The Return Post of the Danish Postal Service by Kurt Hansen and John R. Sabin. 96 pages 5 ½ by 8 ½ inches, perfect bound, card covers, JRS Publishing, Gainesville FL, 2007. $35 postpaid to USA addresses, $45 elsewhere from John R. Sabin, 415 NW 23rd St., Gainesville FL 32607-2618.


This book is essentially the translation from Danish to English of five articles by Kurt Hansen. John Sabin translated the articles and added some comments and end notes, making this subject matter more widely available to collectors. The articles originally appeared in Nordisk Filatelistisk Tidsskrift, published by the Copenhagen Philatelic Club in 2004-2005.

Hansen studied the handling of mail returned to the sender by the Danish postal service. He found little information in the literature and so he compiled this record of the return labels or vignettes, the return resealing labels, and special return envelopes used by Denmark Post.

The first resealing label was issued in 1878 and was to be used only on returned domestic mail. The 1890 issue had four printings and thus more errors and varieties. Proofs also exist and the authors show them. The labels sere printed in sheets of eight and the varieties can be identified by position. Each printing is also identified by perforations and color shade.

Similar detailed treatment is offered for the redesigned labels that issued in 1915, 1930, 1934, 1935, and 1964. Further designs were released in the latter part of the 20th century, but there is insufficient information to date them accurately. An international resealing label was also used to return mail from the deal letter office to the sender abroad. Again, the period of use is uncertain.

Readers will see a number of covers in fine color showing use of these resealing labels. Also illustrated are several examples of special return envelopes in which the original letter was enclosed and addressed to the sender, often without additional postage required. The final chapters describe various labels with specific instructions such as Unknown, Not Collected, Forbidden, Deceased, and Insufficient Address used for the return of international mail. The authors describe the printing of such labels in sheets and strips.

An appendix illustrates multiples of the domestic labels in blocks and strips. Some attempts at cataloging were done by AFA and Facit, but the most complete listing is that of Scandinavian dealer Jay Smith. A table relates the three numbering systems to one another. The book ends with a glossary and reference notes.

Postal historians of Danish philately will gain a better understanding of the special treatment of mail described in this book. The color illustrations are excellent.


Alan Warren