The fall of the Berlin Wall not only created a wealth of German reunification postal history; it also allowed western researchers access to the WWI German archives in Potsdam. Of great interest to the German Colonies Collectors Group (GCCG) are the archives of the Reichskolonialamt and Reichspostamt.
The following report was prepared by the ranking postal official in the German colonies in the Pacific, Postsekretär Carl Weller of Rabaul, German New Guinea, in mid- 19 1 5 after he was repatriated to Germany. It was found in the Reichskoloniolamt1) archives by a German member of the GCCG, translated into English by a US member, and is illustrated with items from the collections of Australian, German, UK and US members.
The report illustrates the war from the perspective of a bureaucrat, trying to keep good records and maintain fiscal integrity not quite in line with the occupying power's priorities. This is a primary source for postal history information - Weller was an eyewitness. However, in some cases, he reports what he has heard (rather than seen), and so his report is not completely accurate. The full report is about twice this length.
The members of the GCCG have chosen to contribute this article to the SOth Anniversary Issue of the German Postal Specialist, because it allows us to illustrate the fascinating breadth and depth of Colonial philately. This philatelic and postal history material, some of it breathtakingly rare, was created in only four months, from August to December 1914.
On 28 July 1914, a press telegram was received by the wireless telegraph station S. M.S.2) Planet announcing that Austria had given Serbia an ultimatum. Additional telegrams were [received] in the next few days, reporting the outbreak of war between Austria and Serbia ... [On 1 August] the R.P.D.3) Coblenz arrived in Rabaul on its journey from Sydney to Kobe. The Australian newspapers sent with the steamer discussed the latest telegrams from Europe with great concern and offered the hope that further spread of the AustrianSerbian conflict, which would be disastrous for the Australian economy, might be avoided. During the night of 1-2 August, the wireless telegraph station in Bitapaka received a very lengthy coded telegram from Planet. I learned that the ship was to leave Rabaul on 3 August for a secret destination.
Figure 1 3.8.14 registered cover Rabaul to Chemnitz, backstamped 7. 11. 1 4; 3 Aug. 1914 registered- cover from Rabaul to Chemnitz, Germany; Chemnitz receiving cancel 7 Nov. 1914.
I was worried about the outgoing mail on the Coblenz ... Mail delivery was very difficult. I therefore had to [decide whether to announce mail would not be sent] via Coblenz ... Following communications from the commander of the Planet, only the [GNG] government knew that the situation in Europe was serious and that the danger of war was proximate. Therefore nothing was announced regarding the outbreak of a war between Germany and European powers [and so we could not refuse to send the mail] according to the letter and spirit of § 15 of the postal regulations. See Fig. 1 for an example of mail forwarded via the Coblenz.
In order to best secure the mail forwarded via Coblenz, I sent a telegram on 3 August via the steamer to the Imperial Post Office in Jap; the contents stated approximately: "In case it is necessary, I have arranged through the German Consulates in Manila and Hong Kong, the diversion of mail via Siberia which left today on Coblenz. Wireless Station Bitapaka receives telegrams at night between 10 pm and 3 am. Inform colonial office." The telegram appeared not to [have] arrived in Germany. I gave precise instructions for delivering the mail to Paymaster Müller of the steamer Coblenz. ...
News of the war arrived in Rabaul on 5 August at 10:15 pm. The wireless telegraph station in Bitapaka received the following telegram from Nauru: "Government Rabaul Nauru. War with England, France, Russia. Confirm telegram receipt. Central."
After 6 August the protectorate was in a state of war. By midday the government, along with the principal safe, was transferred to Toma. In order to strengthen the staff at the wireless telegraph station in Bitapaka, a militia was formed from the armscapable white population. None of the postal personnel were drafted. ... The post office released the following announcement on the same day:
Discontinuance of compensation for lost or damaged mail. (according to § 15 of the postal regulations of 28 October 1871 );
Discontinuation of private telephone and telegraph communication on the line from Rabaul- Herbertshöhe- Bitapaka (according to §5 of the execution regulations for telephone fee order of 26 March 1900 and according to § I of the telegraph order of 16 June 1904).
The discontinuation of private telegram and telephone communication was a precautionary measure which was necessary according to the specific circumstances in the protectorate, and which was also approved by the acting governor... . Considering the loquacity of the white population, which ceased almost all work and discussed the political situation after the publication of the outbreak of war, it was feared that information that should be kept secret in the interest of provincial defense, would be forced upon the public.
