Monday, April 16, 2018

Letter Rates between Switzerland and Italy

The Project
Postal agreements prior to the General Postal Union/Universal Postal Union in 1875 were highly diverse, though they show increased uniformity over time from 1850 to 1875 in Europe.  This post focuses on mail between Switzerland and Italy.  Last edited: May 4, 2018

Organization of this Post
  • Postal Arrangements (in progress)
  • Switzerland to Italy Prepaid Rates
  • Italy to Switzerland Prepaid Rates
  • Border Crossings (in progress)

Postal Arrangements: Switzerland and Italy
Both of these countries went through processes of unification in the mid-19th century.  As should be expected, postal arrangements were much more complex prior to the point of unification.  Switzerland becomes much simpler after 1849 and Italy requires a good deal less detective work beginning in 1859.  While I will never say never, my focus remains in the 1860's.  Understanding what leads up to that point is important, but it is unlikely that I will expend significant resources of time or money to explore that area in the near future.

The postal conventions of Sardinia were the precursors for the agreements entered into by the Kingdom of Italy (established 1860/61).  The process of unification introduces its share of exceptions and interesting postal history opportunities.  However, this post will focus on the general rule, rather than the exceptions.

Swiss-Sardinian Convention of 1851
This agreement applied to Sardinia and was made available to various Italian States in the years 1859 to 1861. 

Tuscany: Dec 1, 1859
Parma & Modena: Sep 1859
Two Sicilies: 1861 (guessing Oct 1)
Lombardy: Sep 1859

A couple of the Italian states did not participate entirely in this convention, but they did in the following agreement.
Venetia: Oct 1866 *
Papal States: Oct 1870 **

*After Lombardy was lost by Austria in 1859, mail from Venetia to/from Switzerland typically transited Sardinian territory.
** In 1860, all but Latium and some of the area nearby was taken by Sardinia / the newly developing Kingdom of Italy.  Thus, the Marches, Romagne and Umbria were all subject to this convention around that time.

The Swiss-Italian Convention of 1862
This may be the first postal convention negotiated by the Kingdom of Italy after its formation.  While I have found sufficient resources for the treaties signed by France, Belgium, England and the Netherlands, I am still looking for online resources showing the original texts of treaties for Italy and Switzerland that do not involved one of the aforementioned entities.  Now that I have found numerous other resources in this area, it is likely not going to be hard to find the others (see me in December 2018).

Switzerland to Italy Prepaid Rates
The Alps were a very real obstacle when it came to communications between Switzerland and Italy.  It would make little sense to send all mail from one country to another to one or two exchange offices and let the receiving country figure out delivery.  After all, sometimes the best (and maybe only) way to get to certain destinations would be taking a pass that crossed the border.  Perhaps just as important is the recognition that southern Switzerland had a significant percentage of people who identified as Italian.  Discounted border rates reflect these aspects of the relationship between these two countries at the time.

Prepaid Letter Rates - Switzerland to Italy
Effective Date Rate Unit
Aug 1, 1851- border (a) 20 rappen 7.5 grams
Aug 1, 1851 40 rappen 7.5 grams
Dec  , 1859 - border (b) 10 rappen 7.5 grams
Jul 1, 1862 - border (c) 10 centimes/rappen 10 grams
Jul 1, 1862 30 centimes/rappen 10 grams
Jan 1, 1876 (GPU) 30 centimes 15 grams
May 1, 1878 (UPU) 25 centimes 15 grams
Oct 1, 1907 (UPU) 25 ctm / 15 ctm 15 g / add'l 15 g
(a) - for origin and destination where each is within 45 km of the border
(b) - for origin and destination no more than 35 km distant from each other
(c) - for origin and destination no more than 45 km from corresponding exchange office


30 centimes per 10 grams : Jul 1, 1862 - Dec 31, 1875
This is one of the easiest foreign destinations and rate combinations to find (at least in the US) for Switzerland.  In addition, there tend to be a decent set of markings that can help us track the route taken by the mail.  Since these aren't hard to find and the price is fairly inexpensive, it is likely I can explore the various routes under this rate in more detail than some of the other rates.

First example - via Geneva and Mt Cenis
Geneve Jul 23 1863
     via Savoy (France) and Mt Cenis
Da Susa A Torino Jul 24 63
Milano Jul 25 63

Geneva is actually the hub for several border crossings into France and the "Border Crossings" section below in this post discusses this and provides a link to another post that contains more details.  An open question for me is whether ANY mail leaving Geneva for Italy would take another border crossing.  The only one that I suspect it might have taken would be via the Simplon Pass at Domod'ossola.

Second example - via Splugen and Como

Horgen Apr 24 1867
Chur Apr 24 67 (verso)
? Apr 24 67 (verso - unclear Swiss marking)
Como A Milano Apr 26 (verso)
Milano Apr 26 67 (verso)
Genova Apr 26 67 (verso)
In general, it seems as if items with a Chur marking or a Chur-St Gallen rail marking were destined for the Splugen Pass and Lake Como during the late 1850's into the early 1870's.  As the St Gotthard Pass railway was developed, mail would more likely be diverted through central rather than eastern Switzerland.

This particular cover is a favorite of mine thus far.  It is clean with excellent markings.  That gives me plenty of clues to work with during the process of uncovering the story of its travels.  And, it simply is a nice item to look at.  As far as I know, it is not terribly special from a stamp or destination standpoint, and the route was surely traveled plenty during this period.

