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Author: Subject: A very odd mute cancel...
David Jay
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[*] posted on 11/10/2010 at 02:28
A very odd mute cancel...


So this is an oddity -- a post card (picture from Grodno on the front) with a German stamp (10 pf) and a mute cancel. It is dated 8 Aug 1917. This item raises a number of questions:

1) Why a mute on an item from German occupied Belorus, canceling a German stamp?
2) Why is there a stamp? shouldn't it be a free frank?
3) Why no censorship? What is the purple mark?
4) Where is the receiver?
5) IS this a crude forgery?

Some of those questions I have answers for, some not.

Starting with 5) -- I don't think it is a forgery -- examination with a microscope does not suggest that it is a laser printer forgery, at least. Also, the age spots and the indistinct purple mark are not the usual sort of thing one usually finds on a forgery.

4) I wish it had a receiver -- it doesn't.

2) Why the stamp: the card wasn't sent by a soldier. It is addressed to Grellingen (Canton Bern ??),
which is in Switzerland, to the bakery, to Otto Thurnherr(??).
The message, as much as I can make out, reads like a missive
to a family member or close friend. Thus, the sender was Swiss, and not in the German army. It is addressed and directed to "Lieber Otto", but then refers to Otto in the 3rd
person -- perhaps a grandfather or something?? As civilian mail, it needs to be franked, and is. I have no idea if this is the right franking for the period and routing. The fact that it is to Switzerland also suggests that it is not a forgery -- what are the odds of finding a PC sent to Switzerland in August 1917 that one could put a larger stamp and fake cancel on to? Could it be a fake from a formerly empty PC? Perhaps, but the age spots tie the stamp (OK, that could be faked, too).

1) Why a mute cancel? Levin notes that a few other examples exist of mutes used during German occupation. Since this is an item of civilian mail, it would be handled by a civilian post office.
Probably the old cancelers had been destroyed, or perhaps the occupying army objected to an Russian language markings. Either an older mute was used (though this one doesn't correspond to any known Grodno marks), or a new one was made.

3) Why no censor marks? No idea. The indistinct purple mark seems to be in western script, and the middle worn may be the article "dem" in the dative case.

Grodno_German.jpg - 335kB
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howard
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[*] posted on 11/14/2010 at 12:16


The first word in the purple mark looks like Aus. The last word looks like Polen.
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David Jay
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[*] posted on 11/14/2010 at 14:09


Thanks Howard. It does look like "Aus dem Polen", but as Clara says, this isn't proper German. Perhaps it is German via Polish?
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red1999
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[*] posted on 12/3/2010 at 04:48


I concur with "Aus dem" but it does not look like Polen. And as already said, this would not be correct German.
Still even as native German speaker, I have no idea what the third word could be...
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tbeberger
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[*] posted on 12/25/2010 at 06:20


Hello
The cachet says "Aus dem Felde" - literally "From the field, meaning "From the theatre of war".
Ciao Thomas Berger
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David Jay
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[*] posted on 12/25/2010 at 16:24


Thomas -

How was this mark used -- would it be expected on franked civilian mail?
Thanks,

David
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tbeberger
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[*] posted on 12/26/2010 at 09:40


Dear David
The mark "Aus dem Felde" indicates to me that this is a fieldpost postcard. The receiver is Swiss, because Thurnherr is a name which can be found in Switzerland, but which I do not know from Germany ( I am German living in Switzerland). Grellingen is nowadays in the canton Basel, up to 1993 it belonged to the canton Bern. From the handwriting the sender can be German or Swiss.
A possibility to explain the features of this card could be like this: Fieldpost was of course postage-free within Germany. However, if such field postcards came to Switzerland, they were taxed. Maybe the sender wanted to avoid this and added a 10 Pfennig stamp which was the regular postcard tariff abroad. The stamp was not postmarked as there was no fee to be paid (from the German side). What I really miss is a Swiss receiver mark, because the Swiss postal services habe been very careful to apply one.
I think that the "mute mark" is a fake. However I cannot prove it, but nothing is more simple than to produce such an ink-transfering device. I add a 20 Kop. Kerenski card with such an "improvement".
Ciao Thomas

Kerenski_20 Kop_Front_150dpi.jpg - 315kB
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David Jay
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[*] posted on 12/26/2010 at 18:52


Thomas -
You may well be right. However, if a Swiss citizen (not a soldier) wanted to use the military or fieldpost,
wouldn't he be charged postage, regardless of whether the item went to Germany or Switzerland?
And then what cancel would be applied?

I agree that the absence of a receiver is unfortunate, but that has really no bearing on whether the mute
was added or not. If it were genuinely sent, it should have a receiver, franked or not. If it was not sent, then the whole production is a fake, including the message and the "aus dem Felde" mark. While that is clearly possible,
it is a lot of work, when you consider the stamp is tied by the age marks as well.

Is there some simple chemical used to make the age marks?
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tbeberger
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[*] posted on 12/27/2010 at 14:38


Dear David
I do not have a conclusive explanation for this provisionl mark on the stamp. I cannot say anything about the sender except that he called himself Christian and that seemed to be in the active German service, otherwise no field post mark was applied (I am still assuming that everything except the mark on the stamp is original).
There are so many possibilities. A stamp was added which was not necessary. A receiver postmark was forgotten to be applied. I do not think that the truth can be found.
Ciao Thomas
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