Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The War Years: Dutch Royalty in Canada

On May 10, 1940 Germany invaded the Netherlands. Two days later the entire Dutch royal family fled to England aboard HMS Codrington, sent by George VI. While Queen Wilhelmina established her government-in-exile in London, Princess Juliana (heiress to the throne) took her daughters to Canada.

Princess Juliana c.1940

The Princess and her daughters Beatrix  and Irene sailed to Canada aboard the Dutch ship "Sumatra" arriving in Halifax on June 11, 1940.

Arrival in Halifax, June 11, 1940 Princess Juliana
and her daughters
disembarking from the Dutch
ship "Sumatra

The Princess and her family resided at Stornoway in Rockcliffe, a suburb of Ottawa during their five year sojourn in Canada.


During the war, Juliana's husband Prince Bernhard was stationed in London as part of the Allied war planning councils and an active RAF wing commander flying both fighter and bomber planes into combat.

Princess Juliana , Prince Berhard and their
eldest daughters
in Ottawa

Princess Margriet

Juliana's third daughter, Margriet, was born January 19th, 1943 at the Ottawa Civic Hospital (the land under the hospital was temporarily placed under Dutch control so that the princess could remain Dutch and would therefore not obtain a double nationality).

Christening of Princess Margriet, at Saint Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, June 29, 1943
Seated (from right to left) in the front row are Prince Bernhard; Princess Juliana with infant daughter Princess Margriet; Princess Beatrix; Princess Irene; Queen Wilhelmina; the Governor General, the Earl of Athlone; Princess Alice. Mackenzie King is seated in the second row behind Queen Wilhelmina.

Princess Juliana with Queen Wilhelmina, Prince Bernhard
and the three princesses at Stornoway, 1943.

Office of the Aide-de-Camp to H.R.H. Princess Juliana correspondence

Ottawa to Millhaven, Georgia, December 27, 1943

Juliana's "Thank You" Gift to Canada

Juliana returned to the Netherlands in May, 1945. To thank the Canadians for their hospitality, Princess Juliana sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in1945. Since then, the Dutch send 20,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa each year, which has led to the creation of the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa.

2002 commemorative stamp

(Juliana became Queen of the Netherlands with Wilhelmina's abdication in 1948 and was succeeded by Queen Beatrix after her own abdication in 1980.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Insufficiently Paid International Mail : "Centimes" Method of Taxation

Taxation of insufficiently paid international mail is governed by the rules of the Universal Postal Union (U.P.U.). This post looks at the method used to tax international mail from 1879 to 1907 and the changes that were implemented in 1907 and which were in effect until 1966.

 1879 - 1907

 Insufficiently prepaid international mail was charged double the rate that should have been paid, less any amounts paid. The following procedures were followed by sending and receiving offices:
  • The office of origin marked the article with a "T" for taxe and marked the amount of the deficiency in francs and centimes (see below).
  • The office of the country of destination calculated the amount due by doubling the marked deficiency (and converting this amount to local currency)
The letter shown below illustrates how the Canadian and German offices dealt with an inusfficiently paid letter.

The letter was mailed from Brampton, Ontario to Leipzig, Germany on March 23, 1894. At that time the Canadian U.P.U. letter rate was 5 cents for each 1/2 ounce.

 The letter was taxed by the Canadian office because it was insufficiently prepaid. Based on the markings, the proper rate was the 2nd weight step, or 10 cents for up to 1 ounce. The letter was shortpaid 5 cents.

Canadian Office
The office of origin marked the article with a "T" for taxe and marked the amount of the deficiency in francs and centimes.

 Canadian T 25 handstamp

The U.P.U. had adopted the franc of the Latin Monetary Union (LMU) as its operating currency. France, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland were the founding members of the LMU. Since the LMU franc was based on a gold standard, countries such as Canada that were not in the LMU could convert their currencies to LMU francs.

The 5 cent deficiency was converted to centimes:

German Office
The office of the country of destination calculated the amount due by doubling the marked deficiency.

The German office doubled the deficiency:

then converted the 50 centimes to pfennig.

The amount due was written in blue :

40 (pfennig due)
Germany did not use postage due stamps.

