Einstein Autograph Charity

March 16, 2012 by staff 

Einstein Autograph Charity, Back in the 1980s, the late eminent Luxembourg specialist and postal historian, Robert Danzer, used to drop by my office when he came from New York City to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit his son in Carmel. He enjoyed regaling about obscure aspects of Luxembourgian philately while sipping a premier California cabernet sauvignon at lunch (usually at my expense).

On one of these occasions, he mentioned that he had heard that Albert Einstein had autographed album pages on which the Intellectuals series had been mounted. He was quite excited about his efforts to locate such an album page, although as far as I know he never succeeded. But this link between the Intellectuals series, which was primarily issued to raise funds to assist Jewish professionals fleeing Germany, and Albert Einstein stuck in my memory. Someday, somewhere I thought, maybe I’ll find what had eluded my devoted philatelic friend, Bob Danzer.

So you can imagine my joy in 2008 when, while surfing eBay, I noticed a Gimbels Stamp Dept. album page on which a mint set of the Intellectuals was mounted with … yes … Einstein’s autograph in the upper left, just as Bob Danzer had described it! My only disappointment was that the album page had been defaced by someone noting the Scott catalog numbers of the stamps in ballpoint pen, apparently oblivious to the authentic Einstein autograph on the page. Wonder of wonders!

The text at the top and bottom of the album page corresponds to Gimbels’ reference in a 1935 news release captioned ‘Regarding the Luxemburg Stamps to Aid the Refugee Intellectuals,’ which states that:

[t]he Government of Luxemburg in collaboration with the International Committee to secure Employment for Refugee Professional Workers, has issued on May 1, 1935, a special series of stamps that is selling officially at double their face value. The nominal value, of course, goes to the Luxemburg Government. The excess value goes to the International Committee, to aid its efforts to help the Refugee Professionals. The Committee is now helping thousands of these men and women, in all parts of the world regardless of their nationality, creed or political faith. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, journalists, chemists, engineers, artists — professionals pictured “in action” on this unique series of stamps. Luxemburg, through the Committee, has appointed GIMBELS sole agent for these stamps in the United States.

Gimbels Famous Stamp Section, the largest of any American department store, appreciates the honor of this appointment. As in the case of a similar appointment to handle the Byrd Antarctic Stamps and Covers, we will show our appreciation by co-operating wholeheartedly and BY SELLING THESE STAMPS AT COST, without any profit whatsoever, at Gimbels Stamp Dept., 33rd St. & B’way, N.Y.C.

[The news release then lists 14 prominent members of the Committee.]

The complete set consists of 15 values from 5 centimes to 20 Fr. at $3.94. There may also be purchased shorter sets, as: 13 values from 5c to 5 Fr. at $1.38 [or] 10 values from 5 to Fr. 1.75 at 53c.

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