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|"Vremennoe" Imperial Russia's temporary...|
|1921 R.S.F.S.R. definitives by...|
|Imperial postage stamps of Russia...|
|Is it real or a fantasy by George...|
|Estonian army threatening Petrograd...|
|The history of the postal service...|
|The "Moscow 50 postal station"...|
|Fantasy or actuality by D. Kuznetsov,...|
|Bodune - a new office in China?...|
|Recent additions to the Rossica...|
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Table of Contents
Officers and representatives of the society
Life of the society by Gordon Torrey
Obituary: Rimma Alexis Sklarevski
"Vremennoe" Imperial Russia's temporary post offices by David Skipton
1921 R.S.F.S.R. definitives by K. Berngard, translated by R. L. Trbovich
Imperial postage stamps of Russia placed into postal circulation after the revolution by V. V. Lobachevski, translated by G. V. Shalimoff
Is it real or a fantasy by George V. Shalimoff
Estonian army threatening Petrograd in 1919 by August Leppa
The history of the postal service in the Grand Duchy and Republic of Finland by Luciano Buzzetti
The "Moscow 50 postal station" marking by George V. Shalimoff
Fantasy or actuality by D. Kuznetsov, translated by David Skipton
Bodune - a new office in China? by George V. Shalimoff for Vsevolod Popov
Recent additions to the Rossica library
THE JOURNAL ISSN0003M63
"WIPA" 1933 BRONZE MEDAL "PRAGA" 1962 SILVER MEDAL
"PRAGA" 1936 BRONZE MEDAL "MELUSINA" 1963 SILVER MEDAL
"OSTRAPA" 1936 SILVER MEDAL "PHILATEC" 1964 SILVER MEDAL
"ZEFIB" 1937 SILVER MEDAL "WIPA" 1965 SILVER MEDAL
"BEPHILA" 1957 SILVER MEDAL "SIPEX" 1966 SILVER MEDAL
"EFICON" 1958 SILVER MEDAL "PRAGA" 168 SILVER MEDAL
"TEMEX" 1958 SILVER MEDAL "APS-68" 1968 SILVER MEDAL
"INTERPOSTA" 1969 SILVER MEDAL "EFIMEX" 1968 SILVER CERTIFICATE
"SICILIA" 1969 SILVER MEDAL "SOFIA-69" 1969 SILVER CERTIFICATE
"BARCELONA" 1960 SILVER MEDAL "BUDAPEST-71" 1971 -SILVER CERTIFICATE
"UNIPEX" 1960 SILVER MEDAL "CHICAGO-APS" 1974 GOLD MEDAL
"POLSKA" 1960 SILVER MEDAL "CAPEX-78" 1978 LARGE SILVER MEDAL
"WIPA" 1981 SILVER MEDAL
No 100/101 1981
THE JOURNAL OF THE
ROSSICA SOCIETY OF RUSSIAN PHILATELY
VOLUME 100/101 1981
EDITORIAL BOARD: Gordon Torrey, Norman Epstein, David Skipton, M. E. Wilson
MANAGING EDITOR AND PUBLISHER: Kennedy L. Wilson
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Life of the Society, Gordon Torrey...................................... 3
Obituary: Rimma Alexis Sklarevski ..................................... 4
"Vremennoe" Imperial Russia's Temporary Post Offices, David Skipton ...... 7
1921 R.S.F.S.R. Definitives, K. Berngard
Translated by R. L. Trbovich ........................................ 36
Imperial Postage Stamps of Russia Placed into Postal Circulation after
the Revolution, V. V. Lobachevski
Translated by G. V. Shalimoff ........................................ 47
Is It Real or a Fantasy, George V. Shalimoff .......................... 93
Estonian Army Threatening Petrograd in 1919, August Leppa ............... 94
The History of the Postal Service in the Grand Duchy and Republic
of Finland, Luciano Buzzetti ....................................... 103
The 'Moscow 50 Postal Station" Marking, George V. Shalimoff ............ 116
Fantasy or Actuality, by D. Kuznetsov
Translated by David Skipton ......................................... 118
Bodune A New Office in China?
George V. Shalimoff for Vsevolod Popov .............................. 120
Member-to-Member Adlets ........................................ 121
Recent Additions to the Rossica Library .............................. 123
Rossica Bookshelf ................................................... 126
OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY
PRESIDENT: Gordon H. Torrey, 5118 Duvall Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20016
VICE PRESIDENT: Constantine de Stackelberg, 1673 Columbia Road, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
SECRETARY: Kennedy L. Wilson, 7415 Venice Street, Falls Church, Virginia 22043
TREASURER: Norman Epstein, 33 Crooke Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11226
LIBRARIAN: David M. Skipton, 6212 Breezewood Court, Apt. 202, Greenbelt,
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Samuel Robbins, 3565 Meier Street, Los Angeles, California 90066
Boris Shishkin, 3523 Edmunds Road, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007
Lester Glass, 1553 So. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90035
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE SOCIETY
G. B. SALISBURY CHAPTER: Norman Epstein, 33 Crooke Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11226
WASHINGTON-BALTIMDRE CHAPTER: Boris Shishkin, 3523 Edmunds Road, N.W., D.C
ARTHUR B. SHIELDS CHAPTER: Samuel Robbins, 3563 Meier Street, L. A., CA 90066
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA CHAPTER: George V. Shalimoff, 20 Westgate Drive
San Francisco, California 94127
GREAT BRITAIN: John Lloyd, "The Retreat," West Bergholdt,
Colchester, Essex CO6 3HE
Anything in this Journal may be reproduced without permission. However, acknow-
ledgement of the source and a copy of the reprinted matter would be appreciated.
The views in this Journal expressed by the authors are their own and the editors
disclaim all responsibility.
The membership dues are $12.00, due January 1st for all members. Application forms
are available upon request from the secretary or treasurer. Membership lists will
be sent annually. Kindly make all checks payable to:
ROSSICA SOCIETY OF RUSSIAN PHILATELY
c/o Norman Epstein
33 Crooke Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11226 USA
We have a number of back issues of the Journal for sale, both in English and
Russian language editions (some). These may be obtained from Mr. Wilson.
The Rossica Society
LIFE OF THE SOCIETY
by Gordon Torrey
This issue completes Lobachevski's catalog of the "Imperial Postage Stamps of
Russia." It is likely that some amendations and corrections will follow,
although our translator George Shalimoff has carried out changes as parts
have been published.
Sales of David Skipton's translation of Prigara's "The Russian Post in the
Empire, Turkey, in China and the Post in the Kingdom of Poland" have been very
encouraging, both in the United States and abroad. As mentioned before, Rossica
members are entitled to a $5.00 discount from the regular price of $40.00 plus
$2.00 for postage and insurance. This work has had quite complimentary reviews
in the philatelic press, including The Philatelist published in Great Britain.
Further reviews are expected in other journals. This English version of Prigara
certainly will further the cause of Russian philately and enlighten the general
collecting public with respect to the many ramifications that exist in this
fascinating area of collecting.
With this issue of the Rossica Journal we wish to announce the auction in 1983
of the collection of Russian and related philatelic material belonging to the
late Dr. Charles S. Rand, Rossica member 282. This collection extends over the
entire range of Russian philately, from stampless covers through the Soviet
period; it includes states material and Tannu Touva and Mongolia, as well as
Russian Offices Abroad, stamps and covers. One highlight is a used copy of
Scott Russia No. 134a used, 7 ruble stamp of 1917 imperforate with the center
inverted. Less than a half dozen copies of the variety are known. All members
of the society will receive a copy of the catalog. The sale is scheduled to be
held in New York City.
Congratulations are in order for our member William Shinn who is now United
States Consul General in Leningrad. Bill assumed his post late this summer. He
writes that, so far, he has found three retail stamp outlets there.
On the West Coast our San Francisco colleagues held their fall meeting at
CALPEX '82 on Saturday, October 2nd, according to a notice from Alex Sadovnikov.
We hope there was a good turnout. George Shalimoff had a delightful visit with
Dr. Wortman last May when the doctor stopped over in San Francisco on a trip
The Society's Annual Meeting was held during BALPEX at the Hunt Valley Inn north
of Baltimore over Labor Day weekend (3-5 September). Attendance was a bit off
from last year. A fine program on the Russian inflation period was given by
Thomas Waters, our member from Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Your president was
fortunate enough to win the exhibition's Grand Award with his display of "Imperial
Russian Post Offices Abroad." Needless to say, it was most pleasing that an
exhibit of Russianmaterial was able to garner such an award.
I close with another appeal for articles, short or long. Do not feel that your
possible contribution to the Rossica Journal is too insignificant. There is
interest in every aspect of Russian philately.
RIMMA ALEXIS SKLAREVSKI
Rimma's number 55 was the third from the longest in membership in
Rossica; his length of membership is exceeded only by Alex Kotlar
(Number 4) and Walter Frauenlob (Number 40). I do not know what year
Rimma joined Rossica, but it must have been in the 1930s. Throughout
all of his membership he was very active in the Society, especially
in the publishing of the Rossica Journal. It was he who translated
early numbers from Russian to English and English to Russian when
the Society published Russian and English editions. He assisted
President Gregory Salisbury in many aspects of keeping Rossica going
and providing articles. He died on 16 April 1982.
Although many of us thought that he was Russian-born, actually he
came into this world in 1909 at Vigheux-Hocque in northern France in
a house that had been in his mother's family for generations. His
family moved to Russia a few years before the First World War, where
his father joined the faculty of a music conservatory. During the
Revolution the family left Russia and proceeded across Siberia to
Harbin, Manchuria, and thence on to Shanghai. From here they crossed
the Pacific Ocean to Vancouver, Canada and then traveled to
Baltimore where the senior Sklarevski was appointed to a post as
head of the piano department at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in
1923. Rimma was a graduate of Johns Hopkins University with an
engineering degree. He was on the staff of the Baltimore Water
Department from 1940 to 1978.
His knowledge and interest spanned the entire spectrum of philately,
and he remained a general collector despite his deep interest in
Russia. His knowledge of Russian-related philately was very broad and
backed up by a superb philatelic library. It goes without saying that
his holdings of Russian-related literature, including a complete run
of the Rossica Journal,were the most extensive known to this writer.
Rimma generously allowed fellow enthusiasts to copy many parts of his
library. It also enabled him to write many articles on Russian
philately for the Rossica Journal and other philatelic publications.
Likewise, he was a philatelic judge and consultant. Rimma was a great
help in the translation of Prigara.
He was a quiet man who sat back at times and allowed less knowledge-
able colleagues have their say; he interjected only to add a pertinent
comment drawn from his vast knowledge. At the local meetings he
always brought something of interest to show and explain to those
present. Asked a question, he almost invariably had an answer and,
perhaps, at the next meeting would bring an example of an item ex-
tracted from his voluminous hoard of Russian philatelic items stored
in boxes, drawers, or mounted in albums.
Having known Rimma for over 25 years, this writer remembers a number
of small happenings while in his company. Rimma had "sharp eyes" and
could spot a variety instantly. Once at the American Stamp Dealers
show in New York City he and I walked up to a dealer's table and
asked for "Russia." The dealer had two approval books; I took the
first and Rimma the second. Almost at once he pulled out a "wide 5"
variety of the 5 ruble airmail issue of 1923. I found nothing of
interest. On another occasion Rimma spotted a 3 kopec with "v's"
background (1870) in a society sales book that had been circulating
for a couple of years as the ordinary variety unused.' It was the
writer's salesbook! He was very helpful to neophyte collectors
of Russia and would point out varieties to them that they needed.
At the Washington-Baltimore Rossica meetings, usually held at Boris
Shishkin's home, Rimma always turned up with two delicious cakes
baked by his wife Mary Sue.
During the past several years he had been seriously ailing and had
undergone major surgery. Although in and out of the hospital fre-
quently, he kept up his interest in stamps to the very last.
He is survived by his wife Mary Sue, two daughters, Susan Murr of
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Mary E. Sklarevski of College Park,
Maryland, as well as two brothers. His Russian material is being
held in trust for his grandson, Boris.
1138 J. G. Richard Talbot, Box 73, Station St. Martin, Laval, P. Quebec,
H7G 3N6 Canada
1139 Cameron Morgan, 13482 Pasadena Street, Suite 47, Tustin, California 92680
1140 Lawrence R. Groelinger, 700 Trail Ave., Frederick, Maryland 21701
1141 Melvin E. Henry, P.O. Box 267, Ontario, Oregon 97914
1142 Roland V.Layton, Jr., Box 72, Hiram, Ohio 44234
1143 James E. Goodwin, 734 Brentwood Court, Los Altos, California 94022
1144 Marion J. Dudek, 1805 Via Arriba, Palos Verdes Estates, California 90274
1145 Paul T. Jung, 2809 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
1146 A. W. Ronald Hughes, 4 Clos. Y. Drindod, Buarth Road, Aberystwyth,
Dyfed, Wales, Great Britain SY23 1LR
1147 Nancy L. Fultz, Box 157, Hazlewood, Missouri 63042
(continued p. 128)
One of the privileges of membership in the Rossica Society is one free experti-
zation per membership year. Policy on these free expertizations is as follows:
1. Only one free expertization per membership year.
2. The privilege must be used during the membership year--it cannot
be accumulated. The service was begun in the 1978 membership year,
and prior membership in the Society has no bearing.
3. The item must be submitted on the official expertization form
available from Norman Epstein.
4. Return postage must be included.
5. Only one item per expertization form.
Anyone wishing to avail himself of this service merely has to write our Treasurer
and Chairman of the Expertization Committee, Norman Epstein, at 33 Crooke Avenue,
Brooklyn, New York 11226, enclosing a legal size 4 1/4 x 9 1/2" stamped envelope
for an expertization form. When submitting material for free expertization, the
owner must provide return postage for his material. Items submitted will be
expertized by Rossica members specializing in the various aspects of Russian
For the most recent issues of the Rossica Journal, several members have complained
that they did not receive their Journals. In order to improve this situation, we
ordered new, hardier mailing envelopes and had them printed with a return address
and guarantee of return postage. The U.S. Postal Service will neither forward nor
return undeliverable copies of our Journal unless forwarding or return postage
has been guaranteed.
As it turns out in the case of previous Journal issues, some members who com-
plained of not receiving Journals had new addresses and had not so notified
Rossica. In order to improve this situation as well, if in the future your
Journal is returned to Rossica because you changed address and failed to notify
us, you will have to pay an additional $2.50 for postage and handling to get
your Journal remained. We will continue to make every effort to keep our mailing
list up-to-date, but it is the member's responsibility to keep Rossica informed
of his correct, current address.
Volume 98/99 of the Rossica Journal for the following members was returned by
the Postal Service as not deliverable with the last address we have. Any members
knowing their whereabouts, please notify the Secretary. If your name is on the
list, please send the Secretary your new address and include $2.50 if you wish
a copy of Volume 98/99 remained to you.
# 631 Merlynd Nestell, 508 B-2 Cora Street, Arlington, Texas 76011
#1024 Joseph D. Hahn, 812 W. Fairmont Avenue, State College, Pennsylvania 16801
#1043 Nancy Joe Weeks, 124 Wentworth Street #4, Charleston, So. Carolina 29401
#1048 Michael A. Gottschall, 4085-4 Edgebrook Dr., Andrews AFB, Maryland 20335
#1070 Tertius De Wet, 5 Beadlestreet Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
IMPERIAL RUSSIA'S TEMPORARY POST OFFICES
by Dave Skipton
One of the more pleasant occurrences in traversing the field of Russian
philately is to stub one's toe on a rare cancellation, something with which
the Imperial field is liberally strewn. The article and the list which follows
are provided in the hope that they will improve the odds of recognizing just
such a gem when it extrudes underfoot. This diamond-in-the-rough is the
temporary post office cancel. Applied by a variety of localities for short
periods of time, while the offices themselves were open only fleetingly,
their use stretches back to at least the early 1800s.
There are essentially three categories of these "tempo's":
1. Cancellers issued for a specific event occurring only once. These were,
with one known exception, exclusively for exhibitions (Bomaexu). They
are also called "special" cancellations.
2. Those provided to localities which entertained an influx of people for
a few weeks or months each year for a number of years. Such places
a. The Nizhnii Novgorod Fair
b. Military camps and artillery ranges
c. Summer resorts
d. Health spas
e. Suburban concentrations of dachas. These often had temporary
city post branch offices serving them.
g. Hunting lodges
(With the exception of "a", not every such place had a temporary office.
Some places were also combinations of resorts and spas, parks and
3. Cancellers issued to some ships on the White Sea, the Lena and the
Pechora Rivers, and mobile post offices other than railroad mailcars.
These vessels operated during the short summer season when ice did not
prevent navigation and, although they "repeat" like those of the second
category, they differ in that their activity was governed solely by the
weather and not a sudden, predictable surge of people. Most of the
inhabitants served by them were always there, all year long.
These categories will be addressed individually, with illustrations of each.
Category 1. The exhibition cancels, obviously, are by far the most elusive, as
they saw duty for no more than a few weeks, after which their usefulness ended
and they were seen no more. The earliest for which we have any postmarks
recorded is the 1872 Moscow Polytechnical Exhibition (May 30 ?), held in
conjunction with the 200th anniversary celebration of Peter I's birth. Kurt
Adler penned a short article on this event and its postmark in 1962.
"I believe that the first Russian special cancellation was born during
the Moscow Polytechnical exhibition of 1872. This exhibition according
to old and new Russian encyclopedias, was organized by a group of
friends of the natural sciences, anthropology (and) ethnography with
the financial backing of officials and private sources, mostly business-
men who were interested in advertising their products and manufactured
goods. The idea behind this exhibition was to turn it into an all-year-
round show. This goal was reached when a special polytechnical museum
was built and opened on the 200th anniversary date of Peter the Great's
birth [sic Peter I was born on 30 May 1672 DMS] and was held in the
Moscow Manege and the Alexander Gardens adjoining the Kremlin walls.
The museum was opened to the public in 1877."1
Adler provided a hand-sketched reproduction of the cancel, but Figure 1 is a
photograph of it, apparently the same one that Adler was describing. It is an
L-shaped piece bearing a 5-kopek and a 20-kopek stamp and a black cancellation
in the lower corner, with a duplicate strike in blue-green in the upper right
corner. The inscription reads "*Moscow* Postal Branch Office of the Poly-
technical Exhibition", with a date of 12 August 1872. (Figure 2)
In an article byYa. Vovin in "Flateliya SSSR", another photo of what apparently
is a "proof" canceller is shown, this one lacking a date. (Figure 3) An
impression of this dateless handstamp is preserved in the A. S. Popov Central
Museum of Communications, and it lus the one described above are the only ones
that have been recorded to date.
There were six other exhibitions and one conference at which we know temporary
post offices were opened.
1. The French Exhibition in Moscow, 1881. A 26 mm-diameter cancel reading
"*Moscow* Postal Branch Office at the French Exhibition" and dated
5-VIII-1881 is shown in Figure 4.3 Adler took exception to the 1881 date
given by Bochmann, saying that it actually happened in 1891,but the cancel
supports Bochmann's version.4
Figure 3 Figure 4
2. The Nizhnii Novgorod Exhibition of 1896. Figure 5 appeared in BJRP #50
along with a short description by R. L. Joseph. It reads "3 N. Nov-
gorod Exhibition 3 / Post-and-Telegraph Branch Office", 17-X-1896.
