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Posted Sep 20, 23 7:24 by Kimberlee Fuller (kimberlee)

Collectors Club - The Frontier Wars - South Africa Jan Hofmeyr - 9/20 - 5:30PM EDT

Hello! If you haven't already registered, we would like to remind you to attend our virtual program, scheduled for this evening, Wednesday, September 20, 2023, at 5:30 pm EDT/2:30 pm PDT. We will be featuring a program presented by Jan Hofmeyr discussing the Frontier Wars in South Africa.

On 18 July 1878, more than 17 cattle belonging to the Batlhaping people led by Chief Galeshewe strayed onto white farm land. All were shot by the farmer, fearing that they might be infected with Rinderpest. That led to a rebellion that lasted on and off for nearly 20 years. Galeshewe was eventually captured on 26 August 1897 by a contingent of troops from the Cape Volunteer Corp. Today he is revered as a resistance leader.

If you haven't registered already, please click on THIS LINK or copy and paste the link below into your browser:

You do not need to be a member of the Collectors Club to view the presentation. Anyone may join!


Posted Sep 19, 23 13:43 by Matthew Liebson (liebson)

Bill Robinson

A good man and a good postal historian.  May his memory be a blessing.

Posted Sep 19, 23 3:54 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

William (Bill) Robinson, RIP

Last night I received an email from Will Robinson,"It is with sadness that I need to report that Dad passed away September 12. He passed peacefully in his sleep."

Bill was a long time friend and client of mine and he very active as an advanced postal history collector - particularly of Wisconsin. His collection was recently sold by HR Harmer (sale #3061, October 2022). He will be missed by his many friends in philately.

The note from Will continues as follows:"There is a memorial service and visitation scheduled for September 25 at Lyndahl in Green Bay.  Meal to follow. If you cannot attend in person there will be a live stream available.


Posted Sep 18, 23 17:03 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Covers wanted

1942-1945 covers related to atomic scientists, atomic espionage, and the Chalk River laboratory in Canada.

Posted Sep 18, 23 16:37 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)

The French and warfare

Certainly France has had a rough go of it during my timeline of interest. Siege of Louisbourg 1710, French and Indian Wars; but they were there, for us when we needed them. I recommend "On the Wing of Speed" by Donald T. Phillips. He presents, in a very readable fashion, the events that led to the attached letter.


Posted Sep 18, 23 9:02 by Steve Walske (steve w)

Siege of Paris (continued)

Below is the envelope that was used to get the below Metz papillon into Paris.

It was postmarked in Saarbrucken, Prussia on September 15 and sent on to Paris, where the blue September 18 entry marking was applied. The last mail train left Paris at 4pm on September 18 (with mail up to the 3rd collection), so this was trapped in the siege.

Madame Lejeune had left Paris for Saumur, so the envelope postmarked (on the reverse) at Paris Corps Legislatif on the 6th collection of September 18, and then forwarded by the first Paris balloon "Neptune" out of Paris on September 23.

It remarkably escaped from two different sieges.


Posted Sep 18, 23 8:52 by Steve Walske (steve w)

153rd anniversary of the Siege of Paris

Here's the annual reminder of that disastrous French war, but I'll mix it up a little this year with a truly extraordinary item.

Below is a slip of paper ("papillon") dated September 8, 1870 in besieged Metz which was carried out by the 6th unmanned balloon on September 11 (which carried only 50 such slips). It landed in near Forbach in occupied territory, where the postmaster added a September 14 postmark, but thought better of that and defaced the postmark before smuggling it across the nearby Prussian frontier, where it was placed in an unpaid envelope addressed to Paris (illustrated in the next post). The (correct) thinking was that it had a better chance of reaching Paris via the Prussian post than coming out of occupied France.


Posted Sep 17, 23 14:13 by Tim Henninger (pälzer)


...very always from Rob !

Posted Sep 17, 23 12:51 by John Barwis (jbarwis)


Rob's latest Postal History Sunday is a terrific overview - well written and beautifully illustrated. I wonder how many board members can show examples from other countries?

