The Szekula Family of Stamp Dealers

EN / DE

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, most likely driven by money rather than the love of stamps. All four assumed Swiss nationality and were at one time based in Lucerne. Especially Béla’s creative business ideas provoked more than one philatelic scandal during his career. However, the history of philately would arguably be poorer without the Sekula brothers.


Frank Sekula

 
B/W photo of Frank Sekula in his N.Y. office
Frank Sekula in his office in White Plains
(Frasek Stamp News No. 1, 1937)
Magazine ad
Ad placed in
Popular Mechanics November 1978
Frank was born as Franz Szekula in Budapest on March 24, 1901. On October 17, 1917 and still a minor he became a naturalized Swiss citizen of Udligenswil together with his father Julius. As the youngest in the family he was also the last to enter the stamp trade. In February 1921 he left Lucerne and moved to New York City, opening his own stamp business at Nassau Street 97. In June 1926 he submitted his first declaration of intention to become a US citizen. However, travelling back and forth between the USA and Switzerland he kept close ties with his family in Lucerne, and in January 1929 he joined the management of Béla’s stamp wholesale company as a manager with signatory rights (Prokura). In his function as chief clerk he supervised the printing of the controversial Ethiopian Animals and Rulers reprints in Bern on behalf of his brother — the only time Frank’s name ever became loosely connected to a scandal. On April 10, 1930 he married Claudia De Renard at London. In April 1933 he founded the Frasek AG in Lucerne. Sole board member was initially Claudia Sekula, housewife from Udligenswil, replaced by her husband in August of the following year. In April 1935 the Frasek AG moved to Lugano renaming itself to Frasek AG Lugano (Frasek Inc. Lugano). In January 1937 Frasek Inc. moved its headquarters to 47 Martine Avenue, White Plains, New York, and became the Frasek Company. One year later the office in Lugano was closed, leaving Europe for good.
In the years to come, the Frasek Company became a household name in the mail-order business. Frasek’s newspaper ads for cheap approvals were everywhere, and Frank Sekula was reportedly the first stamp dealer to also place radio commercials. In September 1978, after more than four extremely successful decades in the stamp business, Frasek was sold to Australia’s Seven Seas Stamp Company. The Frasek Company continued to operate in White Plains under the familiar name for two more years until it was finally dissolved in late December 1980 — making it the longest-running business undertaking of any of the Sekula brothers.


Postcard — August 30, 1924

Sent on August 30, 1924 by Eugen Sekula to Frank Sekula in New York City, USA. The postcard was carried on the transatlantic delivery flight of the airship ZR-3, built by the Zeppelin company as war reparation, from Friedrichshafen to the US Naval Air Station at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

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Cover — 1925 (ca.)

Sent around 1924–1927 from Paris, France to Frank Sekula in New York City, USA

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Cover — December 1, 1926

Sent on December 1, 1926, from Cairo, Egypt, to New York City, United States.

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Cover — October 14, 1933

Registered mail sent on October 14, 1933, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Helsinki, Finland. Arrived on October 17, 1933.

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Cover — November 10, 1933

Registered mail sent on November 10, 1933, from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Lucerne, Switzerland. Arrived on November 14, 1933.

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Cover — March 3, 1934

Sent on March 3, 1934, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to Bensenville, Illinois, United States.

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Cover — April 21, 1934

Sent on April 21, 1934, from Chicago, Illinois, United States, to Lucerne, Switzerland.

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Cover — September 8, 1934

Registered mail sent on September 8, 1934, from Lucerne, Switzerland, to New York City, United States. Arrived on September 15, 1934.

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Cover — December 31, 1934

Registered mail sent on December 31, 1934, from Lugano, Switzerland, to Morristown, New Jersey, United States. Arrived on December 31, 1934.

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Cover — March 9, 1935

Registered mail sent on March 9, 1935, from Lugano, Switzerland, to Sacramento, California, United States. Arrived on March 25, 1935.

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Cover — April 12, 1935

Printed matter sent on April 12, 1935, from Lugano, Switzerland, to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, United States.

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Cover — May 9, 1935

Registered mail sent on May 9, 1935, from Lugano, Switzerland, to New York City, United States. Arrived on May 17, 1935.

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Cover — December 12, 1935

Registered mail sent on December 12, 1935, from Lugano, Switzerland, to Port Washington, New York, United States. Arrived on December 12, 1935.

