Sunday, March 27, 2011

Streetcar Sunday - Duisburg, Germany

This is a beautiful postcard, but it's also remarkable for the message and the stamps on the front.

Duisburg is located in the western part of Germany's Ruhr Area at the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers. It was (and is) an industrial center, known for its iron and steel production. The city was almost completely destroyed during World War II, so it doesn't resemble the picture on the card anymore.

Duisburg currently has electric light rail, but it started out in 1881 with horse-drawn trams. These were  followed by steam-powered trams before the whole system was electrified in 1897. There was also interurban service between Duisburg and Düsseldorf as early as 1899. That service continues today as Stadtbahn service.

The sender of this card was obviously a postcard and stamp collector, who purposely affixed the stamps on the picture side, and wrote "stamps on the other side" where the postage would normally go.
His message to Eugene Bloesch in San Francisco is also interesting:

Be so kind as to send me more postcards of the American army.  If possible, please use Jamestown stamps affixed on the picture side.
With greetings from afar,
Johann Kugler
Duisburg on the Rhein
Kraut (?) Street 33

The stamps that Johann refers to were issued in 1907 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement in America. They looked like this:


  1. Beautiful treasure to have...curious though, why would he want the stamps affixed on the front?

  2. Great card and stamps, especially thos from the USA.

  3. so this collector is like "your ancestor"... as you share the same passion. nice card!!

  4. Very nice postcard and the stamps the sender requested are very nice too, I can see why he would want those in his collection. Of course now I have to ask you, do you know if he received his request? ;)

  5. Corinna,
    I suspect that collectors preferred the stamps on the front because then you could see both stamps and picture when they were displayed in an album.

    I wish I knew. I'd like to see that card of the U.S. Army.

  6. An all around interesting post, from the image with canceled postage to the message and history. The intersection shown is very dynamic and urban, I find it intriguing that the city beyond the bridge looks much more like a small town, less dense, etc. Sort of like a graphic depiction of the adage about life being different 'on the other side of the tracks', enter the darkness of the underpass, and come out in a different world on the other side...

  7. I don't like taggers, either. Such an expensive waste!

  8. Der alte Johann war scheinbar ein Sammler von Karten so wie du.
    Ich hoffe man hat ihm viele tolle Karten in die Krautstr. geschickt.
    Alles Liebe

  9. Wonderful : and somehow the stamps on the picture side seems to add to the overall attractiveness. I wonder what would happen if we tried that kind of thing these days - perhaps I will try.

  10. Neat postcard, so full of little details! Stamps are very interesting too, I can see why you love this old postcards.

  11. That's a nice card and the message and stamps make it especially interesting.

  12. It is a remarkable view. I guess the collection was quite the thing to do. It was nice to see them.

  13. Christine, I always learn so much from you -- now I understand why so many French stamps are on the front of the cards instead of in the stamp box on back. Not having to take them out of the album would be a big advantage cause that's how those creased corners and quarters come about. I've been planning to do a piece about stamps and how they end up all over cards from back to front and center too:)

  14. I have no idea why the stamps ended up on the front instead of the back, though I've seen it done on other postcards. The stamps being placed in odd places, or at angles, comes from something called "the language of stamps" which seems to have been a huge fad around the turn of the century, though it seems to have lingered on into the 20th for some time. If you google language of stamps you'll get a number of images of postcards showing how stamp placement was supposed to convey a message (and there seems to have been no standardization to this) but they mostly seem to have been connected to various ways of saying "I love you."



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