Italy to Switzerland Prepaid Rates
The postal agreements between Switzerland, France and the Kingdom of Sardinia/Italy are relatively simple when it comes to the monetary and weight systems beginning in the 1850's.  An Italian centesimi is equivalent to a Swiss rappen is equivalent to a French centime.  All three used grams as the unit of measure.  This makes the table below somewhat redundant.  However, if I wish to go back in time to prior agreements when Italy (and Switzerland) were not unified, things would become more complex.  So, I put this here should I wish to expand the date range forward.


Prepaid Letter Rates - Italy to Switzerland
Effective Date Rate Unit
Aug 1, 1851- border (a) 20 centesimi 7.5 grams
Aug 1, 1851 40 centesimi 7.5 grams
Dec  , 1859 - border (b) 10 centesimi 7.5 grams
Jul 1, 1862 - border (c) 10 centesimi 10 grams
Jul 1, 1862 30 centesimi 10 grams
Jan 1, 1876 (GPU) 30 centesimi 15 grams
May 1, 1878 (UPU) 25 centesimi 15 grams
Oct 1, 1907 (UPU) 25 ctsm / 15 ctsm 15 g / add'l 15 g
(a) - for origin and destination where each is within 45 km of the border
(b) - for origin and destination no more than 35 km distant from each other
(c) - for origin and destination no more than 45 km from corresponding exchange office

30 centesimi per 10 grams : Jul 1, 1862 - Dec 31, 1875
It should be no surprise that letter mail during the same rate period from Italy would also be a good choice for economical explorations in postal history.

via Como and Gotthard



Padova Nov 9 1870
Milano Staz Nov 10 70 (verso)
Milano-Como Ambulant Nov 10 70 (verso)
St Gotthard Pass carriage road
Burgdorf Nov 12 70 (verso)
What makes me think this went via Gotthard versus the Splugen Pass?  First, Burgdorf is located in the Canton of Bern, to the West of the St Gotthard Pass route that connects up with rail lines in Luzern (see 2nd map below).  Second, there is no indication of a rail marking in the Chur-St Gallen area.  Construction of the rail line via St Gotthard Pass was not to begin until 1872.  But, some period maps seem to indicate rail expansion along this route on either side of the pass that would shorten the period of time this item was in a carriage.  I find the two day transit from Como to Burgdorf to be somewhat surprising.  But, it would not have been faster via Splugen.

20 centesimi per 7.5 grams : Aug 1, 1851 - Jun 30, 1862

 Border Mail Rate - Each location under 45 km from the shared border.



Milano Feb 16, 1860
P.D. (paid to destination)
Magadino Feb 17, 1860 (verso)

It seems that border mail throughout Western Europe is a fairly common specialist endeavor.  As such, it is unlikely that I will often pick up a border mail item if it is properly described and priced with a premium.  This item was, in fact, labeled as a domestic use.  Given the population distribution in Magadino, it might as well have been the case.

This item is a true Sardinian use rather than the use of a Sardinian adhesive for mail from the Kingdom of Italy.  I am not certain whether mail between Milan and Magadino had a preferred route.  It seems it could have taken train to Arona and a lake steamer on Maggiore, arriving at Magadino.  There are also indications of a stage route to the east shore of the lake. 

Border Crossings and Exchange Offices
There were numerous border crossings to facilitate local mail between Italy and Switzerland.  I suspect there may well be a significant scholarly work or two and several serious collectors who could put any discussion I might bring forth to shame on that topic.  However, it is fairly apparent that there were limited higher traffic border crossings that could reach the interiors of Switzerland and Italy.

Main crossings between Switzerland and Italy (click to enlarge)
The map above is my own overlay on a German rail map of the 1860's.  I do not claim that these routes are completely accurate at this time, but they give some idea as to where the mails would have to go if origin and/or destination were not on the border.  These are also likely the routes taken by foreign mails that might transit Switzerland or Italy on their way to their destination.

Geneva Crossings
The discussion of the Geneva crossings in the France/Switzerland post probably give the insight I am looking for with respect to Italian/Swiss mails.  The map above shows the Geneva-Bellegarde crossing as heading to Mont Cenis.  However, I now think that the Geneva - St Julien crossing is more likely.  This isn't to say mail couldn't have traversed the route shown here.  But, I believe evidence shows the normal route was likely via St Julien.

Lago di Como to Splugen
Lake steamers on Como provided a reliable transportation service where land routes in the Alps did not.  The bulk of the mail from Italy could depart the train at Como (the city) and be placed on a lake steamer that would unload the mail for Switzerland at Colico (obviously the reverse order for mails form Switzerland to Italy).  Local mail could be loaded on lake steamers at other stops on the lake such as Varenna and Menaggio.

Lago di Maggiore
Arona would be the main Italian port on the southern end and Locarno or Magadino seem to be the northern Swiss ports.  While the map above shows a route to Maggiore from Como via Stage, I am not certain of this route option.  Neither am I certain that mail would take a route from the north end of Maggiore and head to Splugen rather than St Gotthard.  However, a couple of period maps indicate the carriage routes exist - but that does NOT make them post roads nor does it mean they were equivalently passable all season long.  It would seem that a carriage route from Como to Maggiore would be an odd choice since a rail line goes to Arona as well and would certainly be faster?

