The Graf Zeppelin didn’t fly over Lebanon!

LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin (Deutsches Luftschiff Zeppelin #127; Registration: D-LZ 127) was a German-built and -operated, passenger-carrying, hydrogen-filled, rigid airship which operated commercially from 1928 to 1937. When it entered commercial service in 1928, it became the first commercial passenger transatlantic flight service in the world. It was named after the German pioneer of airships, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was a count (Graf) in the German nobility. Almost every zeppelin flight carried mail, sometimes in large quantities; the covers usually received special postmarks,
The “Graf Zeppelin” made two visits to the Middle East during its career. The first took place over four days in April 1929, without landing but during which mail was dropped to the large German colony at Jaffa in Palestine (bundle of 5000 letters). Second visit was in 1931.
Below is a German map of the 1929 route (in which the Zeppelin did not land):



On 17.11.2001, the Palestinian authority issued a serie of stamps commemorating “The First Airship over the Holy Land”: the “Orient Flight” (Orientfahrt) of German airship Zeppelin LZ-127 took place between 25.03.29 and 28.03.1929 and Palestine (Haifa, Jerusalem, Jordan Valley, Lake Kinnereth) was overflown in nighttime on 26.03.1929. The stamp depicts the Zeppelin and the map route.


Special postmark found on covers flown on the Orient Flight.

items, frequently seen on the known sites of online selling or other philatelic sites:

a) Heading for Lebanon:



1929 Orient Flight cover addressed to Beirut, Lebanon, franked with 2M Eagle, tied byFriedrichshafen cds, with appropriate cachets, 26March, Er Ramle “c” drop and Beirut (29 Mar) arrival pmks


Another 1929 Orient Flight cover addressed to Beirut with same destination.


Incoming commercial Zeppelin air mail from Germany. The cover, franked 2 Mark, was sent from Friedrichshafen on 24/3/1929 by the Graf Zeppelin “ORIENTFHART” flight, arrived in Beirut on 29/3/1929 (on reverse).


Lebanon, incoming Zeppelin air mail from Germany. The post card, franked 1 Mark, was sent from Friedrichshafen on 24/3/1929 by the Graf Zeppelin “ORIENTFHART” flight, arrived in Beirut on 29/3/1929.

b) Heading for Syria



1929, Zeppelin post LZ 127 flight 1929 Cover Germany To Aleppo Syria via Ramle; Jaffa; Beyrouth. Zeppelin post from Friedrichshafen Germany (official stamp date 24.3.1929 Michel #29) to Aleppo Syria, 1929. LZ 127 flight. Franked by 2M as follows: 20pf, 40pf (damaged), 80pf (Michel #392, #395, #397) and 60pf (Michel #362). “Mit luftpost” (With Airmail) label And Confirmation stamp. Ramle Drop. On the front ER RAMLE 26.3.1929 postmark, on the back JAFFA 27.3.1929, BEYROUTH 29.3.1929 AND Arrival at ALEP 30.3.1929.



Syria, incoming Zeppelin air mail from Germany. The post card, franked 1 Mark (20 pf+80pf), was sent from Friedrichshafen on 24/3/1929 by the Graf Zeppelin “ORIENTFHART” flight. No arrival postmark but probably same routing as previous item.


Zeppelin Postcard heading for Hama, franked 1Mark ( Cooper collection ) . Notice a different red cancel :Mediterranean flight. It belongs to the second Mediterranean cruise that took place in April 29 and flew over France, Spain, Portugal and Tangier.


Leaflet distributed among the population in Palestine to warn of the arrival of the Zeppelin and the reward in case of recovered mail (1929).



Another 1929 incoming Zeppelin airmail to Lebanon from the 1. Amerikafahrt 1929 flight that left Friedrichshafen on first of August heading to New-York after a nearly disaster first attempt in May that interrupted the flight. The cover is franked on 31/07/29, arrived in New York on 05/08/29, forwarded to Beirut on 22/08/29 and handled in Ghazir on 24/08/29 to the director of the Armenian blind school.

Fadi Maassarani



Minimum rates in the Levant’s Countries under French Mandate. Part 2.

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).

9fig 9

10fig 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).

11fig 11

12fig 12 (from Albert Massaad collection)

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).

13fig 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).

14fig 14

Newspapers sent from Tripoli on 11 May 1960 to Becharre, franked with ½ Piastre stamp “Cedar”, issued on December 1958.

