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Iceland: Covers: Vatnajokull Glacier Expedition Covers  
In 1936, a Swedish-Icelandic Expedition spent a few weeks in May and June on the glacier and established a very short-lived post office that had an official postal cancellation and even sent registered mail. The postmark was apparently used only for that short time in May-June 1936 and is scarce. Subsequent expeditions took place in the summers of 1937 and 1938 but I have never seen any postal evidence from those years. I am interested in buying expedition items from this era.

From 1959 to 1964 annual research expeditions on the Vatnajökull Glacier were undertaken by the Icelandic Glacialogical Society (IGS). This glacier covers one-thirteenth of the total area of Iceland and is the largest glacier in the world between the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, with the exception of southern Greenland. The total area is approximately 3200 square miles and the highest peak is 6950 feet. Active volcanos under the glacier cause massive under-glacier lakes which can periodically discharge causing catastrophic flooding. During these expeditions, temporary postal service was maintained at Grimsfjall on a "1300 feet high precipitous crater rim, 5600 feet above sea level." The expedition "post office" had its own bridge-type cancellation and pre-printed registry labels. In 1963, the IGS stated that annually, from 1959-1963, 5000 cacheted covers were created. The cachet is different each year. Despite the quantity issued, these covers are very hard to find, with 1964 items being the scarcest. As of 1/2012, I have only had one item (non-postal) from a 1965 expedition. I am interested in buying items from the 1959-1965 expedition period.

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Vatnajokull Glacier Expedition Covers  Shopping Cart: Review or Check Out   Top 
Item #
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US$
239354
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1936 VATNAJØKULL Swedish-Icelandic Glacier Expedition official cover dated 22 May 1936, bearing the complete set of four 1935 Matthias Jochumsson stamps (Scott #195-8), sent REGISTERED MAIL to Reykjavik, and with a 29 May Reykjavik receiving postmark on reverse. The cover bears a typical generic blue-formular "R" registry label with black handstamped "VATNAJÖKULL" name and numbered 47. I believe that this is one of only two registered cover from this expedition that I have had -- they must be extremely scarce with the registry label. The black handstamp "VATNAJÖKULL" was additionally applied directly on the cover -- the only such example I have had. Contemporary scientific articles about the expedition state that they members reached the main camp (where the "post office" was) on 19 May -- however, I am not aware of any postmarks earlier than this 22 May example; this may be a "first day" use. The bridge postmark handbook indicates that this postmark was used 1936-1938. The "post office" was operated by the expedition members and the postmark was used only during the short expeditions (summers only); the 1937 and 1938 expeditions were shorter with far fewer members. I do not recall ever seeing an example of the postmark used in 1937 or 1938. A wonderful and rare example; one of only four -- and one of only two registered -- expedition covers I have had in 44 years.
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325.00

239079
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1936 VATNAJØKULL Swedish-Icelandic Glacier Expedition official cacheted cover dated 1 June 1936, bearing the complete set of four 1935 Matthias Jochumsson stamps (Scott #195-8), sent REGISTERED MAIL to Stockholm, and with a 21 June Reykjavik transit postmark on reverse, and an arrival notation of "Avis 30/6" presumably applied by the recipient. The cover bears a typical generic blue-formular "R" registry label with black handstamped "VATNAJÖKULL" name and numbered 105. I believe that this is one of only two registered covers from this expedition that I have had -- they must be extremely scarce with the registry label. The reverse shows what appears to the be name/signature of Sigurdur Þorarinsson (Thorarinsson), one of the Icelandic expedition members. The bridge postmark handbook indicates that this postmark was used 1936-1938. The "post office" was operated by the expedition members and the postmark was used only during the short expeditions (summers only); the 1937 and 1938 expeditions were shorter with far fewer members. I do not recall ever seeing an example of the postmark used in 1937 or 1938. A wonderful and rare example; one of only four -- and one of only two registered -- expedition 1936 covers I have had in 44 years.
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400.00

239080
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1936 VATNAJØKULL Swedish-Icelandic Glacier Expedition official cacheted cover dated 14 June 1936, bearing a 4-block of the 5 aur 1935 Matthias Jochumsson issue (Scott #196), to Reykjavik. Vertical fold in center of cover; not obvious, well away from the stamps, cancels, and cachet. The bridge postmark handbook indicates that this postmark was used 1936-1938. The "post office" was operated by the expedition members and the postmark was used only during the short expeditions (summers only); the 1937 and 1938 expeditions were shorter with far fewer members. I do not recall ever seeing an example of the postmark used in 1937 or 1938. A wonderful example; one of only four expedition covers I have had in 44 years.
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325.00