Simplon Pass
This route seems simplest to explain with the established carriage route via Domod'ossola from Arona in Italy and Sion in Switzerland.  It would seem to primarily serve western Switzerland up to the Bern area and points east of Torino in Italy (Torino, Genoa etc would seem more likely to use Mt Cenis and entry around Geneva).  It is probably more a question as to the actual postal directions given for the routing of mail between the two countries.  Clearly, weather could change a routing if necessary.

Other Interesting Stuff

Time Period Issues
Time makes all of this discussion tricky - of course.  The rapid development of rail lines, improvements in roads and telegraph technologies means routes could change multiple times during a convention period.  Happily, there are many railroad enthusiasts that take great pride in uncovering rail development throughout the world.  It may take time to locate the resources, but I suspect I can develop a decent picture of routes over time.

Also pertinent to the discussion is the difficult relationship between Austria and Italy as well as the changing landscape as Italy went through the process of unification.  A very brief description of convention applicability occurs at the top of this post.

Convention Snippets
1849 1858 1866
placeholder

placeholder placeholder
Click on the text image to see a larger version.


Open Questions:
1. Would ANY mail leaving Geneva for Italy take another border crossing other than through Savoy?  Would schedules ever send it via the Simplon Pass at Domod'ossola.
2.  Is it possible to locate the agreements between Switzerland and Italy in French (or better, English) so that I can reference actual text? 

Resources

Matha, T and Mentaschi, M, Letter Mail From and To the Old Italian States: 1850-1870, Vaccari, 2008.
While the layout of this book took me a little bit to get used to, it provided some sound guidance for a number of Italian rates.  The area I tended to care about falls outside the scope of this book since they tend to only take postal agreements up to the point an Italian State was absorbed in the Kingdom of Italy.  After that point, only the Papal States get treatment.  But, focusing on Sardinian rates and reading between the lines for the rest can get you a long way.  The level of detail is inconsistent at times, but I am pleased that the authors published rather than hold out for perfection.

Postcards showing the Lago di Como lake steamers can be found on this site by Simplon.  According to this site, Lago di Como steamers that would have been in service during the 1850-1875 time period were the Unione, the Forza, the Vittoria, the Italia and the Lariano.  Several others began to appear in the early 1870's that I will not list here.

LAKE MAGGIORE ITS HISTORY, POSTS & STEAMERS 1800S & 1900S BY ALAN BECKER could be a useful read.

ITALY LAKE MAIL MONOGRAPH BY LINDSEY could also be useful.

POSTAL SERVICE ON MAJOR ITALIAN LAKES: MAGGIORE, COMO, GARDA, ISEO by Pulejo, G.  If I could read Italian...

Railways and the Formation of the Italian State in the Nineteenth Century
By Albert Schram

Letter Rates between France and Belgium

The Project
Postal agreements prior to the General Postal Union/Universal Postal Union in 1875 were highly diverse, though they show increased uniformity over time from 1850 to 1875 in Europe.  This post focuses on mail between France and Belgium.  Last edited: May 5, 2018

Organization of this Post
  • Postal Arrangements: France and Belgium
  • France to Belgium Prepaid Rates
  • Border Crossings
  • Belgium to France Prepaid Rates
  • Border Mail 
  • Belgium Frees Itself from the Netherlands
Postal Arrangements: France and Belgium

Rates between these two countries included a discounted rate for border communities and, beginning in 1858, higher rates for unpaid or short-paid mail.  The rate structure prior to 1849 would require a separate post.  Rates between France, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium were relatively simple since all tended to convert their rates on a 1:1 basis.  In fact, they created the "Latin Monetary Unit" in 1865 that made the exchange rate of 1:1 official for these four nations.  (Greece joined this group in 1868).

Postal Agreement of November 3, 1847
This agreement allowed payment to destination, payment to the border or payment by the recipient (sent unpaid).  It seems, at first glance, that Belgium was split into districts not unlike the rayon found in Switzerland and/or Prussia to determine rates.  Also, the rate progression by weight is not a linear progression (similar to the domestic French rates in some ways).  See Article 7 and 8 for details on this progression (shown below).  This agreement seems to set the tone for future agreements.

Convention of 1847
Article 7 & 8 Article 1 Articles 12-14
Rate Progession

Exchange Offices
Foreign Mail Routing
Click on the text image to see a larger version.

Exchange offices were initially set forth in this treaty, with most exchanging mail once per day and carrying local mail (such as Dunkerque and Furnes).  The Lille-Tournai exchange pairing was set for 3 mails per day.  Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing with Courtrai, Gand and the western Traveling Rail Office were to exchange twice a day.  Valenciennes with the MIDI traveling rail office, twice per day.  It is likely these numbers changed over time into the 1860's just as the list of exchange office pairings, etc differed.

Postal Agreement of 1849
Other than the exception of border communities, distance was no longer a part of the rate calculation.  It seem the rate is now a linear progression.

Postal Agreements of 1857 and 1865
The 1857 convention clearly broke more ground than the 1865 convention, which cites the 1857 convention throughout.  No changes were made to border mail in the 1866 convention, so 1857 processes still applied.

Conventions of 1858 and 1866
Article 1.4 - 1857
Rate Progression
Article 1.5 - 1857
Border Mail Rate
Article 1 - 1865
Rate Progression
Click on the text image to see a larger version.