According to Mr. Joseph, an all-Russian industrial art exhibition was
held there, but its opening and closing dates were not given. October
17th should take honors for the "tempo" with the latest date in the
season! With a serial number of 3, there should be at least two other
cancels still at large--serials 1 and 2.5
0 AB-. -A
Figure 6 Figure 7
3. The 12th International Conference of Doctors, 1897. Kurt Adler provided
a xerox of the only recorded cancel from this event, the text of which
was "* bMscow Temporary Branch Office XII International Conference of
Doctors", dated 8 August 1897. It would seem that this conference should
have gone on for at least a week or so.
As the reproduction was very dark and difficult to make out, a hand-
drawn version is presented in Figure 6. .
4. The Riga Jubilee Exhibition of 1901, held to commemorate the 700th
anniversary of the city's founding. Its cancel is 28 mm in diameter
and reads "Riga Exhibitiqn/ 1 Temporary Post-and-Telegraph Office 1",
10-VIII-1901. (Figure 7) Another example was recorded by Boris Pritt
in 1965. This one was dated 1-IX-19018, so thus far the temporary
office's dates of operation are from at least 10 August to 1 September
5. The Ekaterinoslav Oblast' Exhibition of 1910. Held from 1 July to
23 September of that year, the post office didn't open until 25 July.
Its cancel reads "Ekaterinoslav-Exhibition", Serial "A". 25-6-10.
(Figure 8) According to Forafontov, "A special envelope for sending
invitation cards was issued at the exhibition's opening. Ekaterinoslav's
city coat-of-arms is displayed in the upper left corner with the following
inscription below: 'From the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the
South-Rissian Oblast' Agricultural, Industrial and Handicraft Exhibition,
organized by the Ekaterinoslav Provincial Zemstvo from 1 July through
25 September in the city of Ekaterinoslav."'9
'I / ; i y
6. The Odessa Exhibition of 1910?-1911. Forafontov quotes Post-and Telegraph
Journal #18 of 1910: "A temporary post-and-telegraph branch office has
been opened on the grounds of the Factory-and-Works, Art and Agricultural
Exhibition to accept domestic and international telegraphs in Odessa.
The exhibition establishment is called 'The Odessa-Exhibition'" It
supposedly ran from 15 May to 10 October of that year. At the time
Forafontov wrote his article, however, no cancellation had been recorded.
Since then a number of covers have come to light that appear to contra-
dict the 1910 journal. Dr. A. H. Wortman wrote that he had purchased
the Tereshchenko correspondence of about 7 covers somewhere around the
early 1950s. Two of them had the exhibition handstamp applied as an
arrival marking, but the rest had been posted from Odessa with it used
as cancellers. One was registered and dated 27 July 1911, serial "A".10
Presumably the covers in Figures 9 and 10 are from this correspondence,
as well as the one described by Sam Robbins in Rossica Journal #7911,
dated 10-8-11, serial "A".
The postcard in Figure 9 was mailed from the llth city branch office in
St. Petersburg on 22 June 1911 and reached Odessa three days later,
where it received the machine arrival marking in the Odessa Pochtamt.
From there is was forwarded to the exhibition P.O. for delivery to
Nikolai Mikhailovich Tereshchenko, and it picked up an arrival marking
exactly like the cancellation pictured in Figure 10. This envelope,
sent from the exhibition to "Narusya" at a Mr 2Markov's estate in Finland,
appeared in the March 1971 issue of the BJRP.12 This leaves us with at
least seven covers recorded from the Odessa exhibition, all of them
from 1911, all with serial "A". Unfortunately, there is no mention in
the 1911 postal guide of any temporary office there, so for the time
being the philatelic evidence for the exhibition's existence in 1910
is lacking. Perhaps the contradiction can be explained if the 1910
journal erred in calling it a "post-and telegraph office", intending
instead a "telegraph office" only--the rest of the quotation above
would seem to bear this out. If indeed a temporary post office existed
in 1910 and a 1910 cancellation is found, it would disqualify the
Odessa exhibition from inclusion among the ranks of "one-time-only"
7. The Kostroma Exhibition of 1913. This provincial zemstvo affair was
held from 19 May through 1 September, and its temporary P.O. used the
"Kostroma-Exhibition" cancel shown in Figure 11, serial "A".13
An exhibition for which not a cancel but a cachet has been recorded is that of
Lubin in 1901. The postcard in Figure 12 bears a common Lubin post-and-
telegraph cancellation (serial "4", 17-VI-1901) and a very uncommon violet, 14
rectangular 3-line cachet at the left which reads "Lyublin/Exhibition/1901'.
Perhaps someday a cancellation from this event will poke up its head, so
Category 2. When crowds of people descended on an area not normally served by a
regular postal establishment, officials and postal workers were sent from the
nearest regular post office (usually the provincial pochtamt) to staff the
temporary office. By far the largest and most famous recurring event of this
nature was the Nizhnii Novgorod Fair, or 'piapca" from the German "jahrmarkt",
held every year for eight weeks in the summer. It has been a popular theme
BCEMIPHLIi IIO'OTO3 OCCII.
UNION POSTAL UN ELL SIE.
OTPhLITOE iII1ICLMOJ f a4 1?IV 'TAL
^loe/IMH^ "~-------------rm J w ^ -
*.. L. ..9....
Ha 3TOii cTopo0fI, nu1H CTCHc To:ibno aApec. Cote reserve exclusivement & F'adresse.
for philatelic writers due to the scarcity of its postmarks, and the fascination
of its history and existence has caused many a traveler to write of it. One of
the most eloquent was George Kennan, who first saw it in 1868: "...the fair
is itself a separate and independent city, and a city that during nine months
of every year stands empty and deserted... The fair city of Nizhnii Novgorod
is situated on a low peninsula between the Rivers Oka and Volga, just above
their junction... The Russian city, however...is a mere temporary market--a
huge commercial caravansarai where 500,000 traders assemble every year to buy
and sell commodities. In September it has frequently a population of more than
100,000 souls and contains merchandise valued at $75,000,000; while in
January, February or March all of its inhabitants might be fed and sheltered in
the smallest of hotels, and all of its goods might be put into a single one of
its innumerable shops. Its life, therefore, is a sort of intermittent commercial
fever, in which an annual paroxysm of intense and unnatural activity is followed
by a long interval of torpor and stagnation."15
The philatelic literature, and indeed many official sources such as postal
guides,give the fair's opening and closing dates as 15 July 25 August, but
this was true only for the wholesale trade. Retail trade continued until 10
Septemberl6, which is borne out by several covers from the 1860s posted from
the fair in September (see below). The fair was held every year from 1817 to
1917, with a brief interruption from 1918 to 1921 while the civil war and
economic chaos ran their course. It resumed in 1922 and limped along until
1929, after which it was closed for good.
The fact that the fair grounds played host to an average of 200,000 people every
year explains much about the relative abundance of fair cancels in relation to
other "tempo's" of that or any other period. A comparison of the postal activi-
ties of the eight temporary offices listed in the 1877 postal statistics will
show this "paroxysm of intense and unnatural activity" in dramatic fashion.
Office: Province: # Of Posts Domestic Mail Rcvd.:
Abas-Tuman Tiflis 45 45 878 0 0
Budaki Bessarabia 52 52 81 4 7
Darachichakh Tiflis 84 84 5577 2 176
Koyanovskaya Perm 622 622 93 1 0
Krestovka Perm 9 9 966 3 124
Poludennaya Pern 391 391 66 1 0
Sergievsk Samara 34 34 2679 12 64
Yarmarochnoe Nizh. Novgorod 0 0 105633 328 8090
Office: Domestic Money & Declared- Declared-Value Periodicals
Value Parcels Sent/Rcvd: Packages S/R: Received:
Abas-Tuman 0 0 0 0 12
Budakai 15 6 1 0 239
Darachichakh 267 195 20 98 3337
Koyanovskaya 0 0 0 0 0
Krestovka 123 68 29 32 146
Poludennaya 0 0 0 0 0
Sergievsk 210 241 35 47 1487
Yarmarochnoe 4662 2206 1402 1150 8755
Office: International Correspondence Postcards:
Letters Sent: Received: Sent: Received:
Abas-Tuman 0 0 0 0
Budaki ? ? ? ?
Darachichakh 2 4 0 0
Koyanovskaya 0 0 0 0
Krestovka 0 0 0 0
Poludennaya 0 0 0 0
Sergievsk 22 8 0 0
Yarmarochnoe 950 910 7 3
Office: Wrapper Mail other than Registered Mail Money & Declared
Periodicals Sent/Rcvd: Sent/Rcvd: Value Parcels S/R:
Abas-Tuman 0 0 0 0 0 0
Budaki ? ? ? ? ? ?
Darachichakh 0 3 0 3 0 1
Koyanovskaya 0 0 0 0 0 0
Krestovka 0 0 0 0 0 0
Poludennaya 0. 0 0 0 0 0
Sergievsk 0 0 0 0 0 0
Yarmarochnoe 48 30 44 13 43 5
Office: Declared-Value Packages Total (Yearly)
Sent: Received: Profit (in Rubles):
Abas-Tuman 0 0 0
Budaki ? ? ?
Darachichakh 0 0 406
Koyanovskaya 0 0 3
Krestovka 0 0 473
Poludennaya 0 0 2
Sergievsk 0 0 402
Yarmarochnoe 155 13 28017
Unfortunately, the 1877 postal statistics do not provide figures for domestic
mail sent from each locality, but in all probability they would roughly
correspond to the number of such items received. The page that has the statis-
tics for Budaki's international mail is missing.18
As would be expected of a yearly event spanning over a century, the fair had more
than its share of cancellation varieties. To try to bring some sort of order
to the chaos of fair-cancel chronology, I have arbitrarily assigned each post-
mark an "NNF" (Nizhnii Novgorod Fair) number with an added digit or letter
denoting the serial. They should not, however, be taken as gospel in their
order--fair cancels are a special breed of philatelic crabgrass, and no doubt
wild varieties will pop up to 'mar" the nice, neatly-manicured vista of this
Perhaps the first fair postmark was the framed, rectangular 3-line cancel that
is found on rare occasion gracing a #1 or #2 10-kopeck stamp of the 1858 issues.
In Figure 13 the entire strike can be seen, reading '" KEOP:PM." on the first
line, "'?OYT:0077a :" on the second and "21 ABEYCTA" on the third (Nizhnii
Novgoro Fair, Postal Branch Office, 21 August). It measures 34 mm x 15 mm
with letters 2.5 mm high. A hand-drawn version is provided in Figure 14 for
better clarity. A noticeable difference between Figures 13 and 13A can be seen
in the spacing between the 'q" and "p" of "'p"'--13 has a wide space, 13A
practically none. Whether this represents two sub-types or merely a lefthand
shift of the 'q" on the same canceller is unknown. This is NNF1.
Mr. Liphschutz has this handstamp on cover dated 20 April (!?) 1858.19 If this
is indeed an April date and not an error for August, which because of the way
the words "April" and "August" decline in genetive case seems likely, then we
have a real mystery on our hands--a postmark dated over two months before the
fair normally opened. With the description of a deserted fairgrounds by Kennan
for that period of the year, it seems strange that the temporary office would
have been open. Since the canceller would have been stored at the main post
office in Niznii Novgorod after the fair closed, perhaps this cover could bear
(Is nothing sacred?) a CTO cancellation, or possibly it was pulled out by error
to cancel the letter at the main post office.
Forafontov's description of this handstamp type appears to indicate a slightly
different text, this one reading 'YEMTOPOC7. JsPAP7E 4/(nI uT.OTJw7 .)/20 MWLq"2U
but as no illustration was provided, this may simply have been an error for the
one shown in Figure 13. If not, it would look something like 14A (enlarged).
Anyone having a clear strike of Forafontov's version please notify the author.
The second fair postmark to happen along was the 30 mm-diameter marking described
by Vovin in Figure 15. Much of the lettering was faint or non-existant in the
original reproduction, so the text has been hand-drawn and is thus only
nH c EroP:.PMAPKA |XA
(noTI OTALr .)
approximate. The inscription shows "Postal Branch Office: Nizhnii Novgorod
Fair" with an apparent date of 28 August 1861. This handstamp (NNF2) was at
first used as a reverse-side postmarrk for franked letters cancelled with the
"30-in-dots" obliterator described below (NNF3), to conform with the regula-
tions then in effect. There is a cover in the Epstein collection bearing
two strikes of NNF2 (both blurred and rather faint) dated 28 July 1864.
NNF2 could have been used as a canceller only two years, 1863-1864, so in
this usage they are even more rare.
Main Postal Administration Order #157 of 17 August 1858 introduced the use of
the number-in-dots cancellations used at postal stations and branch offices.
The fair drew #30 in the truncated hexagon-with-pointed-sides series (Figure 16 -
NNF3. Since the order came out while the 1858 fair was in progress, NNF3
probably didn't appear until 1859, which explains why NNF1 appears on the first
two Russian stamps of 1858. NNF3 is rare onloose stamps and even more so on
cover. Theoretically their usage should be limited to the period from July
1859 to September 1862, or four fairs, because circular #123 of February 1863
ordered the return of all such cancellers to the postal department.21 A "30"
on cover should always be accompanied by NNF2 used as a backstamp.
Figure 16 1
NNF2 was replaced by a canceller reading 'Nizhegorod Yarmarka" with a 3-line
date in the center and a fleuron device at the bottom (Figure 17).22 There
are two varieties of this type. One (NNF4) has the year at the top with the
month and day below, while the other (NNF5) has the more conventional day-
month-year sequence from top to bottom. Prigara lists one from 13 August
186523, and it is certain this canceller lasted up to at least 1871. (Two covers
from the Epstein collection are dated 29 July and 31 July 1871.) The cover in
Figure 18 bears a cancellation date of 1 September (1869), seven days after
the end of the wholesale period. There is also a 4 September cover in the
Epstein collection from the same correspondence--both from the retail trade
Figure 18 Figure 19
Forafontov mentions a canceller subtype that coexisted with NNF4 and NNF5,
"distinguished from the first two by a date inverted relative to the inscription,
and also (with a) wider vignette."z4 Presumably this postmark would have
been in use during the late 1860s--other cancels with inverted dates have been
found from that period, notably St. Petersburg. It is unclear from Forafontov's
article whether the inverted date is the year-month-day or day-month-year
sequence, so for the time being it must be assigned an "NNF4/5X'. The period
of use for NNF4 and 5 should be July 1865 to September 1871, possibly beyond.
A slight modification to the cancellation was made in the 1870s so that it
now reads "Nizhegorodsk. Yarmarka". The date regained in three lines, with
the day and month preceding the year (Figure 19)". This cancel, NNF6, and the
two before it are the most "common" of the fair postmarks--still very scarce,
but certainly not just this side of impossible to find. (The fair started a
steady decline in importance in the last decade qf the century, for the most
part because of the development of the railroadsO. With the advent of rail-
roads in eastern Russia and the Transcaspian area, merchants were given a
means of constant contact with their sources and markets, a fact which rendered
the fair less necessary to them27. Thus, as a general rule, fair postmarks
are quite rare until the middle 1860s., scarce until the 1890s, and very scarce
to rare thereafter.)
After 1881 a thick, murky fog settles in over the chronological progression
of fair cancels, with only brief rays of light ever penetrating it. The
scarcity of material in general makes this fog particularly hard to dissipate,
and it is not until 1906 that it begins to lift. Evidently, the successor to
NNF6 was the can el shown in Figure 20 (NNF7), the only recorded date being
16 August 1890.2 The text reads "3 N. Novgorod (na Yarmarkye) 3/Pocht, Otd."
(Nizhnii Novgorod (at the fair)/postal branch office.) At least two other
serial numbers, 1 and 2, should exist.
'Q16 F 1
It would appear that throughout much of the 1890s there were at least two and
possibly three canceller types in simultaneous use. Circular #13 of 5 March
1890 ordered the change Empire-wide to the cross-date style of postmark repre-
sented by Figure 21 (NNF8), at such time as the old cancellers wore out.29
\7rJ c7I\\ 67
-. ... .. .
Most probably NNF7 with its minimum of 3 cancellers would have worn out or
been replaced before 1899, but its replacement seems to have been NNF9, with
at least 9 serials, in the same style as NNF7 and in contradiction to Circular
#13. NNF8 has not been recorded previously, and its use may have been limited
to registered mail while NNF7 and NNF9 were used for ordinary mail. At least
2 serials of NNF8 must exist, probably more. For the 1890s, then, we are
faced with one canceller which conforms to the instructions in Circular #13
(NNF8), one which should have disappeared within a fair or two of the Circular
(NNF7), and one which shouldn't be as far as the Circular is concerned (NNF9).
This is also the first time that NNF9 has been recorded, so with the rarity
of all three types, the task of establishing a chronology will be with us for
some time to come. (NNF9--Figure 22)
The cross-date style made another appearance in the early 1900s (NNF10), with
at least 12 cancellers in use over a short period of time, probably simulta-
neously. The text reads "12 Nizhnii Novgorod Yaniarka 12/ Pocht. Tel. Otd."30
Like NNF8, it shows that the postal and telegraph offices had been merged at
the Fair. This type, like NNF7-9, is also very hard to come by, in spite
of the numerous serial numbers in use. (NNF10--Figure 23)
12 VIII 12
Figure 23 Figure 24
Main Post-and-Telegraph Administration Circular #9 of 3 February 1903 intro-
duced the use of double-circle postmarks of the types shown in Figures 24-
25.-) The earliest double-circle "Nizhegorodskaya Yarmarka" (NNF11, Figure 24)
recorded is from the 1906 Fair, and it is certain they lasted through the
1913 Fair. A loose Romanov stamp in the Epstein collection is dated 31 July
1913 (serial "''. Other serial letters recorded thus far are ""', "I', "I'Y and
"i1M32, so at least 12 cancellers should exist.
A cancellation recorded by Mr. Freyman of Capetown dated 13-8-05 had the
"Yarmarka" misspelled "Yarmorka", but it is uncertain from the article what
cancel is meant--NNF10 or NNFll. No serial number was available.33
3 H 1mH.-R PMAPH A
S 25 7 13 O rE n ,> l
NNF12, the last of the Fair postmarks, was in use from at least 1909 until
1929, with a 5-year overlap (1909-1913) of NNF11. The text reads "Nizhnii-
Yarmarka" with a serial in the lower right part of the circle, the date in
one line between bars in the middle. It comes in a bewildering variety of
diameters, serial numbers and serial letters. Forafontov knew of the following
Diameter: Serial: New Finds since 1969:
25 mm "S" (arabic) "B" (cursive cyrillic)
27 mm "E"', "1", "28" "H", "Z' (cursive
28.5 mm "C", "2" cyrillic)
The "S" (possibly a reversed cyrillic "G"?), "28" and "2"' are hard to explain
and appear to make little sense so far as the Imperial period is concerned.
No dates are provided by Forafontov for these, so a few of them may be from
the Soviet period, when a considerable variety of cancels appeared. Until
such time as more postmarks in these series turn up, perhaps the less said
Fair cancellations after 1913 are very difficult to locate, at least in the
West, and almost impossible from the Soviet period. In spite of this, from
material I have examined, NNF12 from 1909 to 1913 appears to be as "plentiful"
as that from the late 1860s to 1880s.
