Details For Cover ID# 26556

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Cover Type: USA outbound with stamp(s)
Entered by: dwsnow
Added on:Dec 2, 17
Edited on:Dec 2, 17
 
Postmark: Jan 9, 1917
Origin: Seattle, Washington, UNITED STATES
Destination: Stockholm, SWEDEN
 
Description:

January 1917 World War I mail from then neutral U.S. to Sweden, seized, censured and confiscated by the British. "Seattle Wash. Term. Sta. Jan 9 1917" machine cancel ties stamp (likely 5c blue Washington) covered up by British censor seal on cover with Seattle corner card, also covered by British "Opened By Censor" tape, to "Deutsche Hilfsverein, Stockholm II, Sweden." Magenta boxed handstamp "Released By The/ British Military Authorities" and backstamp from Stockholm dated 23. 8. 19.

The addressee was a German benevolent society whose Stockholm office was used as an undercover mail forwarding agency during WWI. The society was used to correspond to individuals in Germany, including prisoners-of-war, by circumventing the British blockade. Although the contents are missing in this case, they usually included letters to be sent onwards to Germany with address given and International Reply coupons included to pay for the postage. Covers are known going to and from this organization from the U.S., Russia and South America. The British put the Deutsche Hilfsverein in Stockholm on their published "Blacklist". The end result was that any mail addressed to that organization, found by the British on neutral ships, including American, would be seized, censored and confiscated for the duration of the war. It wasn't until August 1919, nine months after the war ended, that British military authorities finally released the accumulation of confiscated mail and delivered it to Stockholm. Source: "A WWI "Undercover Mail Scheme" via Sweden for U.S. Mail to and from Germany and her Allies" by Ed Fraser, "The Posthorn", Journal of the Scandinavian Collectors Club, August 2015.

When such mail was confiscated there were loud complaints by the neutral U.S. about breaches of international law. However, most neutral merchant vessels agreed to dock at British ports to be inspected and they were escorted - less any "illegal" cargo destined for Germany - through the British minefields to their neutral port destinations, such as in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

Owner's ID: 1745
 
Certificate? No
For Sale? No
Stampless? No
Stamps: