Postcards to Holland


I am always happy to look thorough box of old postcards, which might be found in any antiques fair or store. We paid a visit to Battlebridge, Essex, which has the most appalling examples of decayed craft in the little inlet off the North Sea, to check out its many treasures. 

I look for any interesting postal usages, unusual stamps, and puzzling postal markings. In the hoard that I was checking were many cards posted to the Netherlands. Each of them was backstopped with a boxed code, a single letter and a number.

Intrigued, I took a few, for a modest sum, and started my research. It was never going to go far as I neither read Dutch nor have any contacts in Dutch philately. 

An answer, of sorts, has now emerged. One of the cards had seen no postal use. yet it still had a code handstamp. So the handstamp, and probably its fellows, is not a postal making. Worse was to come. This card was also stamped words to the effect ‘Property of the Dutch Postal Archive’! So this, and perhaps all these cards, had been stamped, or shall we say defaced, by some kind of archivist. 

I don’t know what has a happened to this ‘archive’ or what standing it had. it is not on the present-day tourist trail. And I think that the cards I have were brought together there many years ago. None is later than 1927.