3. 3. 2009

Czechoslovakia Double Postcards in Postal Use from 1918 to 1939

Hans Karman Comments


I had a long look at your revamped exhibit. I’m impressed with the improvements you have made. Below are some comments, and if you are OK with that, we would like to publish those with some exhibit samples. The exhibit now looks more like a Postal History exhibit, rather than Postal Stationery; a bit unusual in that it uses PS to tell the story, but nevertheless Postal History, since it’s about routes and rates, and only incidentally about the cards and their manufacture.

Overall, I like the variety of the display of the cards to break up the boring “two to a page” that is so often the result when using Postal Stationery. You might increase this by occasionally mounting the cards staggered, say 3/9 top card against left margin, bottom card against right margin, and in 3/12 the other way around: top to right and bottom to left (to keep the balance right).

All the comments I made are my personal opinions. I always advise people that the best way to deal with comments on an exhibit, whether made by a judge or anyone else, should be treated the same way: Accept those you like and discard the rest.I understand the problems you have with English. You are doing very well! I have a few Czech friends – my son’s godfather was named Mirek from Prague. My son was named after him, slightly Anglicised to Merik.


A slightly better title would be “Postal Use of Czechoslovakia’s Double Postcards 1918-1939”. It emphasises that your exhibit is about Postal Use, rather than the Postal Stationery of the Double Cards (which would require extensive unused material to qualify for Postal Stationery Class).


Try to be consistent – you use a good story line, but slip occasionally into descriptions of the items on the page (e.g.1/11). The storyline should be purely about the reasons for the use of the card or the reasons why this page is an essential part of the display. it should not describe the displayed items; that should be reserved for the description below the card.Try to explain why as well as what is on the page, e.g. 2/1 tells us nothing about why this particular overprint was used. I would suspect that the overprint was applied by hand on individual cards, rather than by machine as implied by the comment about the location (shift from centre). Otherwise how can you explain the tilt in some overprints? If the cards were overprinted in sheets, there would be cards with overprints far misplaced, and you don’t show any of those.

The better English text would read “uprating / uprated” rather than “upfranking / upfranked”.


Your descriptions tend to be very longwinded; you are presenting an exhibit, not writing a treatise.

e.g. 1/5 “Part I sent from the post office of T-S on March 22 1917 to Germany. Surcharge of 60h for Special Delivery (Express). Arrival postmark Berlin NW on March 25 1919, canceller of postman no 5.”

Better: “22 Mar 1919 Part I; T-S to Berlin NW (25 Mar 1919) Special Delivery (Express) surcharge 60h; canceller postman no. 5.” And it could be argued that the No. 5 canceller is irrelevant, since it is not Czech and not related to the double cards.

In some cases the English translation is incorrect, e.g. 2/2 “two several issues, both halving” would be better described as “two different issues, both bisected”.

Try to avoid typing errors, e.g. 2/2 “sent do Netherlands” should be “sent to the Netherlands”.

On 2/5 the cards have been switched and hence don’t match the descriptions. Also the right hand side of the title line at the top is missing.

On 2/6 correct English is “were overprinted” rather than “was overprinted”.

2/7: there is only ONE strip of 4 stamps visible, not four strips of 4; are there more on the back or is this a typing error?

2/15: the postmark looks to me like “189” rather than “167”.


e.g. 1/6 Top card is not a reply card? If it is the description is lacking.

e.g. 1/9 the words “(to German Gymnastic Society)” is totally irrelevant.

I can’t find anywhere a mention that the use of reply cards with the part I still attached is not permitted by the UPU. If it was not penalised it is by Post Office neglect.

Would be better if descriptions of cards was presented either slightly smaller to the Story text, or in a different font, e.g. italics.

8/15: You describe the address printed on the cards as “official imprints”, is that correct? The word Official implies that the address was imprinted by the Post Office. They look like the printing was done by the Insurance Company. Note spelling of Insurance.

8/16: Try to be accurate when describing postmarks: “Hohenstadt ist wieder Deutsch”, you omitted the “ist” = “is”. Also the date is 5 November, not 11 November.

Difficult to comprehend

Judges have very little time to read, your dates are hard to find as they are not in a consistent location. One way to be consistent would be to start each description with the date – that will also assist in shortening the descriptions.

I presume when you use numbers like CDV9 and CDV11 those are catalogue numbers. They don’t really have a place in an exhibit.


Photocopies of the other side must NOT be presented like actual items, i.e. no mattes or visible mounts. Also your mounts are very untidy, e.g. 2/4 the photocopy is badly tilted, and the cards have asymmetric mounts with large black edge showing bottom and left, and almost nothing top and right. Presentation is worth only 5 points, but has a cumulative effect on other scores, you could easily be scored 2 or 3 for presentation rather than 4 or 5 because of “sloppy” mounting.

It appears that you have made all the overlaps identical (e.g. 3/4, 3/7, 5/3, 5/6, 5/12). It is unnecessary and could be detrimental. When there is enough space (and there is in all of the ones on Frame 5) you should use the space to reduce the overlap. Where possible you should also place the overlap in such a way that it covers unimportant parts of the cards, e.g. the address, or a blank area, preferably part of the copy rather than a part of the original.

