.North German Confederation stamps, Michel 5, paying the Ausland (foreign) letter and registration rate of 4 Gmschen.Aus dem Briefkasten and Recomandirt (registered) handstamps applied. Chemnitz cancels applied to the handstamps along with the postage stamps. Blue FRANCO handstamp also applied.

Often, in the 19th century, the marking was also put on underf ranked mail. Most mail, before the advent of the Universal Postal Union, could be subject to rates which the general public was unfamiliar with. This was especially true with mail to foreign destinations. The rate varied with the distance, the routing, and differing currencies and regulations, in addition to the weight of the letter. This often made it prudent to bring mail to the post office. The risk of not knowing the proper rate is illustrated by the 1871 cover to Belgium in Figure 3. Later, with the rates and regulations becoming more widely known and mail boxes more confidently used, the Aus dem Brief kasten marking was used much less frequently on under-franked mail. Most of these covers were simply marked postage due or returned to the sender for additional postage, if possible.

Figure 4 is an example of an 1875 cover to South America that was apparently mailed with no postage applied. It received the Aus dem Brief kasten marking and then had it crossed out after the sender re-mailed it with the postage added. These three covers (Fig. 2 thru 4) are from German cities other than Danzig, but they-illustrate the uses of the hand stamp. Comparable Danzig covers during this period would be interesting to see.


Danzig Report Vol. 1 - Nr. 97 - October - November - December - 1997, Page 4.

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