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German Submarine Mail Of WWI - Updated!

 
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Pillar Of The Community
Japan
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Posted 05/08/2011   09:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add PostmasterGS to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Per Rileysan's request on another thread, here's some info on the Deutsche Ozean-Reederei Issues.

By 1916, the German war effort was suffering under the weight of the Entente naval blockade, which had been in force since shortly after the outbreak of the war. Having been unsuccessful in its attempts to break the blockade, Germany decide to construct a class of unarmed cargo U-boats to serve as blockade runners. This class, the U-151 class, was originally to consist of seven boats, but only two, Deutschland and Bremen, were completed in accordance with the original specs. The remaining five were completed as heavily armed long-range U-boats.

The Deutschland and Bremen were built by the Deutsche Ozean-Reederei (German Ocean Shipping Company), a subsidiary of the Norddeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd) shipping company and the Deutsche Bank, which was created explicitly for this enterprise.

The Deutschland made two voyages to the U.S. In the summer of 1916, she delivered a cargo of chemical dyes, medical drugs, gems, and mail to Baltimore, Maryland, then returned to Bremerhaven with a cargo of nickel, tin, and crude rubber.


Deutschland in port


Deutschland crew in Baltimore

In the fall of 1916, she delivered a cargo of gems, securities, and medicinal products to New London, Connecticut, and returned with a cargo of silver bullion.


Deutschland in port, New London, Connecticut

Before the Deutschland could embark on a third voyage, relations between Germany and the U.S. deteriorated significantly, so she was converted to an armed U-boat, the U-155.

The Bremen departed Bremerhaven in September 1916 for Norfolk, Virginia. She reportedly carried funds which were to be used to pay an American firm to build more cargo submarines for Germany. She never arrived in Virginia, and her fate remains unknown.

Two series of stamps were issued for use on items transported by the U-boats. The face values of these stamps covered the cost of postage, as well as the insurance premiums on the items.

The first series features the inscription "Deutsche Versicherungsbank Berlin / Wertbrief-Beförderung / Deutschland-Amerika 1916" (German Insurance Bank Berlin / Insured Letter Carrier / Germany-America 1916).



In my collection, I also have a rare used copy of the Fifty Mark Issue.



The second series differs slightly from the first in that the stamps don't have the inscription "Wertbrief-Beförderung / Deutschland-Amerika 1916" (Insured Letter Carrier / Germany-America 1916). They also feature a watermark of oblique wavy lines.



So there you go. An interesting little side bar to history, and an interesting set of stamps, especially considering the very limited window of use.
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Edited by PostmasterGS - 06/14/2012 07:35 am

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Posted 05/08/2011   10:59 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Rileysan to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wonderful! I've never read/heard of these events anywhere, let alone the stamps used for this purpose. This presentation would be worthy of any philatelic show. Thank you!

Brian
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Posted 05/08/2011   11:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BeeSee to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wow, great information PostmasterGS, and great website you have! I will be visiting alot.
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BeeSee in BC
"The Postmark is Mightier than the Stamp"
http://brcstamps.com ---- BNAPS, RPSC, APS
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Posted 05/08/2011   11:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Rileysan to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
PostmasterGS,

Do you know a good source for the German Philatelic Society's books on forgeries? Specifically, the books that pertain to early German states. My local stamp club's philatelic library has them, but they cannot be removed from the library. I'd like to purchase a set of my own. Any help you can provide would be much appreciated!
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Posted 05/08/2011   12:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PostmasterGS to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The GPS forgery manuals are available on CD from several sources. Try here or here.
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Posted 05/08/2011   2:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Russ to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Great info, thanks
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Posted 05/08/2011   5:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Excellent thread
Thank you.
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Posted 05/08/2011   5:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bobgggg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Bravo.... Thanks For your post

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Posted 05/09/2011   06:06 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rohumpy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting website. I can see several hours of browsing through your collection. Your presentation above is outstanding. Thanks
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Posted 06/13/2012   6:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PostmasterGS to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I picked up a few more Ozean-Reederei items recently, so here's a little bit more history.

As I stated in the original post, the Deutschland made two successful voyages to America, with the third voyage cancelled shortly before it was to depart. On those voyages, there was a specific process for mailing an item.

First, the mail had to be brought to the Insurance Bank offices in either Berlin, Hamburg, or Bremen. The Insurance Bank would then issue an insurance certificate which bore an imprint of the 50 Mark design, and which was valid for mailings up to the 50 Mark rate (up to 50 grams). If the mail or package required more than 50 Marks postage and insurance, one of the insurance stamps shown above was attached to the insurance certificate to cover the difference.





