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Gallery » Danzig Report 93 - 1996 » The Bordeaux Correspondence 1759-1803 by John Whiteside


The next change occurs with the French acquisition of all the lands on the left bank of the Rhine late in 1797. The entry mark MASEYCK is replaced by a new one: PAR WESEL. The intermeiate rate of 4 sous disappears, but the rates to Bordeaux remain at 34 sous, etc. I have not found any items showing the “extra sous” rates, but they may possibly occur.

One very strange cover of 1799 has a rate of 45 soils, which doesn’t fit into the pattern at all. It might be an error of charge at 1Y2 times a single rate of 30 sous.

The final change is that from livres and sous to francs and décirnes. This took place on 1st January 1801. The single rate of 34 sous became 17 d&imes and the double rate of 3 livres 6 sous is now 33 decimes.

A one-ounce letter of July 1801 is worthy of description, It bears a red “4x” and “fr 128” for a 4-times rate of 128 Danzig groschen. In France, it has “1°”for one once and rate “6fr. 8” for 4-times the single rate of 17 d&imes. This is one of only three items seen with a Danzig rate of over 32 groschen. One other, of February 1803, is marked “f 64” and is charged as a double letter in France, but at 34 instead of 33 decimes. This appears to he an example of the occasional earlier “extra sou” rates and there is a calculation on the back that may indicate this.

The last covers I have records of are of 1803. It is thought that similar items could be found up to 1806, except for items via Hamburg for which new arrangements began when a treaty concluded between France and the Thurn & Taxis P.O. in 1802.

From 1806, the changes due to Napoleon’s occupation of Germany mean that routes, transit arrangements and rates are varied and material is not easy to find.

This all represents what I have been able to piece together from the postal history of this, to me, fascinating period. It will certainly be neither a wholly complete or totally accurate picture. I hope very much that it will prove of interest. It may seem somewhat overlong, but I have tried to explain things as fully as possible. I hope those to whom much of the basics is familiar will forgive me.


Les Tarifs Postaux Francais, 1627-1969, Alexandre, Barbey, Brun, Desarnaud and Joany, Paris, 1982. Les Tarifs de Ia Poste aux Lettres de 1759 et de 1792, Roger Wallart. Les Feuliles Marcophiles, supplement to No.2 73.

Bevorderd, Forwarded, Achemine. 0. W. de Haari, Nederlandsch Maandblad voor Philatelie, July/August 1972. Nouveau Dictionnaire Universe! de Ia Geographie Moderne, F.D.Aynes, Paris, 1813. Dictionnaire t.Jniversel des Poids et Mesures Anciens et Modernes. H. Doursther, Brussels, 1840.

Figure 2- Written at Danzig, 5th January, 1779.Forwarding agents: Jan, Dirk & Willem van Vollenhaven, Amsterdam, 18 January, 1779.D’HOLLANDE and single rate: 30 sous.Arrived Bordeaux 27 January, 1779.

Figure 3 - Written at Danzig, 27 August, 1782.Forwarding agent: Christian Sprengel, Amsterdam, 5 September 1782.D ‘HOLLANDE and single rate with “extra sou” 31 sous.Arrived Bordeaux 14 $eptember, 1782.

Figure 4 - Written at Danzig, 1 October, 1779.Forwarding agents: Abraham Clemens & Zooi, Amsterdam, 11 October 1779.D’HOLLANDE and double rate 58 sous with indicator for “double” Arrived Bordeaux 20 October, 1779.


Danzig Report Vol. 1 - Nr. 93 - October - November - December - 1996, Page 7.

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