S S,> S-5 oo 5 % c o
-'..-.-.- ^. NNFI
IXX X XX. _NNFZ
'X X R-X X X NNF 2
0 -- -- -- NNF-4-
__ __ __ I __I IN8NF 9
-__-._____-_ __-- X NlF _
> RNI F iZ
21^1^2^1 > >1~~[>ll x1 ^ ^121X > 21x>< -_ -_ _1NNF 12x
This "checklist" shows the dates for which the various types of
Nizhnii Novgorod Fair cancels have been recorded. As can be seen
at a glance, there are numerous gaps in the progression, with
almost all of the work waiting to be done clustered into the
The last item from the Fair to be considered is the internal registry handstamp
shown in Figure 26--serials "A" and "B" have been recorded thus far. An
interesting feature of this handstamp is the inscription "P.T. Otdel No. 1" at
the bottom. Although Forafontov gave no dates for its use, without the 'b"
(ye) in "Otdyel" it would appear to be from the post-civil-war period, after
the alphabet had been reformed. It also appears to confirm the existence of
more than one branch office at the Fair (see the temporary offices list at the
end of this article under Nzhnii Novgorod). This is a very rare marking, and
one wonders whether it has a "twin" somewhere for international registry--an
"R" and the text in arabic letters.
The Nizhnii Novgorod Fair had no peer in Russia or anywhere else in the world,
but it is puzzling that no postmarks have been recorded from any of Russ i's
numerous other fairs, of which there were 2,825 at the end7of the 1870s.
The huge majority of these (82%) were small-town bazaars for which tem-
porary post offices would have been quite unnecessary, but some should have
been big enough to warrant special treatment by the postal authorities. The
most likely candidate for a "tempo" would have been the yearly Irbit Fair in
Perm' Province, held from 1 Feb.-l Mar.38 In volume of business it was
perhaps a third that of the Nizhnii Fair, and its importance was undeniable.
"Not withstanding the fact that Irbit is situated outside the chief trading
route between Russia and Siberia, the Irbit Fair has acquired a prominent
position in the Russian trade. It is here that Siberia supplies itself with
cotton and other goods for the year, and this Fair forms the centre for the
chief Siberian goods, such as furs, skins, fish, bristles, horse hair, honey,
wax, butter, hemp seed and linseed, and for Chinese and Asiatic goods, such
as tea, silks, camels hair, et cetera. Many goods are sent here direct from
the Ni hnii-Novgorod Fair, and remain unpacked, in which form they are also
sold." 9 Other important fairs include Khar'kov, Poltava, Romny, Ishym and
Biizk, some of the 47 "second-category fairs" existing in 1889. (Nizhnii
Novgorod was the only first category fair.40)
Assuming that other fairs might have had similar postmarks, given the scarcity
of those from the world's largest fair, perhaps it is not completely incredible
that none have been recorded from the others.
Leaving the fairs behind, we now move on to the "all others" section of
Apart from field post offices run by the military, camps (LTPb/lager') and
artillery ranges 7l70JHOH/poligon) sometimes had temporary civilian post
offices set up. One camp "tempo" for which a postmark is known is Camp
Skobelev,4?r "Skobelevskii Lager'", located in Minsk Province, Novogrudok
District. According to L. Kolosov, the temporary office was converted to
a full-time post-and-telegraph office on 20 September 1913 at the urging of
the 4th Army Corps Commander: "I request that a permanent, year-round post-
and-telegraph branch office be opened at Camp Skobelev beginning in the fall
of this year, because, in addition 'to units of the 40th Infantry Division,
parties of officers and detachments from the 30th Infantry Division will
remain there. 9 August 1913." The place where the temporary office had been
quartered was in terrible condition, and it was not until 1915 that construc-
tion was begun to improve it.
Figure 27 reads "Skobelevskii Lager' Min. (skoe) Vr. (emennoe) P. (ochtovo-)
T. (elegrafhoe) 0. (tdyelenie)", serial "A", dated 9 July 1911. The "tempo"
existed in 1910, as it is listed in the 1911 Postal Guide43, but earlier
guides will have to be unearthed to establish its existence prior to that.
A postcard in the Weinert collection bears this cancellation dated 1 July
1912, serial "A", so probably no other canceller existed for the Camp
Another camp we can list is the one situated close to the provincial capital
of Vil'na--Vil'na Lager'. Although Figure 28 looks like an ordinary cancel
with no indication of its temporary status, it is nevertheless a seasonal
postmark. Both the 1913 and 1916 postal lists mention this camp and its
temporary office (for some reason neither the 1913 nor 1915 Postal
Guides do), and it does not seem likely that the office would bounce back and
forth in status from temporary to permanent and back between 1912 and 1915.
It was certainly active in 1887 as a temporary office--its one mailbox was
emptied twice daily and the office was staffed by 7 officials from the Vil'na
Post Office from 14 May through 1 September.44
Figure 27 Figure 28
The 25 mm-diameter cancel was found on a loose 7-kopeck Romanov stamp, and
probably no other serial letter for this type existed. There should, however,
be other types. A cross-date variety should have been in use before this one,
as well as a cancel with the date in three lines.
There were a number of temporary offices at resorts, dacha areas and spas
throughout European Russia, the Caucasus and even a few in Siberia. One of
these, Pargolovo, was a popular vacation area 15 versts north of St. Petersburg,
strung out among 3 villages--l Pargolovo (where the temporary office was
locatedd45, 2 Pargolovo and 3 Pargolovo--to the east and north of the
Pargolovo lakes. 4aedeker tells us it afforded a fine view of the capital
from its heights. When residents of "Peter" flocked to the area every
summer, the St. Petersburg Pochtamt would send 6 postal workers to staff the
temporary office at 1 Pargolovo armed with cancellers like those shown in
Figures 29-30. This office was called "the 2nd Tempqrary Postal Branch Office"
(Novaya Derevnya's temporary office was the "1st").
The postcard in Figure 29 bears a cancellation reading "1 S. P. B. Pochtama 1/
Pargolov. (skoe) Vr. (emennoe) P. (ochtovoe) 0. (tdyelenie)", dated 22 June
1884. (Parl ,) Imhof lists 3 serial numbers for a slightly different type, all
dpted 1887.4 These differ only in the presence of the double-underlined
"nie" immediately below the right-hand serial number. This type is Par2
(Figure 30) and it givesus a total of 4 recorded postmarks--Parl.l, Par2, 2.2,
and 2.3. It seems likely that the hordes descending on Pargolovo in 1884 would
have been no less numerous that those of 1887, when at least 3 cancellers at
once were required, so there may well be one or two more serial numbers in
the Parl type. At some point the temporary office there was converted into
a permanent one, as there are none on record after 1887 and Pargolovo is listed
as a postal and railroad station in the 1911 Postal Guide.49
Shuvalovo and Lyesnoe were close by Pargolovo, 11 and 6 versts north of St.
Petersburg, respectively. The former was owned by Count Shuvalov and boasted
a beautiful park and a "German colony", while the latter was a park surrounding
the forestry school or "Lyesnoi Korpus".SU Both were highly popular areas
in the summer and for a time two temporary offices were open there. Figure 31
shows the Sulvalov cancel, which reads "2 S.P.B. Pochtama 2/Shulvalovo V.P.
Otdyelenie" (St. Petersburg Main Post Office, Shuvalovo V. P. Otdyelenie"
(St. Petersburg Main Post Office, Shulvalovo Temporary Postal Branch Office.)
Only one cancel from this place has been recorded, dated 17 June 190351. The
cancel shown in Mr. Imhof's work (Figure 31a) was presumably taken from Dr.
Wortman's example (the dates are the same), but unfortunately the two
illustrations do not match. The one given by Dr. Wortman appears to show
"Shuvalovo V.P. Otdyelenie" with the "V." denoting temporary. Mr. Imhof,
on the other hand, shows it as "Shuvalovsk. P. Otdyeenie", which makes no
mention of the Shuvalovo office's temporary status. Does anyone else have
a clear strike to resolve this difference?
Figure 31 Figure 31a
The Lyesnoe Temporary Office was staffed by 6 postal workers from the St.
Petersburg Pochtam3 who used the same style cancel as Par2--'" S.P.B.
Pochtama 2/Lyesnoe VR. P. Otd. Nie), with a date of 26 June 1888. (Figure 32)
The Imhof example was also taken from Dr. Wortman's article, so only this one
cancel has been recorded from Lyesnoe.
The temporary city post-and-telegraph office in Staraya Russia, Novgorod
Province, opened every summer, probably sometime in early May, when large
numbers of people came in to take the waters and enjoy the baths located on
the eastern edge of town, 2 versts from the train station.54 The 1911 Postal
Guide does not mention it, so apparently the office was established after 1910.
Both of the two recorded cancels are from 1915, but they should exist at least
as far back as 1912(the office is noted in the 1913 postal list). Kurt Adler
provided a photo of one dated 18 June 1915, serial ","55, with thick horizon-
tal bars above and below the one-line date. Vovin's example of 19 May 1915,
however, shows no bars (Figure 33)." The inscription "Staraya Russa Novg.
(Orod Province) B / Vr. (Emennoe) Gor. (Odskoe) P. (Ochtovo-) T. (Elegrafnoe)
0. (Tdyelenie)" is the same on both. A serial "A" should exist.
I IIOH. ;;
Figure 32 Figure 33 Figure 34
Only one postmark from the temporary office at Ust' -Narova, Ehstlyand
Province, has been recorded to date (Figure 34). Although Dr. Wortman could
find no such place listed on any map, he presumed it to be at the mouth (Ust')
of the Narova River where it empties into the Gulf of Finland apparently a
holiday resort area on the beach. Ust' Narova had two mailboxes in 1887
that were emptied twice daily, with delivery to addressees once a day57. At
least for that year, the temporary office handled only ordinary and registered
correspondence, and the number of international mail items sent was much less
than that received.58 The cancellation is on a 1-ruble Romanov stamp and
reads "* Ust' Narova Ehstl. B / Vr. P. T. Otd." with a date of 1-8-15.59
Category 3. While there were many sea and fluvial steamship lines that carried
mail in addition to passengers and cargo, only a few were actually listed by
the postal department as having temporary post offices abroad. Why this should
have been so, when most of Russia's rivers and many of her ports froze up in
the winter, thus making navigation a seasonal and therefore "temporary" affair,
is unknown. Technically, any postal steamer forced to suspend operations by
the onset of winter could be considered as temporary in nature, but for what-
ever reason postal authorities assigned temporary offices only to the following:
1. The Arkhangel'sk-Murmansk Express Steamship Company
2. The Northern Steamship Company
3. Subsidized vessels belonging to A. M. Chernykh60 on the Pechora River
4. Vessels (line unspecified) on the Lena River and 3 of its tributaries--
the Aldan, Maya, and Vilyui Rivers
The Arkhangel'sk-Murmansk Express Steamship Company was formed in 1875 and was
granted the right to fly the postal flag in May, 1876.1 It maintained 4
routes on the White Sea designated "Byelomorskoe l-E, 2-E, 3-E, and 4-E", plus
three other lines on the Barents under the headings '"Nurmanskoe l-E, 2-E,
and 3-E". Of this last line, only 2-E and 3-E had temporary P.O's aboard--
Murmanskoe 1-E operated all year long and thus had a permanent P.O.
Even though the company was chartered in 1875, the earliest postmark yet
found from any of these ships is a7 June 1896 "Arkhangel'sk-Murmansk.
Parokhod P. 0." (See Figure 35) transit marking on a postcard from Moscow
to Arkhangel'sk rerouted to Vaida Guba. (A hand-drawn enlargement of the
small (22.5 mm) marking is shown in Figure 35A. The postcard enjoys a secure
home in the Weinert collection.)
Figure 35A Figure 36
While it is not absolutely certain, the "Parokhod P. O." would appear to
indicate that this postmark originated on the "Murmanskoe 1-E" line and is
thus not from a temporary office. All three lines called at Vaida Guba, so
the destination is of no help in identifying which line carried this postcard.
Even so, the fact that there is such a postmark from that period is strong
evidence for the existence of two others, for Mirmanskoe 2-E and 3-E. Cancels
earlier than 1895 should also exist, but they may be of a different format,
because the company's contract with the postal department was renegotiated
in that year.62
These were the routes for all seven lines of the Arkhangel'sk- Murmansk
Murmanskoe 1-E: Murmanskoe 2-E Murmanskoe 3-E:
Vostochnaya Litsa Arkhangel'sk Aleksandrovsk
Kharlovka Aleksandrovsk Pechenga
Rynda Kola Vaida Guba
Gavrilovo Pechenga Finmanskoe
Teriberka Vostochnaya Litsa
Vaida Guba Kharlovka
Vardo Vaida Guba
(Murmanskoe 1-E called at the stops above from 1 October to 1 May. wring
the other 6 months, Arkhangel'sk and Ponoi were added to the route.)0
Byelomorskoe 1-E: Byelomorskoe 2-E: Byelomorskoe 3-E: Byelomorskoe 4-E:
Arkhangel'sk Arkhangel'sk Arkhangel'sk Arkhangel'sk
Onega Kusomen Kem' Onega
Sumskii Posad Unba Keret Sumskii Posad
Kem' Kandalaksha Kandalaksha Kem'
Soroka Kovda Umba Soroka
Shueretskoe Knyasha-Guba Kovda Shueretskoe
Two cancel varieties and 6 sub-types of the temporary Byelomorskoe Steamship
P.O.'s have been recorded thus far, along with one from the Murmanskoe
vessels. Figure 36 shows an enlarged version of the cross-date "1 2-E Vrem.
Parokhod. Byelomorskoe 1 / Pocht. Otd." recorded by Heinrh Hoffman, dated
ll-IX-1906.64 Mr. Baillie also has one dated 26-VI-1904.6 The double-oval
Figure 37 Figure 38
types were introduced sometime around 1909 and used until at least 1915, the
last year for which any cancels have been recorded. Figures 37 and 38 show
the types for the two lines--the only serial letter to appear on
Byelomorskoe or Murmanskoe double oval is "A", although Byelomorskoe line
4 used one without a serial. Figure 37A is a photo of the strike shown in
Figure 37, with a thick star where the serial would normally be.
The total number of recorded cancels is quite small--7, and their distribution
is as follows: 6
1) Circular "1 2-E Vrem. Parokhod. Byelomorskoe 1" 2 copies
(1-E, 3-E and 4-E should exist in this type.)
2) Double-Oval "1-E Byelomorskoe A" 0
3) Double-Oval "2-E Byelomorskoe A" 2
4) Double-Oval "3-E Byelomorskow A" 0
5) Double-Oval "4-E Byelomorskoe *" 1
6) Double-Oval "2-E Murmanskoe A" 2
7) Double-Oval "3-E Murmanskoe A" 0
No temporary post office cancels have been recorded from the Kotlas-Arkhangel'sk,
Pechora or Lena lines.
For the time being, this exhausts the list of recorded temporary P. O. cancels
for all three categories. With the exception of some postmarks from the
Nizhnii Novgorod Fair, all of them range from rare to unique, and it remains
to the collecting fraternity to identify and record the welter of cancels
hinted at by the necessarily incomplete list of 113 such offices appended to
this article. Readers with access to other postal guides, lists and "brief
reviews" are encouraged to check them for tempo's not cited here. Eventually
we may arrive at a complete listing and discover some postmarks that were
heretofore unsuspected--a distinct possibility considering that some of them
give no indication of their temporary status. So, good luck and good stumbling'
I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Howard Weinert and Mr. Norman Epstein
for the kind loan of material from their private collections, and to Dr.
Gordon Torrey for his photographic help. Any errors in the hand-drawn repro-
ductions, other than those of an unsteady hand and lack of perspective, are
The following is a list of temporary postal establishments and their dates of
operation (when available) according to the 1887 review of postal activities,
the 1911 and 1915 Postal Guides and the 1913 and 1916 Postal Lists. The
source (s) from which each office was taken is listed in the far right column,
using: 1=1887, 2=1911, 3=1913, 4=1915, 5=1916
Abbreviations for the "office type" column are:
T-ATO = Temporary Auxiliary Telegraph Office (with some postal operations)
T-CPO = City Post (Branch) Offices
T-EPO = Equipage (a carriage-like vehicle) Post Office
T-PO = Post Office
T-PTO = Post-and-Telegraph Office
T-SPO = Steamship Post Office
T-TO = Telegraph Office (with some postal operations)
PLACE PROVINCE OR OFFICE DATES SOURCES
1. Adzhikent Elizavetpol' T-PTO 27 May/15 Sep 1 3 5
2. Aleksyevskii Lager' Vil'na T-PTO -/- 3 5
3. Annenskiiya Primor'e T-PTO -/- 3 5
4. Assern (bathing area) Liflyand T-PTO -/- 2 3 4
5. Astralkanskii 12-Ti Astrakhan' T-PTO -/- 3 5
6. Barabashina Polyana Samara T-PTO -/- 5
(a suburban dacha
area in Samara City)
7. Baryatinskaya Terek T-PO -/- 3
8. Baskunchak Astrakhan' 1 Apr/l Nov 1
(handled any kind of mail but was below a T-PO)
9. Berezovka Khar'kov 15 May/l Sep 1
(handled any kind of mail but was below a T-PO)
10. Bil'derlingsgof Liflyand T-PTO -/- 2 3 4
11. Birshtany Bessarabia 1 May/i Sep 1
(handled any kind of mail but was below a T-PO)
12. Botovskoe (picket) Semipalatinsk T-PTO 25 May/l Jul 3 5
13. Brest-Litovsk Lager' Grodna T-PTO -/- 3 5
14. Budaki Bessarabia T-PO 1 May/l Sep 3 4
15. Busk (resort) Kyel'tsy T-TO -/- 3 5
16. Butovskoe Yaroslavl' T-EPO -/- 5
17. Byelomorskoe I-E Arkhangel'sk T-SPO 1 May/i Oct 3 5
18. Byelomorskoe II-E Arkhangel'sk T-SPO 1 May/l Oct 3 5
19. Byelomorskoe III-E Arkhangel'sk T-SPO 1 May/i Oct 3 5
20. Byelomorskoe IV-E Arkhangel'sk T-SPO 1 May/i Oct 3 5
(Nos. 17-20 were on steamships of the Arkhangel'sk-Murmansk Express
21. Warsaw Warsaw T-CPO 1 Aug/i Sep 1
22. Vil'na Lager' Vil'na T-PTO 14 May/l Sep 1 3 5
23. Vladimirskii Lager' St. Petersburg T-PO During Bivouac 2 3 4
24. Golubitskaya Kuban T-PO -/- 5
25. Gonsiorovo Lager' Lomzha T-PO -/- 3 4 5
(listed as a T-PTO in 1915)
PLACE PROVINCE OR OFFICE DATES SOURCES
26. Grodna-Lager' Grodna T-PTO -/- 3 5
27. Darachichag Ehrivan T-PTO 15 Jun/12 Sep 3 5
28. Dvinsk Artilleriiskii Vitebsk T-PO -/- 3
29. Zhavoronki Moscow T-PTO -/-5
30. Ikskyul' Liflyand T-PO 1 Jun/i Sep 1
31. Il'insko-Urusovo Yaroslavl' T-PTO -/-3
32. Isary (resort) Tuarida T-PTO -/-5
33. Issygaty Semiryechensk T-PTO -/- 5
34. Kazan' Beregovaya Kazan' T-PTO During naviga- 3
(wharf) tional season
35. Kazan'-Privolzhskoe Kazan' T-PTO 10 May/i Nov 1 3
36. Kazan'-Ust'e Kazan' T-PTO -/- 3
37. Kemmern Liflyand T-PO 20 May/20 Aug 1
38. Kodzhory Tiflis T-PTO -/- 3
39. Koktebel' Taurida T-PO -/- 5
40. Kotlas-Arkhangel'sk I-E Arkhangel'sk T-SPO 1 May/i Oct 3
41. II-E Arkhangel'sk T-SPO 1 May/i Oct 3
(Nos. 40-41 on vessels of the Northern Steamship Company)
42. Krestovskoe Perm' T-PTO 1 Jul/i Sep 1 3 4 5
(also called Kresty and Ivanovskoe)
43. Kurtengof Liflyand 10 May/10 Sep 1
(handled any kind of mail but was below a T-PO)
44. Kur'i Perm' T-PO 15 May/i Aug 3 5
45. Kuyal'nitskii Liman Kherson T-PTO -/- 2 3 4
46. Lagernaya Liflyand During bivouac 3
(handled ordinary correspondence only)
47. Livadiya Taurida T-PTO -/- 2 3 5
48. Lyubutskii Lager' Kaluga T-PO -/- 3 4 5
49. Maiorengof Liflyand T-PTO 15 May/15 Sep 1 4
(bathing area, listed as a "Kontora," not "Otdyelenie" in 1915.
