The red overprinted UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION with both ‘FOR THE UNITED KINGDOM’ and ‘By the long sea route’ barred out, also has a 1½d overprint on the ‘TWO PENNY’ postcard from Victoria. Victoria’s decision to join the U.P.U. in 1891 allowed post cards to be sent for 1½d to any member country of the Union. The postcard was addressed to Gebruder Senf, (Senf Brothers),Leipzig Germany - Alemania. The postmark was illegible as far as the town’s name, but the vendor stated it was posted in 1901. There was a circular reception postmark of L.13/ 17 8/ S-7N/ C . The reverse had no date and no postmark but it had a message: I depart from here to-morrow, Yours truly, R. Nuln (Figure 1).
The American philatelic firm of Earl P.L. Apfelbaum in a write-up of various stamp albums states: “Senf’s album is unquestionably the greatest work of its kind published on the continent. It emanates from the well-known firm of Gebruder Senf of Leipzig......The house of Senf is one of, if not the greatest, of its line in all Europe. It deals very extensively in all kinds of postage stamps, envelopes and cards, at both wholesale and retail, and publishes the best of the German stamp magazines, the Illustrirten Briefmarken Journal. Senf’s Illustrated Postage Stamp Album, compiled by Richard Senf, has long been a standard work in Europe, and there are even some few of the books in use in America. In general plan it does not differ materially from our great American albums. It is printed on one side of the paper only and contains spaces for all the ordinary varieties, but it does not provide room for as many of the varieties of paper, perforations and watermarks as it should. A picture of a large Senf catalogue 1931 is shown (Figure 2).
The Senf brothers (Louis and Richard) printed a journal, the ‘Illustrirten Briefmarken Journal’ and they added a ‘Kunst-Beigaben’ or art supplement to each issue of the journal. The forgeries always had the overprint ‘Facsimile’ or ‘FACSIMILE’ or ‘FALSCH’ included in the design. These forgeries also seem to have been sold directly to collectors. An example of a forgery of the ‘FIVE POUNDS’ British Bechuanaland stamp with the overprint ‘Facsimile’ is seen on the 21 July 1888 journal is seen in Figure 3.
Stiann Sanness was an employee who worked in Leipzig from 1908-1917 and became the firm’s chief buyer in 1910. The firm had affiliates in Berlin, Paris, Rome, Copenhagen, Madrid and London. Besides being co-responsible for the pricing in the Senf catalogues, Sanness was also responsible for clients in the Kingdom of Sachsen, in Hamburg, Hannover and Pforzein. A large volume of mail was addressed to the company over the years from unusual places, and an example of a cover sent ON HER MAJESTY’S SERVICE from the Postmaster General, British Central Africa is postmarked ZOMBA/ AU 31/ 95/ B.C.A. (Figure 4).
Covers sent to the company were sometimes philatelically contrived as evidenced by a registered cover sent in September 1901 with German stamps overprinted CHINA and postmarked ‘Tsangkou/Kiautschou’ (Figure 5).