15fig 15

Envelop for Periodicals-Writings sent from Djounieh on 6 December 1962, with ½ Piastre stamp “Cedar forest”, issued on October 1961.

16fig 16

16afig 16a



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”.

17fig 17

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).

18fig 18

19fig 19 (from Abdallah Absi collection)

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.

Bernardo Longo lente

Clear and legible address is important….

They say that luck favors the open minded. For that, we need to stay open and curious because modern postal history can still surprise us. I bought this cover (Fig. 1 -2) recently.

1fig 1

2fig 2

At first, it looked like a banal Beirut airmail cover heading to France in 1959 with a transit journey in Holy-Land. But then I realized quickly that this cover was misguided : Bethune (a town north of France) was misread as Bethlehem.

The error has been facilitated by the absence of transcript of the country of destination (France). This was rectified only later with a blue pen on the front cover: “Pas de calais, France

The result, many Palestinian and Jordanian postmarks affixed in the back of the cover!

In a chronological order, we find:

  • Jerusalem 6: 26 Feb 59
  • Amman 2: 28 Feb 59
  • Jerusalem 5: 2 Mar 59
  • Bethlehem 2: 2 Mar 59
  • Jerusalem 6: 3 Mar 59
  • Ramallah 3: 3 Mar 59

Reminder of polical/military background :

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip became distinct geographical units as a result of the 1949 armistice that divided the new Jewish state of Israel from other parts of Mandate Palestine.

3fig 3

From 1948 to 1967, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was ruled by Jordan (Fig.3). During this period, the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian military administration.

In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Israel took control of the western part of Jerusalem, while Jordan took the eastern part, including the old walled city containing important Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious sites (Fig. 4 and 5)

4fig 4

5fig 5

Covers from Bethlehem with Advertisment to visit the Holy Land part of Jordan Kingdom.

Beirut 25 Fev.1959 – Jerusalem 26 Feb.1959

It is obvious that the cover from Beirut (Fig.1) could not have reached Jerusalem by land, or at least not in one day. It had to be flown over. Jerusalem had it’s own airport. After the creation of the state of Israel and the loss of Lydda airport as the main international gateway of Palestine coupled with the division of the country, Transjordan found itself without any major civil international airport (and without any civil aviation facilities as a matter of fact).

6fig 6

To this effect, a former RAF base at Kolundia was chosen to house the new Jerusalem airport. Hence, the Kingdom by the end of decade had 2 international airports Amman and Jerusalem. The latter, however, took precedence over Amman at attracting major international airlines (MEA, Misr Air, Air Liban, Kuwait Airways) as most of the religious sites were located In the West Bank rather than in Amman (Fig.6).

7fig 7

Fig.7: An advertising in an Arabic magazine for MEA, informing about a 3 daily flight from Beirut to Jerusalem. These flights went on till 1967 when Jerusalem fell in Zionist hands.

8fig 8

8afig 8a

Another possible competitor to have carried the mail from Beirut to Jerusalem is the Arab Airways (Fig.8 and 8a) or to be more specific its successor Air Jordan of the Holy Land (Arab Airways and Air Jordan merged on 1 December 1958).

10fig 10

9fig 9

Fig 10 Arab Airways timetable effective from 23 August 1953. Fig 9 Arab Airways Air-routes plan.                                               Chronologically after arrival in Jerusalem, the cover is directed to Amman. Why? For administrative or other reasons? I don’t have the answer. Yet. Nevertheless the cover continues all the way to Bethlehem, before probably noticing the error and correcting its path. Strange how nobody intervened earlier! Bethlehem is probably where the correct destination was marked. The cover returns to Jerusalem and continues to Ramallah (probably because Jerusalem International Airport was closer to Ramallah around 15 Km than the center of Jerusalem) before its final destination? We’ll never know.

What a digression I made from a common courier who has gone astray. On the other hand it is still difficult for  me to believe that 60 years ago, Jerusalem was only an hour by plane from Beirut and that daily flights were scheduled. So close but so far…




Minimum rates in the Levant’s Countries under French Mandate. Part 1.

As promised here comes the article of the minimum domestic rates, fixed by the Postal Administration of Levant’s Countries that were under French Mandate, extended also after their Independence.