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Cover — December 30, 1935

Registered mail sent on December 30, 1935, from Lugano, Switzerland, to Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, and forwarded to Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

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Cover — February 18, 1936

Registered mail sent on February 18, 1936, from Lugano, Switzerland, to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, United States. Arrived on March 3, 1936.

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Cover — April 21, 1936

Registered mail sent on April 21, 1936, from Lugano, Switzerland, to Baltimore, Maryland, United States. Arrived on May 5, 1936.

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Covers — September 1936 – December 1936

Three covers sent between September and December 1936 from Lugano to Neatherdown (Heatherdown?), Alberta, Canada.

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Cover — November 14, 1936

Registered mail sent on November 14, 1936, from Lugano, Switzerland, to Clinton, Connecticut, United States. Arrived on November 24, 1936.

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Cover — November 30, 1936

Registered mail sent on November 30, 1936, from Lugano, Switzerland, to Cambridge, England.

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FRASEK Stamp News — 1937

Issue No. 1, and the envelope it was shipped in.

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Cover — February 9, 1937

Registered mail sent on February 9, 1937, from White Plains, New York, United States, to Newport, Monmouthshire, England (today Wales).

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Cover — April 13, 1937

Registered mail sent on April 13, 1937, from White Plains, New York, United States, to Newport, Monmouthshire, England (today Wales).

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Cover — October 30, 1937

Sent on October 30, 1937, from Guatemala to White Plains, New York, United States.

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Cover — January 10, 1938

Sent on January 10, 1938, from Panama to White Plains, New York, United States.

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Cover — February 25, 1938

Sent on February 25, 1938, from White Plains, New York, United States, to Elton, Bury, Lancashire, England.

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Cover — May 10, 1938

Sent on May 10, 1938, from White Plains, New York, United States, to Willisau, Switzerland.

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Cover — June 18, 1938

Registered mail sent on June 18, 1938, from Prestea, Gold Coast (today Ghana), to White Plains, New York, United States. Arrived on July 16, 1938.

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Cover — December 3, 1938

Registered mail sent on December 3, 1938, from Kalkfeld, South West Africa (today Namibia), to White Plains, New York, United States. Arrived on December 31, 1938.

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Offer — May 1, 1939

Cover letter and reply envelope accompanying a stamp lot sent to a customer.

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FDC — August 15, 1939


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Cover — November 14, 1940

Sent on November 14, 1940, from White Plains, New York, United States, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Arrived on November 14, 1940.

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Cover — August 11, 1941

Sent on August 11, 1941, from White Plains, New York, United Kingdom, to Melbourne, Australia. Arrived on September 11, 1941.

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Cover — February 3, 1945

Canceled on February 3, 1945, with special Polish Navy Post Office postmark and addressed to Frasek Co., White Plains, New York.

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Cover — July 7, 1947

Registered airmail sent on July 7, 1947, from Keetmanshoop, South West Africa (today Namibia), to White Plains, New York, United States. Arrived on July 16, 1947.

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Cover — October 21, 1947

Sent on October 21, 1947, from White Plains, New York, United States, to Monroe, Wisconsin.

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Cover — December 7, 1950

Sent on December 7, 1950, from White Plains, New York, United States, to Newark, Delaware.

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Covers — November 23, 1953 – December 14, 1954

Sent on November 23, 1953, from White Plains, New York, United States, to Vienna, Austria. Arrived on November 23, 1953.

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Cover — May 11, 1956

Sent on May 11, 1956, from White Plains, New York, United States, to Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Arrived on May 11, 1956.

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Scan found online.


Postal Card — January 1959

Sent in January 1959 from White Plains, New York, United States, to Blenheim, Ontario, Canada.

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Cover — May 8, 1961

Sent on May 8, 1961, from White Plains, New York, United States, to Portchester, Fareham, Hampshire, England.

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Catalog — 1962

Product catalog of the FRASEK Company 1962 (PDF).

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FDC — February 10, 1962

Not traveled.

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Cover — May 25, 1964

Sent on May 25, 1964, from White Plains, New York, United States, to New York City. Arrived on May 25, 1964.

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Russia Collection — 1968

Frasek’s main business was offering cheap approvals like this collection of 1968 Russian issues.

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Cover — May 4, 1968

Airmail sent on May 4, 1968, from Prague, Czechoslovakia (today Czech Republic), to White Plains, New York, United States.

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FDC — September 9, 1969


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