Your card has been cancelled. “Seattle WA 980” in the upper area is part of the cancellation. Either there was a mistake and the advertisement area was accidentally switched off in the machine software, or a second piece of mail got in the way and “stole” the energy awareness month part of the cancellation. I’ve seen that happen sometimes in Germany as well.
Ask your questions (in a private message, then best in German, if they don’t fit to this topic), and I’ll try to answer if I have the knowledge. I workin pharmaceutical research (new medication development), but I’m an avid philatelist specialized on postal automation, so I pick up some stuff from discussing issues and new developments with postal officials and other collectors.
Yes, that’s a rolling hand stamp (good for an infinite cancellation). The German worrd for it conveys that nicely: Handrollstempel (we Germans like long words )
We have that issue in Germany as well with commemorative cancellations. When the new philatelic counters were opened in 27 largeer cites across Germany (I think in the late 1990s), each got a rectangular special cancellation with a landmark from the city. Deutsche Post is too grasping to replace them, and they’re almost unusable now (you might be lucky with a thin empty envelope - on postcards you only get the outside rectangle).
Mechanical cancelling machines have been used at least as far back as the 1890s in (then imperial) Germany, and in the USA at least in the 1900s or 1910s. In these times, large cities had up to 4 post deliveries to your mailbox daily, making mail similar in use as the SMS was on early mobile phones.
It’s not necessarily indicisiveness, it might also be process improvement, or every time a new person gets in charge of postmarks, she/he wants to make a change to leave a footprint (just like I’ve seen it in so many other companies).
Foreign stamps should not be cancelled in German Briefzentrums. As the Netherlands use a different type of fluorescent paper, the cancelling machine should note there’s no valid stamp and put it into the error box, but I have the impression that this control mechanism is often switched off, so the clerks have less work with the mail the machne thinks may be wrong…
There are three possibilities how a Dutch stamp got into a German cancellation machine:
- The Dutch card was put into a German postbox
- Incoming mail was accidentally put into the cancellation machine (I have Germany-internal mail cancelled in both the sending and receiving Briefzentrum, so this type of mistake does sometimes happen)
- Netherlands Post cooperates with private postal services companies in Germany for mail delivery (I have received some Dutch mail with MailWorX sorting barcodes and other with regular German Post sorting barcodes). Mail to places these cooperation partners don’t cover, or is too expensive to send someone to, are handed over to German Post at a discounted price and go through the full mail cancellation and sorting process in the Briefzentrum. Normally the private mail franking is labelled over with a German Post meter stamp, but since it was a Dutch card, this may not have been done.