Ever since I approached the postal history of Lebanon, I was intrigued about the issuance of really small face value stamps, such as E.E.F. stamp of 1 mills Egyptian Pound or those of 10 cents of Syrian Piastra. I thought that these were issued as complementary values to complete certain tariffs. By the time I noted with joy that instead they were used alone to paid certain postal items, subject to preferential rates. They were Newspapers and Periodicals-Writings (circulars, bulletins etc. sent on a regular basis).

I have not recorded documents franked by 1 mills E.E.F. stamp value in Egyptian currency, as well as I have not recorded the stamps overprinted T.E.O., both on French stamps than on those of the Levant, followed by the first O.M.F. value issue also they in Egyptian currency. I recorded, and I keep them tight in my hands, different 10 cents value stamps. One of the most interesting that I have is applied on an envelope addressed to the supermarket Orosdi Back in Beirut. This is the French 5 cents yellow-orange “seeder”, overprinted on four lines “O.M.F. Syrie 10 Centiemes” killed by “BEYROUTH #15” cancel on 24 July 1923 (fig 1).


(fig 1)

The envelope probably contained a prices bulletin, periodically sent from some manufacturer to the well-known large shop.


(fig 2)

The second, sent from Beirut on 1 July 1924 to Becharre via Tripoli, was franked with French stamp of 2 cents brown-lilac overprinted “GRAND LIBAN 10 CENTIEMES” (fig 2). It contained advertising messages sent periodically (tempore transit, not vitia).


(fig 3)

The third, was franked with the 10 cent stamp of the first issue printing “Grand Liban”. It was sent locally from Beirut to the well-known travel company Cook & Sons on 9 June 1925 (fig 3).

So far, the pieces shown are envelopes containing bulletins or advertising sent periodically, now we will see the other type of object to which this post preferential rate of 10 cents of Piastre could be applied. These were the periodicals newspapers with weight below 60 grams, shipped with wrapper.


(fig 4)

The first example in my collection, was a wrapper for the newspaper of Catholic Circle printed in Beirut and sent to the prominent lawyer Gabriel Rahme, President of the Catholic Circle in Tripoli. It was sent on 2 January 1926 (fig 4).


(fig 5)

Another interesting use is that one with 10 cents stamp overprinted bilingual “Republique Libanaise” in one-step. The newspaper’s wrapper was sent from Beirut on 17 April 1930 to Paris (fig 5). It should be remember that since 1927 rates for postal items sent from Syria and Lebanon to France and its colonies or possessions, were equivalent to those sent domestically.

As mentioned in the article about 5 cent overprinted “Alaouites”, I suppose that in 1928 the rate for these items was halved, what would explain the overprint of a 5 cent value made in the territories under mandate. Unfortunately I do not have and I never saw wrappers or covers with this rate. Among other things, this rate was again brought back to 10 cents probably in 1930. This is clearly shown by the figure 5 and the two examples below (fig 6 and 7) that were sent respectively on 15 January and 2 June 1933.


(fig 6)


(fig 7)

Although from 1 September 1938 all rates were raised, probably to issues related to social service carried out by the press, it was considered not necessary to increase also our small rates, and this is demonstrated by the wrapper sent locally from Tripoli on 27 November 1940 (in war time), franked with the “Cedar” stamp issued in 1937 (fig 8).


(fig 8)

will continue…..

Medical advertisment on postcards from Lebanon

The communication on drug and medicine, especially pharmaceutical advertising, seems to be born with the pharmaceutical industry in the late nineteenth century. With the growth of written communication and the emerge of first scientific journals and techniques, rapid dissemination of information is performed. The advertisements for drugs will greatly multiply in the press.



Fig.1-Levant postal stationary 1908

“In reference to your announce in the clinics of ophthalmology, I would be grateful to receive samples of your specialty in order to use them in my practice. Thank you in advance, Dr Mangasar-Beirut”.

Regarding the promotion of these new drugs, the pharmaceutical industry  looked first to pharmacists  then to doctors. These became very important intermediaries between the pharmaceutical industry and patient, through prescription. Faced with the low costs of the specialty manufacturing at the time, the pharmaceutical industry will not hesitate to invest in advertising to promote his medicine. Labs thus began to send promotional brochures and advertising postcards to physicians. Samples of drugs were also sent to clinicians so that they attest to their effectiveness and establish used certificates subsequently to advertise.