Posted Sep 17, 23 7:23 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Postal History Sunday

This week's Postal History Sunday is now available for those who might like to read it.


Posted Sep 16, 23 15:14 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


I guess no one has explicitly mentioned that Boker was OSS.

Posted Sep 16, 23 9:53 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)


I'm looking for anyone who can help with a typesetting question.
Obviously, the board knows it's a question about 250-300 year old type.
Please contact me off board if able to help.
Thanks, Tim

Posted Sep 16, 23 7:22 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Posted Sep 15, 23 14:58 by Matthew Healey (matthewhealey)

Boker pics

Thank you for the responses. I did get a good image from Köhler as well as from Joan Harmer. Hopefully they will suffice. Now I'm intrigued to find out what Boker did with Bauer. Who was, I found out, honored with a 2019 German stamp (


Posted Sep 14, 23 17:30 by Michael Gutman (mikeg94)

John Boker

Not the best picture but taken at a private dinner a number of years ago.


Posted Sep 14, 23 16:01 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Norway letter

I think that St. Ubes arrival has a good shot at being the one. Some of these earlier arrivals are possible, but less likely. (As for news of the American declaration of war, I suspect that reached London on 27 July. At first the British assumed a defensive posture, thinking that they had removed the casus belli and once the news reached the US, things would be OK. Trade with the British, some under US license continued for a long time, mainly supplying the peninsular campaign.)


Posted Sep 14, 23 15:44 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

boker pic (sneaking back to Meitner)

Heinrich Koehler did the fantastic Boker German sales three decades ago. They have his picture on at least on lot in a current sale. I would contact them. (The one they used is fairly late, possibly from the 80s. Very distinguished looking. I wonder if he knew Moe Berg, the ex baseball player and OSS operative who supposedly was sent to kill or not kill Heisenberg (the story does not make a lot of sense). Later, after hanging out with Tony Ferri around the end of the war, he spied on Lise Meitner and stole a letter he had promised to deliver to a friend.


Posted Sep 14, 23 15:14 by Oistein Boe (

Norway 1812 letter to Providence

Richard, John: Thank you for your gradvise and info. I will try too look at.Norwegian papers to identify a possible ship to abroad.

Posted Sep 14, 23 10:27 by Matthew Healey (matthewhealey)

John R. Boker photo

Hi all, I was contacted by the research assistant for an author (Jack Fairweather) who is writing a biography of Fritz Bauer (1903-1968), a German attorney general who survived the Holocaust and was instrumental in bringing Adolf Eichmann to justice. The author and his assistant are trying to find a nice photograph of John R. Boker, who is somehow part of Bauer's story. They located the attached portrait on the Smithsonian NPM web site, and their inquiry there led them to the Collectors Club in N.Y. The club does indeed have a framed photo of Boker, but it is in storage until at least February and therefore inaccessible. Question for the room: does anyone have, or know who might have, a good photo of Boker outside of the NPM or CC? It would be good if it were a) decent quality and b) the rights to it were not a stumbling block. The Bauer book will be published in 2024 by Penguin Random House in English. All leads appreciated,


Posted Sep 14, 23 8:12 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Oistein, Have you tried looking for the departure in the online Norwegian Newspaper Archives?

The oldest newspaper available seems to be “Norske Intellingens sedler” published in the 1760’s. An increase in the number of newspapers is seen from about 1850, while the large volume starts about the year 1900.

I would gladly do it for you but, alas, I cannot read Norwegian

Posted Sep 13, 23 17:17 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Ship arrivals in Boston, September 29 1812

Probably impossible to tell with any certainty which ship carried your letter. Too many possibilities. This is listing from Sep 30, 1812 “Columbian Centinel” Boston newspaper


