The Szekula Family of Stamp Dealers

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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.

Charles Sekula

 
Magazine ad
What are the gems of every stamp collection?
(Rossica 1933)
Stamp ad 1982
Advertisement on postcard, 1982
Charles Sekula (1910–1996) was born in Budapest as Károly (=Karl) Dorfstätter to Béla Szekula and Antonia Dorfstätter on March 30, 1910. In late 1930 he joined the management of his father’s stamp wholesale Béla Sekula, Cosmophilatelist. In 1931 he also became an authorized signatory at the Cosmophilatelist AG corporation shortly after its foundation. At the same time he was still in the Swiss army where he achieved the rank of lieutenant. After abusing a number of (sick) recruits who didn’t perform to his satisfaction in March 1932 he was sentenced to 10 days confinement. Subsequently, he concentrated on a civilian career in the stamp trade. In early 1935, he married Elsa Keller (1915–1989) in London. In April, the couple moved to New York City, but Charles kept returning to Switzerland for business. In January 1936 he founded the Metropol Briefmarken AG (Metropol Stamps Ltd.) in Lucerne, taking over stamps worth Fr. 7500 from his own holdings in exchange for equivalent shares in the company. By June 1936, Charles was already the owner of a second firm, the Intercity Stamp Company at 222 Bay Avenue in Douglaston, Long Island. In February 1937, he merged Metropol Stamps Ltd. with the Intercity Stamp Company, followed by an address change in April to 12 Overlook Drive, Port Washington, Nassau County, NY. In August 1937, Metropol Stamps in Lucerne was liquidated. From April 1939 to October 1944, Charles sold US first day covers with cacheted envelopes produced especially for him. Although they have a much simpler design than most competing products, they stand out from the crowd for this very reason and are immediately recognizable as Intercity Stamp Company-covers. Meanwhile (by 1940 at the latest), he also managed to separate his office from his home by relocating his business to 90 Main Street. On December 17, 1940, his son Jeffrey Charles was born. In late 1947, the family and the company left New York and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. On September 15, 1952, Charles and Elsa had their second child, daughter Anne Marie. With another mouth to feed, the stamp trade alone probably did not bring in enough to support the family. In any case, Charles started taking on other jobs for a while, at least for a time during the 1950s. For example, from the summer of 1952 he was manager of the La Posada restaurant in Santa Fe, and later he worked as secretary-treasurer of the Basic Materials Inc. With his Intercity Stamp Company he was nevertheless continuously active as a stamp dealer until at least the early 1980s. Charles Chas Sekula died at a nursing home in Knoxville, Tennessee, on July 25, 1996, at the age of 86.

Unlike his father, Charles Sekula seems to have developed a real interest in stamps. In his obituary he was called a Santa Fe philatelist since 1947.



Cover — November 12, 1932

Registered mail sent on November 12, 1932, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Saint-Raphaël, France. Arrived on November 14, 1932.

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Cover — January 31, 1933

Registered mail sent on January 31, 1933, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Saint-Raphaël, France. Arrived on February 1, 1933.

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Cover — March 18, 1933

Registered mail sent on March 18, 1933, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Saint-Raphaël, France. Arrived on March 20, 1933.

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Cover — August 1, 1933

This envelope from 1933 still contained the material accompanying a stamp lot offered to a customer in Rosario, Argentina: the invoice, a cover letter and a questionnaire (front and back shown).

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Cover — August 1, 1934

Sent on August 1, 1934, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to New York City, United States. Arrived on August 1, 1934.

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Cover — August 7, 1934

Registered mail sent on August 7, 1934, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Swedish: Björneborg (=Pori), Finland. Arrived on August 11, 1934.

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Offer — August 7, 1934

Registered mail sent on August 7, 1934, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Ingelsträde, Sweden. Arrived on August 7, 1934.

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Postcard — September 8, 1934

Sent on September 8, 1934, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Lipolec, Czechoslovakia (today Czech Republic).

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Postcard — October 12, 1934

Sent on October 12, 1934, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Osijek, Yugoslavia (today Croatia).

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Cover — November 23, 1934

Registered mail sent on November 23, 1934, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to New York City, United States. Arrived on December 5, 1934.

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Cover — March 25, 1935

Registered philatelic cover sent on March 25, 1935 from Turan, Tannu Tuva, to Charles Sekula. Franked with Scott #54-60 / Michel #59-65. LUZERN 2 arrival postmark on back dated 12.IV.35.

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Cover — August 28, 1935

Registered mail sent on August 28, 1935, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States.

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Offer — August 29, 1935

Registered mail sent on August 29, 1935, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Ingelsträde, Sweden. Arrived Ingelsträde.

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Cover — October 31, 1935

Registered mail sent on October 31, 1935, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to New York City, United States. Arrived on November 8, 1935.

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Cover — April 14, 1936

Registered mail sent on April 14, 1936, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Myerstown, Pennsylvania, United States.

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Cover — September 16, 1936

Registered mail sent on September 16, 1936, from Lima, Peru, to Lucerne, Switzerland.

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Cover — September 26, 1936

Registered mail sent on September 26, 1936, from Unity, Saskatchewan, Canada, to Lucerne, Switzerland.

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Cover — November 1936

Registered mail sent in November 1936 from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Perh Amboy, New Jersey, United States. Arrived on November 28, 1936.