France to Belgium

Prepaid Letter Rates - France to Belgium
Effective Date Rate Unit
Oct 1, 1849 40 centimes 7.5 grams
Apr 1, 1858 40 centimes
10 grams
Jan 1, 1866 30 centimes 10 grams
Jan 1, 1876 (GPU) 30 centimes 15 grams
May 1, 1878 (UPU) 25 centimes 15 grams
Oct 1, 1907 (UPU) 25 ctm / 15 ctm 15 g / add'l 15 g

40 centimes per 10 grams - 1858-1865

1860 to Belgium: 40 centime rate
Tournay entry (east of Lille)
Cambrai May 18, 1860
593 in diamond grid
PD in box
     Apres Le Depart
France par Tournay May 20

30 centimes per 10 grams - 1866-1875

1868 to Belgium
verso of 1868 to Belgium

Lille 25 Apr 68 
France MIDI I 26 Apr 68 (verso)
Bruxelles 26 Apr 68   (verso)
St Gilles . Bruxelles 26 Apr 68 (verso)

2nd Example of same rate
 
1867 to Belgium
verso of 1867 to Belgium item - note 7 in circle at middle right
Arras June 13, 1867
France MIDI I  -  Jun 14, 1867
Gand 8M - Jun 14, 1867
     7 in circle
      - must be some sort of 
        carrier/delivery marking?

Border Crossings
Lille - Tournay Crossing (Roubaix & Tourcoing): Cambrai is actually located Southwest of Valenciennes, yet the first item appears to have gone to Lille and then Tournay.  The second and third items seem to have entered Belgium at Valenciennes given the MIDI I marking.  However, I can not be sure of the routing because there is only the Tournay marking to go on, but it seems logical that if the only marking is Tournay, it must have taken that line.  It was already recognized as a higher volume exchange since Lille to Tournay was scheduled for 3 mails in the 1847 convention.

Lille - Courtray Exchange:  This is the same border crossing as above, however, the exchange would be effected at Courtray (Courtrai) for western destinations and Gand (Ghent).  The western traveling rail office could also exchange mail via this crossing.

The second item is interesting in that it has an origin at Lille, which is very near the border with Belgium.  Valenciennes is to the Southeast and it would be odd if the letter took that route unless Belgium/France wanted to funnel all mail via one route (which doesn't seem to be the case).  Perhaps if the rail schedule was such that taking the route via another border crossing was more efficient, I could see it taking another train.  But, for now, I assume Lille-Tournay with its multiple exchanges each day.

MIDI Station: I have observed several items leaving Belgium for Spain or Italy that exhibit a MIDI II marking that includes the destination country in the marking.  It is possible that the MIDI marking has no specific border crossing location.  Initially, the MIDI was located in Brussels as the station for the early line to Mons.  It was moved to St Gilles (just outside Brussels) in 1864 to handle the higher volume of traffic.  Incoming mail with MIDI markings probably show Brussels acting as the exchange office for incoming mail.  Mail exiting Belgium would likely leave via Mons for France, Spain and other such destinations.  But, clearly, items leaving the MIDI station could leave at any border (and thus enter from any border).

By the 1847 convention, the MIDI traveling rail office would exchange with Valenciennes and Paris offices.  Valenciennes was scheduled for two mails in 1847 (and was likely increased later).  However, the Paris exchange would seem to allow for MIDI markings that crossed elsewhere.

Valenciennes - Mons crossing (Quievrain): The third item originated in Arras, which is Southwest of Lille and Valenciennes.  The MIDI marking indicates arrival in Brussels, so a Mons entry at one of two locations are possible.  One is via Valenciennes, crossing at Quievrain.  The other candidate is below:

Erquelinnes crossingThis is the border crossing with the rail line that enters Mons from the south.  For the third item, it would seem most likely that it would enter here.  However, rail schedules may have dictated the actual route.



Jeumont crossing: The rail line that splits east just south of the Erquelinnes crossing enters Belgium at the French town of Jeumont.  This line would make sense for either closed mail transiting Belgium between France and Prussia OR mail destined for the eastern Belgian cities of Liege and Verviers.  Oddly, however, I have seen "Erquelines" markings for Prussian mail crossing Belgium to France.  So much for that theory.

Vireux-Molhain (Ardennes) crossing:   This 1861 map shows a rail line approaching the peninsula shaped area of France jutting into Belgium in the Ardennes.  The train route in Belgium was open in 1854 to Vireux - Molhain (in France), but there was apparently no adjoining French train by 1861?  The line out of Rheims could have been developed by the mid-1860's.

Givet (Ardennes) crossing:  Givet is located further north in the peninsula shaped protrusion of the French border into Belgium.  I have viewed a 1864 ambulatory rail marking for Givet, which seems to confirm completion of the Florennes to Givet line that was completed June 23, 1862.  It is unclear what the advantage would be to use this crossing UNLESS the origin or destination was in that area.  The higher mail and train volumes heading up to Lille would seem to favor those crossings.  The 1847 convention lists Givet as exchanging mail with Dinant, probably to address local mails via coach at that time.

Luxembourg crossing: As with the Givet crossing, I suspect this line was used for very specific subsets of destinations and origins.

Belgium to France
The rate table is essentially a duplicate to the France to Belgium rate table.  It is here to allow ease of reference in the post with future (hopeful) additions of Belgian mail to France.