Fig. 3



Fig. 4



Fig. 5

Fig.2-3-4-5 Various pharmaceutical laboratories reply postcards with different outgoing cancels: Baabda (1925) – Beyrouth (1925) – Saida (1933) – Military Bureau 600 (1937). Advertising is sent from the country of production to domestic and foreign customers. The advertising for pharmaceuticals often borrowed postal items: cards, cards letters illustrated.



Fig. 6


Fig. 6a

Fig.6- Private laboratory Deschiens postcard depicting Marechal Ney during the retreat of Napoleon’s great army in Russia. It was not unusual for these pharmaceutical postcards to represent military campaigns, great monuments, celebrities or various topics as childhood. Fig.6b- On reverse we find the request for samples and on the lower left corner an advertisement for Sirop Deschiens: “A hemoglobin syrup that is supposed to fight Neurasthenia, weakness and sickness of the chest (Tuberculosis?). Its high content of iron makes it superior to any other raw meat juice! That’s why it’s prescribed by more than 50.000 doctors!” This prescription reference was usual at that time and was meant to add credibility to this medicine.

After WWII, Biomarine, a french drug manufacturer, will innovate by shipping its advertisements to french prescribes from lush places which have no direct relationship to the product. For various reasons, the advertising campaign was a success. Postal relations between France and overseas were again effective and sure again.



Fig. 7

The purpose of this company is to bring the therapeutic virtues of the ocean to those who cannot get access to it, using seawater under different forms of medication with pleasant taste. The Dieppe factory would produce three products from water collected on the high seas: Marinol (1912), Ionyl (1929) and Plasmarine (1934).

From 1947 to 1966, Biomarine mailed from 6 to 16 cards per year to 30,000 doctors in France and North Africa with a well-established pattern: A series represents a circuit or a journey, a first route map announces the program and sharpens the curiosity of the recipient. A correlation exists between cards, postage, and the place of shipment outside France. The printed message personified the product. Among the 19 “tours” organized by Biomarine, two used Beirut as a port of call.

The images were of quality; Biomarine widely appealed to museums, libraries, etc. The cards are ordered to specialized printers. Each receives back a text message imitating handwriting, the company logo and then the drugs. The addresses of the recipients are maintained up to date through the medical delegates. Workers from the drug manufacturer in Dieppe affixed the postage stamps on the postcards. The stamps were acquired from post offices abroad and arrived under customs by temporary importation. After packaging the items in bundles, Biomarine then forwarded them by surface (railway) to its destination in order to be dispatched.

First tour including Beirut: La croisière en méditerranée d’Ionyl (1950-1951):



Fig. 8 and 9

Fig.8- Postcard depicting the Mediterranean cruise. Fig.9- Stop-over of the cruise and picture illustrating the postcard view.

These cards are of equal interest to the cartophile or the philatelist. They were shipped by surface mail, at printed matter – lowest rate.


Fig. 10

Fig.10-  Stamps were removed from postcard by collectors to garnish their album.


Fig. 11

Fig.11- On this first tour, the side view shows “le Krak des chevaliers” erroneously situated in Lebanon by the editor. “Krak des Chevaliers” also known as “hosn al akrad” is a Crusader castle in Syria (Tell Kalakh) and one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world (sic).



Fig. 12 and 13

Fig12-13 : On the back of the postcard, a simulated hand-written text to advertise IONYL and a machine postmark  canceling a colorful set of Lebanese stamps. The machine postmark is an advertisement that says : “Lebanon equals health” which gives the item a plus as a health topic collected item.


Fig. 14

Fig.14 – Postcard heading to Switzerland with the agent address typed in red. Same set of stamps by a “Beyrouth” hand cancel strike over the stamps.

Apparently postcards were spread out over several months and can be found with different stamps and postmark types on them.


Fig. 15


Fig. 16

Fig.15 and Fig.16 represent the most common set of stamps issued from Lebanon or overprinted in 1950, that were affixed on these postcards. Maybe other combination exist but they have not been seen yet. Total franking of the card is 5 piastres.



Fig. 17 and 18

Examples using the set of figure 16.

Each was mailed the cheapest way by surface (boat) mail using colorful stamps of the period. Some were mailed in bulk and postmarked all on the same day. Others were spread out over several months and can be found with different stamps and postmark types on them.

Second tour including Beirut: “Ionyl en route vers l’orient(1961-1962)” :



Fig. 19 and 20

Fig.19: Postcard depicting the Oriental cruise. Fig.20: Stop-over of the cruise and picture illustrating the postcard view of the cruise.