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Cover — July 19, 1938

Sent on July 19, 1938, from Valdivia, Chile, to Port Washington, New York, United States.

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FDCs — 1939 – 1944

Mimeographed cachets created by the Intercity Stamp Company, Port Washington, Long Island, New York.

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1939, April 1. New York World’s Fair. Sc #853, Mi #448.
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1939, April 30. Sesquisentennial of George Washington’s inauguration. Sc #854, Mi #449.
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1939, August 15. 25th anniversary of Panama Canal opening. Sc #856, Mi #452.
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1939, September 25. 300th anniversary of printing in Colonial America. Sc #857, Mi #453.
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1940, January 29. Famous Americans: Washington Irving (1783–1859). Sc #859, Mi #455.
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1940, February 5. Famous Americans: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1862). Sc #861, Mi #457.
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1940, March 14. Famous Americans: Horace Mann (1796–1859). Sc #869, Mi #465.
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1940, March 28. Famous Americans: Charles W. Eliot (1834–1926). Sc #871, Mi #467.
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1940, April 8. Famous Americans: John James Audubon (1785–1851). Sc #874, Mi #470.
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1940, April 17. Famous American: Luther Burbank (1849–1926). Sc #876, Mi #472.
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1940, May 3. Famous Americans: Stephen Collins Foster (1826–1864). Sc #879, Mi #475.
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1940, May 13. Famous Americans: Victor Herbert (1859–1924). Sc #881, Mi #477.
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1940, July 10. 50th anniversary of Wyoming statehood. Sc #897, Mi #493.
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1940, September 5. Famous Americans: James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903). Sc #885, Mi #481.
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1940, September 7. 400th anniversary of the Coronado Expedition. Sc #898, Mi #494.
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1940, October 7. Famous Americans: Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791–1872). Sc #890, Mi #486.
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1940, October 7. Famous Americans: Eli Whitney (1765–1825). Sc #889, Mi #485.
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1940, October 14. Famous Americans: Cyrus Hall McCormick (1809–1884). Sc #891, Mi #487.
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1940, October 16. National defense: Torch of Enlightenment. Sc #901, Mi #497.
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1940, October 20. 75th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the U.S.A. Sc #902, Mi #498.
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1942, April 15. Dedication of Post Office MacArthur, WV, in honor of General Douglas MacArthur.
Franked with Sc #894, Mi #490 (80th anniversary of the Pony Express, issued on April 3, 1940).
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1942, June 1. 150th anniversary of Kentucky statehood. Sc #904, Mi #507.
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1942, July 4. Win the War. Sc #905, Mi #508.
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1943, February 12. Announcement of the Four Freedoms. Sc #908, Mi #511.
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1943, September 14. Overrun countries: Belgium. Sc #914, Mi #513.
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1943, September 28. Overrun countries: France. Sc #915, Mi #515.
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1943, October 26. Overrun countries: Yugoslavia. Sc #917, Mi #517.
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1943, November 9. Overrun countries: Albania. Sc #918, Mi #512.
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1943, November 23. Overrun countries: Austria. Sc #919, Mi #522.
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1943, December 7. Overrun countries: Denmark. Sc #920, Mi #514.
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1944, May 22. 125th anniversary of the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Sc #923, Mi #526.
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1944, September 27. Resistance of the Philippine island Corregidor. Sc #925, Mi #528.
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1944, October 31. 50th anniversary of motion pictures. Sc #926, Mi #531.



Cover — September 4, 1940

Registered mail sent on September 4, 1940, from Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico, to Port Washington, New York, United States. Arrived on September 10, 1940.

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Cover — February 19, 1941

Sent on February 19, 1941 by Atlas Stamp Ltd. (Eugen Sekula) to Intercity Stamp Company in Port Washington, New York, USA.

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Cover — July 17, 1943

Registered airmail sent on July 17, 1943, from Ovingdean, Brighton, Sussex, England, to Port Washington, New York, United States. Arrived on August 5, 1943.

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Cover — November 3, 1943

Registered mail sent on November 3, 1943, from Rottingdean, England, to Port Washington, New York, United States. Arrived on November 26, 1943.

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Cover — April 3, 1944

Registered mail sent on April 3, 1944, from Lausanne, Switzerland, to Port Washington, New York, United States.

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Scans provided by Max Brack.


FDC — September 28, 1945

Cachet Craft first day cover sent on September 28, 1945, from Washington, D.C., United States, to Port Washington, New York.
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Covers — October 1945

Airmail sent in October 1945 from Trelleborg, Sweden, to Port Washington, New York, United States.

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Glassine Bags — 1948 or later

Typical packing unit of Intercity Stamp Company until at least 1948, one stamp set incl. info sheet in a glassine bag.

Unopened lot 16534, China 1948.
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Contents of lot 336, Tannu Tuva 1936.
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Postcard — September 12, 1969

Sent on September 12, 1969, from Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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FDCs — August 10, 1973

Registered first day covers sent as airmail on August 10, 1973, from Ulan Bator, Mongolia, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States.
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Cover — October 17, 1973

Registered airmail sent on October 17, 1973, by Charles Sekula from Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, to his stepmother Berty in Zurich, Switzerland.

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Scans provided by Max Brack.


Postcard — December 12, 1982

Sent on December 12, 1982, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States, to Clayton, New Jersey.

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