Posted Sep 13, 23 14:45 by Oistein Boe (

Cover from Bergen, Norway to Providence R.I. 1812

I have a cover sent from Bergen in Norway dated June 20 1812 to Providence, R.I. It is noted received on SEP 29 1812 also confirmed by a BOSTON cancel. It has a hand stamp line "SHIP" and a manuscript marking "32" (rate). The postal route from Bergen to abroad was via Sweden at that time and in this period it was open (route was closed in periods during the Napoleon wars). However, there are no markings indicating that the letter was sent via this route. When I bought the letter 15-20 years ago it was stated that it had been most likely privately forwarded to U.K. by ship , posted and sent from there by ship. From what I understand the "32" cents was the triple rate for ship letters sent 40-90 miles (valid between1799-1814) including 2 cents ship letter fee. What I struggle with is the name of the ship and particular the assumption it was sent from the UK (seems strange due to the war in 1812). If anyone can confirm that the rate interpretation is correct and in particular clarify the port of shipment from Europe, that would be excellent. Or other comments. (What I may contribute with in this board is interpretation of pre-GPU letters to and from Norway)


Posted Sep 13, 23 12:26 by scott prior (sprior13)

Berthouds Mule Team Express

Ken, thanks for your postings in reply to my Berthoud/Berthould enquiries. I'll look up those journal write-ups by V.M. Berthold that you listed. Other than that, my searches thus far have turned up nothing new.


Posted Sep 12, 23 19:50 by Charles E. Cwiakala (

Col. Pratt’s Newfoundland Stamp Collection ...

The board of directors of the Collectors Club of Chicago ( has formally permitted to display the digital slides of the Col. Robert H. Pratt stamp collections of Newfoundland. Col. Pratt, of Milwaukee WI, is considered the pre-eminent Newfoundland stamp and postal history collector, researcher, and author.

Col. Pratt had photographed his collections, retained them as slides, and donated his ca. 4,300 slide collection to the Collectors Club of Chicago. The photographic slides were digitalized with the assistance of Clarence A. Stillions aided with support from the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS).

The photographic properties of the images are as received from Col. Pratt. The original selection had duplication and out of focus items that have been deleted. No changes to the images were made by the CCC website. The images consist of some early Canada and a large selection of Newfoundland philatelic materials.

The website owner, John M. Walsh with assistance from Andrew L. Winter, has organized the images into sequential dated categories for ease of viewing. The received originals were as jpegs. They were changed to tiffs and placed into PDF formats using Adobe software.

These digital slide image items are and remain the property of the Collectors Club of Chicago. The CCC allows their use for viewers without charge. All credit of use is deemed to be from the CCC, and permission has been given for personal use from the Collectors Club of Chicago. Please designate as such when used. (

Charles E. Cwiakala, Collectors Club of Chicago

Posted Sep 12, 23 15:47 by Terence Hines (thines)

Money order division official envelope

Here's a 1929 penalty mail cover from the NY Division of Money Orders. The "FRANCE" hand stamp must indicate that the enclosed message had something to do with a money order to/from France but would it have indicated that the addressee had received a postal money order from France? Also, there is a four digit "6004" at the top - printed along with the rest of the text on the cover. Any idea what this number stands for?

Thanks in advance.
Terence Hines


Posted Sep 11, 23 15:37 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

No Soviet spies in Iowa

When Nikita Khrushchev was touring Iowa in 1959 a reporter asked him why he seemed surprised at the abudant hybrid corn yield. With a smile he answered, "I guess you didn't try to keep it a secret."

Posted Sep 11, 23 14:48 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Noble parenting c1958

Tim, I was about 13 or 14. Dad was trying to encourage our (my brother was two years younger) interest and knowledge in science and got up with us to watch it before he went to work. Educational television. (A year or two earlier he had already smuggled me into a course on Russian for engineers at Wright Patterson AFB). The Sovs were churning out myriads of engineers and we were worried they would beat us technologically. This was about the time of Sputnik. It turned out, while they did have excellent creative engineers, they were also appropriating a lot of Western technology. (Although their spy system in America was pretty much gone by the early 1950s. Probably more successes thence in Europe.)

Posted Sep 11, 23 14:43 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


And sense of humour.

