stampless cover

Here I present letters from the period ca. 1840 to ca. 1875, which either went from the USA to the German States or to the USA and, as a rule, were sent without stamps. Of course, there were already stamps (from the USA e.g. from 1847), but due to many small German states and the resulting many postal services, it was impossible for a normal postal worker in the USA to determine the total postage for a letter. As a result, the letters were sent "unpaid" and the costs incurred and the costs incurred had to be paid by the recipient.
If it was letters to Hamburg or Bremen, it became easier when Contracts with these cities and the U.S. Postal Service came into effect. Later, when the "Norddeutscher Postbezik" was founded, and of course after the foundation of the German Reich, the costs to be paid were simplified.
My letters usually went via the designated "exchange offices", Bremen, Hamburg and later, at the beginning of the "Prussian closed mail", also Aachen (more precisely "Traveling Post Office No. 10, Cologne, Verviers"), which was actually a railroad post office on the route from Cologne to Verviers in Belgium. For this contract, the mail was put into a sealed bag in Aachen, then sent via England (mostly Liverpool) to New York or Boston (the "Exchange Offices" there) and only reopened there.
For a few years, starting around 1860, there were "Exchange Offices" with corresponding stamps in other cities in the U.S., in addition to Boston and New York, which were "Exchange Offices" from beginning to end. They were: Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Portland, Me. and San Francisco.

I have not yet "dared" to calculate the postage for my letters. I would have to have all the documents together. Well, then I still have something to do in the future.
Source reference:

Hubbard/Winter, North Atlantic Mail Sailings 1840-1875
Winter, Understanding Transatlantic Mail Vol. I + II
American Stampless Cover Catalog, Vol II, vierte Ausgabe
Mails of the Westward Expansion - 1803 to 1861, Steven C. Walske, Richard C. Frajola
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfield_Overland_Mail

Bremen - Aachen – New York – Salem 12.07.1856

Postmark from Bremen City Post Office dated 12. July - Handwritten in the upper margin "By the first steamer from Bremen to New York" with "from Bremen" crossed out.
Postmark of Aachen dated 13 July - Aachen/(date)/ 5 cts. - this means the letter was routed via England by "Prussian Closed Mail".
Probably Left Southampton with the Ocean Line ship "Washington" on 16. July 1856 and reached New York on 30. July 1856. Postmark NEW YORK/ AM. PKT./(date)/30 - with date 31. July(1856). This ship came from Bremen, but left Bremen on 12. July, the date of the postmark of the Bremen city post office. Probably the letter missed the ship in Bremen.
Addressed to Salem, Forsyth County, North Carolina. No arrival stamp. Handwritten note "received 3th Aug".

Bremen - Aachen – New York – Salem 12.07.1856

Back to first letter: Sender and place/date: Bremen - 11.July 1856.

Bremen - Aachen – New York – Salem 31.10.1856

Postmark from Bremen city post office dated 31 October - Handwritten in the upper margin "By the first steamer from Bremen to New York".
Sailed from Bremen on the Ocean Line ship "Washington" on 01 Nov 1856 and arrived in New York on 20 Nov 1856. Postmark NEW YORK/ U.S. PKT./(date)/10 - dated 21 Nov(1856). Addressed to Salem, Forsyth County, North Carolina. No arrival postmark.

Same sender and recipient as the first letter. Interesting the postmarks of New York: on 31. July "30" cents for passage by ship, as "Prussian Closed Mail" and therefore routed via England - on 21. November "10" cents for passage by ship, as directly from Bremen to New York.

Hamburg – Aachen – Liverpool – Boston – New York - 18.04.1857

A "double rate letter" written in Hamburg on April 18, 1857, postmarked at the city post office on April 22, 1857. notation at the top of the letter "Via Liverpool p Steamer of April 25".
The letter was sent to the "Exchange Office" for the "Prussian Closed Mail" in Aachen. There it received the postmark "Aachen/(date)/PAID 50 cts." Dated April 23. From here it went in a closed mail bag via Belgium to Liverpool. On April 25, 1857, the Cunard Line ship "Europa" sailed, reaching Boston on May 7.
In Boston, the bag was opened the same day and received three postmarks. The first - "BOSTON/(date)/BR. PKT./ PAID", the second stamp with an incorrect "45"(cents) as prepayment, and then the third correctly with "60"(cents) as prepayment and thus paid in full.
Since the business letter contained an invoice for a shipment of goods, it went to customs where a postmark dated 26 May 1857 was struck.