A few more examples from the pre-1907 period:

Canada to Belgium

 Quebec to Namur, Belgium, September 1, 1900

The international post card rate was 2 cents. Since the letter was shortpaid 1 cent the amount of deficiency was 5 centimes.

Canadian Office

 The Canadian office stamped T/5 to indicate 5 centimes single deficiency

Belgian Office

The deficiency was doubled:

then converted to Belgian centimes:

0.10 centimes Belgian due

10 centimes Belgian postage due stamp

The post card was folded and sealed with the postage due stamp. In order for the addressee to see the message, the amount due had to be paid.

Canada to France

Quebec to Paris, September 20, 1904

The international post card rate was 2 cents. Since the letter was shortpaid 1 cent the amount of deficiency was 5 centimes ( 1 cent = 5 centimes).

 Canadian T/5 handstamp

The French office doubled the deficiency and converted the conversion to LMU centimes was straightforward since the French centimes was equal to the LMU centimes.The amount due was 10 French centimes.

I cannot explain the French 10/10 marking nor why two 10 centimes postage due stamps were affixed to the post card.

Rome Convention 1907

The Rome Convention changes came into effect on October 1, 1907. The significant change was that it was now the sending country that doubled the deficiency in centimes. However, this change in procedure did not affect the amount charged by the receiving country.

Niagara Falls to Cholet, France

Since the international post card rate was 2 cents, the card was shortpaid 1 cent.

Canadian Office

The  Canadian office doubled the deficiency and converted this amount to centimes.

 T/10 double the deficiency in centimes

French Office

The receiving office no longer doubled the amount of the deficiency. The taxe amount was converted to the local currency. Since the French centime was equal to the LCM centime, the amount due in this case was 10 French centimes.

 10 centimes French postage due stamp

1925 : Gold Franc

In 1925, the Stockholm Convention replaced the Latin Monetary Union franc with a notional UPU currency, the "gold franc". The gold franc was not based on the currency of any country but defined by a specific weight of gold. The value of currencies in gold francs was then based on their equivalence to gold.

1925- 1966

 The taxation procedure outlined above remained in place until 1966 when the Vienna Convention fractional tax system was introduced. Articles dealing with the Vienna Convention taxation system can be found HERE.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hillsborough New Brunswick

Hillsborough , New Brunswick, an historic village located about 30 kilometers south of Moncton, is the site of the New Brunswick Railway Museum, formerly known as the Salem and Hillsborough Railroad (S and H). A slogan cancellation from Hillsborough drew my attention to the village.

Railroad Museum

The S and H was formed in 1982 by a group of enthusiastic volunteers who secured possession of a section of Canadian National trackage. Regular coach and dinner tourist trains between Hillsborough and Salem were operated from 1982 until 2004.

From 1984 to 1989, the Hillsborough post office's International Peripheral System machine canceller was provided with a slogan publicizing the S and H.

 Hillsborough to Niagara Falls, April 27, 1989


New Brunswick Railway Museum, Hillsborough

The Battle of Petticodiac 1755

During the Seven Years' War  between the French and the British,  the Acadian settlement of Village-des-Blanchard (now Hillsborough) was attacked by British troops. French forces lead by Captain Charles Deschamps de Boisheber successfully drove off the British in the Battle of Petticodiac.

A  National Historic Sites and Monument plaque marking the Battle of Petticodiac stands in front of the railway museum.

 Charles Deschamps de Boishébert

The plaque reads:
Near this town on 3rd September, 1755, a detachment of Major Frye's troops, sent from Fort Cumberland to destroy Acadian Settlements on the river and compel the people to surrender for deportation, was defeated by a French force under Charles Deschamps de Boishébert.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The "Maple Leaf" and "Numeral" Issues 1897 - 1903 Foreign Rates

Rates to UPU destinations remained stable during this period. However, the inauguration of the Imperial Penny Post (2 cents Canadian) scheme on December 25, 1898 resulted in a significant lowering of letter rates to the United Kingdom and the Empire, i.e., from 5 cents to 2 cents per one-half ounce.

A. United States

1. Letter

a) To December 31, 1898

The letter rate was 3 cents per ounce.

[Not shown]

b) From January 1, 1899

The letter rate to the United States was reduced to 2 cents for each ounce.

Ottawa to Bisbee, Arizona, December 21, 1901
2 cents letter rate to the United States

London to Milford, Del., November 6, 1901
2 cents letter rate to the United States

2. Post Card

The post card rate was 1 cent.