Was not yet a T-PO in 1887. Listed only as handling any kind of mail)
50. Manychsko-Gruzskoe Don Host T-PO -/- 2 3 4 5
51. Matsestinskie Chernomor'e T-PO -/- 5
52. Moinak (resort) Taurida T-PTO -/- 5
53. Moscow (Sokol'niki) Moscow T-CPO 15 May/i Sep 1
54. Moscow (Khodynskoe Pole)Moscow T-CPO 1 Jun/i Sep 1
55. Moscow (Mazilovo) Moscow T-CPO 15 May/i Sep 1
56. Moscow (Pokrovskoe- Moscow T-CPO 15 May/i Sep 1
(Nos. 53-56 were the 9th through 12th Branch Offices, respectively.)
57. Murav'evskii Lager' Kovna T-PTO -/- 3 5
58. Murmanskoe II Arkhangel'sk T-SPO 1 May/i Oct 3 5
59. Murmanskoe III Arkhangel'sk T-SPO 1 Mar/i Oct 3 5
(Nos. 58-59 were on vessels of the Arkhangel'sk-Murmansk Express
60. Nizhegorodskaya Nizh. Novgorod T-PTO 15 Jul/10 Sep 1 3 5
(Two offices, one in the main building on the fairgrounds, the other an
auxiliary office at Platochnaya Square on the same side of the river.)
PLACE PROVINCE OR OFFICE DATES SOURCES
61. Orany Lager' Vil'na T-PTO -/- 1 2 3 4 5
(temporary postal station in 1887)
62. Perlovka Moscow T-PO 1 May/i Sep 3 5
63. Pechorskoe Arkhangel'sk T-SPO 1 May/15 Sep 3 5
(on subsidized vessels plying the Pechora River, Perchorskoe I & II in
64. Pogulyanka (resort) Vitebsk T-PTO -/- 3 4 5
65. Raduch-Lager' Petrokov T-PTO 1 May/i Sep 2 3 4 5
66. Ratomka Minsk T-PO 16 May/16 Sep 3
67. Rembertov-Lager' Warsaw T-PTO 1 May/i Sep 2 3 4 5
(listed as Rembertov Poligon in 1915)
68. Rostiv-Port Don Host T-PO -/- 3
69. Saltykovka Moscow T-PO -/- 3
70. Samaro-Kumysnaya Samara T-PTO -/- 5
71. Samaro-Postnikovo Samara T-PO -/- 5
72. St. Petersburg St. Petersburg T-PO -/- 1
73. St. Petersburg St. Petersburg T-PO -/- 1
74. St. Petersburg St. Petersburg T-PO -/- 1
(Nos. 72-74 were designated the 3rd, 1st, and 2nd temporary branch offices,
75. St. Petersburg St. Petersburg T-CPO -/-
76. Sara-Kurort (resort) Taurida T-PTO -/- 5
77. Sergievo- ikhailovskii Tomsk T-PO -/- 5
78. Sergievskii Poligon Petrograd T-PTO 1 May/15 Sep 2 3 4 5
(listed as Sergievskii Poligon Lageri in 1915)
79. Sillamyagi Ehstlyand T-PO 20 May/15 Sep 1
80. Skobelevskii Lager' Minsk T-PTO -/- 2 3
81. Skolimov (dachas) Warsaw T-PO 1 May/i Oct 3
82. Slavyansk- Khar'kov T-PTO -/- 3 5
83. Solets Kyel'tsy T-TO 1 May/i Sep 3
(handled ordinary and registered mail only)
84. Spala Petrokov T-PTO During royal 2 3 4 5
85. Stavropol' Lyesnoe Samara T-PO -/- 5
86. Staraya Russa Novgorod T-CPTO -/- 3 5
87. Syernovodsk (resort) Terek T-PO 1 May/i Oct 3 4 5
(upgraded to a T-PTO by 1916)
88. Tatishchevo-Lager' Saratov T-PTO -/- 3 4 5
(handled ordinary and registered mail only)
89. Teberda (resort) Kuban T-PTO 1 May/l Oct 5
90. Tinakskiya Gryazi Astrakhan' T-PTO -/- 3 4 5
91. Tomilino Moscow T-PO 1 May/i Sep 5
92. Troitskoe Syr-Darya T-PO 1 May/i Sep 3 5
PLACE PROVINCE OR OFFICE DATES SOURCES
93. Tuzlyanskaya Kuban T-PO 1 May/l Oct 5
(mudbath health spa)
94. Ural'skoe Pokhodnoe Ural T-PTO -/- 3 5
(moved along the Ural River between the towns of Ural'sk and Gur'ev)
95. Urle (dachas) Warsaw T-PTO 1 May/i Sep 2 3 4
96. Ust'-Narova Ehstlyand T-PTO "summer season" 1 5
97. Ust'-Tagil' Kamchatka T-PTO -/- 5
98. Firyuza (dachas) Trans-Caspian T-PTO 1 May/i Sep 3 5
99. Khadzhibeiskii Liman Kherson T-PTO -/- 2 3 4 5
100. Khazret-Ayub Fergana T-PO 1 Jul/i Sep 3 5
101. Khar'kov (Konnaya) Khar'kov T-CPTO 1 Jun/15 Jun 1
102. Khar'kov (Sel'sko-
khozyaistvennaya Khar'kov T-CPTO 15 Sep/14 Oct 1
(Nos. 101-102 were designated the 4th and 5th City Post-and-Telegraph
Branch Offices, respectively.)
103. Chaika Novgorod T-PTO -/- 2 3 4
104. Cherkassy-Sosnovka Kiev T-PO -/- 3 5
105. Chuguev Lager' Khar'kov T-PTO -/- 3
106. Shiro (resort) Enisei T-PTO 1 Jun/1 Aug 3 5
107. Shirokaya Balka Chernomor'e T-PO 1 May/i Oct 5
108. Shubkovo Volhynia T-PTO -/- 3 4 5
109. Yurga Tomsk T-PO -/- 3
110. Yakutsk-Bulun Yakutsk T-SPO -/- 3
111. Yakutsk-Nel'kan Yakutsk T-SPO -/- 3
112. Yakutsk-Suntar Yakutsk T-SPO -/- 3
(Nos. 110-112 on ships along the Lena River and 3 of its tributaries)
113. Yamarovskiya Transbaikal T-PO 16 Apr/16 Aug 3 4 5
(There are two entries for this office in the 1913 list, one of them
under "Yarmarovskiya...". The 1916 list carries its opening and closing
dates as 1 May/lSep.)
1Adler, Kurt. "The First Russian Special Cancellation," Rossica #63, 1962,
Vovin, Ya. "The Special Postmarks of Russia," Filateliya SSSR, 1969-5,
Adler, op. cit.
5Joseph, R. L. "Three Cancellations," BSRP #50, July 1974, p. 22.
6Adler, Kurt. "Notes from Collectors," Rossica #83, 1972, p. 56.
7Vovin, op. cit.
8pritt, Boris. "Correspondence," BSRP #37, October 1956, pp. 30-31.
Forafontov, 0. "The Search Continues," Filateliya SSSR, 1969-12, pp. 9-11.
10Wortman, A. H. "Notes from Collectors," Rossica #83, 1972, p.59.
1Robbins, Sam. "Notes from Collectors," Rossica #79, 1970, p. 55.
12Fo afontov, 0. translated by Pritt, Boris "The Search Continues," [same as
*above but with the additional photo to article on illustration p. 8],
BSRP #45, March 1971, pp. 14-17.
1Forafontov, op. cit.
1Cronin, Andrew. "Notes from Collectors," Rossica #74, 1968, pp. 72-73.
5Kennan, George. Siberia and the Exile System, University of Chicago Press,
1958, p. 12.
1Crawford, John Martin (translator). "The Industries of Russia, Manufactures
and Trade...by the Department of Trade and Manufactures Ministry of Finance
for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago," Vol. II, St. Petersburg,
1893, p. 485.
1Ibid., p. 486.
18Postal Department in St. Petersburg. "Postal Statistics for the Year 1877,"
19Wortman, A. H. "Philatelic Paris 1964," BSRP #35, October 1964, p. 36.
20Forafontov, op. cit.
21Prigara, S. V. The Russian Post in the Empire, Turkey, China and the Post
in the Kingdom of Poland, New York, 1941, p. 84.
22Vovin, op. cit.
23Prigara, op. cit., p. 85.
24Forafontov, op. cit.
25Vovin, op. cit.
2Crawford, op. cit., p. 486.
2Ibid., pp. 486-487.
28Forafontov, op. cit.
"29Prigara, op. cit., p. 86.
3Forafontov, op. cit. p. 11.
33Cronin, Andrew."Nizhnii Novgorod Fair. PO (1906)," BSRP #13, February 1954,
3Forafontov, op. cit.
36Craiford, op. cit., p. 482.
"38Ibid., p. 489.
4Ibid. pp. 484-485.
41Main Post-and Telegraph Administration. "New List of Post-and-Telegraph and
Postal Establishments, and also Volost' Administrations and Railroad Stations
[where] Postal Operations are Conducted," 1913, p. 189.
Kolosov, L. "More on the Special Postmarks of Russia," Philateliya, 1975,
4Ordered by the Main Post-and-Telegraph Administration Chief. "Postal Guide
of the Russian Empire," St. Petersburg, p. 68.
44Main Post-and-Telegraph Administration. "Brief Review of Main Post-and-
Telegraph Activities with Postal and Telegraph Statistics for 1887," St.
Petersburg, 1889, p. 56.
4Ibid., p. 490.
46Baedeker, Karl. La Russie, Leipzig, 1897, p. 184.
47"Brief Review," op. cit., p. 490.
48Imhof, Heinrich. Die Poststempelformen in St. Petersburg von 1766-1914,
1976, p. 46.
49"Postal Guide...1911", op. cit., p. 490.
50Baedeker, op. cit., p. 184-185.
"51Wortman, A. H. "Six Scarce Postmarks," BSRP #8, January 1952, pp. 183-184.
52Imhof, op. cit., p. 47.
53"Brief Review...1887," op. cit., p. 490.
5Baedeker, op. cit., p. 244.
"55Adler, Rossica #83, op. cit.
56Vovin, op. cit.
"57"Brief Review,..1887," op. cit., p. 474.
59Wortman, "Six Scarce Postmarks," op. cit., p. 184.
"60"Postal Guide of the Russian Empire," P. 2 of the Section entitled Steamship
Communications by River and Sea Lines, Petrograd, 1915.
61Sokolov, N. I. "The Transmission of Mails on Steamers in Russia," translated
from the Post-and-Telegraph Journal, Volume 9, 1896 (unofficial part) by
Kurt Adler in Rossica #71, 1966, p. 32.
6Ibid., p. 33.
"63"List of Local Establishments of the Post-and-Telegraph Department--Part I -
Postal," Petrograd, 1916, p. 368.
"64"Ship and River Poat Cancellations," data from J. G. Moyes and H. Von Hofmann,
57, November 1980, p. 23.
65Baillie, Ian L. G. "Ship and River Boat Cancellations," BSRP #56, November
1979, p. 34.
66Compiled from data extracted from BSRP #56 & 57 cited above plus "Ship Mail II,"
H. Wortman, BSRP #42, December 1968, pp. 31-32.
1921 R.S.F.S.R. DEFINITIVE
by K. Berngard
(Summary translation from Filatelia SSSR,
Nos. 8 and 9, 1981 by R. L. Trbovich)
Great interest has been shown over the past 60 years toward the first definitive
postage stamps of the R.S.F.S.R. These stamps portray emblems of the Soviet
government, symbols of labor, art, science, industry, as well as the allegorical
With their issue, the name of a Soviet-type government, the R.S.F.S.R. was, for
the first time, printed on a stamp.
Considering the special postal conditions which then prevailed and the many stamp
varieties involved, it is no wonder that such broad interest in these stamps is
found among philatelists. Yet it is also a fact that even after a span of many
decades since their release we still find major oversights and discrepancies in
their treatment in philatelic literature. Even today there are catalogs which
are in complete disagreement regarding the actual number of series issued as
the first definitive of the R.S.F.S.R.
Chuchin's First Series
Three stamp catalogs, edited by F. G. Chuchin and published in the twenties,
divide the definitive into three series. Thus the compilers point out that
the first series was issued in August 1921 but they fail to give the first day
of sale of the series (face values 1, 2, 5, 20 and 40 rubles) (Scott Nos. 77-
Chuchin's Second Series
They then state that for the second series (face values 100, 250, and 1000 rubles)
(Scott Nos. 181, 183, and 186) the first day of issue was August 25th. The
remaining three values (200, 300, and 500 rubles) (Scott Nos. 182, 184, and 185)
are variously treated and usually are listed as having been released in the
month of September. The catalogue's 1924 edition, for example, calls them sup-
plementary to the second series, whereas the next edition (1928) describes them
as reissues of previous designs having new face values.
Chuchin's Third Series
The first post-World War II catalog (1948), compiled by A. S. Chumakov, groups
the stamps into two series. In contrast to Chuchin, Chumakov lumps all six
values of the second series (100 through 1000 rubles) together and states that
they were released during the month of September.
Chumakov made a basic error in listing the 1921 issues as the first Soviet
stamps and also incorrectly stated that the first revolutionary stamp ("Sword
cutting chain") was prepared by the Provisional Government in 1917 and only
placed on sale after the Soviet government took power and, to make matters
worse, listed it at the end of the catalog. He thereby fell into the same
trap as the 1928 Chuchin catalog. The 1924 Chuchin catalog goes even further
astray with its 1917 "Kerensky" issue; i.e., a gross misstatement of fact
which, in contrast, V. N. Podbelskiy describes quite simply as the first revo-
lutionary issue of the R.S.F.S.R. Chuchin's errors were dutifully repeated in
Catalogs published in 1955 and 1958 by the Central Philatelic Office (Tsentralnaia
filatelisticheskaia kontora) stood by the two-series approach. But still
another metamorphosis awaited the series following the reorganization of the
Central Philatelic Office into the "Soiuzpechat" Central Philatelic Agency
(TSFA) of the USSR Ministry of Communications; i.e., the TSFA catalogs (1970,
1976) lumped together all of the stamps in question into a general "first
definitive issue of the RSFSR." Foreigh catalogs retained the two-series listings.
By 1920 stamps having the name of the Soviet state were phased into production
plans, and by January 1921 there were nine values under active consideration
(from 1 through 100 rubles). Five values were finally selected (1, 2, 5, 20,
and 40 rubles) by the People's Commissariat of Posts and Telegraphs (NKPiT).
To explain the selection of five values, one must look into the 1921 postal
rates for an answer.
Let us back up to 1 January 1919 when, by virtue of a decree signed by Lenin
and the NKPiT chief, V. N. Podbelskiy, free postal delivery was ordered for
postcards and for ordinary letters up to 15 grams. A letter weighing over 15
grams or a registered letter cost 5 rubles and 5 rubles for each additional 15
grams. The registry fee was 5 rubles. A registered postcard cost 10 rubles.
Clearly then a 5-ruble stamp was compatible with domestic rates. International 6
rates during the first half of 1921 were:
postcard, plain: 8 rubles (registered 20 rubles)
letter, plain sealed: 20 rubles (registered: 40 rubles)
The usefulness of 20 and 40 ruble stamps is self-evident, but the justification
of 1 and 2 ruble stamps is not to be found in the foreign rate needs (especially
if the severe paper shortage is remembered). The low values were very much in
demand, in fact mostly to satisfy money order and package rates (both payable
with stamps and by 1 ruble increments; the money order rate was 2% of the money
transferred The five stamps, therefore, did the job on hand.
One must recall that at the beginning of 1921 no decision had yet been made to
revoke the free delivery privilege although it was easily surmisable that the
NKPiT contemplated return to a 5-ruble rate for letters up to 15 grams. A 5-
ruble stamp had been approved.
In March 1921 the 10th Congress of the RKP(b) passed the measure known as the
"New Economic Policy" (NEP) and in keeping with the policy's stress on self-
sufficiency, the regulation on the free delivery of mail was rescinded. That
reform took effect on 15 August 1921, i.e., five months after NKPiT's approval
to go ahead with the planned five definitive (1 to 40 rubles). Actual pro-
duction of the stamps was delayed, and only a small quantity was delivered by
August. The few available stamps were placed on sale on August 10 and only in
three cities: Moscow, Petrograd, and Kharkov. The official release announce-
ment was made on August 11th. According to Raevskiy the stamps were speedily
snapped up in two or three days. A goodly portion of them was purchased by
stamp dealers (who had gone into business soon after the NEP was introduced).
Chuchin's 1924 catalog lists the following totals:
1 ruble: 399,400 20 ruble: 289,760
2 ruble: 398,450 40 ruble: 174,980
5 ruble: 543,330
The above totals pertain to the stamps sold in the three cities while the total
number of copies printed is much higher. The unsold stamps were then over-
printed (5,000 and 10,000 ruble overprints) and inthat form placed in circulation
in February 1922 (Scott #191 through 200). Based in the 1924 Chuchin catalog
we can calculate a total printing of:
1 ruble: 1,593,900 20 ruble: 1,390,160
2 ruble: 1,582,300 40 ruble: 3,344,930
5 ruble: 1,708,330
In line with NEP objectives, private enterprise was allowed to resume functioning
as of 24 May 1921, reorienting to a degree the nation's business on the basis of
economic accountability and profits. All this took place during a transitional
period of the Civil War, Intervention, and finally relative peaceful development.
A paper money inflation took hold, however, and by the summer of 1921 a large
gap developed between the postal rates and the new value of money. By 15 August
1921 new domestic postal rates were set and by 25 August foreign rates followed
DOMESTIC POSTAL RATES
domestic postcard 100 rubles
local sealed letter 100 rubles
out-of-town sealed letter 250 rubles
added registration fee 1,000 rubles
FOREIGN POSTAL RATES
foreign postcard 400 rubles
foreign sealed letter 1,000 rubles
added registration fee 1,000 rubles
Weight units started with 15 grams (domestic) and 20 grams (foreign).
Unfortunately, the stamps just barely issued already did not match existing
postal rates, while the newly approved stamps (100 through 1,000 rubles) were
not yet ready for use. Faced with this situation, the NKPiT decided, on August
15th, to reevaluate Imperial Russia's postal savings and control stamps, re-
gardless of printed face value, at 250 rubles each and in that way take advantage
of the considerable stock then on hand. New values were also assigned to old
Imperial definitive (having face values from 1 to 20 kopeks and 1 to 10 rubles).
