The Szekula Family of Stamp Dealers

This website is dedicated to the Hungarian born stamp dealers Béla, Géza, Eugen and Frank Sekula. Each one of them ran his own stamp business with emphasis on international stamp trade, likely driven by their business acumen rather than a particular preference for philately. All four assumed Swiss nationality and were based in Lucerne side by side for years. Especially Béla’s business ideas provoked more than one scandal during his career. However, the history of philately would arguably be poorer without the Sekula brothers.

Béla Sekula

“Fee Paid” Covers — September 1, 1923 – September 19, 1923

During the hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic it became increasingly difficult for the Imperial Printing Office in Berlin to produce new postage stamps to keep up with the frequent rate changes. Consequently, out of necessity, locally produced fee paid stamps (aka local issues) were officially approved and were therefore valid for postage. However, some dealers also seized the opportunity and produced their own labels. Both Béla and Eugen Sekula collaborated with these dealers in creating philatelic collectibles by serving them as recipients of the travelled covers.

The fee paid labels used on the first two covers below were privately produced by stamp dealer Walter Behrens, Brunswick, Germany, and went through the postal system for about two weeks without objection. Both show correct franking of M200,000.- for international letter up to 20 g plus M75,000.- for registration.

The first cover was sent registered on September 14, 1923, from Brunswick, Germany, and arrived in Lucerne on September 17, 1923.
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This cover was mailed registered on September 18, 1923, from Brunswick, Germany, and reached Lucerne on September 20, 1923.
See also the same cover to Frank Szekula in New York.
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Certificate from Walter Behrens, issued in the autumn of 1928 and giving a guarantee of 100 Reichsmarks that
  1. the fee paid stamps on the above cover were printed at the instigation and with the permission of the Brunswick post office,
  2. they served for about 2 weeks in September 1923 to frank domestic and foreign commercial letters,
  3. this registered letter number 957e was duly handed over at the counter and delivered to the recipient without objection.
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The fee paid labels used on the last cover are products of the print shop owner and philatelist Ulrich Runge in Halle. Although their use was forbidden immediately, some letters slipped through, even by registered mail and also to foreign countries.

The cover was sent on September 19, 1923, from Halle, Germany, to Lucerne, Switzerland, where it arrived on September 22, 1923.
See also the same cover to Eugen Szekula.
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