Letter Rates - Belgium to France 
Effective Date Rate Unit
Oct 1, 1849  40 centimes 7.5 grams
Apr 1, 1858  40 centimes 10 grams
Jan 1, 1866  30 centimes 10 grams
Jan 1, 1876 (GPU)  30 centimes 15 grams
May 1, 1878 (UPU)  25 centimes 15 grams
Oct 1, 1907 (UPU)  25 ctm / 15 ctm 15 g / add'l 15 g


Border Mail

Border Letter Rates - France to Belgium**
Effective Date Rate Unit
Oct 1, 1849 20 centimes 7.5 grams
Apr 1, 1858 20 centimes 10 grams
Jan 1, 1866 20 centimes 10 grams

** for mail that crosses the border and distance is 30 km or less from origin post office to destination post office

The 1847 convention lists several exchange office pairings that are clearly for local mails:
Avesnes (France) with Mons (to its north) and Chimay (to its East)
Dunkerque with Furnes (on the Channel)
Givet with Dinant (Ardennes)
Longwy with Arlon (by Luxembourg)
Maubauge (between Avesnes and Mons) with Mons
Roeroy with Couvin (south Ardennes)
Sedan with Bouillon (southeast Belgium)
Thionville with Arlon (by Luxembourg)
Trelon with Chimay (south of Avesnes)

Of course, other local mail exchanges could occur Roubaix and Tourcoing.

If my relatively short foray into European mails in the 1850-1875 period is any indicator, much of the mail that traveled from France to Belgium seems to have originated in the "Nord."  At the very least, of the thirty or so items I have viewed, the furthest afield was Paris.  The rest were northeast of there.  This is not terribly surprising since much mail during this period traveled a relatively short distance as a relatively few businesses maintained connections further away.

Even so, I have only seen three items that would qualify at the 'border mail' rate.  And, sadly for me, they were all properly identified and I was not willing to pay for the privilege of owning those items.

The following pieces of the convention illustrate the border mail regulations and provide a list of locations that would benefit from the special rate.

Eligible Border Locations - According to Convention
1849 1858 1866
convention effective Oct 1, 1849

Convention effective April 1, 1858
Convention effective Jan 1, 1866
Click on the text image to see a larger version.


Belgium Frees Itself from the Netherlands
The Congress of Vienna (1815) essentially attached Belgium to the Netherlands.

ART. LXV. The ancient United Provinces of the Netherlands and the late Belgic provinces, both within the limits fixed by the following Article, shall form, together with the countries and territories designated in the same article, under the sovereignty of his Royal Highness the Prince of Orange-Nassau, sovereign prince of the United Provinces, the kingdom of the Netherlands, hereditary in the order of succession already established by the Act of the constitution of the said United Provinces. The title and the prerogatives of the royal dignity are recognised by all the Powers in the house of Orange-Nassau. [from General Treaty/Final Act of the Congress of Vienna, June 9, 1815 - note that this is actually before the Battle of Waterloo]

On October 4, 1830, Belgium declared independence from the Netherlands.  The current powers of Europe intervened and ratified this on January 10, 1831.  The final treaty signed on Oct 15, 1831 left Luxembourg with the Netherlands and recognized Belgium, but Netherlands refused to sign that treaty.  War persisted between the Netherlands and Belgium for eight more years.  A second treaty (Treaty of London - 1839) signed April 19, 1839 set the boundaries that would be in use when postage stamps began to see use.  These borders, interestingly enough, were fairly similar to those found in 1790.


Resources
Les Tarifs Postaux Francais: Entre 1848 et 1916 by Jean-Louis Bourgouin
     This has been my "go to" site for determining French rates for some time.  Data appears to be backed up by postal acts and agreements of which I have confirmed some and I hope to collect access to others as well.

General Treaty/Final Act of the Congress of Vienna, June 9, 1815
     This is the actual treaty text in English (language used for official documents was French - the language of diplomacy at that time).  It is located on WikiSource which is getting better at providing access to the text of original documents such as this.  It is instructive to read how this treaty set up Europe after the defeat of Napolean at Waterloo (which was not at all certain at the time of the Congress of Vienna).

 LeBecque, Emmanuel, Histoire Postale du Nord, 2014
   Lebecque includes several portions of conventions and official postal acts that apply to his area of interest.  The three sections for border mail are included on his site and I have "shamelessly" taken them for the purpose of illustrating the border mail rate from the French perspective.  The next step is to locate the full text to illustrate the rest of the appropriate rate and route information.

Kevers, Paul - Belgian Rail Lines
    There is a great deal of work here identifying each spur and its development.  I am inclined to trust what appears to be a pure labor of love in the effort of accumulating this information.  There is even an animation to show development of lines in Belgium to 1855.

Busschots, Bart - Belgian Railway History Project
   This takes it all to a new level.  Mr. Busschots gives credit to Mr. Kevers to get him going.  But, now he is using Google maps to try and identify the actual historical locations of the rail beds.  While I haven't had the time to download the software required, I may just find the time and bandwidth to do so just to see his work.

History of the Gare du Midi District
   For a site that is concerned about providing current information and status of the projects in this district, it certainly has a decent historical summary.  Sufficient, at least, for someone like me that needs to get a foothold to dig further.

