In November 1899, the post office in Jaluit placed an order for 2,000 each of the 3 Pf (MiNr. 1 I) and 5 Pf (MiNr. 3 I) Marschall-Inseln overprints. These stamps were prepared for shipment from Berlin on 12-13 February 1900, and arrived in Jaluit in April 1900.
Prior to the arrival of these stamps, however, the Jaluit post office ran out of 5 Pf stamps. To remedy the shortage, 10 Pf stamps were bisected for use as 5 Pf provisionals. It’s estimated that no more than 100 stamps were bisected in this manner.
Legitimate uses are on postcard or wrapper, not on cover. Cancels exist with dates from February to May 1900.
The copy shown above is one of only two known registered postcards with this usage. The other is Jaluit Registered #292.
This postcard was written by Robert von Blumenthal, and was addressed to his 14-year-old brother, Wolf-Werner. The von Blumenthal's were a prominent German family that lived at the Schloß Staffelde outside Tantow, Germany. It reads:
I don't know exactly if you are still collecting, so I'm sending you a card with a bright stamp. If you don't collect them, give them to Albrecht. — Bob
Albrecht, Bob and Wolf-Werner's younger brother, was 11-years-old at the time.
As a subaltern, Robert gambled away his inheritance in the officer's mess. As a result, his father paid his debts, but disinherited him from the family estates and sent him to the South Seas to earn a living. Robert ended up buying plantations in German New Guinea, but these were expropriated by the Allies after WWI.
At the outbreak of WWI, he was one of only three German officers in the colony. He fought against the Australians sent to take German New Guinea, and was awarded the Iron Cross for his actions during the Battle of Bita Paka. He was taken prisoner, and returned to Germany upon being repatriated at the end of the war.
Wolf-Werner led the family through World War II, and his descendants still live at Schloß Staffelde. Albrecht and his immediate family committed suicide in 1945 to avoid capture by the Allies.