Fig. 21 and 22

Again each card was mailed the cheapest way by surface mail using Lebanese stamps of the period. Some were mailed in bulk and postmarked all on the same day. Some did escape cancelling due to the mass mail delivered at the same time.

In 1952, Biomarine creates the Agency Publimer to commercialize knowledge about other products than pharmaceutical products. The same maps travel to Amora, Philip, Maggi, Nestlé…



Fig. 23

That’s how we can find this postcard depicting the six columns of Jupiter temple in Baalbeck with a typographic text in french advertising for Amora.



Fig. 24

Another Baalbeck postcard sent from Beirut with an advertisement text in German for Maggi.

Later on, the idea is taken up on a “grand scale” by Abbott Laboratories, for their flagship product, Pentothal, an anesthetic made famous by espionage films as a truth serum. Its giant mailings are sent to 220,000 physicians or U.S. hospitals in addition to shipments in ten languages to 21 foreign countries. These cards will receive the nickname of Dear Doctor postcards.

Biomarine has stopped its activity in 2000 after having sent 200 postcards and 60 maximum cards.


Fig. 25

Fig.25 : Typical “Dear doctor postcard” depicting Byblos and an advertisement text for Pentothal on the back.


Fig. 26


Fig. 27


Fig. 28

Fig.28 An Arabic advertisement text for Pentothal on a postcard issued from Saint-Pierre et Miquelon heading for Beirut. But this is out of subject.

With regard to a change in legislation which now prohibits advertising of drugs on short, readable postcards, the following shipments are enveloped.


Fig. 29


Fig. 30

Fig.29-30: Illustrated covers with pharmaceutical advertisement from the sixties.



Fig. 31

Despite regulations prohibiting open advertisement for pharmaceutical drugs in order to protect the consumer, doctors still received in the seventies such postcards as seen in fig.31.

The real objective of pharmaceutical advertising is not to improve public health, nor to educate physicians or to allow the medical press to survive ; It is to publicize and to sell as much as possible medicines.


Reflections of Postal History – The Jdita cover

With this short article begins a series of reflections “of” and “on” Postal History.

The “so-called lucky”, who own my last book that cataloged the postmarks used or appeared in the 1918-1945 period in the Lebanese territory (fig. 1), they know certainly that I have included in the chapter of “resumption of postal service” at pages 13 and 15, two maps with the location of post offices operating in the period 1919 and 1920 (fig. 2 and 3).




Figures 1, 2 and 3 respectively: the book catalog, the map of the first 1919 and the map of the half 1920.

Their inserting was used as analytical support to assess the quality and quantity of the postal service in the two areas: one administered by the French and the other by the Syrian Government. Their belonging to one or another administration, was made by identifying the stamps used in the locations, admitting logically that stamps were the direct emanation of the respective authorities emitting. I split the territory in half lengthwise, considering and using the morphological limits as a border line. Bounded by the mountains of Lebanon, from Hermel in the north to up Hasbani River in the south, the right area was under Syrian Government administration with the exception of Zahle and apparently of Merdjayoun but with the attribution error of Jdita village in the “French” yellow area (fig. 4).


Fig. 4: the attribution error of Jdita village in the “French” yellow area.

The fact is that: a) I had only seen a Jdita envelope with ottoman negative cancel on 1 Piastre E.E.F. stamp (figures 5 and 6), b) looking at the maps you can see that the village is located to the left of the Litani River, c) according to a logic of simplifying, the physical positioning tends to be interpreted as a reason of belonging. There’s nothing more wrong in the Middle East, and especially at that time in the analyzed area.



Figures 5 and 6: cover from Jdita to Egypt sent on 1919 and the ottoman negative cancel of Jdita.

What has happened it is easy to imagine: wonderfully appears on the market an envelope with the Jdita negative cancel on 1 Piastre of the Kingdom of Syria stamp. The envelope was addressed to a New York company of clear Lebanese origin, and precisely the Sahadi brothers originating of the Jdita village (fig. 7). By gradation of the stamp’s color, one can determine on the period August/October 1920 the date of envelope shipping.


Fig. 7: the Jdita cover.

