|Since 1970 I have published some short and some longer articles about Danish Philately and Danish Postal History in two Danish Magazines: DFT (Dansk Filatelistisk Tidsskrift) which is the official magazine issued by The Danish Philatelic Federation and PHT (Posthistorisk Tidsskrift) which is the Postal History Magazine issued by The Danish Postal History Society (DPHS).
I am indebted to my friend Bob Track, USA, for valuable help with the translation of the abstracts.
All the articles listed were originally written in Danish but here I have translated the titles into English and have given you an abstract in English so you can see what I have been studying. The articles listed have been chosen from those that I wrote in the period from 1974 to 1994 and articles with a * before the titles are reprinted in my book:
Toke Nørby: "Udvalgte Filatelistiske og Posthistoriske Artikler".
Nørbyhus 1993. ISBN 87-984623-1-8.
*The Danish 10 øre Wavy Line Stamp in Orange, Type I.
Abstract: In 1933 the Danish Postal Administration bought a stamp printing machine in Germany. The first month of Danish steel engraved stamp production was filled with many troubles as "we" had very little or no experience with producing steel-engraved stamps.
Among the first stamps produced was the 10 øre yellow wavy line type. Many years after its issue, collectors found that two different cylinders had been used for its production: the Type I cylinder and the Type IA cylinder. The first cylinder was used to print only about 20,000 sheets while the second cylinder was used to print about 380,000 sheets. For many years no one had discovered the difference between the two types so only a very few stamps from the Type I 10 øre have survived in unused condition. The article shows the difference between the two existing types of this stamp and also discusses the production methods in detail.
DFT 1983. Vol. 4. pp. 181-185.
*Double surcharge on the Danish Post Ferry Stamp.
Abstract: As late as 1986 a Danish Post Ferry stamp, 15 øre Dark Red, Ship Type, Type IA, with a double surcharge was found (50 years after its issue!). After the publication of this article, a few more stamps from this particular sheet were found. The article relates how many cylinders were used for the printing of the 15 øre Ship Type stamps. It also discusses the production methods and indicates how many sheets came from the different issues.
DFT 1987. Vol. 7. pp. 398-402.
The 20/15 øre Færø (Færoe) Test Print from 1940.
Abstract: In 1940 a quantity of the Danish 15 øre red Ship Type stamps were surcharged with 20 øre because of a change in the letter rates on 1 July 1940. This surcharge was made by a private printing works on the Færø Islands and not in Denmark as the Postmaster in Thorshavn got a permission from the Danish Postal Administration to do so because of an irregular ship connection between Denmark and the Færø Islands due to World War II. As a test for the preparation of these provisionals, two sheets were surcharged but the surcharges did not have a bar beneath "20". These two sheets, one of them with a double surcharge, were retained by the post office. However, a stamp collector and dentist, Oscar Kaaber, persuaded his friend the postmaster to sell these two sheets to him. He then used all 200 stamps on letters sent to himself and his friends. In 1974 four new 20/15 øre stamps without bars beneath "20" were found. Since two of them had Danish cancellations and two of them were unused, the question arose whether there had been more than two test sheets with a surcharge without bars beneath "20".
The article concludes that these four stamps were surcharged individually in order to give the postmaster a first impression of the surcharge so he could decide to accept or reject this surcharge. As you may know, the final version of the surcharge has a bar beneath "20".
The article further describes in detail the characteristics of the three different cylinders used for the printing of the Danish 15 øre Ship Type stamps in Type II.
DFT 1974. Vol. 8. pp. 261-266.
A new 20/15 øre Færø Test Print from 1940.
Abstract: This article is a follow-up to the previous article about these provisionals from 1940 as a new, unused 20/15 øre stamp without bar beneath "20" was found. This provisional stamp led me to the conclusion that now five single stamps were surcharged individually as a test.
DFT 1976. Vol. 5. pp. 152-154.
*The Variety "12 2/3 mm" (The Danish 30-øre Provisional Stamps from 1955/1956).