Quebec to Brooklyn, August 16, 1900
1 cent post card rate

Belleville to Lancaster, Mass., October 1, 1900
1 cent post card rate

Toronto to Cincinnati, September 4, 1903
1 cent post card rate
Raphael Tuck & Sons "Empire Post Card" No. 272

3. Registration

The registration fee was 5 cents.

St. John West, N.B., to New York, November 13, 1898
8 cent numeral stamp paying 3 cents letter rate + 5 cents registration fee

4. Acknowledgment of Receipt

The acknowledgment of receipt was 5 cents. The AR fee was paid on the item mailed.
A very rare cover.

Registered letter from Montreal to New Orleans, August 9, 1899
2 cent letter rate + 5 cents registration + 5 cents acknowledgment of receipt fee

B. United Kingdom and British Empire


a) To December 24, 1898

The letter rate was 5 cents for each one-half ounce.

Great Britain

London, Ontario to London, January 4, 1898
5 cents letter rate


Wolfville to Cocanada, India, February 3, 1898
5 cents letter rate

b) From December 25, 1898

The letter rate was reduced to 2 cents for each 1/2 ounce (Imperial Penny Post Scheme).

Halifax & St. John Mail Car to London, July 31, 1899
2 cent Imperial Penny Postage letter rate to England

London receiver
August 12, 1899

Ottawa (House of Commons) to Kingston, Jamaica, April 22, 1899
2 cent Imperial Penny Postage letter rate to Jamaica

Queen Victoria Mourning Cover

Queen Victoria died on January 22, 1901. The mourning cover shown below was mailed to India.

Toronto to East Kirkee, India, March 4, 1901
2 cents Imperial Penny Postage letter rate to India
(Re-directed to Lahore)

C. Universal Postal Union Countries

1. Letter

The UPU letter rate was 5 cents.

Ottawa to Perier-sur-Dan, France, May 7, 1900
5 cents UPU letter rate

Georgetown to Paris, August 2, 1898
1 cent "Letter Card" uprated to 5 cents with 3 cent and 1/2 cent stamps
5 cents UPU letter rate

Halifax to Fredericksted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands (Denmark), July 14, 1899
5 cents UPU letter rate
( Sadly only a front)

2. Post Card

The UPU post card rate was 2 cents.

Prescott to Vegesack, Germany, May 3, 1900
2 cents UPU post card rate

Halifax to Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy, July 9, 1899
2 cents UPU post card rate

Montreal to Vienna, March 6, 1901
2 cents UPU post card rate

Toronto to Brussels, April 17, 1898
Uprated 1 cent Post Card
Brussels receiver April 28, 1898

Universal Postal Union Post Card

Montreal to Leipzig, Germany, February 28, 1902
2 cents UPU Post Card

Niagara Falls to Kobe, Japan, September 12, 1899
2 cents UPU Post Card
San Francisco transit September 16, 1899
Kobe receiver October 19, 1899

3. Printed Matter

The first weight UPU printed matter rate was 1 cent.

London to Hjorring, Denmark, December 11, 1902
1 cent UPU printed matter rate

The Canadian Packing Co. London, Ontario
Hjorring receiver December 24, 1902

Montreal to Lille, France, January 6, 1903
1 cent UPU printed matter rate

4. Registration

The registration fee was 5 cents.

The cover below to Italy is a lovely example showing the UPU registration rate. Unfortunately a 3 cent stamp has fallen off. The stamp was originally below the 2 cent numeral that received the pen cancel. There is gum residue in that location. It is unlikely that the stamp was deliberately removed by a philatelist. With that said :

Two ounce registered letter from Roberval, Quebec, to Bologna Italy, October 30, 1898
(Remaining postage on the envelope : 12 cents)
10 cents letter rate (double weight) + 5 cents registration fee

The missing stamp was probably pen-cancelled as well.

A scarce mailing from Dawson, Yukon, is shown next.

Dawson, Yukon Territory to Frieberg, Germany, June 3, 1903
The UPU letter rate was 5 cents for each 1/2 ounce.

10 cents letter rate for 1 ounce ( 2 x 5 cents/ 1/2 ounce) + 5 cents registration fee