I do not know whether it is historically important to establish that Jdita was part of the territory administered by the Syrian government or the French one, but I think is important that the discovery of a simple paper’s witness can become a real “historical witness” through which we can assert that the village of Jdita, current in the Lebanese territory, by end of 1918 to first half of 1920, was part of the great area administered by the Syrian Government.

A short review of a Lebanese iconic beer


Founded in 1933 under the French mandate by the JABRE family at Bauchrieh, the brewery was initially named « Brasserie et malterie Franco-libano-syrienne ». It was and remains the only Lebanese brewery. Its production turned around 1000 bottle/hour at that time.


1935-Outgoing cover with Grand-Liban stamps overprinted with french and arabic “République Libanaise”.

Beer is a fermented beverage, prepared from malt, corn and hops which give the bitterness. Czechoslovakia had a long-time malt industry tradition. No wonder then we can find commercial covers between Prague and Bauchrieh. Klatscher & Lorenz was for instance an established malting firm in Prague. It ceased its trading activity in April 1939.


1939-Outgoing cover with regular Lebanese stamps overprinted with new value.

After the 1950’s, the brewery was renamed: « Brasserie & Malterie-Almaza » and we find advertisement on reverse where the brewers state that “Beer with its low alcoholic rate makes it a hygienic and refreshing drink with medical virtues”. Scientific truth or advertising? We let you the judge of such statement…




1962- Nice decorated outgoing cover to one of Europe’s largest breweries.

It is only after the civil war of Lebanon in the nineties that the brewery takes its final name: “Brasserie Almaza S.A.L.”.

This review was just an occasion to say:

 “Kesak ya friends”



Beirut, mixed use of various issues stamps from the end of 1918 to the half of 1920

After the 7 October 1918, although nominally under French military occupation, the majority of soldiers and means served to occupy Beirut, were the British ones coming from Palestine. We must not forget that the city was a real field of ruins in the wake of urban demolition implemented by the Turkish governor and on a human level an environment devastated by two years of famine followed by epidemics that decimated the population. This was the reality in which must be imagined the Turkish’s departure and the arrival of the Entente troops. According to international law, among the tasks of the new occupants, was to be allowed the resumption of public functions such as the postal service. In Beirut this was not possible immediately. So, British favored the use of their military postal structure to private citizens who request it. This system had already been adopted in Palestine in the early days of occupation, as emergency service for private use by the civilians population. The first covers known regularly franked with British stamps are dated from the second half of October 1918, their use for civilians has lasted until 4 December 1918 (fig. 1).

fig 1

(fig. 1) Cover containing a letter written by a Beirut’s resident and sent on 4 December 1918 to Egypt through the Field Post Office SZ 8. Is the last date recorded for the British stamps used by civilian in the F.P.O. based in Beirut.

Since November 1918 in the military postal office they were also used E.E.F. stamps (Egyptian Expeditionary Force), their value was expressed in Egyptian currency. The use in F.P.O. by Beirut’s residents is documented until 14 December 1918 (fig. 2).

fig 2

(fig. 2) Cover containing a letter written by an American resident in Beirut  and sent on 14 December 1918 to USA through the Field Post Office SZ 8. Is the last date that I know for the E.E.F. stamps used by civilian in the F.P.O. based Beirut.

I don’t know the mixed-use of British and E.E.F. stamps on the same envelope or Post card. From mid-December 1918 it was reopened the civil post office using the E.E.F. stamps already experienced (fig. 3).

fig 3

(fig. 3) Cover sent on 21 December 1918 to Egypt. The civil post office, closed from early October to mid-December, it had been re-open using the existing ottoman cancels (up the Beyrouth #16).

Only in November 1919, with the landing of other French troops led by General Gouraud, were overprinted French stamps using a small stock brought for the military postal service: on 21 November 1919 appears the first T.E.O. issue stamps (fig. 4).

fig 4

(fig. 4) Beirut’s domestic cover sent on 29 November 1919 franked with 5 mill green overprinted T.E.O. on French stamp. The use of this stamps issue is rare on cover.

This time coming by the old French civil Post, were exhumed the expired Levant stamps that were overprinted as the previous with the new value still in Egyptian currency (fig. 5). Theoretically genuine mixed postage use exist between the two T.E.O. issues.

fig 5

(fig. 5) Right franked rate for letters to O.E.T.A. territories for this cover sent from Beirut on 28 December 1919 to Haifa, Palestine. The postage was paid by 5 mill green overprinted T.E.O. on Levant stamp. The use of this stamps issue is relatively common on Beirut’s covers.