Duvergier,  Jean Baptiste, "Collection complete de lois, decrets, d'interets general ... par France"
  After a much appreciated suggestion by Laurent on the altpostgeschichte forum, I can now provide links to the French version of both the 1858 and 1866 convention documents.
1858: Is in volume 58
1866: Is in volume 65

Greuse (ed.), "Recueil des traites et conventions concernant le royaume du Belgique," 1850.
   Here we have the Belgian counterpart for treaty and convention texts.  Page 545 includes the 1847 version of exchange offices between France and Belgium.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Letter Rates between Switzerland and France

The Project
Postal agreements prior to the General Postal Union/Universal Postal Union in 1875 were highly diverse, though they show increased uniformity over time from 1850 to 1875 in Europe.  This post focuses on mail between Switzerland and France  Last edited: May 4, 2018

Organization of this Post
  • Postal Arrangements
  • Switzerland to France Prepaid Rates (in progress)
  • Border Crossings (in progress)
  • France to Switzerland Prepaid Rates (in progress)
  • Border Mail  (future work)
  • Unpaid Letter Rates (future work)
Postal Arrangements: Switzerland and France
The Swiss Confederation came into being in 1848, but it took some time to develop new arrangements beyond the individual agreements that various cantons had adhered to prior to this point.

Postal Convention of November 25, 1849
The convention was completed in November, but it was not until April of the following year that the convention was ratified by both parties.  On first glance, reading the document in the convention resource #1 at the end of this post, I find no specific mention of an active date.  It may be there, but I have not found it as of May 4, 2018.

Convention of 1849
Article III Article V TBA
Article III setting the weight of simple letters (7.5 grams)

First part of Article V setting the postage rate at 40 centimes.

Click on the text image to see a larger version.

 Postal Convention of March 22, 1865
This was ratified in Paris on August 14 of the same year.  If a person reads the first convention and then immediately reads the second convention, it becomes clear how much more comfortable nations were in developing postal agreements.

Article III fixing the new rate of postage and weights.

Prepaid Letter Rates Switzerland to France

Prepaid Letter Rates - Switzerland to France
Effective Date Rate Unit
* differs for cantons

Jul 1, 1850 40 rappen/centimes 7.5 grams
Oct 1, 1865 30 centimes 10 grams
Jan 1, 1876 (GPU) 30 centimes 15 grams
May 1, 1878 (UPU) 25 centimes 15 grams
Oct 1, 1907 (UPU) 25 ctm / 15 ctm 15 g / add'l 15 g
* Switzerland was "unified" in 1848.  The 1850 convention seems to be the first such between France and the new government.  Prior to this, postal agreements depended on the canton.

40 centimes per 7.5 grams - 1850-1865

Basel Crossing - St Louis Exchange Office

details forthcoming


30 centimes per 10 grams - 1865-1875

Geneva Crossing - Marseilles Ambulant Office

Zurich Jun 13, 1866
Geneve Jun 14 66 (verso)
Geneve - Sion - Geneve Jun 14 66 (verso)
Suisse Amb Marseilles Jun 14 66
Marseilles Jun 15 66 (verso)


Basel Crossing - Mulhouse Exchange



Zurich May 7, 1868
Basel May 8 68 (verso)
Suisse Mulhouse May 8 68
    



Border Crossings and Exchange Offices

Article I of the 1849 Convention
This part of the convention leaves it open for the creation of new exchange locations when judged "necessary."  It is possible addendums to this convention exist that list these newly created exchange pairings.  A similar list is NOT noted in the 1865 convention, with it likely assumed that this was no longer a detail necessary for a treaty/convention article.

The beginning list of exchange offices were as follows (French location - Swiss location):
  1. Saint-Louis - Basel
  2. Delle - Porentruy
  3. Miache - Seignelegier
  4. Morteau - les Brenets
  5. Pontarlier - les Verrieres
  6. Pontarlier - Sainte Croix
  7. Jougne - Ballaigue
  8. les Rousses - Saint Cergue
  9. Ferney - Geneva

Roger Heath has been kind enough to share exchange markings he has observed in his Switzerland collection in the period of 1862 to 1881.  In combination with period maps and markings he has shared and I have observed, these are my conclusions until I can read specific convention materials.

Basel - St Louis Crossing:
The Paris to Basel rail lines carried a significant amount of correspondence.   The Paris to Basel (Bale) rail line provided fast service between the two and foreign mails from England (and points beyond) were typically funneled through Paris.

French exchange markings that would be associated with this crossing would be:
   Suisse St Louis (seen above), Suisse Mulhouse (seen above)

The different exchange offices likely handled different destinations within France.  Clearly, the Mulhouse exchange marking works for the Mulhouse destination above.

Verrieres de Suisse Crossing:

Pontarlier on the French side of the border is clearly the largest settlement in the area.  Neuchatel is relatively close on the Swiss side.    Significant mail volumes, including foreign mails seem to flow through this crossing.

French exchange markings for this area:
     Suisse Pontarl D A Besancon, Suisse Pontarlier, Suisse Amb Besancon

It is possible that the Am Besancon marking could be from a train coming from the Montbeliard border crossing once Alsace became a part of Germany. 

Geneva - Bellegarde Crossing:
The Bellegarde crossing from Geneva would seem to be the favored routing for mails in the Southern France from Marseilles westward.  It seems possible that the different ambulant markings for Marseilles could indicate different border crossings and/or different time periods.  It is also not unlikely that some identification for train, work crew, etc are also in some of these markings.

French exchange markings for this area:
     Suisse Lyon, various Amb. Marseilles markings (one seen above), Suisse Bellegarde

Geneva - Annenosse Crossing:
This crossing seems to service northern Savoy.  Being in the Alps, more crossings would be needed to reach the destinations in the area.