During the next few days the post office accounts for the months of April-June were completed. ... A cash balance of about 3,000 Marks was on hand in the post office. Since the main government office had already been moved to Toma on 6 August, the money could no longer be delivered. I therefore [prepaid myself 1,875 Marks and another postal employee 1,050 Marks for the months September to November].
The value of the postage stamp stock and postal cards4), which had been increased just before the outbreak of the war via a large dispatch, was approximately 40,000 Marks. ... I packed up the largest portion of the stamp stock in the cashbox formerly used to supply the postal agency in Stephansort. The box was locked and the cover glued with sealing wax to prevent penetration by ants and moisture. The box was buried underneath the post office during the night. The stock of postal cards4) was wrapped in a sack weighted with bars of iron. I intended to let them sink into the sea in case of danger. The rest of the remaining stock of postage stamps amounted to about 2, 100 Marks. I selected 1,839 Marks of that and transferred it to the New Guinea Company for safe keeping.
At that time, and later, I considered whether or not it would be practical to partially or completely burn the stamp supply. After favorable war news had been announced in the protectorate, a brief period of war was generally expected. In the case of an enemy occupation, it was surmised that the protectorate would quickly return to German administration. Finally, the East Asiatic cruiser squadron, from whom we expected help, was intact. I therefore decided to store only a very small stamp supply in the post office which could easily be expanded if necessary from the stock transferred to the New Guinea Company. In other respects I would wait for further developments. ... Approximately 50 whites had been drafted into the militia and expeditionary force and were distributed among six external stations. To facilitate their postal communication, field post messages were permitted, but were limited to postcards and letters up to 50 grams. See Figure. 2 for an example of the preapproved Fieldpostcards. ...
On 12 August, about 6:30am, the Australian torpedo-boat destroyer Warrego appeared in Rabaul harbor; [then] it departed from the bay and steamed away again in the direction of Herbertshöhe. The observation posts on the Mütter volcano and at the postal agency in Herbertshohe announced that a very hostile squadron was cruising in the St. George's Canal and near the New Lauenburg Group. As it turned out, it consisted of the armored cruiser Australia, the armed cruisers Encounter, Melbourne and Sydney and the torpedo-boat destroyers Warrego, Yarra and Parramatta.
About 7:30am ... Australian sailors [landed] in Herbertshöhe. The leader asked about the name and location of the wireless telegraph station, but received no information from the local inhabitants. ... I packed the registered letters, the scant cash box contents, the stamps and the ledgers, in sacks hidden underneath the house. ...
Shortly before 8:00am, Warrego discharged a detachment of 3 officers and 12 men. Several of these people carried axes and hatchets [and] one man bore a red-painted steel box in which gun-cotton was transported. The landing detachment marched towards the post office. ... The detachment turned away 50 meters from the post office and marched to the government buildings. A short time later the sailors reappeared. In their midst were District Official Tölke and Warehouse Administrator Mahler, whom they led back to the Lloyd jetty. ... After some time both officials were set free and the torpedo boat departed again. ...
About 2:00pm, another detachment from the torpedo boat Warrego landed and headed directly for the post office. The commanding officer, whom I received upon his entrance into the counter lobby, was very polite; he announced to me regretfully that he had orders to destroy the postal telephone apparatus. The accompanying sentries were posted at the house entrances. Two of the people carried heavy sledgehammers, pliers and similar work tools. They immediately began the destruction. The switchboard was ripped from the wall and wrecked by hammer blows, induction cables and room cables were cut, carbon lightning conductors and fuses were destroyed. The same fate befell the apparatus in the public telephone booth as well as the switchboard and buzzer stored in the warehouse. A brief search of my private chamber for telephone apparatus followed. After about 20 minutes the detachment left; they boarded the torpedo boat, which then left the harbor immediately. ...
About 5:00pm the observers on the Mütter volcano reported that the Australian squadron was heading south quickly through the St. George's Canal. The question now became one of restoring telephone communication. ...The next weeks passed quietly in Rabaul and Herbertshöhe. I supervised the telephone exchange in Rabaul, in exchange for having some government people at my disposal. The Ambonesian Saliha worked in the post office with document files and salvage work. Lineman Kleppek was occupied with outside service. The apparatus still present at the subscriber exchange was dismantled and placed in boxes which were transferred to the firm of Hernsheim & Co. and the New Guinea Company. ...