This certificate is from the cancelled third voyage, and shows the addition of 75 Marks to cover the 150-200 gram rate (the package was 167 grams). The original certificate would also have had three detachable coupons at the bottom -- one for the insurance bank, one for the agency bank, and one for the sender.

On the first two voyages, no mail was officially transported on the German-to-America leg other than by the above described procedure. For the cancelled third voyage, however, the German postal authorities offered to carry regular mail (as opposed to high-value mail requiring insurance) originating from within any of the Central Powers.

To send mail by this manner was a complicated process. The sender had to attach the proper postage for normal foreign post and have it cancelled at the post office of origin, then place the entire letter, unsealed, in an outer envelope bearing only the words "Tauchbootbrief nach Bremen" (submarine letter to Bremen). The outer envelope was then franked with a 2 Mark stamp to cover the cost of the service.

In Bremen, the inner envelope was removed from the outer envelope and marked with a dated submarine cachet.



The T.B. stands for Tauchboot, and the DOR for Deutsch Ozean-Reederei.




The mail was also censored in the process. For mail originating in Austria, a common censor mark was the red rectangle bearing the phrase "Zensuriert K.u.k. Zensurstelle" (Censored K.u.k. censorship office) and the city.



Germany also censored the mail, but in an effort to keep the U.S. from realizing this, the censor marks are small and unobtrusive. Thirteen varieties are known.



With the cancellation of the service, most covers were returned to sender. Many bear a cachet noting that the service had been cancelled, and some also bear a note to refund the 2 Mark fee. More on those in the next episode...
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Presenting the GermanStamps.net Collection - Germany, Colonies, & Occupied Territories, 1872-1945
Edited by PostmasterGS - 06/14/2012 10:34 pm
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Posted 06/14/2012   11:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PostmasterGS to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here's another Tauchbootbriefe from the cancelled third voyage. This one is rare in that it's addressed to the German mission station in Nyenhangli, China via Swatow, China.




This one is from Germany, and feature a few additional markings that are common with these items.

The German authorities would mark many of the letters with a cachet stating "Zurück / Wegen Einstellung des Tauchbootbriefverkehrs zurück an Absender" (Return / Because of termination of the submarine mail service return to sender).



This letter also bears a "Via San Francisco" directional cachet applied at Bremen to any trans-Pacific mail.



Because the service was cancelled, there is a notation to return the 2 Mark fee for the service.



There's also a German censor mark "Q".

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Presenting the GermanStamps.net Collection - Germany, Colonies, & Occupied Territories, 1872-1945
Edited by PostmasterGS - 06/15/2012 07:48 am
Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 06/15/2012   3:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PostmasterGS to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here's another. This one is from Germany to a German missionary in Argentina.




This cover has a different German censor mark, the asterisk (though it's only a partial).

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Presenting the GermanStamps.net Collection - Germany, Colonies, & Occupied Territories, 1872-1945
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Posted 06/15/2012   9:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
great subject and nice collection.
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Posted 06/16/2012   2:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PostmasterGS to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
How about one more?!?

Another from Austria.




This cover has both the Austrian "Zensuiert" censor mark, and the German "O" censor mark.



It also has a cachet applied in Vienna noting that the submarine mail service was discontinued, so the letter was being returned to sender.

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Presenting the GermanStamps.net Collection - Germany, Colonies, & Occupied Territories, 1872-1945
Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 08/19/2012   04:01 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PostmasterGS to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Another new one. This inner envelope is address to Sobral, in the state of Ceará, Brazil.

It features the usual Zurück cachet noting termination of the service, and a "Q" censor mark almost obscured by the cachet.

This cover also bears a neat addition -- the rear has an acknowledgement of receipt for refund of the 2 Mark fee for the Tauchboot service. It reads "2 M - Pf / Tauchbootgebühr sind mir uns heute aus der Reichskasse erstattet wurden" (The Tauchboot fee has been refunded to me today from the Imperial treasury), with the date and signature.

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Presenting the GermanStamps.net Collection - Germany, Colonies, & Occupied Territories, 1872-1945
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Posted 10/22/2012   05:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PostmasterGS to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Got another certificate in the mail today. This one was for a shipment to Ecuador weighing 55 grams, and requiring the addition of a 5 Mark Ozeanreederei stamp to cover the extra 5 grams.



And the back...

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Presenting the GermanStamps.net Collection - Germany, Colonies, & Occupied Territories, 1872-1945
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