Philippines Redirected Card

by Tom Fortunato, September 16, 2012

September 2012 provided a few exciting days for Dear Doctor card collectors seeking items on eBay. A small collection of Swedish language cards was auctioned off one at a time, with many eventually selling in the $50 to $125 range.

One of the most interesting was this post card. First off, it is the first reported card mailed to the Philippines. Second, it is a redirected mail piece with markings that once deciphered told the rest of the story.

This card was part of a mailing to at least seven countries (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Philippines, Sweden, USA) in four different languages (English, French, Spanish, Swedish). All reported to date were postmarked on the same day, September 9, 1957 from Goteborg, Sweden. The postcard's face bears a Cebu City receiving mark dated October, although the full date is indistinguishable. So it took about a month to arrive by surface mail about one-third of the way around the world. The addressee couldn't be found. Why it took until February 12 for the Philippine postal service to decide to send it back is unclear. The post card was stamped "RETURN TO SENDER" and docketed in pencil "moved" and either "Removed" or more likely "Remailed" as well.

It was sent back to Sweden, but to where? No return address was given. The answer is in the red pencil marking explained courtesy of Peter Bergh, a native Swedish collector. Quoting his response,"The “Gbg V.” and the arrow means that it was sent to the west post office of Gothenburg (Gbg is a common Swedish abbreviation for Göteborg). For sure, practically only a Swede would use the abbreviation Gbg and know that Gothenburg has a west post office. Thus, the marking was almost certainly applied in Sweden. Also, it is common in Sweden to use an arrow for 'to'– as in 'send to'. As you can see from the cancellation, the card was mailed from Gothenburg with a Z indication (speculation: foreign mail) in the postmark at the bottom."

Two bidders pushed the price of this post card from its 50 cent starting price up to the final hammered figure of $116 after 7 different bids. What other gems await the Dear Doctor collector out there?