Another point here is that you can use the full width of the paper. On most pages the text is wider than the mounted material. Particularly when you have more than one item on a page, you should use the available width, as you did on several pages in frame 1, as well as on 2/14, 4/4, 5/5, 6/10, etc. but not on 2/4, 2/6, 3/4, 3/7, 3/15, etc. It might make people think that there may be something to hide on the covered parts of the items.

I haven’t gone through in detail through all the 8 frames. I think you’ll get the idea. If you want me to comment on all sheets, you would need to send me a hard copy (B&W printed both sides of the paper, reduced to fit A4, would be enough). On the computer it’s too slow and I can’t get an overview. Also the lack of frame/page numbers makes it impossible to refer between pages.

As a general comment: the Exponet pages need the number of the Frame and the number of the Page displayed on each sheet, in among the < < > > at the bottom would be an ideal place. Even the URL shows only the page number in the exhibit, from which one could calculate the Frame Number/Page Number: a bit cumbersome.

David Ingle Smith Comments

I checked the revised exhibit and then read the notes from Hans. My comments are written after that and I have not listed again comments from Hans.

The material is outstanding, especially the inclusion of so many reply halves, the ‘special’ rates such as express, registered etc. and the range of destinations and postmarks (small towns, railway etc) comprehensive. The knowledge of the associated post history is also excellent.

The exhibit, especially the title page, is much improved from the earlier exhibit. The difficulty is whether or not the display is intended for competitive display as postal history or as postal stationery.

As suggested by Hans if it was intended as Postal history the title would be better as ‘Postal use of the Double Postcards of Czechoslovakia 1918-1939’. I would prefer ‘Reply cards’ rather than double cards. Also I think the last card is dated 1938 not 1939! Although such a treatment would be possible personally I think conversion to a postal stationery exhibit would be best.

If it is postal history it would allow the use of many reply halves from such arwide range of countries. By the way with cards 7/14 can you say why the stamps from Iran were refused and postage due charged?

If is intended as Postal Stationery it would need re-working. For example nothing is said, as far as I see, about date of issue of the various new systems of cards. The type of card is mentioned in the title on the pages but nothing is said about the date of first issue or other information such as where printed, whether the size changed, type of card use, etc. It could of course be that all were produced by the same printer on similar card. But if it is to be postal stationery more information about the cards is essential. Although not obligatory, it is usual to have more mint cards in a postal stationery exhibit. So perhaps you could introduce each new issue of cards with mint examples and then go back to use, various rates etc. Information about numbers issued would also help.

Also where the cards are overprinted much more information should be given and examples that show varieties in the overprint and information on how applied, i.e. by hand, printed or whatever. Such information is most easily shown on mint cards and I am sure you will have these.

The exhibit as presented just gives the change of cards in the title and nothing else, like issue dates etc. For examples see 7/4 which is I think the first Chainbreaker, 7/14 for Coat of Arms and 7/11 for Masaryk.

If you do this there is then a problem with showing examples of both postal rates and illustrating the issue of new cards. WITH CHANGES IT COULD BE DONE BY USING THE SIX SERIES OF POSTAL RATES YOU ALREADY HAVE BUT WITH MORE INFORMATION ON THE ISSUE OF NEW CARDS. The issue of new cards is likely a combination of change of rates and other political events. The dates of the issue could be put on the title page as a second table by omitting the detailed listing of the special items. The later could be shown by colour red borders or other methods with a short sentence on the title page explaining the method of highlighting you have used.

Recently I was judging at the national Stamp Show in New Zealand and there were two exhibits by Ross Marshall (both postal history exhibits) which a different method to show rates. These were (in small print) the various rates, local, overseas, registered, airmail etc that referred to each period. They were in small print at the top right hand corner of each page. This made it easy for the judges (who included me!) to see what the rates were. It could be further improved by highlighting the rates used on each page. If you wish I could contact Ross (who is an experienced international judge) for an example of this.

Hans has commented on some of the changes to the English, I will only add one further example to this which is on 7/14. That is the Teheran postmark is under the stamp that has been affixed.

I agree with Hans that consistency in the information under the cards would help the judge/reader. Such as giving dates followed by destination etc. If it postal stationery it would likely be best to cut down on the detail of postal history. Postal stationery exhibits gain from showing a range of destinations as well as unusual usage, but it is not necessary to describe the unusual destinations in too much detail. They will be apparent to the judge.

The use of special catalogue numbers is a matter of some debate but if (say) on the title page you list the differing styles of postal stationery, preferable with the date of release of each, you could add the special catalogue numbers there and save space on the sheets using the catalogue numbers as was given on the title page.

There are some unusual styles of use, on several occasions you refer to correspondents appending reply cards, i.e. they were not official double (or reply) cards. In my experience this is very unusual and perhaps a little more description of these could be given. I assume that officially these were not allowed.

Wherever possible you should try and reduce the length of the descriptions which are focussed on a postal history style of presentation.

Stating the type of card issue, e.g. Coat of Arms, in the title is useful, and when you do this there is no need to repeat ‘Coat of Arms’ on the first line of description of the card. See for example cards about 7/14 and on.

Dingle 1/12/08