In March 1920 the value was increased by a factor of 100 (1 kopek equaled 1 ruble).
However, the small format (1 to 20 kopek) stamps saw little use since 20 rubles
was the highest value that could be eked out of them.
To summarize our study of the first R.S.F.S.R. definitive we must here answer
the question: "How many series were issued?" The series were not issued at the
same time, but rather over a short time interval. The 1 through 40 ruble stamps
were approved for production at the outset of 1921 in order to match the then
current postal rates.
The remaining six values (100 to 1,000 rubles) were ordered only seven or eight
months later, reflecting the radically altered economic situation. The new
postal rates, effective 15 August 1921, left too many low value stamps on hand
and created an immediate need for high value stamps. Based on the above, we
can support and confirm classification which describes the 1921 definitive as
consisting of two series.
In the early twenties a severe shortage of paper, ink, and other materials
plagued the printing plants of the country, including those of GOZNAK. Various
kinds of paper were resorted to for stamp production. Moreover, stamp colors
presented real problems; i.e., it was particularly hard to match the approved
colors with any consistency during the full printing run of an issue. Further-
more, the ranks of qualified printers had been thinned out considerably during
World War I and the Civil War. Quality declined, and NKPiT received many a
shipment from the printer replete with stamps deviating considerably from approval
samples--a phenomenon only philatelists would enjoy.
The first series, even though produced rather hurriedly, seems to have had better
quality control. As a result, the first series had fewer varieties than did
The three stamps issued first (1, 3, and 5 rubles) differed most colorwise (see
Table 1). The 2 ruble stamp's color varieties are the most intriguing. Its
standard approved color is light brown. Darker brown-gray shades are found only
on unused copies. The bright, brown-black variety had an unusual fate; i.e.,
having been left unsold by NKPiT, they were later given a 5,000 ruble overprint.
Since that variety is known only in unused condition, some philatelists have,
on that basis, suggested that there was a supplementary printing of stamps for
the February 1922 emission with a 5,000 ruble overprint.
Color and paper varieties occur in the 20 ruble stamp, with the thin paper,
ultramarine variety the most common. The 40 ruble stamp, printed in gray-black,
had very few shade varieties. However we should note that the "Lozenges" water-
mark (Figure 2 Scott #169) was first used in the printing of the 40 ruble
stamp. The watermark, a product of the GOZNAK Printing Plant, had four positional
varieties: the dark corners of the squares pointing toward the left (1), the
right (2), up (3), and down (4). Types 1 and 2 are found on stamps with a
design size of 38.5 mm x 23.0 mm, and types 3 and 4 with the 37.5 mm x 23.5 mm
variety. (Fig. 2).
Value Chuchin Chuchin Chumakov Gl. Filat. TSFA TSFA Cercle Philat. Michel
1924 1928 1948 Kontora 1970 1976 France-USSR 1980
1966, 1958 1969
1 ruble orange; orange; orange; orange; yellow- yellow- orange; orange;
yellow yellow yellow- yellow- orange orange light orange-
orange orange orange yellow
2 ruble brown; brown; light light bn.; light light brown; brown;
dark bn. dark br. brown; red-bn.; brown brown pale bn.; light
(D); (D); dark gray-bn. gray-bn. brown
gray-bn. gray-bn. brown (D)
5 ruble blue blue blue light blue; gray- gray- blue; ultra-
gray blue blue blue dk. blue; marine
20 ruble blue; blue; blue; blue; blue; blue; blue; ranges from
ordinary sky blue; sky blue; sky blue; ultra- ultra- ultra- ultra-marine light blue
paper ultra- ultra- ultra- marine marine marine (D, D); to dark
marine marine marine pale ultra- blue
marine (D, D)
20 ruble ultra- ultra- ultra- blue; sky blue; blue; pale ultra- from light
thin marine marine marine; ultra- ultra- ultra- marine; dark blue to
paper blue marine marine marine ultramarine, dark blue
40 ruble black- steel black- black- black- black- slate blue; dark gray-
38.5 mm green blue blue blue blue blue light slate blue
(sic) wide__ ___ blue
40 ruble black- steel black- black- black- black- slate blue dark gray-
38.5 mm green blue blue blue blue blue blue
(sic) wide __ _
TOTALS 12 12 12 16 9 9 17 13
Notes applicable to Tables 1 and 2: (D) = higher price indicated for unused copies, used copies not known;
(D D) = higher prices listed for unused and used copies;
( = unused copies evaluated according to distribution, used copies unknown.
Series stamp totals per sheet were:
50 stamps/sheet (values: 1, 2, and 40 rubles)
100 stamps/sheet (value: 5 rubles
40 stamps/sheet (value: 20 rubles
Stamp layout per sheet:
20 stamp panes (4 x 5): (value: 20 rubles, 2 panes/sheet)
25 stamp panes (5 x 5): (values: 1 and 2 rubles, 2 panes/sheet)
5 rubles, 4 panes/sheet
50 stamp sheet (5 x 10): (value: 40 rubles, 1 sheet)
Since the stamps of the first series were on sale but very briefly, and only in
three cities at that, few covers properly franked with these stamps have survived.
What one does encounter often are philatelic-type covers carrying the full five-
stamp set, a total of 68 rubles, i.e., having absolutely no relation to the
postal rates in effect from 15 August 1921. The author knows of a few bonafide
covers: one with two 5 ruble stamps; another with two 1 ruble and four 2 ruble
stamps; some international letters franked with 20 and 40 ruble stamps; and
finally a plain, domestic, out-of-town letter franked correctly (250 rubles)
with six 40 ruble stamps and one 10 kopek Imperial stamp (equivalent to a 10
ruble value at that time). Blocks of four and some single copies are known
cancelled by the 17th Moscow Postal Section handstamp, dated 9/8/21, a date
which predates the official day of release and has yet to be explained.
Inasmuch as the NKPiT never announced an officialrelease date for the second
series of definitive, catalogs carry several different dates. This author
agrees with the 25 August 1921 date for the 100, 250, and 1,000 ruble stamps,
which was confirmed by the eye-witness Raevskiy as the first day of sale at the
bscow Post Office. Unhappily, Raevskiy failed to supply similar facts for the
200, 300, and 500 ruble stamps, limiting his remarks to the vague: "three more
stamps appeared soon afterwards." There is no doubt, however, that the stamps
were issued in September 1921. This author has copies of the 200 and 300 ruble
stamps postmarked 9/9/21 in Moscow. The postmark's number "9" contradicts the
1976 TSFA catalog's "end of September" statement. That catalog has totals for
the second series printing which agree with the two Chuchin catalogs. The 500
ruble has the lowest total printing: 1,071,900 (a figure lower than any stamp
of the first series). Not many cancelled 500 ruble stamps, and even fewer
franked covers, are to be found.
The 250 ruble stamp sold well since it exactly covered the domestic letter rate
in effect at the end of 1921. That stamp had a total printing of 78,929,150.
However, it is still not known whether that total includes the 20 million with
a 7,500 ruble overprint (Scott #201) and the 19 million with the 100,000 ruble
overprint (Scott #210).
The 200 and 300 ruble stamps were revalued at ten times their face value in
connection with the rate change of 1 April 1922 (when rates ranged from 4,000
to 100,000 rubles). The other stamps of the second series continued to be used
at their face value until September 1922 (when they were taken out of circulation).
Their removal was expedited by the 100,000 ruble letter rate. one was forced to
use from 100 to 1,000 of these stamps or, as on a package mailed in early 1922,
several sheets of stamps. The sheets were obliterated with roller-type, mute
Some catalogs list between 20 and 40 varieties (paper and color) for the second
series (Table 2). Some of the varieties are rare. Part of them are known only
unused. This author thinks the best descriptive listings are printed in the
(1969, French-language) catalog of the Cercle Philatelique France URSS. Other
varieties exist as well. Although all six stamps were printed on wove paper,
some have been found with the "weaved lines" watermark used for sheet margins,
an indication that remainders of paper intended for the 1908 definitive. Imperial
stamps were on hand and were used. (The 1976 TSFA catalog lists only the 100
ruble stamp on paper with this sheet margin watermark.) Design varieties include
a deformed ornament in the upper left corner of the 1,000 ruble stamp, i.e., the
white "leaf" ends in a bulge instead of a sharp edge. The stamps were printed
in 25-stamp panes (5 x 5). The sheets contain either two panes (for the 100,
250, and 1,000 ruble stamps) or four panes (200, 250, 300, 500, and 1,000 ruble
stamps printed on both types of sheets. Sheet gutter margins vary: between
11 mm and 26.0 mm (250 rubles) and from 8 to 17 mm (300 rubles). The 500 ruble
stamp is also reported to have even narrower gutter margins. Moreover, even the
vertical margins between stamps vary, according to the Moscow philatelist M. D.
Kabanov, a researcher of definitive. He owns a horizontal strip of them with
vertical margins of 4 mm rather than the usual 3 mm. Some of the 250 ruble
sheets were printed with entire panes inverted with respect to each other, thus
creating many tete-beche items (Figure 3). For example, one finds tete-bbche
pairs, on wove paper, with either the left stamp or the right stamp inverted.
Thin-paper tete-beche pairs exist in one type only: with the left stamp inverted.
For a long time it was thought that only unused tete-beche pairs existed. That
theory evaporated with the discovery of cancelled examples off cover, and, later,
examples affixed to a letter mailed from Novgorod on 13 April 1922 and having
a total of twelve 250 ruble stamps with three tete-bkche pairs.
B. A. Kaminskiy has provided proof that in the spring of 1921 GOZNAK approved
the simultaneous printing (on the same sheet) on defintives of the second series
Paper Face Chuchin Chuchin Chumakov Gl. Filat. TSFA Cercle Phil. Michel
Type Value 1924 1928 1948 Kontora 1970,1976 France-USSR 1980
1955, 1958 1969
Plain 100 r. lemon- yellow; orange; orange; orange; orange; orange
yellow; lemon; lemon; orange- orange- yellow; bright
orange; olive- olive- yellow; brown; red-orange yellow;
orange- yellow yellow lemon; orange- (0); ochra (D,D);
brown (D) (D, D); orange- yellow yellow- yellow-
(D) olive- brown orange chrome(D,D);
brown (D, D); (D, D); brown-
(D, D) olive- yellow- orange
yellow brown (D, D)
(D, D) (D)
Plain 200 r. dark gray- light brown; brown; brown; brown;
brown; violet; brown; dk. brown; red- brown- sepia;
light violet; dark red-brown brown; black gray-
brown; dark brown; (D, D); gray- brown- brown
sepia; brown; gray- gray-brown brown; chocolate; (D, D)
gray (D) gray (D) brown (D, D); gray brown-
(D, D) gray olive (D);
Plain 250 r. violet; gray- gray- gray- gray- gray- dark-
gray- violet; violet; violet; violet violet; violet
violet violet violet; violet; pale gray-
black- black- black- black- violet;
violet violet violet violet dark gray-
(D, D) violet
Plain 300 r. green; green; green; dk. green; dark green; green
It. green; It. green light It. green green dk. green;
dk. green; dk. green green pale
Plain 500 r. It. blue; blue; blue; dk. blue; blue blue; blue
dk. blue It. blue It. blue; blue; pale blue;
gray-blue sky blue dk. blue
a a a
Plain 1000 r. red; red; red; red; bright red red; rose;
carmine; crimson-red; bright red; red; crimson red-crimson; carmine
crimson bright red crimson-red red; pale red rose;
(D, D) _pale rose
Thin 100 r. lemon yellow; orange; orange; orange; orange; orange;
yellow; lemon; yellow- orange-yellow; olive- yellow; bright
orange; yellow- orange; bright yellow yellow; yellow-lemon yellow;
yellow- brown yellow- olive-yellow yellow- yellow-olive ochra
brown (D) brown CD, D) brown (D); brown- (D, D);
(D) (D, D) yellow-brown orange (D) brown-
(D, D) orange
Thin 250 r. violet; grey- grey- grey- grey- grey-violet; dark
grey- violet; violet; violet; violet pale grey- violet
violet violet violet; violet; violet; dark
black- black- grey-violet;
violet violet violet-black
- Thin 300 r. green green green green green green green
S_(D) (D) (D, D) (D, D) (D, D) (D, D) (D, D)
Thin 1000 r. red red; red; red;bright red red; rose
crimson- crimson-red red;crimson- red-
red pale red red;pale crimson
(D, D) red (D, D)
Chalky 250 r. violet grey- grey- violet; violet violet- dark
(D) violet violet grey-violet; blue violet
(D) pale violet (D)
Chalky 1000 r. red red bright red bright red; red red-carmine (0) rose
pale red; (D,D) _pale red (D)
Cotton 1000 r. red red crimson-red crimson-red crimson-red red carmine 0) rose
TOTALS 29 30 31 41 20 39 23
along with the semi-postal "Volga Famine Relief"' issue. With a view of saving
both paper and production time, the large-size famine stamps (Scott # B14- B15)
were printed in sheet margins of the sheets for 200, 300, and 1,000 ruble stamps
and cut after printing. This unusual printing layout was used for a total out-
put of 97,656 sheets (produced at Moscow Plant No. 2 of GOZNAK). The sheets had
the following color breakdown: brown (19,287), green (23,713), and red (54,656),
The second famine stamp (Scott # B17) was printed at the same plant on remainders
of gummed paper--18 items on each scrap.
The first Soviet stamps carrying the inscription of the Soviet republic evoked
varied reactions abroad. Western philatelic organizations, and above all
commercial firms, reacted in different ways. While some rushed to buy up the
new stamps, others boycotted them. Forgeries of ten values were busily prepared,
but, alas, to no avail, because they were not ready early enough to precede the
postal rate change, and therefore caused no damage to the Soviet postal service.
The forgers next shifted their efforts to deceive the collector, with a wove
paper, parafin-doctored stamp trying to pass it off as the popular, sought-after,
300 ruble stamp on thin paper. Later in the game chemical color doctoring of
genuine stamps was tried, the game being to change them into rare color varieties.
To this day these chemical fakes are offered as the genuine articles (especially
as the yellow-olive stamp, as the brown-gray 2 and 200 ruble stamps, and even
as color essays).
The author extends his warmedst gratitude to the staff of the "Popov" Central
Museum of Communications, and to fellow philatelists S. M. Blekhman, B. M.
Evgradov, M. D. Kabanov, V. A. Karlinskiy, and 0. V. Forafontov for their help
in the study of both government and private collections of the R.S.F.S.R. issues.
1. Raevskiy, B. "Postal Stamps of the R.S.F.S.R." in Sovetskiy filatelist,
No. 1, 1922.
2. Karlinskiy, V. "Postage Stamps of the R.S.F.S.R. 1917-1921" in Sovetskiy
Kollecktsioner, No. 5, 1967.
3. Izvestia VTSIK, No. 257, 24 November 1918.
4. Karlinskiy, V. "Philatelic Research on the Franking of Letters, RSFSR and
5. Kaminskiy, B. "RSFSR--Famine Relief," in Filatelia SSR, Nos. 1, 2, 5, 1977.
IMPERIAL POSTAGE STAMPS OF RUSSIA
PLACED INTO POSTAL CIRCULATION AFTER THE REVOLUTION
by V. V. Lobachevski
Published in Soviet Collector No. 17, 1979
Translated by George V. Shalimoff
This article is a continuation and the conclusion of a revised and condensed
catalog of the postage stamps of Imperial Russia. It covers the period of the
classical stamps of the imperial post (but not including the local posts and
telegraph). This section includes the use of the Imperial issues and designs
in the post revolutionary period up to 1923. Also included are the Money-stamps
and the Savings, Control, and Revenue stamps that were used as postage in the
post revolutionary period Finally, the Tiflis and St. Petersburg Moscow
City Post issues are given along with the St. Petersburg Telegraph stamps.
In assembling the catalog, the author used a large number of Russian and foreign
literature sources, archive materials (TsGLA USSR and the archives of the A. S.
Popov Central Museum of Communication in Leningrad), data obtained by the study
of Soviet collections, from the descriptions of foreign collections of Russian
stamps (according to foreign auction catalogs), as well as from the study of some
actual stamps by the author.
Information about the special catalog and the designations used in it are given
The issues are, in general, given in chronological order. The issue is briefly
described first. The numbers in the first column of an issue are the Lobachevski
catalog numbers. The second number is a design number. Scott numbers are given
only in parentheses under the heading of the issue for the reader's convenience.
Scott numbers are not used in the lists.
Varieties are divided into 5 groups. They are designated with capital letters:
A color varieties
B cliche or design varieties
C paper varieties
D perforation varieties
E typographic errors
Additional letters in the list include.:
M modification to the basic stamp within an issue
U prepared but unissued
The Money-stamps and Revenue stamps are listed with Roman numerals.
Other stamps are designated with letters prefixing the numbers as follows:
F City Post stamps
G Charge for delivery of legal letters
H Telegraph stamps
This type of division for the varieties, in the author's view, makes the recog-
nition of the differences and the systematic collection of the stamps much more
easy. It also allows selection for specialization of not all but at least the
different groups of the varieties. Thus for the first stage of completion of a
specialized collection, one can restrict oneself to varieties of one group, for
example, color the A varieties.
For the designation of varieties, a code is used consisting of the number of the
basic stamp with letters added to it, designating the variety group. Then there
follows in order a small alphabet letter designating the specific stamp in the
given variety group.
Examples: 1Ba stamp No. 1, cliche variety a
1Bb stamp No. 1, cliche variety b
ICa stamp No. 1, paper variety a
1Cb stamp No. 1, paper variety b
In this catalog only several stamp cliche varieties are included. For a more
complete classification of the many various cliche varieties a greater investi-
gational effort would be required which could result in the publication of a
The collection value of a stamp is expressed in a fixed number of points. A
point refers to the value of a canceled example of the most common stamp of pre-
revolutionary Russia, the 7 kopek value of the 1908 issue with the vertical
varnish line network (released after 1910). The first column on the rights
the description of the stamp for unused copies; the second column is forpostally
used copies. For separate varieties, in place of points to designate their
rarity, a five level rating using the letter R (from 1-4) is used. But in the
cases where only one example of a catalogued item is known, the word "unique"
(the 5th level) is used.
In a few cases there are given premiums to the stamp values. In these cases
where in front of the premium there is a plus (+) mark, the full value is deter-
mined by the addition of the premium to the value of the stamp. The premiums for
certain cancellations found in combinations of several stamps apply to each
cancellation which is found on these stamps.
All values are for stamps in good condition, unused stamps with original gum.
Hinges or hinge marks are tolerated. For other means of cancellation, comments
are made in the text of the catalog.
The following abbreviations are used in this catalog:
WM or wtmk watermark TC test cancel
perf perforation SC stamped cancel
imperf imperforate EZGB Printing Office for
L perf line perforations Government Obligations
C perf comb perforations CM -controlmarks in the
margins of sheets
All the dates are given in the old style (corresponding to the Julian calendar
in use in Russia at that time) and apply to the dates on the cancellations as
well. To convert the dates to the Gregorian calendar, in use in western countries
at that time, add 12 days to the date of the XIX century and 13 days for the
XX century (beginning in 1900).