235874
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1959 Vatnajökull Expedition official cacheted NUMBERED cover, bearing Scott #302-4, 26 May, registered to the U.S., with Icelandic and U.S. backstamps. With official insert card. Minor delivery mark erasure on front, but very nice example.
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235876
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1959 Vatnajökull Expedition official cacheted UNNUMBERED cover, bearing Scott #302-4, 8 June, registered within Iceland. With official insert card. Envelope a little aged.
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235878
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1960 Vatnajökull Expedition official cacheted NUMBERED cover, bearing Scott #309-10, 7 June, within Iceland, with Reykjavik backstamp. Very fresh.
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235879
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1960 Vatnajökull Expedition, on private (business) envelope, bearing Scott #303, 7 June, within Iceland, with Reykjavik backstamp. Very fresh. Though certainly philatelic, one of only two "commercial looking" covers I have seen in 38 years from any of the expeditions.
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235880
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1960 Vatnajökull Expedition, on private (business) envelope, bearing Scott #304 and C29, 7 June, registered within Iceland, with Reykjavik backstamp. Very fresh. Though certainly philatelic, one of only two "commercial looking" covers I have seen in 38 years from any of the expeditions.
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235881
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1960 Vatnajökull Expedition, on private envelope, bearing Scott #324 (damaged) and C29 (used sells for $8.50), 7 June, registered WITH LABEL #1!!! within Iceland, with Reykjavik and Hafnarfjördur backstamps. Unsealed registered printed matter ("Prent."). Though certainly philatelic, one of only a few non-cacheted covers I have seen in 38 years from any of the expeditions. Address has been erased, but very unusual with registry label #1 (I am not sure how the numbering worked).
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235882
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1961 Vatnajökull Expedition official cacheted NUMBERED cover, bearing Scott #C30-1, 12 June, registered within Iceland, with Reykjavik and ASGARDUR-GARD (postmark only in use 1958-1968) backstamps. Very fresh.
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Vatnajokull Glacier Expedition Covers continued ...   Shopping Cart: Review or Check Out   Top 
Item #
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US$
235884
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1961 Vatnajökull Expedition, on 17 June FIRST DAY COVER for Scott #335-7, using "F.F.I." cacheted cover, registered within Iceland, with Reykjavik backstamp. Very fresh.
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235885
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1962 Vatnajökull Expedition official cacheted NUMBERED cover, bearing Scott #325-6, 3 June, unaddressed. With official insert card. Superb.
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235889
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1963 Vatnajökull Expedition official cacheted UNNUMBERED cover, bearing Scott #329, C29 (sells for $8.50 used), 5 June, unaddressed. Superb.
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235887
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1963 Vatnajökull Expedition official cacheted NUMBERED cover, bearing Scott #332, 5 June, With official insert card.
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235890
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1963 Vatnajökull Expedition official insert card, bearing Scott #332, 5 June. Very faint water mark at bottom edge, but scarce.
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10.00

235891
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1963 Vatnajökull Expedition official insert card, bearing Scott #C29 (sells for $8.50), 5 June. The #C29 pictures part of the glacier.
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16.00

235892
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1963 Vatnajökull Expedition privately made MAXIMUM CARD, canceled 5 June, bearing Scott #C29 (sells for $8.50) which pictures part of the glacier. This is the only #C29 maximum card I have seen in 38 years.
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235893
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1964 Vatnajökull Expedition souvenir envelope with various stamps. Year-dated NON-postal expedition handstamp, signed on 26 May by an expedition member (I cannot read the signature). (1964 postal items are very scarce; I have only ever had one or two in 38 years.)
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235894
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1964 Vatnajökull Expedition official insert card without stamps. Year-dated NON-postal expedition handstamp, signed on 26 May by an expedition member (Magnus Johannsen?). (1964 postal items are very scarce; I have only ever had one or two in 38 years.)
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235895
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1965 Vatnajökull Expedition official insert card without stamps. NON-year-dated NON-postal expedition handstamp (year handwritten, probably the handstamp used in 1964 with the year carved out), signed on 4 June by an expedition member (Magnus Johannsen?). This is the only 1965 expedition related item I have had of any sort, in 38 years.
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