As a result of the war circumstances, ship commerce was almost completely halted. Mail came from Wilhelmshafen on 14 August via Komet, and more on the 20th with the Siar. Mail also arrived from Käwiemg at the end of August and the beginning of September. Mail was dispatched to Käwieng, Namatanai and Kieta. See Fig. 3 for an example of incoming mail to GNG from Germany, censored by the British.
[I've deleted a three page discussion of the 30 August sailing of the New Guinea Company's ship Siar, why she carried private mail, why she did not carry mail for the post office, and who was to blame!]
On approximately 4 September Administrator Ehemann told me that he intended to travel to the Dutch Indies to purchase provisions for the Hamburg South Sea A.G., Hernsheim & Co., and the German Trade and Plantation Society of the South Sea Islands. He said he was prepared to take mail to any desired destination. Censoring of this mail would be required. In an agreement with the Imperial Government and because of the confidential Imperial Post Office regulations concerning mail in wartime, the establishment of this control board was not made public. Government Assessor von Mässenhausen, District Officer Tölke and Dr. Bredemann were designated as control board officers.
Administrator Ehemann departed on 10 September via the motor schooner Kalili. The mail contained a large number of registered letters which were not deliverable due to the outbreak of war and therefore were returned to the issuing post office. On the other hand, I had decided over the previous few days not to dispatch the last quarterly accounting with Kalili. The motor schooner was a small vessel of 12 tons that had been used only for coastal journeys. Moreover, sea travel in the previous year had become particularly dangerous because of the unusually frequent southeast trade-wind. In addition, I knew that since 8 September wireless telegrams from English and Japanese ships had been intercepted, which were particularly difficult to hear on the 10th. I therefore thought it better to retain the ledger and hide it in Rabaul in an emergency.
The Kalili also called at Käwieng. I provided the postal agency with instructions for dispatching the mail; the district official likewise received information from the government concerning the establishment of a control board. ... The mail forwarded via Kalili fortunately arrived in Germany. See Fig. 4 for an example of mail from GNG to Germany, censored by Dr. Bredemann. ...
Figure 4 Sept. 8, 1914 cover to Germany, censored by Dr. Bredemann 8 Sept. 1914 cover from Herbertshohe to Freiberg, Germany, censored by Dr. Bredemann 8 Sept. 1914.
The loquacity of the German population was also extremely dangerous. Since the outbreak of the war, there were no secrets in Rabaul. Information that should have been kept in utmost secrecy in the interest of national defense, for example, provision of coal for warships, was generally discussed. In order not to arouse suspicion and spread this information through the postal service, I discussed this in mid-August with District Official Tölke. He thought that these bits of news could be disseminated only by officials of the government relocated in Toma. I did not know that steps to prevent the repetition of these events had been initiated.
Moreover, it was already known in Rabaul that S. M.S. Cormoran and Geier had been in Käwieng at the beginning of September, and people had been enlisted to strengthen the ships' crews. Also, the defense plan for the wireless telegraph station in Bitapaka, for example, the installation of trenches and land mines, had become known in Rabaul through the colonist Schimmel pfennig, inducted into the militia, who had gossiped while drunk in a Rabaul club. The possibility of saving the postal valuables by bringing them to a rear position was therefore excluded. Forwarding through an area saturated with British and traitorous natives would certainly have been known and divulged after the arrival of the Australians.