Posted Sep 11, 23 14:43 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

New Associate at Siegel's

I may be the last to note the addition of a very distinguished former Postmaster General to the ever helpful Siegel's staff. I congratulate Scott on his impeccable taste.

Posted Sep 11, 23 12:12 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

PD Berthouds



Posted Sep 11, 23 12:11 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

PD Berthouds

HR Harmer


Posted Sep 11, 23 12:11 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

PD Berthouds



Posted Sep 11, 23 11:39 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Victor M Berthold checklists

"A Check List of Western Express Franks Used on U.S. Envelopes" by Victor M. Berthold and W.W. Randall" was serialized in the Philatelic Gazette beginning in the January 15, 1912, issue.

"Franks of the Western Express Companies" by Dr. Victor M. Berthold was serialized in the Collectors Club Philatelist beginning in the July 1926 issue.

Digital searches of those did not find a Berthouds express, nor did a search of historic newspapers, nor did a search of Google Books. Only the Wells Fargo Museum, the Western Cover Society website, H.R. Harmer auctions, and Schuyler Rumsey auctions showed examples.

Posted Sep 11, 23 10:01 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Western Expresses

I posted this on 15 June 2021:

I spent this morning at APRL browsing the archived W.R. Parker "Western Express notes and clippings" files. These consist of 18 rotting ring binders (all the binder covers have become separated) filled with crumbing pages, and extensive notes and unpublished hand-written articles by Parker.

Larry Lyons donated these files to APRL about five years ago. He had owned them for about 20 years, but has no record of their ownership between Parker's death in 1970 and his acquisition.

Parker is said to have owned the largest and most expensive collection of Pony Express covers during his lifetime. He won the gold and grand award at the 1929 Oakland philatelic exhibition I mentioned in an earlier post. Marc Haas bought Parker's collection.

Most of these files are alphabetically arranged compilations of every private express for which he had gathered any information, as well as records of every California newspaper. They also include photostatic copies of the original POD Pony Express contracts that are transcribed in the Frajola-Kramer-Walske appendix.

Posted Sep 10, 23 20:22 by scott prior (sprior13)

Berthouds Mule Team Express

I have been searching for information about the subject company, if it really existed. The earliest record of a BMTE cover in a collection is that of Ernest A. Wiltsee when he donated his collection to Wells Fargo in 1938. Does anyone know of an earlier reference to Berthouds Mule Team Express?

Thanks. Scott

Posted Sep 10, 23 20:19 by scott prior (sprior13)

Victor M. Berthold

I saw a reference that referred to an 1897 list of western express companies prepared by Victor M. Berthold. Does this ring a bell with anyone? If so, do you know where I can find/see a copy? Thanks, Scott Prior

Posted Sep 10, 23 8:20 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Postal History Sunday

Hello all,
Postal History Sunday is available to those who might enjoy reading it.

Posted Sep 9, 23 17:01 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)


Bernard, In 1958, you were about 12 yo, why were you watching educational TV ?
How about street hockey or spauldeen ? :)  Tim

Posted Sep 9, 23 14:49 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Lise Meitner

Meitner was a major player in the development of usable Nuclear Energy. Fermi and company in Italy had misinterpreted the results of nuclear experiments and so missed the discovery of neutron induced nuclear fission. (There was a fairly rabid Nazi scientist who suggested Fermi was wrong, but she was ignored). In the thirties, Meitner was the theorist on a team with Hahn and Strassman. As a former Jew, Meitner had to leave Germany, but Hahn was writing to her and soon presented the very strange results of the chemistry resulting from neutron irradiation. She confirmed that the interpretation was (exothermic) fission. She and her nephew named the process (in analogy to cell division in biology). And told Bohr about it. He broke his promise (Jan. 26, 1939) to keep it secret until the paper was published, resulting in a immediate search for fission neutrons and an immediate finding of such. Szilard's idea of a chain reaction (1935) was suddenly all to real on the doorstep of WW II. Hahn got the Nobel Prize and it is certainly arguable that Meitner should have shared it and maybe also Strassman. I remember seeing her c1958 on a morning educational TV program series on physics.