POSTAGE STAMPS OF THE IMPERIAL TYPES PLACED
INTO POSTAL CIRCULATION AFTER THE REVOLUTION
In the lists of the postage stamps of the Eighteenth and Twenty Second Issues,
there were included post revolutionary issues of these stamps. The postage
stamps of the later issues are examined here. This includes the period after
the revolution as well as other pre-revolutionary (non-postal) stamps that were
used for postage.
TWENTY FOURTH ISSUE
(Scott Nos. 119-135)
1917, March. Typographed printing. The designs of the stamps are those of the
Eighteenth and Twenty-Second Issues with the additional stamps, 3 rub. 50 kop. and
7 rub. with new designs. The 3 rub. 50 kop. stamp has an additional frame around
the design, and the format is 25.7 x 30 mm (type II). There is a control chalk
line (varnish line) network of criss-crossing lines on the stamps in the form of
vertically positioned diamond shapes. The paper is unwatermarked. Imperforate.
121 45 1 kop. yellowish orange 2 2
122 46 2 kop. yellowish green 2 2
123 47 3 kop. rose-red 2 2
124 48 4 kop. rose-carmine 6 4
125 49 5 kop. brownish lilac 2 2
126 51 10 kop. indigo-blue (1918) 300 1000
127 37 15 kop. brown-lilac and blue 2 2
128 24 20 kop. blue and red 3 3
129 38 25 kop. green and violet 25 50
130 33 35 kop. reddish brown and green 3 3
131 25 50 kop. brownish lilac and green 5 5
132 36 70 kop. brown and red-orange 3 3
133 26 1 rub. dark brown, brown and 2 2
134 81 3 rub. brown-lilac and yellow green 5 5
50 kop. (type II)
135 43 5 rub. dark blue, light green, and 5 5
136 35 7 rub. dark green and light pink 15 15
137 44 10 rub. carmine, yellow and light gray 750 600
121Aa 1 kop. orange 2 2
121Ea 1 kop. double impression 750
122Aa 2 kop. green 2 2
122Ab 2 kop. gray-green 5 5
123Aa 3 kop. bright red 3 3
123Ab 3 kop. red 3 3
123Ac 3 kop. pale rose 3 3
124Aa 4 kop. carmine 6 6
124Ab 4 kop. red 8 10
124Ac 4 kop. raspberry red 8 10
125Aa 5 kop. lilac 3 3
125Ab 5 kop. pale brownish lilac 3 3
125Ea 5 kop. double impression 500
127Aa 15 kop. brown-lilac and sky blue 3 3
127Ea 15 kop. missing center 2500 -
127Eb 15 kop. shifted center (at least 250 350
1/3 of the oval)
127M 15 kop. modified design, format is 300 200
enlarged 16.75 x 22.75 mm
instead of 16.3 x 22.4 mm (1919)
128Aa 20 kop. blue and bright red 5 5
128Ea 20 kop. double center 1000 -
128Eb 20 kop. missing background 200
128Ec 20 kop. shifted background (at least 100
1/3 of the oval)
129Aa 25 kop. green and brownish violet 50 75
129Ab 25 kop. light green and violet 25 50
129Ea 25 kop. shifted center (at least 500
1/3 of the oval)
130Aa 35 kop. brownish red and dark green 5 5
130Ab 35 kop. red-brown and dark green 5 5
130Ac 35 kop. brownish red and yellow-green 10 10
130Ea 35 kop. shifted center (at least 300
1/3 of the oval)
131Aa 50 kop. red-lilac and green 5 5
131Ea 50 kop. missing background 500
131Eb 50 kop. shifted background 150
132Aa 70 kop. reddish brown and reddish orange 5 5
132Ea 70 kop. missing center 5000
132Eb 70 kop. shifted center (at least 500
1/3 of the oval)
133Aa 1 rub. black-brown and dark red 2 2
133Ab 1 rub. dark brown and orange red 2 2
133Ea 1 rub. missing center 750
133Eb 1 rub. inverted center 500 500
133Ec 1 rub. shifted center (at least 40 40
1/3 of the oval)
133Ed 1 rub. double center 350 350
133Ee 1 rub. missing background 650 650
133Ef 1 rub. inverted background 150 200
133Eg 1 rub. shifted background 75 75
133Eh 1 rub. double background 250 250
133Ei 1 rub. double frame 350 350
133Ej 1 rub. missing chalk line 75 -
(varnish line) network
134Aa 3 rub dark brownish lilac 10 5
50 kop. and yellow green
134Ea 3 rub. shifted background 250 250
50 kop. and center
135Aa 5 rub. indigo-blue, light green 5 5
and sky blue
135Ea 5 rub. yellow background (instead 5000
of light green)
135Eb 5 rub. shifted center 350
135Ec 5 rub. inverted background 10000
135Ed 5 rub. shifted background 150 150
136Ea 7 rub. missing background and center R
136Eb 7 rub. inverted background and center
136Ec 7 rub. shifted background and center 150 150
137Aa 10 rub. carmine, yellow and gray 850 850
137Ea 10 rub. missing center 3500
137Eb 10 rub. shifted background 1000 1000
137Ec 10 rub. light green background 5000
(instead of yellow)
1. Mirror impressions on the backs of stamps are known as follows: frame
"offset"on the 1, 2, 3, 5, 15, 20, 25 and 35 kop., 1, 5, and 7 rub. values.
Valuation for the 25 kop. stamp +75 -, for the 1 rub. value +25 -, for
the remaining stamps +50 -; centers offset on the 20, 70 kop. and 1 rub.
values. The valuations of the kopek values +50 -; for the 1 rub. it is
2. The existence of the 7 rub. stamp No. 136Eb is given in Scott Catalog, Vol. 2,
1970, New York.
3. An imperforate 25 kop. stamp with inverted center is mentioned in S. V.
Prigara's book "Russian Post in the Empire, Turkey, China and Czarist Poland",
1941, New York, page 49.
Premiums to be Added to the Values of the Stamps
Stamp Block of 4 On cover With Control
or form Mark CM7
4 kop. +25 +35 +25 -
10 kop. +300 +2000 +1000
25 kop. +70 +200 +50 -
1 rub. +25 +100
3 rub. 50 kop. +50 R
5 and 7 rub. +50 R
10 rub. +1500 +1200 +1000 +250 RR
Other values +15 +25 +10 -
In March 1917, the Main Administration of the Post and Telegraph published the
following order in the Postal-Telegraph Journal, Official Section, 1917, March,
"Due to the difficulties at the Printing Office for Government Obligations
in the perforation operation of postage stamps in the large quantities which are
needed for use in all the postal-telegraph establishments of the empire, the
postage stamps will be placed into circulation without perforations, starting on
the day of publication of this order in the "Vestnik Vremennova Pravitelstva."
The stamps will have the same validity as perforated stamps, henceforth until a
special-order is given."
Beginning April 15, 1917, the postal rates for all categories of small parcels
were increased (by decree of the Minister of Internal Affairs, dated March 16,
Category 1 Category 2 Category 3
up to 2 pounds 2 to 7 pounds 7 to 12 pounds
Within Zone 1 40 kop. 75 kop. 1 rub. 5 kop.
Within Zone 2 60 kop. 1 rub. 5 kop. 1 rub. 55 kop.
Within Zone 3 75 kop. 1 rub. 40 kop. 2 rub.
Between adjacent zones 75 kop. 1 rub. 40 kop. 2 rub.
Across one zone 1 rub. 5 kop. 2 rub. 3 rub.
The first zone European Russia; the second zone Western Siberia, Turkestan,
Transcaspian Oblast (region), the Caucasus and Transcaucasus; the third zone -
A Russian pound in the old measure equals 409.5 grams.
Beginning August 15, 1917, new increased fees were established for the sending
and delivery of internal mail (by a decree of the Minister of Internal Affairs,
dated July 21, 1917). The rates were as follows.
For wrapper mail with printed matter, the local rate was 2 kop. for each four
lots (around 2 ounces); the intercity rate was 2 kop. for each two lots (around
For wrapper with white (copy) papers, the local rate was 2 kop. for each two lots
(around 1 ounce), with a minimum weight charge of 10 kop. for each mailing. The
intercity rate was 2 kop. for each lot (around 1/2 ounce), with a minumum weight
charge of 15 kop. for each mailing.
For mail with sample goods, the local intercity rate was 1 kop. for each lot
(around 1/2 ounce), with a minumum weight charge of 10 kop. for each mailing.
For the sending and delivery of postal cards, the local and intercity rate was
5 kop. for each mailing.
For the sending and delivery of ordinary (sealed) letters, the local rate was
10 kop. for each 30 grams (around 1 ounce); the intercity rate was 15 kop. for
each 15 grams (around 1/2 ounce).
For the sending and delivery of congratulation and visiting cards, the rates
were the same as for ordinary local and intercity letters.
The charges for registration in addition to the weight fees were increased to
20 kop. for each mailing of a registered letter, postcard, wrapper and parcel.
The charges for the sending and delivery of mail with a declared value were based
on weight. For local mail, the rate was 10 kop. for each 30 grams (around 1
ounce), for intercity mail it was 15 kop. for each 15 grams (around 1/2 ounce)
and an insurance charge of 15 kop. for a letter valued to 10 rubles inclusive,
50 kopeks for a value to 100 rubles, and 30 kopeks for each additional 100 rubles
or fraction thereof.
For the transfer of money by post, the charges, were 15 kopeks for the transfer
of sums up to 25 rubles inclusive, 50 kopeks up to 100 rubles inclusive and 50
kopeks for each additional 100 rubles or fraction thereof.
For the delivery of money letters and money transfers up to 500 rubles directly
to the house, the charge was 20 kopeks.
For the transfer of money by telegraph, a rate was set corresponding to the cost
for a postal transfer with an additional telegraph charge amounting to 3 rubles
for the transfer of sums up to 500 rubles and 4 rubles for sums greater than
The charge for a notification of receipt of a letter was 20 kopeks for an inter-
city letter and 10 kopeks for a local letter.
The rates for sending unvalued parcels were as follows: For weights up to 12
pounds inclusive in the first zone, the rate was 2 rubles, in the second zone -
3 rubles, in the third zone 4 rubles as well as between adjacent zones. To
send a parcel beyond one zone, the rate was 6 rubles for each parcel. For parcels
heavier than 12 pounds, the charge was based on each pound above the basic weight
depending upon the distance traveled:
up to 1000 versts, the additional charge was 10 kopeks per pound;
up to 2000 versts, 20 kopeks per pound;
up to 3000 versts, 25 kopeks per pound;
up to 4000 versts, 30 kopeks per pound;
greater than 4000 versts, 35 kopeks per pound.
(A verst equals 1.06678 kilometers, approximately 0.6 mile).
For sending valued parcels, in addition to the weight charges there was an
insurance charge amounting to that established for letters with declared value.
For the delivery of parcels to the house, there was a charge of 50 kopeks. In
the capitals, this charge was 1 ruble.
All of the above stated postal operations were payable with postage stamps.
Beginning September 1, 1917, by a decree of the Minister of Internal Affairs,
dated August 25, 1917, the levy rates were doubled for the following cases:
weight, insurance and registration charges for all international postal mail
(letters, postcards, wrappers and parcels).
Sheets of the kopek values consisted of 100 stamps (10 x 10) in four panes of
25 stamps (5 x 5). The ruble values had 50 stamps with control marks (CM7).
The gum is white with yellowish shades.
Forged 10 kopek imperforate stamps are known, made in other countries to deceive
collectors (Ya. Vovin "The Imperforate 10 Kopek Stamp of 1917," Philately of the
USSR, 1969, No. 1). The basic distinguishing features are as follows:
1. The forged stamps are lithographed instead of typographed. The chalk
line (varnish line) control network is missing. The gum is yellowish, cracked
and unevenly coated. On the genuine stamp the gum is white and smoothly coated.
2. The strokes within the loop of ribbon in the upper left corner of the
stamp design appear as horizontal lines (Figurel.;)instead of the slightly slanted
vertical lines which appear on the genuine stamp (Figure 14).
3. At the base of the two crossed thunderbolts above the horns of the postal-
telegraph emblem under the eagles, the area is filled in with ink on the genuine
(Figure 15). In the forgery, the area under the thunderbolts is white, uncolored,
consisting of enclosing lines (Figure 16).
Figure 13 Figure 14
Figure 15 Figure 16
In March 1917 a private group had blocks of the 1913 Jubilee stamps and the 1915
money-stamps overprinted in various ways. Blocks with such overprints are known
unused,canceled with genuine postal markings, as well as on letters which ille-
gally passed through the mail in Russia and to other countries. Stamps with these
overprints were not sold in postal establishments and there was no official
authorization for their use.
The following overprints were made:
1. There is a red overprint in the form of crossed swords and a Phrygian cap in
the center. Circularly in the spaces between the crossed swords are the words
"BRATSTVO" (brotherhood), "RAVENSTVO" (equality) and "SVOBODA" (freedom). This
overprint is found on blocks of four of:
a. The Jubilee stamps of 1913 with values 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 15,
35 amd 50 kop. as well as the 1916 stamps with the overprint
"10 10" on the 7 kop. and "20 20" on the 14 kop.;
b. the money-stamps with values 3, 10, 15 and 20 kopeks.
,v V --V W~~~- .. ..---- -- --.. V
2. There is a black overprint of the text from the newspaper "IZVESTIYA PETRO-
GRADSKOGO SOVETA PABOCHIKH I SOLDATSKIKH DEPUTATOV" (News of the Petrograd Council
of Workers and Soldiers Deputies). The text included the abdication of Czar
Nicholas II from the throne in favor of Grand Duke Michael Aleksandrovich and
the latter's renunciation in turn. The overprint was on blocks of eight of:
a. the Jubilee stamps of 1913 with values 1, 4, 7, 35 and 50 kopeks
as well as the 1916 stamps with the overprints "10 10" on the
7 kop. and "20 20" on the 14 kop.;
b. the money-stamps with values 10, 15 and 20 kopeks.
H M3BBC IF
""- ."ws rra | T' US [0inri, ,n'" r
-- --- -- -
.T I [ II,, IiL [ it prpflb ni- -- .-
yM i ll la oa r a ,pw aq ..- ..
S nS iOM i nuol priui r y w ;
mlu w llm am l tlm t t.. ..
Ma Inm' rat
Michael Aleksandrovich of his renunciation of the throne The overprint was...
made on blocks of 12 stamps as follows:
a. on the Jubilee stamps of 1913 with values 4 7, 35 and 50 kopeks-.-
r -: tB -- ^.-- _-^-..
a3. There is well as the 1916 stamps with the text of the prinoclamations 0 10" of Grand Dukeop.
and "20 20" on the 14 kop.;
b. on the money-stamps with values 10, 15 and 20 kopeks.
Note: Various overprint positions on the blocks are known. The type 1 over-
print on blocks is also known in black ink. Types 2 and 3 are also known made
in red ink.
TWENTY FIFTH ISSUE
(Scott Nos. 137-138, 137a-138a)
1917-1923. Typographed two-color printing with an embossed relief of the emblem
of the postal-telegraph administration. The type I 7 rub. is a repeat of the
previous 7 rub. stamp design with format 24.7 x 29 mm. The type II 3 rub. 50 kop.
and 7 rub. stamps have the designs of previous stamps but with an additional
frame enclosing the design 25.7 x 30 mm. Prepared by EZGB. The stamps have a
transparent control chalk line (varnish line) network of criss-crossing lines
appearing as vertically positioned diamond shapes. The paper is unwatermarked.
Stamps are perforated.
Type II Type I Type II
Line Perforation 13 1/4
138 81 3 rub. brown-lilac and yellow- 3 3
50 kop. green
139 35 7 rub. dark green and light 70 35
pink (type I)
140 82 7 rub. dark green and light 5 5
pink (type II)
138Aa 3 rub. dark brown-lilac and 3 3
50 kop. yellow green
138Ab 3 rub. dark brown-lilac and 5 5
138Ac 3 rub. chestnut and green 200
138Da 3 rub. with odd perforations 3 3
50 kop. "rough perfs"
138Ea 3 rub. with shifted background 175 175
50 kop. and center
138Eb 3 rub. imperforate at left 250
50 kop. side of stamp
138Ec 3 rub. missing chalk line 10
50 kop. (varnish line) network
139Da 7 rub. line perforation 12 1/2 RR
139Db 7 rub. with odd perforations 70 35
139Ea 7 rub. with double horizontal 150 150
140Aa 7 rub. dark green and heavy 15 15
140Da 7 rub. with odd perforations 5 5
140Ea 7 rub. imperforate RRR
140Eb 7 rub. imperforate with inverted
background and center RRRR
(three copies known)
140Ec 7 rub. missing background and center RRR
140Ed 7 rub. shifted background and center 200 200
1/3 into the frame
140Ee 7 rub. horizontal pair imperforate 750
140Ef 7 rub. missing chalk line (varnish 20
Line Perforation 12 1/2
138D 81 3 rub. brown-lilac and 15 10
50 kop. yellow green
140D 82 7 rub. green and pink 17 12
1. Nos. 138 and 140 are known with the frame printed on the gum side, valuation
2. The 7 rub. variety No. 139Dais mentioned in S. V. Prigara's book "Russian
Post in the Empire, Turkey, China and Czarist Poland," New York, 1941, page 51.
3. The 7 rub. variety No. 140Ea was sold in auction by Robert Siegel Co. in
New York, March 1971.
Premiums to be Added to the Values of the Stamps
Block of 4 On cover Stamp with
or form Control Mark CM7
No. 138 +10 +10 +100
3 rub. 50 kop.
No. 139 +150 +200 +75 +100 RR
S No. 140 +15 +15 +200
No. 138D +30 +50 R
3 rub. 50 kop.
No. 140D -- +30 +50 R
In 1917 the supply of the 3 rub. 50 kop. and 7 rub. stamps of the Thirteenth
Issue (1902-05) was exhausted. To replace these, stamps with the same values
were released in new colorswhich were approved by the Minister of Internal
Affairs on August 13, 1908.
There were 50 stamps per sheet. The sheets were printed with six control marks
(CM7) in the form of intersecting letter "V's" in the color of the frame of the
stamp and the color of the background and center. The positions of the stamps
on the sheets were the same as the 1917 one ruble issue (see the Special Infor-
S mation for the Eighteenth Issue).
The relief impressions of the center with the emblemin later issues gradually
flattened and became hardly noticeable or completely invisible.
The perforations at first were sharp. In later periods they appear as crude
In later periods the chalk line (varnish line) network was unnoticeable. On
some issues the network is completely missing.
The gum is transparent with yellowish shades.
Cancels were used such as were found on previous issues except for the mute
SURROGATES FOR POSTAGE STAMPS
(Scott Nos. 139-140)
1917. Money-stamps, used as postage stamps. The designs of the 1 and 2 kopek
values correspond to those on Nos. VII and VIII (with overprints). The design
of the 3 kop. value corresponds to No. VI. The reverse side of the money-stamp
is gumless with a black test without the symbol of the State Emblem. The stamps
are printed on this cardboard. Comb perforation 13 1/4.
KOMitKA. 10111t*1. ogRgtnggf.
HMteeTh HNtemb MNuterb
xomAenie Ha- xomAeHie Ha- XxoNIAeie Na-
"pa"t a ca mtA- past Cb MttA- pasHt c-b tA-
HoaIt oHeTOAl. HOi MOHerTO. Ho-t moHeTOei.
IX 79/83 1 kop. orange with overprint "1" 30
X 80/83 2 kop. green with overprint '2" -45
XI 54/83 3 kop. red 30
IXBa 1 kop. orange, the overprint "1" is 100
'thinner and shorter
1. Uncanceled money-stamps are considered money symbols. Most of those canceled
by postal establishments were made by requests of collectors. Those on letters
which pass through the mails are valued +1250 for each letter.
