Adema collection of WWII postal history highlights April 2-4 Corinphila sale

Mar 25, 2020, 8 AM

Due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, this Corinphila Veilingen auction has been postponed to June 11-13.

By Charles Snee

Corinphila Veilingen, the Dutch auction house, will auction more than 3,800 lots of worldwide stamps, postal history and country collections April 2-4 at the firm’s gallery in Amstelveen, Netherlands.

A signature highlight of the three-day sale is the Kees Adema collection of World War II postal history, which will be sold on Saturday, April 4.

In its catalog introduction to the collection, Corinphila describes Adema as “an internationally known postal historian and author who has published five books and some 75 articles and papers about Netherlands philatelic subjects.”

Adema exhibited his collection internationally, receiving gold medals at shows in St. Pierre and Miquelon (2014) and Singapore (2015), and large vermeil medals at World Stamp Show-NY 2016 and Stockholmia 2019.

Many of the 144 lots feature covers documenting disruptions and other unusual factors that affected mail transport during the war years. Some lots are comprised of multiple covers still affixed to the original exhibit pages that Adema prepared.

One of the first covers to hit the auction block was mailed Aug. 31, 1939, from Gravenhage (The Hague), Netherlands, to Mazowiecky, Poland, just one day before Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, igniting a global war that would span six years.

A single 1939 12½¢ stamp showing St. Willibrord as an older man (Netherlands Scott 213) paid the postage.

A stenciled note affixed over the address states that the letter was returned to the sender because postal communication with Poland was “temporarily not possible,” according to Corinphila.

The cover is listed with a minimum opening bid of €150 (approximately $170 in mid-March).

Another fascinating cover was mailed April 29, 1940, from Shanghai, China, to Den Haag (The Hague), Netherlands. Three Sun Yat-sen stamps — 5¢ green (Scott 299), 20¢ ultramarine (302) and $2 blue and orange brown (305) — combined to pay the postage.

Corinphila notes that the cover transited first through Hong Kong, where it was censored before being routed through Bangkok, Thailand; Naples, Italy; and London, England. The cover then traveled by ship to Lisbon, Portugal, before being loaded on a train for Berlin, Germany.

In Berlin the cover was censored again. A faint boxed “No Service/Return To Sender” handstamp indicates how the cover was handled after leaving Berlin.

Corinphila offers this well-traveled piece of WWII postal history with a minimum bid of €100 ($113).

Details of the entire three-day auction are provided on the Corinphila Veilingen website, including online listings for the material, as well as a PDF catalog that can be individually downloaded. Online bidding options also are available.

For additional information, contact Corinphila Veilingen, Mortelmolen 3, 1185 XV Amstelveen, Netherlands.

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