Abstract: In 1955 the Danish Postal Administration decided that about 1,000,000 sheets of the 20 and 25 øre red Frederik IX stamps should be surcharged with a new value, as the first weight rate for Danish inland letters was set to 30 øre on 1 July 1952. As a matter of fact, such a quantity of unused sheets were being stored by the General Post Office because there had been a shortage of paper shortly after World War II. In 1955 our GPO felt that there was no longer a reason to keep this stock of sheets, so they decided to use them instead of marking them for destruction.
Five different printing formes were used (1, 2A, 2B, 2C and 2D) for making the surcharges. In two of the printing formes there were a few surcharges in which the spacing between "30" and the four bars was a little wider than on the other surcharges, namely 12.4 - 12.66 mm (named "12 2/3 mm" in general) whereas the normal spacing was only 12.0 - 12.3 mm. The study of the "12 2/3 mm" allowed me able to calculate the number of sheets printed with each of the five printing formes. Furthermore, the characteristics of all possible different "12 2/3 mm" are shown in the article.
DFT 1974. Vol. 1. pp. 13-23 and DFT 1975. Vol. 3. pp. 70- 73.
*The Production of the Danish 30-øre Provisional Stamps from 1955/1956.
Abstract: This is a technical description of the machinery used in the production of the Danish 30-øre Provisionals and how the printing formes were produced. Also different varieties in the printing formes due to the special production methods are described.
DFT 1977. Vol. 4. pp. 86-94.
*Double Surcharge on Danish 30-øre Provisional Stamps from 1955/1956.
Abstract: During the production of the 30-øre provisional stamps a very few sheets were surcharged twice, not by accident, but as a test of an adjustment to the printing machinery. The article describes why the adjustment were necessary and describes 19 different double surcharges in this issue.
DFT, 1975. Vol. 6. pp. 172-180.
The Study of the 30-øre Provisional Stamps from 1955/1956.
Abstract: This (short) article describes a "new" very scarce variety from surcharge printing forme 2B.
Stamp Exhibition Catalogue for Jysk Filatelistklubs Exhibition, AROS 75, 10.-12.10.1975. pp. 43-47.
*HAFNIA 76, Miniature Sheet III.
Abstract: The famous Polish steel engraver Czeslaw Slania did the engraving for this beautiful miniature sheet depicting Otto Bache's painting "Horses in Front of Lindenborg Inn". The production of this is compared to earlier productions of the Danish Stamp Printing Work. The exceptionally large engraving is fully described, including a close examination of the two cylinders used.
The problems with transferring such a large engraving to the printing cylinders caused many troubles. A Danish steel engraver, Arne Kühlmann Hansen, had to repair each impression directly on the two cylinders in order to make the impressions from the transfer roller deeper here and there so as to ensure a uniform colour dispersion from the cylinder to the paper. Therefore, we now, in fact, have 12 different types of this miniature sheet, 6 from each cylinder. Characteristics are shown for all 12 sheets.
DFT 1977. Vol. 6. pp 169-183. Errata in DFT 1978. Vol. 1. p 17.
Articles about Danish Postal History
*The Postal Administrations Seal "Postmark" June 1811 - November 1832.
Abstract: In the period from 1807 to 1814 Denmark and England were in a state of war. The war cost Denmark so much money that we went bankrupt on 5 January 1813. In the years leading up to the bankruptcy, everything became more and more expensive, sealing wax included! And, as a consequence of this fact, the Danish Postal Administration, in a circular dated 20 June 1811, required that all official letters, which normally were sealed with wax, were now to be "sealed" by an impression made with a special "seal postmark" in order to save money. The GPO made its own "seal postmark" whose impressions on the backside of a letter from the GPO were hunted by collectors and wrongly classified as a "normal postmark" but with a special use. With the issuance of a GPO circular dated 24 November 1832, the GPO "seal postmark" was taken out of use and the normal method of sealing with wax was reintroduced. Even though the period of use was from 1811 to 1832, letters from the GPO with "seal postmarks" are not common.
PHT 1990. Vol. 1. pp 5-8.
*An old Letter
Abstract: This article describes a letter from Randers in Jutland, Denmark to Bordeaux, France in 1814, with the Postal Marking "Franco Hollandske Grændse" (Paid to the Border of The Netherlands). This marking is extremely scarce and, according to the Danish Postal Regulations from 1814, we can only can find this particular marking used on Danish letters in the period from 24 May to 21 June 1814.
