US German Sea Post 1924 - 1939

The joint sea mail service, the "US German Sea Post," was resumed in 1924 after a hiatus due to World War I. The terms and contents of the contract were the same as before WW I.

Postal employees of both countries sailed on the ships. Leading were in direction of New York the German officials and in the direction of Germany the American officials. As before the World War I, German postmarks and franking were used in the direction of New York and in the direction of Germany American franking and postmarks were used. The postmarks were assigned to the individual ships.

Now, however, not only ships of HAPAG and Norddeutscher Lloyd sailed in this service, but also American ships of the "United States Line". This sea post service ended in 1939 due to the outbreak of World War II.
  • No. 1 - S.S. AMERICA (USL) 1927 to 14. Sep. 1931
  • No. 2 - S.S. GEO. WASHINGTON (USL) 1926 to Nov. 27, 1931
  • No. 3 - S.S. PRES. ROOSEVELT (USL) 1926 to 08 Sept. 1939
  • No. 4 - S.S. PRES. HARDING (USL) 1926 to 21 Oct. 1939
  • No. 5 - S.S. COLUMBUS (NGL) 1926 to 28 Jun 1939
  • No. 6 - S.S. MINNEKAHDA (USL) 1926 to 03. July 1931
  • No. 7 - S.S. ALBERT BALLIN (HAPAG) 1926 to 1935 (renamed HANSA)
  • No. 8 - S.S. DEUTSCHLAND (HAPAG) 1927 to 30. June 1939
  • No. 9 - S.S. NEW YORK (HAPAG) 1929 to 05. June 1930
  • No. 10 - S.S. LEVIATHAN (USL) 1927 to 05. May 1928
  • No. 11 - S.S. STUTTGART (NGL) 1927 to 1928
  • No. 12 - S.S. BERLIN (NDL) 1927 to 1929
  • No. 13 -
  • No. 14 - S.S. HAMBURG (HAPAG) 1927 to 23. June 1939
Later there were also stamps without number in the killer but only bars.

From 10. August 1932 (S.S. MANHATTAN - USL) untilm 22. October 1939, and from 10. May 1933 (S.S. WASHINGTON - USL). until 12 Oct 1939, the first machine stamps were used on board.

There was one more special feature on two ships of the NGL, the "Bremen" and the "Europa", - the "skidding flight" or "catapult flight". In this case, catapults were installed for an aircraft on board and in advance flight (up to 1,600 km before NEW YORK/BREMERHAVEN) the mail to the port. The time saved was between one and four days.
The first flight took place on 22. July 1929 from the steamer BREMEN. At the end of 1935 this "service"ended because of the emergence of the Zeppelins.

Source references:

Cockrill, Handbook No. 54
Häger, Großes Lexikon der Philatelie


Covers from HAPAG ships

Foreign cover franked as required with postmark type A13 to Cockrill with the number 7 in the killer. Postmarked April 21, 1932 aboard the steamer "ALBERT BALLIN". Addressed to London, England.
As required franked letter, printed matter, collector's cover with postmark type A13 to Cockrill with the number 8 in the killer. Postmarked January 12, 1929 aboard the steamer "DEUTSCHLAND". Addressed to Philadelphia, Pa.
Reverse side with stamp "Without contents" and the Sea Post No. 8 (as in killer).
As required franked domestic postal stationery, collector's cover with postmark type A14 to Cockrill with the number 14 in the killer. Postmarked September 15, 1927 aboard the steamer "HAMBURG". Addressed to Hoboken, N.J.
As required franked domestic postcard, collector's cover with type A16 postmark to Cockrill without number in the killer. Postmarked September 24, 1931 aboard the steamer "NEW YORK". Addressed to Philadelphia, Pa.
Overstamped domestic cover, collector's cover with type A16 postmark to Cockrill without number in killer. Postmarked 02 November 1933 aboard the steamer "NEW YORK". Addressed to Syracuse, N.Y.




Covers from USL ships

Foreign postcard franked as required with postmark type A13 to Cockrill with the number 1 in the killer. Postmarked July 15, 1930 aboard the steamer "AMERICA". Addressed to Voorburg, Holland.
As required franked domestic postcard with postmark type A13 to Cockrill with the number 2 in the killer. Postmarked December 17, 1930 aboard the steamer "GEO. WASHINGTON." Addressed to Massachusetts.
Overstamped foreign mail cover, commercial cover with postmark type A13 to Cockrill with the number 3 in the killer. Postmarked 11 September 1929 aboard the steamer "PRES. ROOSEVELT". Addressed to Bremerhaven, Germany.
Foreign postcard franked as required with postmark type A13 to Cockrill with the number 4 in the killer. Postmarked March 15, 1931 aboard the steamer "PRES. HARDING". Addressed to Gimmeldingen, Germany.

Also, this is a dinner menu card, which allowed this to be mailed as a postcard (folded, of course).
Reverse side with the menu card and an advertisement for the USL ships.
As required franked foreign cover with postmark A16 to Cockrill without number. Postmarked April 24, 1931 aboard the steamer "LEVIATHAN". Addressed to Paris, France. Forwarded to a hotel in Savoré(?).
As required franked domestic cover, "Special Delivery", from the first voyage, with postmark A16 to Cockrill without number. Postmarked May 10, 1933 aboard the steamer "WASHINGTON." Addressed to Chicago, Ill.
Reverse: RPO postmark and three other postmarks from various Chicago post offices.
Cover flown to New York with "Schleuderflug". As required franked domestic cover with additional franking for the "Schleuderflug", collector's cover. Outward trip by steamer "WASHINGTON", cancelled with type A16 postmark to Cockrill without number on May 10, 1933.
Return trip with the steamer of the NDL "EUROPA", cancelled on 28 May 1933.
Foreign cover franked as required with postmark A18 to Cockrill. Postmarked on 19 January 1939 aboard the steamer "MANHATTAN" with a machine cancel. Addressed to Finistere, France.
Foreign cover franked as required with postmark A18 to Cockrill. Postmarked on 26 May 1933 aboard the steamer "WASHINGTON" with a machine cancel. Addressed to Baltimore, Maryland.
Postage paid letter from the "Post Office Department (U.S. Sea Post Service)". Postmarked aboard the steamer "PRES. ROOSEVELT" with postmark type A13 to Cockrill with the number 3 in the killer, on July 14, 1931. Addressed to the postmaster at Boston, Mass.


Copyright Jürgen Kuseler 2021