19 September 2020

A long-time friend of mine from the Netherlands gave me the slightly tattered envelope shown in Figure 1 when I visited him last May. According to the address on the back, the envelope was mailed from Wageningen to Brunssum. It carries a 10 ct + 10 ct surcharge stamp that was issued on February 10, 1953 to aid the victims of the flooding that occurred in the south-western part of the Netherlands during the night of January 31 and February 1, 1953. Almost sixteen million of these stamps were sold!

The ‘AUTO-POSTKANTOOR 3’ cancel drew my attention. It has the date 18 February 1953 (17 hours), thus barely a week after the stamp was issued. Contemporary newspapers reported that two mobile post offices would start a nationwide tour to sell the flood assistance stamps on February 10 (see Figure 2). Two vehicles were used; the mobile office of the PTT, and a bus from the N.S. (Nationale Spoorwegen = National Railways) equipped as a post office. The list of towns to be visited and the dates the offices would be there show that the N.S. bus was scheduled to be in Wageningen on February 18.

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Ben Jansen

Ben Jansen

My current collection focus is on (correctly addressed but) undeliverable Netherland's mail. I am also the Editor of Netherlands Philately, the Magazine of the American Society of Netherlands Philately.

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