Scandinavian Collectors Club


The Nordland Post Office on Land and at Sea by Tore Gjelsvik. 6 ¾ by 9 ¾ inches, casebound, in English, self published 2005. Available from the author for approximately $100 and shipped via surface mail, Tore Gjelsvik, Ranheimsliv. 29, 7054 Ranheim, Norway.


Tore Gjelsvik's contributions to the philatelic literature of Norway are extensive and of high quality. His recent contributions have focused on Norway No. 1 and the skilling Oscar stamps.

Now he turns to an in-depth study of a key office in northern Norway and its activities in the 1850s and 1860s. He draws on the earlier work of others but provides many missing pieces to this updated story.

The Nordland post office was established in 1805 in Terråk in the Bin Valley, and served as a control center for mail moving between north and south Norway. As a background to the story the author first describes the main postal routes in Norway in the 17th and 18th centuries. The first circular datestamp at Nordland was introduced in 1848. This and six subsequent types are illustrated.

Gjelsvik details the services of the Nordland post office over the years and mentions the postmasters. In addition to being a land post office, Nordland was also key to the handling of maritime mail. In 1850 it was relocated to Ottersø. The seven types of CDS were also used onboard ships. The author illustrates and describes the steamers that plied the Norwegian coast and he provides tables of their sailings.

The type of CDS canceller is identified with specific vessels and their various trips. The discussions of ship's mail are quite detailed. Illustrations of manuscript and handstamp markings such as ships' names are nicely shown.

In 1866 the Nordland post office was moved to Namsos and assumed that name. However it continued to handle ship mail during 1867-1868. In 1868 the Nordland post office ceased to exist.

The illustrations throughout are excellent, whether they are old black and white prints of people and ships, or images of stamps and covers in full color. An extensive bibliography and a subject index provide useful tools. This is the definitive work on the subject and the author's fondness for his subject leaps from every page.

Alan Warren