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Overland Mail Baghdad-Haifa Pages

Forerunner - German State Saxony to Baghdad


 From the German State Saxony a number of covers are known sent between 1866 and 1867  from Freiberg and Schneeberg to Baghdad, addressed to a Mr. Oelschlägel, an engineer working at that time in the mining industry.

Some of these letters apparently were sent via Turkey, however a few of them were also sent via the Syro-Iraqi Desert.

About 5 covers are known from the so-called Oehlschlägel correspondence sent from Saxony to Baghdad with the route instruction “Via Beyrouth” or “Franco Via Beyrouth and “Par Le Courier Anglais du Désert” or "A remettre a la poste anglaise du désert a Beirut".  


It is beleived that there were 3 regulations issued by Saxony for mail from Saxony to Baghdad:

1: From Middle of 1866 letter to Baghdad had to be franked up to Samsun (Turkey) and it is believed that mail was onward carried via Turkey and Mosul to Baghdad. (Tatar Post???)

2: Some time later, the date is known yet known, a similar regulation was issued that mail had to be franked up to Beirut.

3: Finally, the Saxony Post published in their bulletin “Saxony Letter Postage Rates”, Postal Announcement PV 2017, dated 29 October 1867, Paragraph 2, page 120!:



Image kindly provided by Jürgen Herbst.

English translation from transcript:

2) Consignments to and from such places where Imperial Austrian Postal Agencies are not located.

Letters to Adalia, Aleppo and Damascus must reach Smyrna,

Letters to Amaßia, Bagdad, Diarbekir, Mosul and Sivas must be franked up to Samsun.

Letters to the interior of Asia Minor should be addressed to intermediaries in Beirut or Smyrna who will prepay postage for onward carriage.

Beirut, Samsun and Smyrna see 1.

Letters to places in Asian Turkey not mentioned above are to be addressed to a correspondent in Constantinople or in one of the places mentioned under 1 through which they are forwarded.

Below a cover from Schneeberg (24 September 1867) Beirut (Berutti) dated 16/10 (16 October) to Baghdad of which the fee and route falls into group 2 above.

Collection Jürgen Herbst

Postage rate of 5 Ngr of which 3 Ngr are the Saxony Post Postage Fee and 2 Ngr. for den Transport up to the Auction Post Office in the Levant, Beirut.

The blue crayon manuscript marking "2 f" indicate that the fee (Weiter*f*ranco) for the transport of the letter by the Austrian Post was already paid with the franking and the Saxony Postal Administration had to pay this amount (2 Ngr.) to the Austrian Post.

Arrival Postmark Berutti from the Austrian Post Office in the Levant, dated 16/10 (16 October).

The fee for the transport on the final route from Beirut to Baghdad had to be born be the receiver of the letter, however, now fee marking for that route is found on the cover.


Below are two others covers from the so-called Oelschlägel Correspondence




Both covers are not in my collection. They were sold some years ago at Heinrich Köhler Auctions in Wiesbaden, Germany