The Szekula Family of Stamp Dealers

This website is dedicated to the Hungarian born stamp dealers Béla, Géza, Eugen and Frank Szekula. After moving to Switzerland each one of them opened his own stamp business with emphasis on international stamp trade. All four were probably rather driven by money than by the love for stamps, and 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 Szekula family.


Frank Szekula

 
B/W photo of Frank Sekula in his N.Y. office
Frank Sekula in his N.Y. office
(Frasek Stamp News no. 1, 1937)
Magazine ad
Ad placed in Popular Mechanics
issue of Nov. 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 business. In February 1921 he left Lucerne and moved to New York. In June 1926, already working as a stamp dealer, 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 A.G.” 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 A.G. moved to Lugano renaming itself to Frasek A.G. Lugano (Frasek Inc. Lugano). In January 1937 the Frasek company moved its headquarters to White Plains, New York, and one year later the board decided to close the office in Lugano, leaving Europe for good. Frasek Company Inc. stayed in White Plains until it went out of business — probably sometime around 1980, which makes it the longest running business undertaking of any of the Sekula brothers.

1924-08 Postcard

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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1934-04 Cover

Sent on April 21, 1934 from Chicago, USA to Frasek Inc. in Lucerne.

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1934-09 Cover

Sent registered on September 8, 1934 from Lucerne to New York City, USA.

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1934-12 Cover

Sent registered on December 31, 1934 from Lugano to Morristown, New Jersey, USA.

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1935-03 Cover

Sent registered on March 9, 1934 from Lugano to Sacramento, California, USA.

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1935-12 Cover

Sent registered from Lugano to Port Washington, New York, USA.

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1936 Covers

Three envelopes sent from Lugano to “Neatherdown” (Heatherdown?), Alberta, Canada.

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1937 Cover

Cover sent on October 30, 1937 by “Maya Stamp Tranding Co.” from Guatemala to Frasek Company, Martlex Building, White Plains, New York, USA.

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1937 FRASEK Stamp News

In 1937 the Frasek company began sending out its new promotional magazine Frasek Stamp News to clients. Apparently, only three issues appeared.

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1938-01 Cover

Cover sent on January 10, 1938 from Panama to Frasek Company, Martlex Building, White Plains, New York, USA.

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1938-02 Cover

Sent on February 25, 1938 from White Plains to Elton, Bury, Lancashire, England.

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1938-05 Cover

Sent on May 10, 1938 from White Plains to Willisau, Switzerland.

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1939 FDC


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1939 Offer

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

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1940 Cover

Sent from White Plains, New York, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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1953–54 Covers

Sent from White Plains, New York, to Vienna, Austria.

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1956 Cover

Sent from White Plains, New York, to Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.

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Scan found online.

1962 FDC


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1964 Cover

Sent from White Plains, New York, to New York City.

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1968 Russia Collection

Frasek was mainly dealing in cheap appraisals like this collection of Russian issues of 1968.

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1969 FDC


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