2. Imperforates are known. They have not been found used on covers which passed
through the mails.
In 1917 the money-stamps with the values 1, 2, and 3 kopeks were issued without
the emblem of Russia the two headed eagle with crowns on the reverse side.
The text reads "Has the circulating equivalence with copper coins." These money-
stamps did not have official postal circulation; however letters are known franked
with them and which passed through the mail.
THE USE OF PRE-REVOLUTIONARY STAMPS
AFTER THE GREAT OCTOBER SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
In the first years of the Soviet authority, there developed a shortage of
the required numbers of postage stamps. For this reason the postage stamps of
previous issues were used on a par with Soviet stamps up to March 31, 1923. It
is for the same reason that stocks of the pre-revolutionary savings and control
stamps were used as postage stamps from January 21, 1918 till September 15, 1922.
Somepostal establishments even used revenue stamps as postage stamps.
In a number of reforms of the Soviet authority, dated January 26, 1918 to
February 1, 1918, old style (February 14, 1918 new style) the Soviet Peoples
Commissars decreed to adopt the Gregorian calendar as used in western countries
in place of the Julian calendar in use in Russia in this time. With the adoption
of the new calendar, the dates on postal markers were advanced 13 days,
Due to -the continuing inflation, the nominal values of postage stamps and the
rates for the sending and delivery of postal correspondence frequently changed.
The following tables give the revaluation of stamps and the changes in postal
rates for the period of use of the former imperial stamps after the October
Revolution, This date is taken from the article by V. Karlinskii "Philatelic
Investigation of Franked Letters of the RSFSR and USSR 1917-1971" published
in Soviet Collector, Moscow, 1971, No. 9.
On September 15, 1922, a new type of correspondence was introduced, the "speshnaya
pochta" (the fast post). The rate for a normal weight letter using the fast post
was set at 200 rubles.
Revaluation of the Former Imperial Stamps
Period of Circulation
Up to March 9, 1920
Issues Nominal values Price after
of stamps revaluation
Standard Issues From 1 kop. to Sold at face
perf. and imperf. 10 rub. value
(18, 22, 24, 25 & All values
26th Issue and
Nos. 119 and 120
of the 23rd Issue)
1913 Jubilee Issue From 1 kop. to Sold at face
(19th Issue and Nos. 5 rub. value
117 and 118 of the All values
Postal-Charity From 1+1 kop. to Sold at face
stamps 1914-15 10+1 kop. value
(20 & 21st Issues) All values
Small size savings 1, 5, and 10 kop. Sold at face
stamps (put into value
circulation in place
of postage stamps on
January 12, 1918)
Large size savings 25 and 50 kop. Sold at face
stamps (put into value
circulation in place
of postage stamps in
Control stamps From 25 kop. to Sold at face
(put into circulation 100 rub. value
in place of postage (small values used
stamps in June 1918) primarily)
Revaluation of the Former Imperial Stamps
Period of Circulation
From March 10, 1920 to August 14, 1921
Issues Nominal values Price after
of stamps revaluation
Standard Issues, From 1 to 20 kop. 1 kop. 1 rub.
perf. and imperf. From 25 kop. to Sold at face
(18, 22, 24, 25 & 10 rub. value
26th Issue and (25, 35, 50 & 70 kop.
Nos. 119 and 120 were withdrawn
of the 23rd Issue) April 8, 1921)
1913 Jubliee Issue Orderes removed
(19th Issue and Nos. from sale on
117 and 118 of the March 10, 1920
(20 & 21st Issues)
Small size savings 1, 5, and 10 kop. 1 kop. 1 rub.
stamps (put into
circulation in place
of postage stamps on
January 12, 1918)
Large size savings 25 and 50 kop. Sold at face
stamps (put into value
circulation in place
of postage stamps in
Control stamps From 25 kop. to Sold at face
(put into circulation 100 rub. value
in place of postage All values
stamps in June 1918)
Revaluation of the Former Imperial Stamps
Period of Circulation
From August 15, 1921 to April 14, 1922
Issues Nominal values Price after
of stamps revaluation
Standard Issues, From 1 to 20 kop. 1 kop. 1 rub.
perf. and imperf. (withdrawn from
(18, 22, 24, 25 sale December 10,
& 26th Issues and 1921)
Nos. 119 and 120 From 1 to 10 rub. Sold at face
of the 23rd Issue) (also withdrawn value
December 10, 1921)
1913 Jubilee Issue
(19th Issue and
Nos. 117 and 118 of
the 23rd Issue)
(20 and 21st Issues)
Small size savings 1, 5, and 10 kop. Each stamp sold
stamps (put into for 250 rubles
circulation in place
of postage stamps on
January 12, 1918
Large size savings 25 and 50 kop. Each stamp sold
stamps (put into for 250 rubles
circulation in place
of postage stamps in
Control stamps From 25 kop. to Each stamp sold
(put into circulation 100 rub. for 250 rubles
in place of postage
stamps in June 1918)
Revaluation of the Former Imperial Stamps
Period of Circulation
From April 15 to September 30, 1922
Issues Nominal value Price after
of stamps revaluation
Standard Issues From 1 to 14 kop. 1 kop. 1000
perf. and imperf. rub.
(18, 22, 24, 25 & From 1 to 10 rub. 1 rub. 1000
26th Issues and rub.
Nos. 119 and 120
of the 23rd Issue)
Savings and 1, 5, and 10 kop., Each stamp sold
control stamps 25 and 50 kop. for 250 rub.
25 kop. to 100
From October 1 to December 31, 1922
Standard Issues From 1 to 14 kop. 1 kop. 1 rub.
(as given above)
From 1 to 10 rub. Sold at face
Savings stamps and
From January 1 to March 31, 1923
Standard Issues From 1 to 14 kop. Sold at face
(as given above) (withdrawn from value
sale March 31, 1923)
From 1 to 10 rub. 1 rub. 1 kop.
sale March 31, 1923)
Savings stamps and
Notes to the table on the revaluation of the former Imperial stamps:
1. The table gives the official withdrawal date of a stamp from circulation.
However, due to shortages at some postal establishments, the officially withdrawn
stamps were sometimes used even beyond the given date.
2. Circular No. 35/335 of the Narkonpochtelya (an acronym for Peoples Kommissariat
for the Post) allowed the Turkestan Postal District to revalue the standard stamps
as follows, beginning January 1, 1922:
the 25 and 35 kop. stamps 25 rub.
the 50 and 70 kop. stamps 100 rub.
the 1, 2, and 3 kop. and 1 rub. stamps 500 rub.
the 4 kop. and 3 rub. 50 kop. stamps 1,000 rub.
the 5 and 7 kop. stamps 5,000 rub.
the 14 kop. and 10 rub. stamps 50,000 rub.
However, as V. Karlinskii states, letters franked with these revalued stamps
have not been discovered.
Postal Rates for Internal Mail
Date of Postcards Local Sealed Letter
Introduction Ordinary Registered Ordinary Registered
August 15, 1917 5 kop. 25 kop. 10 kop. 30 kop.
February 28, 1918 20 kop. 90 kop. 30 kop. 1 rub.
September 15, 1918 10 kop. 35 kop. 15 kop. 40 kop.
January 1, 1919 Free 35 kop. Free 40 kop.
November 1, 1919 Free 3 rub. Free 4 rub.
March 10, 1920 Free 10 rub. Free 10 rub.
August 15, 1921 100 r. 1100 r. 100 r. 1100 r.
February 1, 1922 3000 r. 18,000 r. 5000 r. 20,000 r.
April 1, 1922 4000 r. 24,000 r. 6000 r. 26,000 r.
April 15, 1922 20,000 r. 120,000 r. 30,000 r. 130,000 r.
October 1, 1922 5 rub. 20 rub. 5 rub. 20 rub.
November I, 1922 10 rub. 40 rub. 10 rub. 40 rub.
December 1, 1922 20 rub. 60 rub. 20 rub. 60 rub.
January 1, 1923 50 rub. 1 r. 50 k. 50 kop. 1 r. 50 k.
March 1, 1923 75 kop. 2 r. 25 k. 75 kop. 2 r. 25 k.
Postal Rates for Internal Mail
Intercity Sealed Letter
August 15, 1917 15 kop. 35 kop.
February 28, 1918 35 kop. 1 r. 05 k.
September 15, 1918 25 kop, 50 kop.
January 1, 1919 Free 50 kop.
November 1, 1919 Free 4 rub.
March 10, 1920 Free 10 rub.
August 15, 1921 250 rub. 1250 rub.
February 1, 1922 7500 r. 22,500 r.
April 1, 1922 10,000 r. 30,000 r.
April 15, 1922 50,000 r. 150,000 r.
October 1, 1922 10 rub. 25 rub.
November 1, 1922 20 rub. 50 rub.
December 1, 1922 40 rub. 80 rub.
January 1, 1923 1 rub. 2 rub.
March 1, 1923 1 r. 50 k. 3 rub.
The valuation for a "Free" letter which
went through the mail is +75.
Postal Rates for International Mail
Date of Postcards Sealed Letter
Introduction Ordinary Registered Ordinary Regustered
September 1, 1917 8 kop. 28 kop. 20 kop. 40 kop.
March 10, 1918 12 kop. 42 kop. 30 kop. 60 kop.
1919* 80 kop. 2 r. 80 k. 2 rub. 4 rub.
April 7, 1920 4 rub. 14 rub. 10 rub. 20 rub.
1921* 8 rub. 28 rub. 20 rub. 40 rub.
August 25, 1921 400 r. 1400 r. 1000 r. 2000 r.
November 21, 1921 2000 r. 7000 r. 5000 r. 10,000 r.
February 20, 1922 4000 r. 14,000 r. 10,000 r. 20,000 r.
March 1, 1922 6000 r. 21,000 r. 15,000 r. 30,000 r.
April 1, 1922 18,000 r. 48,000 r. 30,000 r. 60,000 r.
May 20, 1922 30,000 r. 80,000 r. 50,000 r. 100,000 r.
June 1, 1922 120,000 r. 320,000 r. 200,000 r. 400,000 r.
July 1, 1922 27 rub. 72 rub. 45 rub. 90 rub.
October 15, 1922 45 rub. 120 r. 75 rub. 150 rub.
November 1, 1922 90 rub. 240 r. 150 r. 300 rub.
December 1, 1922 150 r. 400 r. 250 r. 500 rub.
January i, 1923 2 r. 10 k. 5 r. 60 k. 3 r. 50 k. 7 rub.
March 25, 1923 3 rub. 8 rub. 5 rub. 10 rub.
Rates for International Airmail
June 4, 1922 32 rub. 52 rub. 40 rub. 60 rub.
July 1, 1922 72 rub. 117 rub. 90 rub. 135 rub.
October 25, 1922 120 rub. 195 rub. 150 rub. 225 rub.
November 1, 1922 165 rub. 315 rub. 225 rub. 375 rub.
"*indicates approximate date
V. Karlinskii reports that "investigations of letters show that in most cases,
the franking of international correspondence in the period 1918 to August 25,1921
was made at the internal rates in effect at the time of sending."
(Unlisted in Scott)
1918, January 12. Savings stamps of the Russian empire used as postage stamps.
Typographed printing. Original designs with format 16.5 x 22 mm on a fine screen
background. The paper is yellowish, watermarked with vertically positioned
diamond shapes (WM7). Frame perforation 14 1/2 x 14 3/4.
141 84 1 kop. red and brownish yellow 3 5
142 85 5 kop. green and brownish yellow 3 5
0 143 86 10 kop. brown and brownish yellow 5 10
The same stamps occur on paper with the watermark positioned in the horizontal
141M 84 1 kop. red and brownish yellow 15 25
142M 85 5 kop. green and brownish yellow 15 25
143M 86 10 kop. brown and brownish yellow 25 50
Note: The premium for a letter or a blank franked with the 1 and 5 kopek savings
stamps is +75; with the 10 kopek savings stamp +100.
SAVINGS AND CONTROL STAMPS
(Unlisted in Scott)
1918, June 5. The savings and control stamps of the Russian empire used in place
of postage stamps. Typographed printing. Original designs with format 45-45.7 x
23-23.2 mm on a background of arced (parentheses-like) lines. The paper is
yellowish (the 100 ruble is on bluish paper). Watermarked (WM7) consisting of
vertically positioned diamond shapes (WM7). Comb perforation 13.
The background consists of parentheses-like arced lines looped toward the bottom.
146 89 50 kop. brown and brown-yellow 400 1200
+ l^PTA^flM ^A^AbHAS MAPA KATbHA
144 87 25 kop. black and brown yellow 100 300
145 88 50 kop. brown and brown-yellow 200 600
146 89 50 kop. brown and brown-yellow 400 1200
146M 89 50 kop. brown and brown-yellow but with
the watermark positioned in the
horizontal direction 1500 3750
Note: D. Karachun and V. Karlinskii in their reference book "POCHTOVYE MARKI
CCCP(1918-1968)" (Postage Stamps of the USSR), Moscow, Svyaz, 1969, mention the
existence of stamps No. 144 and No. 145 with the watermark (WM7) turned in the
The background consists of parentheses-like arced lines towards the right.
0HT POAbHA 8_MAPKA' KOIHTPObHAt MAPKA
-- ---** ------ --------->-^-------
.. -- ^ -^ ----- -------~f
147 90 25 kop. gray-black and yellow 100 300
148 91 50 kop. dark brown and yellow 200 600
149 92 1 rub. orange and yellow 30 75
150 93 3 rub. yellow-green and yellow 30 75
151 94 5 rub. dark blue and yellow 30 75
152 95 10 rub. red and yellow 30 75
153 96 25 rub. lilac-brown and yellow 100 300
154 97 100 rub. brown-black and light blue 50 75
The premium for a letter or form franked with one of these stamps in +400% of the
value of the most expensive stamp.
1. The valuations given in the second column are for stamps with genuine postal
2. The following are known with inverted backgrounds (the parentheses-like lines
are arced in the opposite direction): 25 and 50 kop. savings stamps have a
premium of 30%, the 1, 125 and 100 ruble control stamps have premiums of 50%,
100% for the unused and used respectively. This data was given in V. Karlinskii's
article "Soviet Postage Stamps 1917-1941," published in Philately of the USSR,
1968, No. 1, page 38, without valuations).
3. An imperforate 25 ruble stamp is known which passed through the mail in 1921
in Arkhangels Gubernia RRR (mentioned in V. Karlinskii's article cited above).
1918. Revenue stamps of the Russian empire used as postage stamps. Typographed
printing. Original designs with format 21 x 40 mm on a two-colored background in
the form of a fine mesh. Unwatermarked. Comb perforation 12 x 12 1/2.
XII 98 5 kop. lilac-brown and brownish yellow 20 90
XIII 98 10 kop. green-olive and blue 20 90
XIV 98 15 kop. blue and pink 60 270
XV 98 20 kop. light brown and brownish yellow 20 90
XVI 98 50 kop. orange-red and gray 30 135
XVII 98 75 kop. green and brownish yellow 30 135
XVIII 98 1 rub. red and blue 40 180
XIX 98 1 rub. olive-gray and reddish brown 60 270
XX 98 2 rub. violet and dark green 100 900
XXI 98 3 rub. dark blue and rose-lilac 60 270
XXII 98 5 rub. bluish green and light green 60 1000
1. The valuations in the second column are for stamps with genuine postal
2. These stamps on covers or forms which passed through the mail are valued R.
3. These stamps are known imperforate with dubious cancellations in most cases.
Assurance of a genuine cancellation requires covers or forms or large pieces. RR.
4. The rows of the stamps on the sheets are printed tete-beche vertically.
A decree of the Minister of Finance, dated December 2, 1915, abolished the use
of savings stamps for small deposits in savings offices and introduced the
affixing of ordinary postage stamps in the savings cards. As a result, nearly
40 million savings stamps remained unused. A circular of the Peoples Commissariat
of the Post and Telegraph informed all postal establishments that due to a
shortage of paper for postage stamps and the high cost to make them, it was
allowed to again use the savings stamps as originally intended as well as to use
them in place of postage stamps for internal service on transfers and ordinary
Due to the shortage of postage stamps, the savings stamps were widely used for the
payment of all types of postal correspondence. However, it was still required to
use stamps made for postage on international correspondence.
On June 5, 1918, the Peoples Commissariat of the Post and Telegraph sent to
all postal districts (okrug) for their information and instruction a telegram with
the following contents: "Because the postage stamps have been used up, the
establishments of the Turkestan district (okrug) are allowed temporarily to use
control and savings stamps for the payment of all types of correspondence."
In addition to the 1, 5 and 10 kopek savings stamps, the higher value savings
stamps, 25 and 50 kopeks, were used as postage stamps. Issued January 1, 1889,
they were designated for affixing in a savings book as the time of entry of money
desposited. Stamps with denominations 25 kopeks to 100 rubles with designation
"KONTROLNAYA MARKA" (control stamp) were issued in 1901 for the same purpose.
Some postal establishments upon their own initiative similarly released revenue
stamps into postal circulation.
The 1, 5, and 10 kopek stamps upon presentation in a savings book were canceled
with ink or with a special canceler. When savings stamps and control stamps with
denominations 25 kopeks or higher were used at savings offices located at postal
establishments, the stamps were canceled with postal cancelers. These cancellations
were usually placed at the left side of the design so that part of the marking
overlapped the page of the savings book. At the same time, the date of cancellation
was handwritten or stamped with a special marking on each stamp.
The revenue stamps in most cases were crossed in ink and the date of cancellation
was placed on them.
All of the above mentioned stamps that were canceled with designations of use as
savings stamps are not of interest to collectors of postage stamps.
(Scott Nos. 87g, 137b, 138b)
1919. Typographed printing. The design of the 1 ruble stamp is reduced to a
format 26 x 31.2 mm instead of the 26.8 c 31.2 mm of previous issues. The designs
of the other values are the same as previous issues. Prepared by the Perm
Printing Factory of the EZGB. There is a transparent control chalk line (varnish
line) network on the face in the form of criss-crossing lines positioned
horizontal in the form of diamond shapes. The paper is unwatermarked. Frame
perforation 13 1/2 x 13 1/4.
155 26 1 rub. dark brown, brown and brown red 5 5
156 81 3 rub. dark brown lilac and green 10 10
157 82 7 rub. dark green and light pink 5 5
155Aa 1 rub. dark brown, brown and orange-red 5 5
155Ab 1 rub. brown and ochre 10 7
155Ba 1 rub. worn center, emblem is not complete 5 5
155Ea 1 rub. double center 750
155Eb 1 rub. inverted center 500
155Ec 1 rub. shifted center 250
155Ed 1 rub. double frame 400
155Ee 1 rub. inverted background 1000
155Ef 1 rub. double background 400
155Eg 1 rub. shifted background 250
156Ba 3 rub. with worn center 15 15
156Ea 3 rub. with missing chalk line (varnish 30
50 kop. line) network
157Aa 7 rub. dark green and bright pink 10 10
157Ba 7 rub. with worn center 5 5
157Ea 7 rub. shifted background with center 400 400
157Eb 7 rub. with missing chalk line (varnish 30
157Ec 7 rub. background printed on top of the
frame design 1000
155M 26 1 rub. dark brown, brown and brownish 500 1500
156M 81 3 rub. dark brown-lilac and green 10000
157M 82 7 rub. dark green and pink 5000 10000
155MEa 1 rub. missing center 2000
155MEb 1 rub. double center 1000
155MEc 1 rub. inverted center 1000
155MEd 1 rub. shifted center 750
155MEe 1 rub. double frame 900
155MEf 1 rub. double background 900
155MEg 1 rub. inverted background 1500
155MEh 1 rub. shifted background 750
In 1918, due to wear of the perforation machines, the EZGB printers began to
release stamps with defective perforations. At the same time, the EZGB did not
use the available repair equipment for frame perforations because the positions
of the stamps on the issued sheets did not coincide.
