World Stamps

Dingguo Dai

Stamps without a name: Luxembourg Europa issue removed from sale

September 14, 2017 05:00 PM

  • The country name was omitted on Luxembourg’s two Europa stamps issued May 9. The 70¢ stamp shows Beggen Castle, which houses the Russian embassy in Luxembourg.
  • The second stamp in Luxembourg’s Europa set depicts Dommeldange Castle, the home of the Chinese embassy. Both the 70¢ and 90¢ Europa stamps were withdrawn from sale July 1.

By Dingguo Dai

Luxembourg’s two Europa stamps issued May 9 are missing the country’s name and were removed from sale July 1.

Part of this year’s multination Europa series with the theme of castles, the 70¢ stamp pictures Beggen Castle, and the 95¢ stamp shows Dommeldange Castle. Beggen houses the Russian embassy in Luxembourg, and the Chinese embassy is in Dommeldange.

While writing a review about China-related stamps issued in 2017 by different countries, I noticed that these two stamps had no country name on them.

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I sent an email to Post Luxembourg asking why. I also asked: How can foreign stamp collectors recognize that these stamps are from Luxembourg?

I quickly received a reply from Emile Espen, the head of the philatelic department, Post Philately.

Espen confirmed that the name “Luxembourg” is missing on both of these stamps.

He also said: “This is due to a mistake that happened during the printing file exchange between the graphic designer and the printer. The mistake was only noticed when a big part of the stamp issue had already been sold to the public.“

Espen reported that there will be no second printing of the stamps with the “Luxembourg” name, adding that the postal service had stopped selling the stamps as of July 1.

Dommeldange, located in the northern end of Luxembourg City, is the older of the two castles. It is believed to have been built in the 17th century by Thomas Marchant, a forge operator, as a private residence.

The castle and Dommeldinger Huttenwerk, or smelting works, were purchased in 1777 by Charles Joseph Collart, according to information from Post Philately.

The city purchased the castle in the 1970s, and China set up an embassy there in June 1978.

Beggen Castle dates from the late 19th century. After a villa on the site of a former paper mill burned in 1894, it was replaced with a new structure built by Belgian architect W. Janssens.

Before housing the embassy beginning in 1956, the castle served various purposes. During World War II, it was first occupied by the officers of the German Wehrmacht and then used by the United States military, according to Post Philately. In the early 1950s, it was a hotel.

Although the stamps are missing the country name, they have several inscriptions on them, including the name of the designer, B. Carter, in the lower right. The Bpost inscription in the lower left refers to the security printer of Belgium’s post office, which printed the two stamps. 

Dingguo Dai is a philatelic columnist and retired chemist living in Arizona. He writes columns for the Chinese monthly Philately, Shanghai Philately, China Philately News, and Shengxiao (Chinese Lunar Zodiac) Philately.