DFT 1985. Vol. 9. p 445.
*The 3rd Post (The Governments Post) in the Winter 1830/1831.
Abstract: Only one letter is recorded with the handwritten Postal Marking: "Med 3de Brevpost" (in the lower left corner) which means that the letter had been sent with a very special post in the winter 1830/1831. This post was established in November 1830 by our King as he wanted to get better information from Hamburg about the Pestilence in Europe at that time. "The 3rd Post", in this usage, lasted only until the middle of April 1831.
PHT 1989. Vol. 1. pp. 25-28.
*Half Postage Fee for Danish Inland Steam Ship Letters 1841-1849.
Abstract: According to a book about Danish Postal History written in 1908 by Postmaster Fritz Olsen (our "Bible" of Danish Postal History) letters sent by steam ship from harbour to harbour had to pay only half the normal fee. This arrangement should have been very popular but, as a matter of fact, less than 50 covers showing this half fee are recorded. Before Denmark issued its first stamp on 1 April 1851, the postage fee was normally written in the upper right corner of the letter. This article describes the possibilities for sending Danish inland letters for half of the normal postage fee and refers to scarce books in which this half fee is mentioned.
PHT 1990. Vol. 1. pp. 23-26.
*The Postal Markings on Letters: "5", "9", "4" and "8" in the Period 1.1.1841-31.3.1851.
Abstract: Such markings are not as scarce as the "half fee for steam ship letters" but are also not very common. The markings refer to the fact that people in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, in the period noted, could deposit mail at the head Post Office after the normal closing time. In the period 1 January 1841 to 31 December 1848 we find the marking "5" (4 Danish Skilling plus the standard delivery fee for letters 1 Skilling - and you can see such a letter on my page Danish Inland Ship Mail) when the letter was delivered to the post office in the first hour after normal closing time. If a letter was delivered in the second hour after normal closing time we see a "9" (8+1 Skilling) on the letter. From 1 January 1849 the 1 Skilling standard delivering fee for a letter was discontinued. This is why we see "4" and "8" on letters during the remainder of the period in question. All this ended 1 April 1851 where Denmark issued its first stamp.
As a matter of fact, a letter from Copenhagen to Aarhus in Jutland could, if it was delivered in the second hour after normal closing time, in March 1851, cost 18+8=26 Skilling (18 Skilling was the first rate for letters between Copenhagen and Aarhus at that time) but in April 1851, it would have cost only 4 Skilling!
PHT 1987. Vol. 3. pp. 65-75.
"Over Fyen" (A Directing Marking on Prephilatelic Letters).
Abstract: In the period from about 1836 to 1851 we often see directing markings on letters. As there were different methods by which people could send their letters, some of these methods were faster than others. Therefore the GPO allowed people to chose how their letters were to be sent and, if there were directing markings on the letters, the postmen were obliged to send the letters in the noted manner. The handwritten marking "Over Fyen" (lower left corner), which only is recorded on two letters, is a bit different from other markings. But as the writer of both known letters was one of the four directors of our GPO, he knew very well what he was doing when he asked for the letters be sent "Over Fyen". Both letters were sent from Copenhagen on Zealand to Aarhus in Jutland "Over Fyen" which means that both letters were sent with the post traveling via the Danish island of Funen between Zealand and Jutland. When we look for the alternative routes at that time, we find two choices: 1) - From Copenhagen directly to Aarhus by ship or, 2) - From Copenhagen to Kalundborg by stagecoach and then by ship to Aarhus. However, we see from the route tables that "Over Fyen" on certain weekdays was one day faster than the two other alternative routes.
DAFILO '88 Stamp Exhibition Catalogue, Odense. p 19-21.
The First "Uniform Rate" in Denmark (Military Letters from the Three Year War 1848-1850).
