About rates, so here is the situation regarding our small postal rate shown in ”ALMANACH FRANCAISE 1938″ published in Beirut by the “Imprimerie Catholique” (fig 9 and 10).
As you can observe, are mentioned additional prices depending on the weight for the amounts of 20, 25, 50 and 75 cents of Piastre. This explains why this stamps values were issued since 1930. To confirm the fact that the rate was not increased, also under the economic pressure made by the war, we can use as witnesses the two wrappers below (fig. 11 and 12).
The first was sent from Damascus on 6 June 1940 to the Hexagone immediately before the armistice between France and the two Axis powers, occurred on June 25. The second was sent on 29 December 1941 from the small post office of Darahoun-Harissa, in Lebanon, in the period that the Levant territories was administrated by the Free French Forces of De Gaulle. It was addressed to Lyon, in the Free French territory of Vichy. At that time the mail transport from the Levant to Europe essentially occurred through the Simplon-Orient Express railway via Beirut-Aleppo-Istanbul-Constanta-Vienna. In those months this transport route resulted blocked then the wrapper returned to Beirut where was applied the justificatory seal “RETOURN A L’ENVOYEUR FAUTE D’ACHEMINEMENT” (Return to Sender Lack of Routing).
Unfortunately I do not have examples of the minimum rate used in the last years of war and in the first ten years of Lebanon and Syria independence. But I can show an envelope containing Periodicals-Writings, sent from Tripoli city on 14 March 1957, to the famous lawyer J. Rahme, established near the port of Tripoli (fig 13).
The envelope was franked for 50 cents by a value of ½ Piastre blue representing a cedar, issued in September 1955. This is the new minimum rate for Newspapers and Periodicals-Writings up to 60 gram. Is interesting to observe through any catalog of Lebanese stamps, that since 1947 for many of the new stamp issues, the lower value issued was the 50 cents (½ Piastre). This type of value was printed without interruption until 1974, in fact the last was to be issued on 18 October 1974. This means that the rate of 50 cents was used continuously until the outbreak of the civil war. To confirm, here follows four examples of minimal rate applied (fig 14, 15, 16, 16a and 17).
Newspapers sent from Tripoli on 11 May 1960 to Becharre, franked with ½ Piastre stamp “Cedar”, issued on December 1958.
Envelop for Periodicals-Writings sent from Djounieh on 6 December 1962, with ½ Piastre stamp “Cedar forest”, issued on October 1961.
Envelope for advertising, equated to Periodicals-Writings, sent from Beirut on 3 November 1965 to the P.O. Box 359 located in Beirut Post Office. Franked with ½ Piastre stamp “Pets”, issued on 10 September 1965. Unfortunately, only the smokers could appreciate the power of “Ex’Oil”.
Envelop for Periodicals-Writings sent from Darahoun-Harissa on 22 December 1965, with ½ Piastra stamp “Flowers”, issued on 1964.
Finally two examples franked for 1 Piastre. The first was sent from Mar Maroun Monastery in Annaya on 2 January 1974 and was franked by International Tourism Year 1 Piastre stamp. The second, sent from Tripoli to Beirut on 29 September 1975, was franked by pair of 50 cents ceder stamp, the last with this small value issued on 18 October 1974 (fig 18 and 19).
From the shape of the two objects you can be deduced that they weighed between 61 and 75 grams, and therefore required the second weight echelon, corresponding to doubling the minimal postal fee.