There was one possibility to save the valuables. On the sea lanes. The government steamer Komet had lain in hiding since 14 August in Komet Harbor (Talasea) on the Willaumez Peninsula in South New Pomerania. This ship could have brought all the valuables from Rabaul to a neutral harbor somewhere in the Dutch Indies in a short period of time. The post office was prepared for this eventuality. Anything of significance was already packed in crates and sacks and could have been brought aboard in a very short time. On the 3 1 st the motor bark Samoa entered Rabaul. It brought the news that the government in Apia had saved all the documents and cash supply by sending them via the steamer Staatssekretär Solf to Pago-Pago in American territory. At that time it was expected in Rabaul that the government would follow suit with the Komet, instead of having it lying idle in Talasea. However, Captain Möller was probably under suspicion by then. (He let his ship, outfitted with a revolver cannon and about 40 black military police, be captured on 12 October in Talasea. The more detailed circumstances that had become known to me, namely about the loss of confidential telegraph logs of the Imperial Navy, I have already announced orally and in writing to the Admiralty staff.) On I I September at 4:00am, the Rabaul jetty sentry noticed the presence of two torpedo boats in the harbor. Shortly after 6:00am, the Herbertshöhe postal agency said that the connection to Bitapaka was interrupted. The landing of an enemy detachment in Herbertshoumlöhe was announced soon thereafter. Lineman Hoheisel thereupon left Herbertshöhe after rendering useless the apparatus of the telephone exchange. He tried to inform the government in Toma, using the second line via Tabera, installed during the war, of the events in Herbertshöhe and Kabakaul, but he was taken prisoner shortly after 7:00am.
At 8:00am, the connection between Rabaul and Raluana was disrupted,
since the observers there had retreated to Toma after destroying
the telephone apparatus. [The observers] on the Mütter announced
a very hostile squadron
was assembling in the sea lane from Herbertshöhe. In addition to the new ships Australia, Melbourne, Sydney, Encounter, Parramatta, Warrego and Yarra, there were also two older warships and a large number of coal steamers; then a hospital ship and the large troop transport steamer, Berrima, appeared. It later appeared that two submarines, A E 1 and 2 also belonged to the squadron. There could be no doubt that this strong fleet wanted to advance on Rabaul and Herbertshöhe, this time seriously. I therefore removed the telephone apparatus still connected in Rabaul and its vicinity and hid it in various places. I also intended to destroy the entire local telephone network and the branch lines, but I could not obtain the approval of the military site commander or District Official Tölke, who first wanted to wait for more detailed instructions from Toma. However, the messengers [from Toma] had been captured by the enemy or, because of the resulting uncertainty, had given themselves up voluntarily. ...
Three small letter sacks of the Navy Postal Bureau were at the post office waiting for the survey boat III from Tsingtau. I allowed the New Guinea Company to hide these sacks; they were later burned. There was an additional sack with postal cards4. This was also kept by the New Guinea Company. Up to my departure from Rabaul on 5 January 1915, it was still in a secure hiding place. I took the postal account (about 320 or 370 Marks) on my person; the small stamp supply (valued at about 250 Marks), I hid in my pack. I hid the account ledgers and stock books, the completed delivery receipts and dispatched package cards, and the remaining registered letters in a fire-proof safe, since it was impossible to secure these things, given the local conditions. I also left the equipment items in the post office. I discarded both cancelers and the official seal.
On 12 September, Rabaul was occupied by the enemy. The post office and my private dwelling were thoroughly searched for three hours by the military police, consisting mostly of Australian secret police. The commanding officer of the military police, the Provost Marshall Captain Ravenscroft, took everything he thought valuable. He didn't want to issue receipts for the confiscated items. He explained to me that this would not be necessary, since he had worked out a system whereby all confiscated things would be receipted only by an inventory. I asked him to ensure that the account books, the last quarterly accounts and the receipts of current account would be kept in security so that I would be able to present subsequent accounts. He promised to do this.
In searching my personal belongings, the small stamp supply and the postal accounts were found. Ravenscroft himself also confiscated my own money (about 140 Marks), my life insurance card, my Bremen savings account slip and numerous objects of value. These items were to remain impounded until I had proven my right of possession. I never got them back.
On 13 September the Provost Marshall occupied the postal building. He also set up an office there. I therefore had to vacate the post office. All of my property was retained; I couldn't even take the most necessary laundry with me. Lineman Kleppek also had to pull out. On this day I still tried to destroy the stamp supply, valued at 1,839 Marks, stored by the New Guinea Company, since the cashier Maute told me that he had stored it in the safe. This spot seemed to me too unsafe as a hiding place. But Maute didn't want to take the stamps out, since the New Guinea Company building had been occupied by a strong guard.
In the afternoon an announcement by the commander-in-chief of the Australian troops was read in the square behind the administration building of Norddeutscher Lloyd; in it the entire German protectorate of New Guinea was placed under Australian military command in the name of the King of England.