Abstract: Shortly after this war between Denmark and Prussia began, the Danish GPO decided that the postage rates were too high for the "poor" soldiers. Accordingly, a GPO circular dated 10 April 1848 noted that mail to and from the soldiers should be free from any postage fees. Such letters show normally just a red cross on the front with no other postal markings at all. When a ceasefire was established, a GPO circular from 4 November 1848 required that such letters now should be paid with 4 Danish Skillings but still without any other postage fees (such as the normal delivery fee of 1 Danish Skilling at that time). Such letters can be recognized from a small "4" written on the back on the letter. The war ended in early January 1851 but the "Uniform Rate" of 4 Skilling to and from soldiers lasted until Denmark issued its first stamp 1 April 1851.
Danish Stamp Exhibition Catalogue "HAFILA '92", Haderslev 1992. pp. 59-63.
*The "Time" in the Postal Service (The Danish Perpetual Calendar).
Abstract: Apart from the content of the extract shown on my page The Perpetual Calendar - A Helpful Tool to Postal Historians this article also deals with the troubles with the different time from one part to another of Denmark in the old days. In Denmark we had "local time zones" until 1866 and no uniform "time" for the whole country. The different laws about our "time" are mentioned with a discussion of the consequences of the laws and how Denmark established the UTC "time" we have now. As a matter of fact, the Danish Postal Administration, for a period, introduced special "time zones" which were different from the official "time" and this, of course, caused many troubles with our traffic.
DFT 1986. Vol. 2. pp. 57-63 and 1986. Vol. 3. p 143.
Abstract: This article celebrates the 50 year anniversary of the magazine DFT in 1984. In the very first volume from 1934 of DFT, I found an article written by the stamp collector Holger Winther, who was a mariner on board the Danish inspection ship HMS "Beskytteren". In the first part of this century HMS "Beskytteren" sailed around in the waters of the Færø Islands to ensure that the territories were not infringed upon by foreign fishermen. In DFT 1934, Vol. 1, Holger Winther described how he "made Færø provisionals from 1919".
My article does not deal with Holger Winther but with Lt. Aage Helgesen Vedel (later viceadmiral and the man who, during the German occupation of Denmark, commanded the Danish fleet to sink itself so as not to fall into the hands of the Germans. This happened on 27 August 1943). Lt. Vedel also sailed on board HMS "Beskytteren" but this was shortly before Holger Winther.
Lt. Vedel's family kept all incoming letters intact for many, many years, so we now have an opportunity to study some very nice properly-treated ship letters from the Færoe Islands since many letters written by Lt. Vedel were treated correctly as ship letters according to the Danish postal regulations. The article describes the route of HMS "Beskytteren" in the years 1917 and 1918 and also shows letters sent from the ship in the same period.
DFT 1984. Vol. 7. pp. 369-375. Errata in DFT 1984. Vol. 9. p 503.
Late use of the Danish "Bridge Type I" Postmarks (1).
Abstract: The first Danish Bridge I postmark was issued in 1891. This type had vertical bars over and under the bridge with the date wheels as shown on my page Some Danish Postmarks. On 4 November 1936 the GPO mandated that all old postmarks must be replaced by postmarks without vertical bars. But not all post offices made the replacement immediately and I recorded Bridge I postmarks being used for a couple of years after 1936. I was surprised when I recorded that 113 postmarks of the "Bridge Type I" were in use after 1936. Typically the postmarks were kept at the post offices and only used when they were needed because of pressure of business, such as at Christmas time.
Danish Stamp Exhibition Catalogue "HJEMSTAVN 90". 1990. pp. 21- 26.
Late use of the Danish "Bridge Type I" Postmarks (2).
Abstract: A follow-up to the previous article as collectors responded to the article and much new information was given to me. An additional 15 postmarks were recorded, making the total 128 in use after 1936. The latest known use of such a postmark is recorded to be as late as 28 April 1969!
PHT 1991. Vol. 2. pp. 77-80.
*Danish Teleprinter Letters 1940-1955.
Abstract: On the morning of 9 April 1940, Denmark was attacked by Germany and German soldiers immediately occupied nearly all strategically important public offices and many post offices. In the post offices, correspondence and information was delayed until the German occupation was complete. However, the post offices were reopened at 3 pm on the same day. After a few weeks of irregular postal service between the different parts of Denmark, our GPO, on 11 May 1940, introduced, as an experiment, a new type of letter, the so-called "Teleprinter letter". Messages delivered to the post office could be transmitted to the town of the addressee, printed there on paper, put in a special envelope and then delivered to the addressee as a normal letter.
