Seapost -> German Sea Post Offices on German and American Ships

German Sea Post Offices on German and American Ships
Deutsche und Amerikanische Seepost Linie

By Bernd Essler

DEUTSCHE SEEPOST LINIE NEW YORK g mark on letter posted on board KAISER WILHELM II (1)
"DEUTSCHE SEEPOST LINIE NEW YORK g" postal mark on letter posted on board KAISER WILHELM II (1) on 1st Sept. 1892 after departing Hamburg. Letter handed over to the British Post Office in Southampton one day later because it was addressed to Germany. This is one of the rare examples of the late use of these cancellations, used in parallel with the joint US-German Service.

This article discusses just a selection of cancellations used on board German and American ships on the North Atlantic route with the purpose of obtaining more information about the dates of these marks together with the names of the ships on which they were used.

Most of the German and American cancellations of Sea Post Offices do not show the ship name. If the writer does not mention the ship or if there is no other hint, the ship remains unknown. We are trying to identify all ships by comparing the sailing timetable with the dates of the postal items and to allocate the anonymous cancellations accordingly to specific ships. The following list contains all types of anonymous cancellations used by the Sea Post Offices of the US and German steamship traffic on the North Atlantic route up until WW II.

The dates of use listed and the allocated ship names represent the current knowledge of the community of collectors and are the result of intensive research over many years involving many collectors. If anyone has items with differing dates or items not yet recorded, we ask them to kindly send scans of these items (front and back sides please) to .

The objective of this web page is to motivate collectors to look for similar items in their collection and to ask them to alert us to any new information. Hopefully we can fill many gaps through the help of the community and finally allocate all voyages of the ships to specific cancellations. The list will be updated continuously as soon as new information arrives. We have also listed some cancellations combined with specific questions concerning the period of use. We thank everybody for checking the list and for any information we receive.

Bernd Essler
March 2013

List of selected cancellations used on German & American ships.

The list is provided as a PDF document which may be viewed online or downloaded for printing, reference and review.

List of selected of cancellations - German & American ships on the North Atlantic route by Bernd Essler, download: Click to view Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) file: German Sea Post Office [Deutsche und Amerikanische Seepost] marks by Bernd Essler (0.65Mb)[March 2013 edition]

To save the document you are recommended to click on the download icon with your right mouse button and select the 'save link as / save target as' function to save the document directly to a folder on your computer hard drive.

Instructions for the Conduct of Sea Post-Offices

Click this link to read about the procedures governing the joint USA - German and USA - British sea post offices, how the crew made up bags of mail for the German TPOs, and the order of distributing the bags at Plymouth, Bremen and Hamburg.

Life on board the Sea Post Office

Click this link to read about the German Sea Post Office on board Hamburg America Line's Füerst Bismark



The following will be found very useful:
Seaposts of the USA, by Roger Hosking, TPO & Seapost Society, 2008, ISBN No 978-0-9518726-6-6
United States Sea Post Cancellations Part I Transatlantic Routes, P Cockrill, Cockrill Series Booklet No 54. ISBN No 947628 59 2
Norddeutscher Lloyd, Bremen 1857-1970 Volumes 1 and 2, Edwin Drechsel, 1994 & 1995, ISBN 13 9781895590081 & 9781895590142.
Deutsche See- und Schiffspost 1886-1945 Vol. II and IV, by Friedrich Steinmeyer & Heinz Evers, 1999 & 2009
The Transatlantic Post Office, by Roger Hosking, Oxted, June 1979.

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