Postcard-Newcastle-bar

In 1909, an unmarried woman in Newcastle, Australia, received an encrypted postcard. Can a reader decipher it?

Over the last five years, I have introduced quite a few encrypted postcards on this blog. Here’s another one:

Postcard-Newcastle-pic

I found this postcard on the website of US professor Nicholas Gessler. In my view, it’s an especially beautiful one. Here’s the text side:

Postcard-Newcastle-tex

As can be seen, the recipient was a Miss E. Bennett, living in Merewether, a suburb of Newcastle, Australia. The card is dated December 12, 1909 (this means that the message might contain a New Year’s greeting). I can’t read the date on the stamp. N.S.W. stands for the Australian state of New South Wales.

The title “Miss” indicates that the recipient was an unmarried woman. This means that this post card, like most others I have seen so far, was probably written by a young man to his spouse.

The cipher the sender used is probably a mono-alphabetical substitution cipher (MASC). Tom Juzek, whose work about the Zodiac Killer I introduced in my last post, uses the expression “one-to-one cipher”, which distinguishes this kind of encryption from “one-to-many” ciphers, i.e., homophonic ciphers.

The MASC used here looks similar to a few I introduced over the last few years:

Postcard-1874 Grace-Gull-Diary-bar Postcard-Schroedel-Mai-bar

The message on the Newcastle postcard consists of only 33 letters. Nevertheless, it should be possible to break this encryption. Can a reader do it?


Further reading: Who can decipher this encrypted postcard from Wisconsin?

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Kommentare (6)

  1. #1 Norbert
    5. Mai 2018

    BEST WIS-
    HES FOR
    “A HAPPY
    NEW YEAR”
    JACK
    M. A. S.

    (flag semaphore – Winkeralphabet)

  2. #2 Christian Meier
    Switzerland
    5. Mai 2018

    Die Art der Zeichnung, scheinbar vom immer gleichen Zentrum ausgehend, erinnert an Uhrzeiger. Könnte das ein möglicher Ansatz sein?

  3. #3 Thomas
    5. Mai 2018

    Congratulations, Norbert!

  4. #4 Klaus Schmeh
    6. Mai 2018

    @Norbert:
    Thank you, great job! The flag alphabet fits very well with the seaman motive.

  5. #5 OK
    6. Mai 2018

    Den Klartext kann man sich hier zusammenklicken:

    http://kryptografie.de/kryptografie/chiffre/winker-alphabet.htm

    BEST WIS
    HES FOR
    A HAPPY
    NEW YEAR
    JACK
    MAS

  6. #6 Gert Brantner
    Berlin
    6. Mai 2018

    So, what does M.A.S. stand for? Fittinlgy, could be “Maritime Assistance Services”, but who knows.