Translated from "Understanding Transatlantic Mail Vol I".

New Orleans - Boston - Liverpool - Aachen - Oker Kreis Goslar - 28.09.1858?

Very faint postmark New Orleans 28 September 1858 ??. Handwritten "per Hamburg Steamer", but HAPAG did not go to Boston. So "Prussian closed Mail", because via Aachen and before Liverpool. The letter was carried by the Cunard Line (br. Packet) with the steamer "Niagara" - departure in Boston 06. October 1858 - arrival in Liverpool 17. October 1858. Postmark from Aachen 19. October 1858.

New Orleans - Boston - Liverpool - Aachen - Oker Kreis Goslar - 28.09.1858?

Back: postmark of Boston 06. October 1858/br. Packet. Arrival postmark Oker near Goslar 21. October 1858.

Syracuse – New York – Bremen – Tübingen – Rottenburg – 02.09.1858

The letter was posted in Syracuse, N.Y. on 02. September 1858 (black - unpaid). Then went to New York, postmarked 04. September 1858/14/US Packet (unpaid). Sailed on the Vanderbilt European Line ship "S.S. Ariel", which left New York on 04. September 1858 and arrived in Bremen on 22. September 1858. The postmark "24/9 KRZ AMERICA ÜBER BREMEN" is from the Hanover post office in Bremen - 24 kr. Seepost - 9 kr. to Württemberg.

Syracuse – New York – Bremen – Tübingen – Rottenburg – 02.09.1858

Back: postmark Tübingen 24. September 1858 - postmark WÜRTT. TRAIN. POSTAMT 24. September 1858 Z 3 (train 3), railroad post - arrival postmark Rottenburg on 24. September 1858.

Hamburg – New York – Charleston – 10.03.1868

Postmarked in Hamburg on 10. March 1868 with red "F" (Franco) stamp of the Prussian post office with the number "1", which was meant for letter mail. Then there is a green stamp "FRANCO", where I only found out that it should mean "consignment franked by the sender handed over to others by the Prussian Post Office".
Departed Hamburg on the HAPAG ship "Allemania", as handwritten above, on 11. March 1868. Arrived New York on 25. March 1868. Postmarked in New York on 26.??, probably March. No arrival postmark from Charleston.

Glauchau – Leipzig – Aachen – New York – 16.02.1861

Postmark of Glauchau from 16. February 1861. Then on the reverse postmark of Leipzig from 17. February 1861. Further with the railroad and railroad postmark, also on the reverse, "LEIPZIG-MAGDEBURG/17.02.(1861). Postmark Aachen from 18.02.(1861) 5cts - So "Prussian Closed Mail" via England. Probably Norddeutscher Lloyd the ship "Bremen", on 20. February 1861 from Southampton, arriving in New York on 07. March 1861. Arrival postmark New York from 08. March(1861)/Am. Pkt./30.

Glauchau – Leipzig – Aachen – New York – 16.02.1861

Back: postmark of Leipzig dated 17. February 1861. Further with the railroad and railroad postmark "LEIPZIG-MAGDEBURG/17.02.(1861).

Chicago - Hamburg - Essen – 27.09.1873

City postmark of Chicago dated 27 Sep (1873) - reverse: postmark "Chicago direct" dated 30 Sep (1873), a "maritime mail marking" (stampless cover catalog). There are such postmarks from 4 or 5 cities other than NY or Boston, which mean that these cities were also an "office of exchange" at the time, like NY and Boston. In the publication of Hubbard/Winter only the "exchange markings" of NY are shown in great detail. In the "stampless cover catalog" the ones of the other cities can be found.
It sailed the "Cimbria" of Hapag from New York on 02. October 1873 to Plymouth 13. October 1873. Alternative: Cunard - ship "Algeria" from New York on 01. October 1873 in Liverpool on 12. October 1873. It is still unclear to me with which ship the letter was sailed.

