Alsace-Lorraine 1870-1872 – The Rolf Rohlfs Collection

Article number:456
69,00 €

Rolf Rohlfs (* 1940, † 2020) was an internationally renowned collector who particularly valued the unusual. Decades ago, he became known for monographs on the famous Syke bisects as well as the Hanover and Hungary bisects. In recent decades, in addition to his collections on the "Kingdom of Hanover" and the "First Issue of Austria Used in Hungary", he has increasingly devoted himself to special postal history topics such as the international postal connections from Europe to the Far East via the Trieste. He also dealt with the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71. The latter collection is documented on about 100 pages in this book.

With this collection, Rohlfs succeeded in bringing postal and contemporary history of the conflict between Prussia and the French state at that time closer to the viewer in an impressive way. The book, which is partly bilingual (German-English introduction), includes a lecture entitled "Der Briefverkehr zwischen Elsass-Lothringen und Frankreich während des Krieges 1870/71," Rohlfs gave in 2008. In doing so, he introduces the reader to the complex subject matter in an easy-to-understand yet intense manner. He brings back to life the martial events that were to become the starting point of an unfortunate enmity between the two nations, which was not settled until almost 100 years later.

Prussia had the first occupation stamps in postal history produced in French currency in Berlin as early as mid-August 1870. However, their use was undermined by the French postal service, which insisted on postage with French stamps. This resulted in an unusual double postage system that was to last on both sides until the Franco-German postal treaty came into force on May 15/25, 1872. De facto, the French domestic postage was thus levied twice!

This and much more is shown in this EDITION SPÉCIALE following a clear chronology with illustrations of well over 100 partly very rare covers from that time. In the first part, there are covers on the first crossing of German troops into French territory, the start of a civilian land mail service and the first issue of the occupation stamps on September 10, 1870. This is followed by the preliminary peace of Versailles as well as the provisional separation of the occupied parts of the country on February 26, 1871, then the Frankfurt Peace Treaty of May 10, 1871 with the final cession of the occupied territories. May 1871 with the final cession of the districts of Alsace and (German) Lorraine to the German Reich and finally the adoption of the postal laws of the German Reich as well as the first stamp issue of the German Reichspost on January 1, 1872. May 1872 finally heralded the end of double frankings.

Rohlfs succeeded in collecting excellently preserved letter material matching these described phases and this in an abundance of variants (frankings, (postage) stamps, destinations), which has probably rarely been seen before in this synopsis. The hardcover book with dust jacket is exquisitely designed and executed in best quality.

- Wolfgang Maassen (AIJP)

size 25,5 x 34 cm, 100 pages, numerous color illustrations, hardcover with dust jacket, bilingual English/German, collection pages in English only.