French exchange markings for this crossing:
     Suisse Cluses, Suisse Bonneville

Geneva - St Julien Crossing:
The St Julien crossing heads south and appears to connect to the Mt Cenis railway.  This traveling exchange office was probably intended to service the communities around that mountain pass railway, such as Lanslebourg.

French exchange markings for this crossing:
     Suisse Annecy, Suisse Amb M. Cenis

Lake of Geneva Crossing:
Thonon is located on the South shore of Lake Geneva.  A rail line was developed along that south shore from Geneva to Martigny (approximately), but this may have been either a lake steamer or carriage route exchange earlier.
French exchange marking: Suisse Thonon

French exchange markings with uncertain crossings:
     Suiss Dijon (probably Pontarlier),  various Marseilles markings, Suisse Amb. Marseilles 3, Amb Marseille II Suisse, Suisse Ambulant Marseille G

Prepaid Rates France to Switzerland

Prepaid Letter Rates - Belgium to France 
Effective Date Rate Unit
* differs for cantons
Jul 1, 1850  40 centimes 7.5 grams
Oct 1, 1865  30 centimes 10 grams
Jan 1, 1876 (GPU)  30 centimes 15 grams
May 1, 1878 (UPU)  25 centimes 15 grams
Oct 1, 1907 (UPU)  25 ctm / 15 ctm 15 g / add'l 15 g

* Switzerland was "unified" in 1848.  The 1850 convention seems to be the first such between France and the new government.  Prior to this, postal agreements depended on the canton.

30 centimes per 10 grams : Oct 1, 1865 - Dec 31, 1875

Geneva (Bellegarde) entry to Switzerland
Marseilles A Lyon Jan 13 1866
     ML1 rail marking
Sion - Geneve - Sion Jan 14 66 T.7 (verso)
Bern Jan 14 66 (verso)
Thun Jan 15 66 Vormittag (verso)

The Thun marking is of interest as it appears to read "vormittag," which would seem to indicate "morning" mail service or arrival.  This would make sense given the Sion-Geneva markings of the previous day.

Pontarlier entry to Switzerland
 
Le Havre Apr 2 69
   1769 (lozenge cancel)
Paris Etranger Apr 3 (verso)
Pontarlier N Berne Apr 4 69 (verso)
Verrieres Apr 4 69 (verso)

25 ctms per 15 gms  : May 1, 1878 - Sep 30, 1881
 
Paris Gare du Nord Jul 18 79
     Gare du Nord train station in Paris
Ambulant Jul 19 79 (verso)
     Swiss Traveling Post Office
Geneve, Switzerland

The above is a standard UPU (Universal Postal Union) Group 1 letter rate example.  The UPU did recognize that some destinations required more expense for mail to reach them than others.  Hence destinations were placed into "groups" for rating purposes.

Border Mail

Border Letter Rates - France to Switzerland and vice versa**
Effective Date Rate Unit
Jul 1, 1850 20 centimes/rappen 7.5 grams
Oct 1, 1865 20 centimes 10 grams
Jan 1, 1876 - Jun 30,1892 20 centimes 15 grams

** for mail that crosses the border and distance is 30 km or less from origin post office to destination post office

Unpaid Mail

Unpaid Letter Rates - France to Switzerland and vice versa***
Effective Date Rate Unit
Oct 1, 1865 50 centimes 10 grams
Oct 1, 1865 - border 30 centimes 10 grams
Jan 1, 1876 60 centimes 15 grams
Jan 1, 1876-border 40 centimes 15 grams
May 1, 1878 50 centimes 15 grams
Apr 1, 1886- border 30 centimes 15 grams
*** prior to 1865, the unpaid rate was the same as the prepaid rate


Resources
 De Clercq, M, "Recueil des Traites de la France,"  p 638 holds the 1849 postal convention.

page 207 of Volume 20 has the 1865 treaty.

Les Tarifs Postaux Francais: Entre 1848 et 1916 by Jean-Louis Bourgouin
     This has been my "go to" site for determining French rates for some time.  Data appears to be backed up by postal acts and agreements of which I have confirmed some and I hope to collect access to others as well.

Richardson, Derek J, "Tables of French Postal Rates 1849-2011," 4th ed, France and Colonies Philatelic Society of Great Britain, 2011.
     If you are looking for a wider range of rates, they can be found here as long as they are not rates dictated by postal convention prior to the General Postal Union of 1875.  But, the internal rates are well covered.  This work is in English.  The convenience of not having to translate and the likelihood that Richardson's work is sufficiently accurate for my intents and purposes make this a good resource.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Letter Rates Between France and Italy


The Project
Postal agreements prior to the General Postal Union/Universal Postal Union in 1875 were highly diverse, though they show increased uniformity over time from 1850 to 1875 in Europe.  This post focuses on mail between France and Italy.  Last edited: Apr 16, 2018

Organization of this Post
This post is only partially constructed.  I have more information that needs to be integrated into the post, but that will likely wait until the end of the year.
  • Postal Arrangements (in progress)
  • France to Italy Prepaid Rates (in progress)
  • Italy to France Prepaid Rates (in progress)
  • Border Crossings (in progress)
  • Duchy of Savoy and the County of Nice (in progress)
Postal Arrangements: France and Italy
Prior to 1861, Italy was a diverse set of independent states.  The postal agreements set by the Kingdom of Sardinia became the basis of those used by the Kingdom of Italy.  To reflect this, I am including the prior Sardinian convention to show the development of the agreement.