On 14 September the officials remaining in Rabaul were arrested and brought to the transport steamer Berrima under heavy guard, because we were to be prevented from coming into contact with the government and the troops remaining in the field. In the evening we were brought to the pocket battleship Australia to be taken to Sydney. As a result of the conclusion of the surrender agreement at Herbertshöhe on 17 September, however, we were shipped to Rabaul. Treatment and maintenance on the Australia were perfectly decent and acceptable. ...
After my return to Rabaul, I tried to obtain from the Provost Marshall the release of the things I had had to leave behind in the postal building. The answer I received was that all my belongings were to be confiscated, since the suspicion endured that I still hid official property. On 25 September I had a long discussion with him. We conversed mainly about personal things. The Provost Marshall had learned through the first officer of the battleship Australia that I had had difficulty with the new Governor Holmes because of robberies committed in my home by the Provost Marshall and the military police. This mainly concerned ten Bird of Paradise skins and a large number of cassowary feathers which I had stored in a trunk that Ravenscroft had broken open. He maintained that he had opened the trunk in order to determine if the birds were still there. I was then able to confirm that the items were still present. But the Provost Marshall had forgotten to put the larger half of the stolen cassowary feathers back in the trunk. I discovered them in a drawer of his writing table. When I brought this to his attention, he became angry and turned the conversation to official matters.
He told me that he had confiscated a large number of postage stamps from the New Guinea Company. Moreover, crates of telephone apparatus had been found there. Now he suspected that I had hidden even more official property. He drew my attention to the fact that according to the announcement published in the name of the English king, neglect of official property would result in severe punishment (according to Australian law, prison). In addition, he referred to the corresponding agreement with the Acting Governor, Dr. Haber, contained in Paragraph 8 of the terms of surrender. He also showed me an Australian newspaper report, in which it was maintained that in conquering Kalisch, the German troops had killed the mayor under gruesome torture, since he had burned 500,000 rubles in bank notes shortly before the occupation of the city. He added sarcastically that I should not expect such treatment, since the principles of the British administration against the besieged enemy were justice and compassion. In spite of these threats, I had decided not to reveal the hiding place of the large buried stamp supply. I did not consider myself justified in giving state property to the enemy. On the other hand, if the items so painstakingly hidden were found by the enemy, I could change nothing. I therefore explained to the Provost Marshall that I would be accountable neither to him nor to the Australian government for my official actions. He revealed to me that in the next few days I would have to present accounts to the Australian accounting office. I explained that I understood, but asked him to effect the return of the books, the paid postal money order cards and the undelivered parcels stolen from the post office. I knew that this was impossible, since the paid postal money order cards and the dispatched parcel cards had already been sold by the Provost Marshall, and the parcels, among which were about 20 consignments of provisions, had been consumed in his own house. Following another threat of imprisonment, etc., the Provost Marshall concluded the conversation, which had become uncomfortable for him. ...
Following the withdrawal of the military police, an Australian military post office was opened in the postal building. The administration was turned over to Sergeant Moore, who was [later] named Chief Postmaster. The Australian mail arrived in Rabaul without any franking. There were no cancels, official seals, books, packing material, mail sacks or postage stamps available, since it was believed that the postal establishment of German New Guinea would be found in complete order.
Fieldpost letters sent by the soldiers were not exempt from charges. As a result of the lack of stamps, however, these letters were at first sent unfranked when marked no stamps available. According to newspaper reports, a storm of indignation arose in Sydney, since the so-designated letters were delivered there only after payment of the high international mail charge. See Fig. 5 and Fig. 6 for examples of such "On Active Service" mail, treated as I d postage due in Australia. The lack of postmarks was noticed with displeasure. Rubber stamp cancels from Rabaul were used at times; one was a totally different cancel with the designation Simpsonhafen and even an old canceler from Stephansort without day and date, but with the fixed year 13 was used. In 1915 a rubber oval postmark with the designation Rabaul (New-Britain) was introduced from Sydney. See Fig. 7, Fig. 8 and Fig. 9 for examples of these cancels.
Figure 5 OAS Herbertshohe cover to Sydney, boxed T and / D markings "On Active Service" cover (probably Sept. 1914) to Australia, "No stamps available" marking (under Herbertshohe cancels); treated as I d postage due on delivery.
Figure 6 OAS Berrima cover to Victoria, ID marking and postage due stamp "Active Service" cover to Australia from member of Berrima crew, "Stamps not procurable" marking, treated as 1d. postage due on delivery; Sydney 29 Sept. 1914 receiving cancel on reverse.
