Collection of Steve Walske
awarded the Grand Prix National at PhilexFrance99
and Grand Prix International at Luxembourg 98

PDF file of full exhibit here (22 meg)

Background: The Franco-Prussian War began on July 16, 1870, and the French were soon in disorderly retreat from their eastern frontier. During the rapid German westward advance, a number of fortified cities were bypassed and isolated by sieges ranging in duration from two weeks to four months. The last city to surrender was Belfort, which capitulated on February 16, 1871. To maintain letter communications between these besieged fortresses and unoccupied France, a variety of partially successful methods for transmission of the mails were employed, including manned and unmanned balloons, line-crossers, Boules de Moulins, and diplomatic or Red Cross couriers. Because of the short duration of these sieges, most of this mail is rare, but incoming mail is considerably rarer than outgoing mail.

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Richard Frajola (July 2014)