Franco-Sardinian Convention of Nov 9, 1850
Effective on July 1, 1851, this convention used a linear weight progression along with a distance and/or carriage component.  The distance component simply translated itself to a special border rate that amounted to the same thing in the next convention.

French/Sardinian Rates July 1, 1851
Effective Date Rate Unit
Border < 30 km distance 25 centimes/centisemi 7.5 grams
All other distances 50 centimes/centisemi 7.5 grams
See carriage 70 centimes/centisemi 7.5 grams
The first convention was made available to Lombardy, Parma and Modena in June/July of 1859.  Tuscany joined in July of 1860.


Franco-Sardinian Convention of 1860
The new convention became effective on the first of the year.  The border rate maintained the same 30 km distance but the sea carriage rate was deleted from the language.  Postal rates declined slightly while the standard letter weight increased from 7.5 grams to 10 grams.  The Two Sicilies did not join until Oct 1, 1861, when the 1860 convention was already in place.  The depleted Roman States did not use Kingdom of Italy postal conventions until 1870.

Convention Snippets
1849 1858 1866
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Click on the text image to see a larger version.


Franco-Italian Convention of 1869
This is the first full convention between France and the Kingdom of Italy though both agreed to apply the Sardinian convention protocols prior to this.  The border rate was removed at this point in time.

France to Italy Prepaid Rates

Prepaid Letter Rates - France to Italy
Effective Date Rate Unit
Jan 1, 1861 (a) 40 centimes 10 grams
Jan 1, 1861 - border 20 centimes 10 grams
Aug 1, 1869 - all  (b) 40 centimes 10 grams
Jan 1, 1876 (GPU) 30 centimes 15 grams
May 1, 1878 (UPU) 25 centimes 15 grams
Oct 1, 1907 (UPU) 25 ctm / 15 ctm 15 g / add'l 15 g
(a) - Sicily and Naples (Two Sicilies) begin to use this convention Oct 1, 1861
(b) - the Papal States begin to use this convention Oct, 1870


40 ctms per 10 gms  : Aug 1, 1869 - Dec 31, 1875




Paris Feb 12 1875
Paris Etranger Feb 12 75 (verso)
1? Dist Feb 15 (verso)
Napoli Feb ? (verso)


Double Rate Example

Marseilles  Mar 24 1872
Modane-Torino Ambulant
       Mar 25 72 (verso)
Napoli Mar 26 72 (verso)


Italy to France Prepaid Rates

Letter Rates - Italy to France
Effective Date Rate Unit
Jan 1, 1861 (a) 40 centisemi 10 grams
Jan 1, 1861 - border 20 centisemi 10 grams
Aug 1, 1869 (b) 40 centisemi 10 grams
Jan 1, 1876 (GPU) 30 centisemi 15 grams
May 1, 1878 (UPU) 25  centisemi 15 grams
Oct 1, 1907 (UPU) 25 ctsm / 15 ctsm 15 g / add'l 15 g
(a) - Sicily and Naples (Two Sicilies) begin to use this convention Oct 1, 1861
(b) - the Papal States begin to use this convention Oct, 1870




40 centesimi per 10 grams : Jan 1, 1861 - Jul 31, 1869

Kingdom of Italy use of Sardinian stamps in Sardinia.

Torino Oct 7, 1861
Susa
Italie Lanslebourg Oct 9, 1861
St Jean de Maurienne
Lyon Oct 9 (verso)


40 centesimi per 10 grams : Aug 1, 1869 - Dec 31, 1875
 
Genova Aug 19, 1874
Ventimiglia - Nice (rail opened 1872)
Italie Amb Marseilles Aug 20
Bordeaux Aug 21, 1874


Border Crossings and Exchange Offices






The Ventimiglia Crossing:
The rail line from Genoa to Marseilles was entirely complete by 1872.




Duchy of Savoy and the County of Nice
The Treaty of Turin (Mar 24, 1860) ceded the Duchy of Savoy and the County of Nice to France (from Sardinia) which was confirmed by plebiscite not long after the signing of the treaty.  It is an interesting study in politics to read about the techniques used to insure that the plebiscite results matched the intentions of France and Sardinia.  Essentially, Savoy and Nice were the price of doing business with the French in the effort to free Lombardy/Venetia from Ausria.  
The Modane tunnel, under construction since 1857 was now partially in France.

Open Questions:


Resources
Les Tarifs Postaux Francais: Entre 1848 et 1916 by Jean-Louis Bourgouin
     This has been my "go to" site for determining French rates for some time.  Data appears to be backed up by postal acts and agreements of which I have confirmed some and I hope to collect access to others as well.

Matha, T and Mentaschi, M, Letter Mail From and To the Old Italian States: 1850-1870, Vaccari, 2008.
While the layout of this book took me a little bit to get used to, it provided some sound guidance for a number of Italian rates.  The area I tended to care about falls outside the scope of this book since they tend to only take postal agreements up to the point an Italian State was absorbed in the Kingdom of Italy.  After that point, only the Papal States get treatment.  But, focusing on Sardinian rates and reading between the lines for the rest can get you a long way.  The level of detail is inconsistent at times, but I am pleased that the authors published rather than hold out for perfection.

Convention material links on its way.