Today in Postal History

China to Germany

July 4, 1902

This picture postcard was datelined Shanghai 4 Juli 1902.
It is franked with the 1901 10pf carmine Germania overprinted China (Scott 26).

The postmark is a “Deutsch Seepost-Ost Asiatische Linie b.”
The postcard was posted aboard a ship operating route b rather than ashore.

The destination was Frankfurt.
There are no transit or receiver markings.

The Nord-deutscher Lloyd of Bremen began service to Singapore and
China via Aden, Colombo, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
By 1900 the service was extended to Japan.
This line operated German mail ships which plied routes
in the Far East and to Europe via the Suez Canal.

The card has illustrations on both sides.
The embossed soldier on the front illustrates the uniform of the German
soldier in the Chinese Expeditionary Force at the time of the Boxer Rebellion.

The illustration on the message side is of what appears to be a naval monument in Shanghai.

Helmut Karlbach from Lübeck has kindly provided a translation of this card.
He starts by saying that the script is S
ütterlin, one of several varieties of German script.*
He provided this guide to the various German scripts.

German Text
English Translation
Frl. Elise Jäger
Miss Elise Jäger
(Frl., an abbreviation for Fraülein, meaning miss, unmarried lady, a use which is no longer politically correct)
 (this is an old German word without an English equivalent - part of the formal salutation of Miss Jäger.   It suggests that she was respected, venerated, revered, honored, and admired.)
in Frankfurt a/M
in Frankfurt on Main
Weilburgerstraße 24
(not sure if this is correct)
Shanghai den 4.Juli 1902
Shanghai on 4 July 1902
Meine liebe Elise! 
My dear Elise!
Gegenwärtig befinde ich mich im Hafen von Shanghai und fahren morgen weiter.
 I am in the port of Shanghai and drive on tomorrow.
Am 19. August treffen wir in Bremerhafen ein.  On 19 August we arrive in  Bremerhaven.  (He wrote Bremerhaven wrong, perhaps because he was not a Northern German or he means Bremen Hafen, but written in one word is nonsense)
Komme mit dem Schiff Prinz Heinrich
Come with the ship Prince Heinrich (a Nord-deutcher Lloyd steamship of 6,263 tons built in 1895)
(sorry, I cannot read)
Verbleibe mit herzl. Gruß
Remain with cordial greeting

Clearly, the writer was touring aboard the Prinz Heinrich and the card was mailed aboard.

Helmut also notes that it is unusual that
there is no receiving mark from the card's arrival in Germany.

*Helmut Karlbach earns a special thank you for this translation.


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