From the day of issue on 1 December 1919 unlike the previous, used only in Beirut, the new T.E.O. stamps were widespread throughout the Levant’s territory at the time occupied by the French. I do not know mixed between E.E.F. and the first T.E.O. issue. Instead I know two covers with mixed E.E.F. and second T.E.O. issue, dated respectively 12 and 21 December 1919 (figures 6 and 7).

fig 6

fig 7

(figures 6 and 7) Two nice mixed. The first is a post card of thanksgiving, sent from Beirut on 12 December 1919 for the city, mixed franking using 1 mill T.E.O. and 2 mill E.E.F. stamps. The second a cover sent from Beirut on 21 December 1919 to Liverpool “Inglisi”, mixed franked by two twins values of 5 mill stamps. Both mixed are very rare.

Meanwhile, the French administration had proceeded to withdrawal the E.E.F. stamps that could be changed with T.E.O. stamps until 5 January 1920. The last date I recorded of E.E.F. used in Beirut was a 5mill stamp on commercial postcard on 2 January 1920 (fig. 8), but this does not exclude other lucky discoveries with posthumous dates.

fig 8

(fig. 8) Post card sent on 2 January 1920 franked with 5 mill Orange E.E.F. stamp. Is the last date that I know for the E.E.F. stamps genuinely used in Beirut.

The transition from the status of “Territoires Enemy Occupés” in the “Occupation Militaire Française”, forced in February 1920 the postal administration to issue stamps with new overprint O.M.F. Syrie, still with value in Egyptian currency. Furthermore not withdrawn the T.E.O. stamps. From this moment it is possible their mixed use on cover (figures 9/12).

fig 9

fig 11

(figures 9 and 10) The first letter was sent by a known and talented Beirut’s collector on 24 February 1920, the mixed postage of 1 Piastre was “composed” by a block of four of 1 mill T.E.O. together with 1, 2 and 3 mill O.M.F. stamps of the first printing in thin characters.
The second mixed T.E.O. and O.M.F. stamps, is a commercial registered double rate cover (5m + 3m + 1P) sent from Beirut on 11 March 1920 to Alep with O.M.F. overprint in fats characters.

fig 10

fig 12

(figures 11 and 12) Two more mixed. The first is similar to the previous cover but shipped the day after, 12 March 1920, again to Aleppo. The second, sent to France on 25 March 1920, was composed by a pair of 3 mill in thin characters and 4 mill T.E.O. stamp.

The registered letter sent from Beirut on 1 April 1920 to Palestine (fig. 13) is properly franked for 1 Piastre and half (5 mill for letter direct in O.E.T.A. territories and 1P for Registered fees). Do not be fooled, this is not a mixed triple: the stamp of 5 Piastres first TEO issue, even if it had not been demonetized, has been placed just to be canceled for the benefit of the unfortunate recipient Capt. R. A. Alphert, which on arrival was no longer in Bir Salem near Ludd.

fig 13

(fig. 13) cover with Registered number 163 repeated two times.

Theoretically after 30 April 1920 ends up the possible contemporary  use on cover of the two issue creating mixed postage (figures 14 and 15).

fig 14

fig 15

(figures 14 and 15) Two last mixed. The first is a double rated cover to foreign (1P + 6mill), sent on 2 April 1920 to Switzerland. The second, franked for 1 Piastre, was sent to Galata on 7 April 1920 and show the error “S” inverted in the T.E.O. value of 4 mill.

The French government made it compulsory to use the new Syrian Pound that was worth ⅓ of Egyptian Pound. They were issued paper money and also stamps with values in “centimes” and Piastres (figures 16 and 17).

fig 16

fig 17

(figures 16 and 17) A good souvenir: 1 Syrian Piastre. It is curious that the French administration has used the services of a British company to print paper money to be used in the area that she administered. The second picture reproduces a cover franked at double rate to foreign (3P + 1,75P), sent from Beirut on 14 May 1920 to England. All postage was paid by the new O.M.F. stamps with value in Syrian Pound.

The O.M.F. stamps with value in Syrian currency, came into use from 1 May 1920. A registered envelope sent to Constantinople, still franked with T.E.O. values stamps (Fig. 18), attest that for at least the first half of May, the old T.E.O. stamps still had values and mixed postage in Egyptian and Syrian currency can exist. Unfortunately I do not have but I saw her.

fig 18

(fig. 18) This Registered cover has the great virtue of witnessing the tolerated use of old Egyptian currency stamps on 11 May 1920, after more of a week it had come into use the new Syrian currency.