The fee was a combination of the standard postage fee for inland first rate letters plus 4 Danish øre per word, with a minimum fee of 1 Danish Krone (= 100 øre). During the war, 7,909 Teleprinter letters were sent. After the war, until this arrangement was discontinued on 31 May 1955, 4,792 letters were sent, for a total of 12,701 Teleprinter letters. Not many, if you compare this to another special type of letter, namely "Sunday letters" with a total of 20,412,000 letters sent in the same period. A "Sunday letter", as we say, could be delivered to the addressee on a Sunday by paying a special fee, which, apart from the beginning in the period mentioned, was the same price as the postage fee for first rate inland letters. Normally collectors pay about 20 Danish Kroner for a "Sunday letter", so, by comparing the ratio of rarity for the two types of letters, a Teleprinter letter should cost about 60,000 Danish Kroner :-)
PHT 1989. Vol. 4. pp. 111-113.
*The "Fra Hjarnø" Postmark and S/S "AGDA" Ship Mail.
Abstract: Hjarnø is a small island located (Latitude North 55 deg 49 min and Longitude East 10 deg 5 min) in the inlet of Horsens, Jutland. Less than 200 people live on Hjarnø which belongs to the local postal area of Horsens. In the period when Denmark had two types of letter rates, local and inland, the postman in Hjarnø (there was only one) procured a straight line postmark, "Fra Hjarnø" which was to be used on outgoing local rate letters. This postmark was needed because mail from Hjarnø was taken by ship from the island together with mail from Endelave (an island outside the local rate area of Horsens) and it was necessary to distinguish between the letters from Hjarnø and Endelave to ensure that the Hjarnø letters were not penalized after checking the postage.
The postmark is mentioned in a local circular from Horsens Head Post Office dated 23 September 1952. In the article I asked for additional information on other impressions of the postmark. Only four impressions are recorded and only on two are we able to identify the dates: 25 June 1952 and 5 December 1959. There was no reason to use the postmark on the latest know example as the local rate arrangement ended on 31 March 1957 but the postmark was probably not returned to the Horsens Post Office.
PHT 1988. Vol. 2. pp. 33-39.
*The "Fra Samsø" Postmark.
Abstract: Samsø is a small island in the waters of Kattegat near Aarhus, Jutland. In the 1950's in the village of Brundby on Samsø the sub post office used a special straight line postmark "Fra Samsø" (meaning "From Samsø") which could be used on letters from Brundby. The postal regulations stated that it must always be possible to see where a letter originated, so, in case of non-delivery, the letter could be returned to sender. To ensure that letters from Brundby were returned to Brundby and not to the village Brund in Jutland, the administrator in the sub post office in Brundby obtained the "Fra Samsø" line postmark. The intention of use of this "Fra Samsø" postmark differs very, very much from other "Fra ..." postmarks and, as a matter of fact, only three impressions are recorded.
DFT 1988. Vol. 7. pp. 363-367.
The Robbery at the Post Office in Bogense in 1984.
Abstract: During the summers of 1977 to 1992 I sailed around in the Danish waters in a 27-foot sail boat. In 1988 my wife and I called at Bogense Harbour at the island of Funen. Here I asked the owner of a local shipyard about maritime artifacts (I called it "brass waste" :-). Well, I bought some artifacts and I certainly must have paid too much because he asked me whether I had other interests ;). I told him that I was interested in Postal History. He then showed me a shotgun with a damaged barrel! Because of the barrel, the gun was "very cheap"! And he told me its story, which I later verified.
The shotgun was used during a robbery in the post office in Bogense on 20 August 1984. The robber fled with 8,220 Danish Kroner (about US$ 1,500). When he left the Post Office he dropped the gun on a field. Later it was found by a harvester! By this time the barrel was damaged so it could not actually shoot! I could not resist this excellent little illustration of a small part of the Danish Postal History, but I have some trouble exhibiting this piece! The story about this robbery was written in the news papers in 1984 and in:
PHT 1988. Vol. 4. pp. 114-116.