Arago: Siege of Paris Mail

Siege of Paris Mail

Card from Paris suburb office of Passy-Les-Paris


This card originated from the Paris suburb office of Passy-Les-Paris on October 15, 1870, (seventh collection) and was prepaid 10 centimes for the French internal postal card rate to Dives. Note that this card shows the “Par Ballon non monté” printed inscription, indicating that this item was to be sent via an unmanned balloon. Except for a first consignment of cards carried out of Paris aboard the Non Dénommé No.1 on September 30, 1870, however, all subsequent postal cards were carried by manned balloons. Without a Dives arrival datestamp, it is difficult to determine which balloon carried this card out of Paris. It was perhaps the Jules Favre No. 1, the Jean Bart No. 2, or one of the later balloons such as the Victor Hugo or the La Fayette.

The interesting aspect of this card is that upon arrival at Dives, it was readdressed to Antwerp (Anvers), Belgium. Since there were no provisions for the exchange of postal cards under the current Franco-Belgian Postal Convention (effective January 1, 1866), France forwarded this card to Belgium as an insufficiently prepaid letter, as per the red framed AFFRANCHISSEMENT/INSUFFISANT handstamp. Normally, unpaid letters sent from France to Belgium under this Convention were rated for a collection of 5 decimes per 10 grams. Insufficiently prepaid letters were taxed at the same 5 decimes per 10 gram unpaid letter rate, but credit was given for any partial prepayment. As a result, the postage due in Belgium on this card was only 4 decimes (5 decimes unpaid letter tax, less the 1 decime = 10 centime prepayment).


Paris/Passy-les-Paris (collection) 15 October 1870

Anvers (arrival) 24 October 1870

October 15, 1870
“Par Ballon non monté” printed inscription 10 centime Napoleon Lauré (Sc 32) cancelled by GC (Gros Chiffre) No. 2793 lozenge 4 decime postage due handstamp
paper; ink
Other: 6.4 x 10.8cm (2 1/2 x 4 1/4in.)
Museum ID:
FRANCE (republic)

  • Balloon post
  • Card from Paris suburb office of Passy-Les-Paris
Additional Records

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