Bernardo Longo




                                                                                                        The NOGUES Line

Untitled-1In July 1938, the FIGARO newspaper reported in a dispatch that mail from the Levant was stamped with stamps celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Aéropostale Marseille-Beirut air route. As a matter of fact, Lebanon post office issued on the 15th of July a stamp (Fig.1) and a souvenir sheet (Fig.2) celebrating this Aéropostale flight. The stamp depicts a CAMS-53, seaplane flying over Beirut and the figure of Nogues.

Read more

Journée mondiale de la santé

2 Journée mondiale de la santé      1


The World Health Day is one of the world organization of health initiatives, founded in 1948. It is an event celebrated in all the member country where everyone, from the leaders to the general public is invited to consider a health problem that has consequences worldwide. Lebanon joined WHO January 19, 1949
At the first World Health Assembly in July 1948, it was decided that the Executive Board will be invited to recommend the establishment of a World Health Day. It was suggested to choose July 22 to commemorate the signing (22/7/1946) of the Constitution of the World Health Organization by 61 nations. WHA1.134 – July 1948 -13.308
Thus Lebanon will issue a commemorative stamp on 07/22/1949 for the day celebrating both the World Health Day and his first year in the WHO. This seal will be find on both domestic and international mail from Beirut, as well on covers transiting through the capital.

Fig 1– Commercial mail posted on 07/22/1949 in Beirut, heading to Switzerland with the red WHO Cancel

Fig 2– Internal mail posted on 22/07/1949, from Beirut to Tripoli with the red WHO commemorative cancel

Note that the mail posted at that time was often accompanied by the stamp tax for Palestine refugees



Fig 3 and 4 – Back of the two letters shown in Fig 1 and Fig 2


Fig 5 and 6 – Outgoing airmail from Beirut to Greece with WHO commemorative cancel on Back. 


Fig. 7 – International mail posted in Beirut on 22/7/1949, heading to the United States with the red commemorative cancel and stamp tax for Palestine Refugees on front of the cover


Fig. 8 and 9 – Mail posted on 18/7/1949 in Jerusalem, passing through Amman, cancelled with WHO commemorative stamp upon arrival in Beirut, the 07/22/1949

WHOFig10 WHOFig11
Fig.10 and 11 – Mail from Ramallah posted on 07/18/1949, transiting through Beirut and collecting WHO commemorative stamp on back. Note the AV2 cancel found on letters from Palestinian village (Heifetz AV2 Type 10)


Fig 12 – Philatelic cover with WHO cancel on a stamp issued for the third UNESCO Congress in 1948 that took place in Beirut.

Fig 13 – Lebanese report to the WHO assembly in 1949


«Considering that the World Health Assembly decided that the Organization must grant its patronage to the celebration by all Member States of World Health Day, on the date of July 22 of each year
Considering that schools and other educational institutions in every country, major propaganda tools, should be observing this day
Considering that in many countries, most schools are closed on July 22 and cannot therefore fulfill this mission
Considering that the choice of April the 7th, referring to the official entry into force of the constitution of WHO in 1948, offers a solution wich would allow to avoid these disadvantages,
The second World Health Assembly, decided to fix for 1950 and for subsequent years, the “World Health Day” on April 7 in order to be celebrated appropriately by all Member States.
WHA2.35 – June 1949 21:27»

Translation in English of fig 13

Because of this ratification, the celebration of the «Health  World day»  will henceforth be made on April 7th of each year and this from 1950. That became a tradition. Unfortunately our postal administration will not renew any more the experiment and the commemorative cancel of 1949 will remain a unique experience.


Fig.14 –  Beware of Hypertension

However in 1978, in full civil war, the post office will emit a stamp to commemorate the World Health day. The topic this year being prevention of Hypertension. There are two type of prevention, primary and secondary. Primary is to take appropriate measures to prevent the disease from happening the first place. The steps to be taken by Lebanese now a days is maintenance of a healthy lifestyle and avoiding bad news by keeping their local radio and TV shut  off !!! Secondary prevention means the disease cannot be prevented from happening in the first place and the controle of the disease is related to routine checkups in order to detect the disease in the earliest stage.