Arrival postmark from Hamburg 15.10.73 9-10 V. Then arrival postmark from Essen "Essen/R. B. Düsseldorf/161073 5-7 N".

Chicago - Hamburg - Essen – 27.09.1873

Reverse: postmark "Chicago direct" dated 30 Sep (1873), a "maritime mail marking" (stampless cover catalog). There are such postmarks from 4 or 5 cities other than New York or Boston, which mean that these cities were also an "office of exchange" at the time, like New York and Boston. In the publication of Hubbard/Winter only the "exchange markings" of New York are shown in great detail. In the "stampless cover catalog" the ones of the other cities can be found.

1860 – Ann Arbor – New York – Southampton – Aachen – Stuttgart – Nagold - Garrweiler, Württemberg – 31.07.1860

Postmark of Ann Arbor dated 31. July 1860. Then postmark of New York/23/Am. Pkt./04. August (1860). Departure of the steamer "Bremen" of Norddeutscher Lloyd on 04. August 1860 and arrival in Southampton on 17. August 1860. Further to Aachen, postmark of 18. August 1860. Then with the railroad mail, postmark K. Württemb. Fahr. Postamt/19.08.(1860)/ Z 13. Arrival in Stuttgart on 19.??./1860. In Nagold probably postmarked 20. August 1860. Addressed to Garrweiler, Oberamt Nagold.

1860 – Ann Arbor – New York – Southampton – Aachen – Stuttgart – Nagold - Garrweiler, Württemberg – 31.07.1860

Back: postmark of Aachen, postmark of the railroad post office, postmark of Stuttgart and (presumably) of Nagold.

Galena - New York - Havre - Strassburg - Flein, Oberamt Heilbronn - 07.10.1850

Stamped in "GALENA/ILLs./6.OCT" (The "A" at the end is very hard to see. A small piece from the lower right. Correspondingly, the "s" at "ILLs" is only very faintly visible). Then to New York, postmark "NEW YORK/20.OCT" in red. Then on to Havre, postmark "Havre XX.NOV.1850".
Noticed in handwriting "via New York and Havre - via Strasbourg".

On 20 Oct.1850 only one ship went from "New York" - steamer "Hermann" of the Ocean-Line - via "Southampton" to "Bremen" - but no dates for these ports - but footnote: the mail of this ship (thus also this letter) was taken by the "Arctic" of the Collins Line on 27 Oct.1850 from New York to Liverpool - arrival 7 NOV.1850(Hubbard/Winter). Date in the postmark of "Havre" could, with a lot of imagination and goodwill, be 11.NOV.1850 - that of "Paris" probably 12.NOV.1850.

I suspect that the mailbag was opened in "Liverpool" and based on the routing note and this route is also faster than via "Bremen", the letter was sent to France (Havre).

Galena - New York - Havre - Strassburg - Flein, Oberamt Heilbronn - 07.10.1850

Back: stamp "Paris, probably 12.NOV.1850".

Mainz - Aachen - Liverpool - New York - San Francisco - 18.01.1861

Letter from Mainz, postmarked 18. January 1861. Then by Mainz/Cologne railroad mail to Aachen (datm illegible). Postmark Aachen - "AACHEN/DATUM/ 5 Cts." Date probably the 19. January 1861. Carried from Liverpool by the Inman Line ship "Vigo" on 23 Jan 1861 from Liverpool and arriving in New York on 8 Feb 1861 (postmark of New York 9 Feb).

In February 1861, at which time this letter arrived here, letters to California were transported overland by the "Southern Butterfield Route". Since the beginning/end points of this line were St. Louis and Memphis, the letter had to be taken to St. Louis by rail. It left New York on February 9 or 10, 1861.
It left St. Louis by stagecoach on the "Southern Butterfield Route" around February 12-16 and reached San Francisco around March 7-8.
It was "advertised" in the newspaper after 2 weeks, on 22. March 1861, as it had not been picked up at the post office.
Since there are no postmarks of a return, this letter must have been picked up then.

Mainz - Aachen - Liverpool - New York - San Francisco - 18.01.1861

Back: postmark of Mainz, the railroad post office Mainz/Cologne and the postmark "San Francisco, Advertised".


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