Figure 7 1d Roo OS on piece with this cancel and Sydney roller cancel Piece with Id. Australia 'Roo perforated 'O.S.', with two-line 'Simpsonhafen / (Deutsch Neu Guinea)' cancel, and Sydney roller cancel.
Figure9 2' 1dRoo OS on piece with oval Rabaul cancel Piece with two Id. Australia 'Roo perforated 'O.S. canceled with oval 'RABAUL /JUL 6 19 15 NLW GUINEA'.
Postal official Moore had formerly been a settlement administrator in Queensland, then had worked for several years in the Sydney post office before finally becoming a wool auctioneer. His expertise was rather negligible and he was very thankful for any advice. It was his opinion that organized service would be possible only with the help of numerous forms, and told me with much pride that he had ordered from the military printing press about 150 various printed forms for books, registered letter receipts, etc., designed mostly by himself. My suggestion to use international forms, still in stock in large quantities in Rabaul, was dismissed with the remark that he did not understand French.
I got to know Mr. Moore as an honorable and logical person. He also served the interests of the German population in postal matters with reprints, which was probably due to the fact that he was married to a German woman who had consented to his enlistment as a soldier only under the condition that he would kill no Germans in battle. ...
Postage stamps were delivered on 17 October; they were created by overprinting the supply found in Rabaul in valuations of about 2, 100 Marks. The stamps bore the imprint G.R.I. in small letters; a somewhat larger imprint showed the stamp denomination. The value was indicated in English currency and the 3- and 5Pf. stamps were overprinted I d, the 10- and 20Pf. stamps with 2d, the 25- and 30Pf. stamps with 3d, the 40Pf. stamp with 4d, the 50Pf. stamps with 5d and the 80Pf. stamps with 8d. The Mark values bore the corresponding imprints 1, 2, 3 and 5 shillings. The value of the supply transferred to the post office amounted to about 70 Pounds, the remaining stamps had been allegedly presented to dignitaries of the Triple Entente. See Fig. 10 for an example of these stamps.
Figure 10 block of four of 2d/ 10 Pf GRI with *RABAUL* two line cancel Block of four 'G. R. I.' 2d. on / 0 Pf GNG yacht, canceled with two-fine '* RABAUL * / Oct. 17
At the end of October Australian stamps with the kangaroo symbol were also put into service. See Fig. 11 for an example of these stamps. ...
I have learned the following about events in other German South Sea postal installations:
The island of Nauru was occupied by Australian troops at the beginning of November. The wireless telegraph station had already been destroyed by the cruiser Melbourne at the beginning of September.
The stamp supply, valued at about 6,000 Marks was captured. The stamps were also overprinted with G.R.I. and the value in English currency, and sold in Rabaul at the end of December. See Fig. 12 for an example of these stamps.
Figure 12 2' 1 d Marshall GRI cover to Rabaul, boxed T. Internal GNG mail during the occupation, franked with horizontal pair of 'G.R. I I d. on 5 Pf. Marshall Islands yacht, canceled with oval 'RABAUL / JAN 1 1915 NEW GUINEA'. Treated as '1/2d. postage due (proper rate was 21/2d.).
Figure 13 Stamps of the Marshall Islands overprinted with 'Japanese symbols" several sets; color photocopy Example of Japanese officer personal sea/ ('chop) applied in red to captured Marshall Islands yacht stamps. All known uses of these stamps are philatelic.
In jaluit the Japanese overprinted the stamp supply with Japanese symbols and sold it. See Fig. 13 for an example of these stamps. ...
/s/ Weller, Postsekretar
My sincere thanks to Karl Baumann, Barbara Fraize, Ken Humphreys, Dr. Holger Kaiser, Bob Maddocks, Brian Pope and Erich Schlieper for their assistance in preparing this article.
Postsekretär Carl Weller
1) Postal secretary - a high ranking postal official
2) Seiner Majestat Schiff -- a German warship.
3) Reichspostclampfer - a German mail steamer.
4) The original German phrase is gestempelten Postkartenformularen. 'Gestempelt' literally means , stamped', and the phrase could mean canceled postal cards. From the context, however, it probably simply means postal stationery cards - government issue postal cards with preprinted franking indicia.