My area of interest tends to focus on the 1860's. It is a period that has plenty of things going on in the world and I can acquire things that are enjoyable without spending a whole lot of money. Each time I find a new item, it gives me a chance to travel vicariously to another place AND another time - without leaving the farm house.
|France to Switzlerand - 1865|
The item above shows a common situation. Someone didn't put enough postage on the letter to go from France to Switzerland. They applied a 20 centime (French) stamp, but they should have paid 40 centimes. The red box translates to "insufficient postage" and the red 40 tells the post office in Switzerland that the recipient would have to pay the entire 40 centimes if they wanted their letter. Yep, that 20 centime stamp did nothing for them. Current postal services usually only collect the amount that was not prepaid - but that was clearly not always the case.
|Printed Matter Mail in Prussia|
This mailer used a paper band that wrapped around the flyer. They then affixed the stamp so it attached the contents to the band. The post office could still inspect the contents by pulling down the folded part of the printed portion (as seen above). This item simply informs the recipient that Hermann Schwarz was going to be in their area soon. It is not clear what exactly Herr Schwarz was going to be doing there. Maybe selling brushes?
|Where is Mantova?|
It turns out that Mantova was part of the Quadrilatero, a set of four fortress cities held by Austria. The other three were in Venetia. When Austria lost the War of 1859, they were forced to cede Lombardy, but they did not give up their fortress city in Mantova. So, while both Brescia and Mantova were in Lombardy, they were actually a part of two different countries. So, once again, the stamp didn't cover all of the expenses and the recipient had to pay something to get their letter!
|An 1863 letter in Norway|
|Spain to France 1864|
I sure hope this letter was something they wanted.
|Switzerland to Italy 1865|
If you are wondering why Splugen sounds vaguely familiar, perhaps you have heard of the Splugen Pass? It was one of the major passes through the Alps between Italy and Switzerland.
And now you know.