Three shorthand postcards, written in Swedish, Volapük and German, wait to be solved. Can you decipher any of these?
Two years ago, I blogged about a postcard written in shorthand and sent to a woman living in Gageville, Ohio, in 1887.
I had found this postcard in the discussion forum of the stamp collector’s website Stamp Community. Blog reader Thomas Bosbach, who is known to readers of this blog as an excellent codebreaker, deciphered this cryptogram within a few hours. Subsequently, I posted the cleartext in the Stamp Community discussion forum. Two of the forum users published a thank you note.
For two years, nothing more happened in the forum thread. Yesterday, however, a forum user published two more shorthand postcards in in it. At about the same time, blog reader André Feller made me aware of another shorthand postcard, which is currently sold on a French collector’s platform.
Although I know that most of my readers are more interested in encrypted messages than in shorthand messages (after all, this is a crypto blog, not a shorthand blog), I decided to publish all three cards in today’s blog post. Here they are …
A card sent to Uppsala
Uppsala, Sweden, is an important place on the crypto history map. After all, the 2018 issue of the HistoCrypt conference took place there. 128 years earlier, the following postcard was sent to a woman living in Uppsala:
The message on the rear-side is written in shorthand:
A card sent to Hanover
The following postcard is written in Volapük (a constructed language, which was quite popular in the late 19th century):
The message on the rear-side is written in shorthand (I don’t know if the cleartext is German or Volapük)
A card sent to Berlin
And here, finally, here is the postcard detected by André Feller on a French website:
Can a reader decipher any of these postcards? If so, please leave a comment.
Further reading: Unsolved: A strange encrypted postcard from Newton, Iowa