Danske Forsendelser 1875-2003 (Danish Mails) by Niels H. Bundgaard. 216 pages, 6 by 8 ¼ inches, card covers, perfect bound, AFA Forlaget, Otterup, Denmark, 2011. ISBN 13 978-87-7012-370-9, $48 plus shipping from Jay Smith & Associates, P.O. Box 650, Snow Camp NC 27349.
For both traditional as well as postal history collectors of Denmark, the sources for postage rate information have been scattered. For many years the favored reference for rates was Volume 1 of the two-volume Danske Breve 1851-1979 by Tørgen Gotfredsen and Jesper Haff. It carried many services beyond letters and postcards to include printed matter, material for the blind, express mail, Sunday letters and others. Mail to foreign destinations was also presented.
Updates for conventional services were provided by Knud Tolbøl in two editions of his Takstfortegnelse (1851-1995 in 1994, and 1851-2008 in 2007). The format was in simple rate tables. A more thorough treatment of Danish airmail is found in Dansk Luftpost by Mats Hedelius (1992) that provides route information as well by destination.
Now comes Bundgaard’s more comprehensive book with updated rate tables for the various classes/services of Danish mail. In addition there is information on rates to foreign destinations within each service. The beginning date of 1875 marks the currency change in Denmark from skilling to kronor and øre. The format for each section begins with local and domestic rates within Denmark, followed by treatment to the Danish entities of the Faroes, Greenland, and Danish West Indies. Then follow rate information to other Nordic countries, Europe, and the rest of the world.
Historic background includes an overview of mail handling in Europe up to the Universal Postal Union. Brief mention is made of mail to Danish United Nations forces, special arrangements during World War II, and the 1959 European conference on the administration of post and telecommunications (CEPT). A bibliography of sources ends this introductory section.
For the period from July 1, 1875 until the UPU rates went into effect for specific countries, rate tables are shown for letters. The first set of tables lists local (within the town) and domestic (within Denmark) rates for letter mail by weight steps, followed by separate tables for the Faroes, Greenland and Danish West Indies. More tables are provided for Norway/Sweden, Iceland and Finland. The rest of Europe, Asia, Africa, America and the Australian area are treated. This section ends with letter rates abroad from UPU to 2003.
The remaining sections offer similar treatment for postcards, printed matter, business papers (invoices, receipts and similar documents not of the nature of personal correspondence), samples and patterns, letter packages, matter for the blind, registered letters, insured, money orders, COD, postgiro, Sunday letters, and other special services. Airmail to destinations abroad is treated extensively including Zeppelin and catapult mail as well as aerograms. A final chapter looks at additional mail-related fees for receipts, and confirmation of delivery.
Some references appear at the end of each chapter and a more complete list of source documents (archives) and books and journals appears at the end of the book. An interesting appendix lists the dates when various countries joined the UPU. Another appendix is a conversion table from skilling to øre.
The text and tables are nicely laid out and a few colored illustrations of covers demonstrating certain rates add visual appeal.