The cliches of the 1 rub., 3 rub. 50 kop., and 7 rub. stamps were rearranged in
order to adapt to the existing equipment for frame perforation which was used
earlier for perforating the ruble values of the Jubilee stamps of 1913. The use
of this size insured normal perforation of the stamps and economized on the use
of paper because the control marks were eliminated and the margins of the sheets
The format of the sheet was about 335 x 220 mm. There were 50 stamps per sheet
(5 horizontal rows of 10 stamps, just as on the ruble value sheets of the Jubilee
stamps). The cliches of the stamps were shifted horizontally and the distance
between the stamps was smaller. At the same time, the cliche of the stamp's
background on the 1 ruble value was reduced a bit.
A horizontally positioned diamond shape network of chalk lines (varnish lines),
with respect to the stamp's design, replaced the vertically positioned network
of the previous issues.
The gum is white with yellowish shades.
One ruble imperforate proof stamps are known. The background is green or black.
Valuation is 600 .
STAMPS OF THE CITY POSTS
THE LOCAL ISSUE FOR THE TIFLIS CITY POST
1857, June. A stamp for the City Post of Tiflis. It is an uncolored imprinted
relief design representing the emblem of the city of Tiflis with the State Emblem
of the double headed eagle within a circle in the center, enclosed with two square
frames. The text within the frames at the left reads "TIFLIS," at top "GOROD" (City),
"POCHTA" (Post) at the right and "6 KOP." at the bottom. Between the inner square
and the circle in the four corners are the symbols of the post, two crossed post-
horns. The size of the design is 21.5 x 21.5 mm. It is an issue of the postal
district (okrug) of the Caucasus and Transcaucasus. The paper is thick (0.2 mm),
; I ''
;. i.1. .
Fl 99 6 kop. relief embossing of a design RRRR
on yellowish white paper
Note: To the present time, three unused copies of this stamp have been preserved.
Used copies have not been discovered.
In 1840 the postal establishments of the Caucasus region (krai) were transferred
from the district authority of the Postal Department of the empire to the authority
of the Chief Administrator of the Caucasus region. In the 1840 laws, it states:
".....places, the special administration of the various sections, that is, the
customs, the schools and posts, are under the responsibility and supervision of
the Chief Administrator of the Caucasus region, who governs over these sections
on the basis of decrees and rules, made up specifically for these departments." 33
Starting in 1840, the post in the Caucasus was administered by the Chief Administrator
of the Caucasus region and later by Governors of the Caucasus, who were conferred
with broader authority.
V. A. Kaminskii published an article in 1970-71 on the postal use of the Tiflis
stamp in the Tiflis City-Post. Basing his conclusions on archive documents, he
established that on June 30, 1857 a section (otdelenie) of the Tiflis City Post
was opened at the Tiflis Gubernia Post Office. The stamp of the Tiflis City Post
was placed into circulation at that time.34
The stamps of the City Post continued to be used in Tiflis after the March 1, 1858
introduction of the Imperial government postage stamps in the Caucasus. They were
called "stamped printings." This was announced by the Tiflis Gubernia Post Office
in the newspaper "Kavkaz," published March 20, 1858. It was stated there that
letters which are placed in boxes addressed to Tiflis without the City Post stamps
will not be delivered. Instead they will remain in the office and will be dis-
played in a special box of the establishment for return to the sender."
It remains unclear when the use of the Tiflis City Post stamp was discontinued.
The City Post issue apparently came about upon the proposal of the temporary adminis-
trator of the postal district of the Caucasus and Transcaucasus, N.S. Kakhanov.
The size of the issue, the numbers sold and the number of stamps per sheet have not
been established. They were printed on a hand press. It is assumed that they were
printed in strips of five stamps.
The gum has a yellowish cast, thickly laid, and is cracked.
33Collection of Laws on the Administration of the Post 1831-1849. T. V., page 13,
Articles 1059/13368, April 10, 1840, St. Petersburg, 1850.
34Kaminskii, B. "Postal Circulation of the Tiflis Stamp" Philately of the USSR,
1970, No. 8, page 8. "Tiflis City Post", Philately of the USSR, 1971, No. 10,
THE STATE ISSUE FOR THE CITY POSTS
OF ST. PETERSBURG AND MOSCOW
(Scott No. 11)
1863, August (beginning of). A stamp for the City Posts of St. Petersburg and
Moscow. Typographed printing. A delicately executed two-color design in a
format 16.3 x 22.6 mm depicting in a center circle a shield with the emblem
of the postal administration on a background of intersecting thin arc-shaped
lines. The background of the shield and the eignt-sided frame about the center
consists of small colored dots and dashed forming an irregular ornament. The
artist and engraver was F. Keppler. Prepared by EZGB. The paper is white,
unwatermarked. Frame perforation 12 1/2.
F2 100 5 kop. black and blue 250 1000
F2Aa 5 kop. black and light blue 400 1200
F2Ba 5 kop. retouch of cliche (46th stamp 1500 4000
on some sheets)
Premiums to be Added to the Values of the Stamp
Block of 4 +250 RRRR
On cover with cancellation +30000
On cover with later dates +7500
Stamp with control mark on margin of +1000
Beginning in 1858, within the empire all ordinary intercity letters paid with
postage stamps or in stamped envelopes were allowed to be placed in postal boxes.
However, to avoid the overpayment of the existing rates, letters of the City Post
of St. Petersburg and Moscow could be placed in postal boxes only with the
stamped envelopes of the City Post. The rate for sending a city letter of any
weight was 5 silver kopeks. There were no stamps with that denomination available
until 1863. The lowest value postage stamp was 10 silver kopeks. City letters
that were sent in ordinary envelopes had to be submitted at a Receival Place of
the City Post with payment in currency of the 5 kopek postal rate for a letter
each time. This obsolete procedure prohibited the use of postal boxes for the
sending of letters in ordinary envelopes and was extremely inconvenient for the
postal workers as well as the correspondents.
On March 21, 1863, the general director of the Postal Departments turned to the
State Council for permission to introduce a special 5 kopek stamp for letters sent
within the City Posts of St. Petersburg and Moscow. After consideration of the
proposal on June 17, 1863, the State Council expressed its opinion for the intro-
duction of a City Post stamps in both cities.
On July 15, 1863, the opinion of the State Council was approved by Aleksander II.
Even prior to the approval of the State Council, the Postal Department ordered
on May 27, 1863 one half million stamps from the EZGB. They were made by July 25,
On July 30, 1863 in Circulars Nos. 10105 and 10106 of the Postal Department, the
St. Petersburg and Moscow Main Post Offices (pochtamt) were instructed "upon
receival of the stamps to quickly offer them for sale in the pochtamt, in the
City Post divisions (otdelenie) as well as in other Receival Places of the City
L4 HA CCCP (Central State Historical Archives of the USSR) fund. 1289, opis 1,
delo 1960, "On the introduction of stamps for letters sent by City Post"
On August 2, 1863, the department placed an announcement in the newspaper
"Severnaya Pchela" and other newspapers. It said, in part, "in order to improve
the existing manner of sending letters by the City Posts, His Highness has allowed
the introduction for this correspondence a special postage stamp which can be
glued on to an ordinary envelope or folded letter without an envelope. Even
with the introduction of these stamps, the method of sending letters in the
stamped envelopes is retained as well. The sale of the postage stamps will be
daily except Sunday at the Main Post Office (pochtamt) of both cities as well as
in other Receival Places of the City Post..."
On August 5, 1863, the Postal Department in a letter, No. 10475, authorized the
official Galaktionov "to accept without delay from the EZGB 500,000 postage
After the issuance of the 1, 3, and 5 kop. Imperial stamps in 1864, the stamp
that was specially authorized by the Postal Department in August 1863 was
removed from ciculation in the City Post. However, it was admitted without
hindrance for payment of international correspondence up to 1884. It is
indicated in the literature that this stamp was allegedly used in the City
Posts of Astrakhan and Kazan which opened in 1866. The accounts for tht first
six months ofoperationof the Kazan City Post state that 2,920 copies of a
5 kopek stamp were sold and that 1,795 letters were forwarded, franked with
5 kopek stamps (Kazan Gubernia Administration, No. 17, April 18, 1867). However,
it is doubtful that these were City Post stamps and not Imperial stamps.
An intercity letter is known, sent from Tver to St. Petersburg franked with a
* pair of the 5 kop. City Post stamps, marked with canceler SC18 "TVER, 1 MAI 1864."
This was during the period of use of these stamps in St. Petersburg and Moscow
In 1909, 111, 900 copies of this stamp were destroyed and 7,600 copies transferred
for safe keeping to the Postal-Telegraph Museum. In 1911, they were sold by the
Chief Admnistrator of the Post and Telegraph to F. Kozak, a Berlin stamp
The paper was imported. It was soft and the face side of the sheets was coated
with a thin layer of a special substance. There were 100 stamps to a sheet,
4 panes of 25 (5 x 5).
The gum is white, transparent, laid unevenly on the paper and appears cracked.
The stamps fade in water, the design washes off the paper. At the lower margin
of the sheet, a control mark in the form of horizontal parentheses ( ) were
printed in blue ink.
36Efremov, E. "To Aid the Postman" Philately of the USSR, 1968, No. 8,
The stamped cancel SC19 of the St. Petersburg City Post with red ink is considered
usual. Those in black ink with dates 1863-64 are valued +250. Stamped cancel
SC20 and those of the suburban places of the St. Petersburg Gubernia, SC18
(Peterhof and others) are valued +500. The Moscow oval receival marking with
the time indicated in words at the bottom of the oval is RR. The cancellation
of the type SC18 for the city of Tver RRRR. Cancellations with different
markers dated 1881-1884 are considered common, occur primarily on philatelic
letters sent to other countries.
The types of stamped cancels on the City Post, used later to cancel the various
Imperial stamps, were given in the earlier sections under the corresponding
issues of the Imperial stamps.
Fake cancellations of the types SC10, SC20 and others are known.
Proof stamps with the design and color of those placed into circulation were made
by F. Keppler. The paper is very thick and unwatermarked. They exist imperforate
and perforated 12 1/2. The latter is also known with punched holes.
Professor N. V. Luchnik in his article "Russian Stamps ... 1845," published in
Philately of the USSR, 1969, No. 6, page 12, cited postal documents and literature
(John Reynolds Catalog of Postage Stamps of Russia, Part II, 1957) with regard
to several published essay stamps. He said that these essays were made by the
artist P. Mozzhechkov in 1845 for the St. Petersburg City Post upon the request
of the St. Petersburg Main Post Office (pochtamt). Two types of essays were made.
1. a black design, circular in form with text about the circle "OBRAZETS
POCHTOVOI MARKI S.P. POCHTY" (Specimen of a postage stamp of the St.
Petersburg Post). The paper is very thin and brownish. Type NN.
2. a design in an octogonal shape had the text "OBRAZETS GORODSKOI MARKI
S.P.B." (Specimen of a City Stamp of St. Petersburg). Type 00.
STAMPS FOR DELIVERY CHARGE OF LEGAL LETTERS
1909. Typographed overprint "To Aid the Postman" on revenue stamps. The
original design with format 21 x 40 mm is on a two-colored background in the
form of a woven fine network on the face side of the stamp paper. Unwatermarked.
Comb perforation 12 x 12 1/2.
G1 101 15 kop. blue and pink, red overprint 1500 300
G1E 15 kop. vertical pair, tete beche 5000
Letters with these stamps are valued 5000.
Essay stamps with the overprint "To Aid the Postman" are known. Valuation is
RR, tete beche RRR.
TO AID THE POSTMAN ISSUE
1911 (1910?) Typographed two-color printing. The original design with format
20.5 x 30.7 mm is on a background with a colored ornamental network on the face
side of the stamp paper. Unwatermarked.
Comb Perforation 12 x 12 1/2
G2 102 15 kop. black and rose 200 350
Line Perforation 13 1/4
G2M 102 15 kop. black and rose 75 300
Premiums to be Added to the Values of the Stamps
No. G2 No. G2M
Block of four +250 +100 -
On cover +850 +650
On June 19, 1909 in Circular No. 36883 the Ministry of Justice informed the
heads of the judicial institutions of the empire that on June 7th, "His Highness
had the honor to confirm" the law approved by the State Council and the State
Duma on the manner of relations of the judicial institutions with litigants by
means of the posts and that this law must be put into effect within a period
of a year. In a later publication in 1909, a directive ordered that for the
delivery of a registered letter with judicial papers (packets) to the hands of
the addressees there be collected a postal fee for the registration, a fee for
the sending of the notification at the usual rates and 15 kopeks to aid the
postman for the delivery of each letter (packet).
The fee to aid the postman was collected by means of a special stamp, "the use
of which is subject to all rules that apply to ordinary issues." The stamps
were glued on the cover of the letter (packet) and were canceled in the usual
In 1910 additional instructions were published 37 which informed, in part, that
the stamp for collecting the fee to aid the postman has a designated value of
37Postal-Telegraph Journal, Official section, 1910, No. 16
15 kopeks and the design of the orange-toned stamp has a representation of the
State Emblem and text "To Aid the Postman" with the value.
Letters sent by the judicial institutions to litigants always had mixed franking -
ordinary stamps for the rates in effect and the additional judicial postage
stamp "To Aid the Postman." They were canceled with the usual postal cancelers.
STAMPS OF THE ST. PETERSBURG CITY PUBLIC TELEGRAPH
1866. Typographed two-colored printing. An octagonal black design with the
emblem of the city of St. Petersburg in the center of a colored frame with
format 27.8 x 27.8 mm with a background of thin horizontal lines. The paper is
white, unwatermarked. Line perforation 12.
HI 103 20 kop. black and brown 70,000
H1Aa 20 kop. black and light brown 70,000
Note: Apparently no more than 20 telegraph stamps have been preserved. All
are known unused only. The manner of cancellation of the telegraph stamps is
In 1881 imperforate reprints were released. The paper is unwatermarked 0.075 nan
thick (with gum). The design is the same but was printed in the reverse order
than were the genuine stamps. The colored frame with the background network
was printed first, later in the black design. Consequently, the brown lines of
the background in the black portions of the design are not visible. For a
stamp with glossy ink on the 20 kop. black and brown, the valuation is 2500 -.
Specimens of stamp H1 are known with an overprint of the word "OBRAZETS" with
large red letters across eight stamps. One letter of the word appears on each
Fakes to deceive collectors are known. They were made by perforating the
imperforate reprints. The perforation size is similar to the genuine.
1867. The same stamps with an overprint of a new value.
H2 ,104 10 kop. on black and brown, 9000
20 kop. red overprint
H2M 104 as above, without gum 7500
H2Aa 10 kop. on black and light brown, 9500
20 kop. red overprint
The growth of St. Petersburg and its suburbs and the large population necessitated
the construction of city branch offices in addition to the existing main telegraph
station. In 1866, 16 stations were opened in various districts of the city, one
of which was designated for governemnt dispatches only.
On May 22, 1866 the temporary regulations of the St. Petersburg City Public
Telegraph were confirmed. On a trial basis, this allowed telegrams to be sub-
mitted without payment each time in cash, but rather the telegraph charge be
made by means of stamped telegraph forms and telegraph stamps.
The temporary regulations on accepting and sending dispatches at the St. Petersburg
City Public Telegraph stipulated that:
- The acceptance and sending of telegrams at all stations be made in the Russian,
French, and German languages, daily .from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
the telegrams must be written on the established stamped forms which cost
40 kopeks for a dispatch up to 20 words. When the number of words exceeds
20, a 20 kopek telegraph stamp is affixed for each additional 10 words or
The stamps were also accepted for payment of return messages and for the delivery
of a copy of the telegram to several addresses at the rate of 20 kopeks (1 stamp)
for each copy.
The telegraph payment stamps were issued only for the districts of St. Peters-
burg. For sending telegrams from these stations to some direction by means of
post, relay, or express messenger, payment was made in cash.
On December 3, 1867 the charge for the sending a dispatch by the St. Petersburg
City Public Telegraph was reduced in half. For this reason the telegraph stamps
and the stamped telegraph forms were overprinted 10 and 20 kop.,respectively.
In 1868 a new telegraph form was issued which costs 20 kopeks.
The telegraph forms and stamps were sold at all stations of the City Telegraph.
After transmittal of the telegraph, the used forms, apparently, were saved for
some time at the telegraph station and later periodically destroyed.
At the end of 1868, the stamped telegraph forms and telegraph stamps were re-
moved from circulation. The charges for telegrams again were paid in cash upon
Paper 0.08 0.085 mm thick (not counting the 0.005 mm gum layer) was used for
the stamps. The eight-sided black design of the stamp was printed first, later
the frame in brown ink with the background of thin horizontal lines. The
design of the St. Petersburg emblem in the center of the stamp is not overlaid
with the brown background lines. The background of brown lines is visible on the
remaining portions of the black design. There were 35 (7 x 5) stamps per sheet,
known only from a sheet of the reprints.
The gum is transparent with yellowish shade and smooth.
The author gives special thanks to Professor K. A. Berngard for his special
editing of the catalog and for providing a series of valuable sources for this
work. The author also thanks S. M. Blekhman, Ya. M. Vovin, Professor A. S.
Georgievsk, M. A. Dobin, B. A. Kaminskii, Mr. M. Liphschutz (Paris), Academician
I. M. Lifschutz, 0. V. Forafontov, who presented his collection for study and
showed all kinds of assistance in the work, M. A. Domes, who carried out a
great effort in selecting the literature sources of the pre-revolutionary period
and to the workers at the A. S. Popov Central Museum of Communication (Lenin-
grad) who acquainted the author with the State Collection of Russian Stamps.
Any and all errors in translation are mine. As I am not expert in the Russian
language, any misinterpretations or grammatical inconsistencies are my fault.
However, I did try to make the text readable and useable, and at the same time
I tried to keep to the original as closely as possible, which may account for
seemingly awkward sentences at times.
The authors style varied from section to section. His description of the issues
were brief words or phrases rather than sentences. However, historical information
and data were typically long multi-clause sentences.
I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data given. One must assume that the
author has given us the facts correctly, barring typographical errors.
Although errata for the fourth part were not available, the obvious typographic
errors were corrected.
In general, the four parts of this catalog were given in chronological order.
However, after discussing the postage stamps for use in the whole country, the
author returns to the nineteenth century to introduce the Tiflis, St. Petersburg
and Moscow City Post stamps. The Tiflis stamp is not even mentioned by many
catalogs whereas the St. Petersburg City Post stamp is well known.
Although the translator tried to make this translation both accurate and readable,
while retaining the flavor of the original, errors may have occurred. I hope not.
Other translators may take issue with my interpretation but I feel that overall
the text and especially the lists would be of some value to the average collector.
It should certainly promote comment since not everyone may agree with Lobachevski's
treatment. Nevertheless, I think Lobachevski has done an excellent job and has
provided us with a new catalog, the first on this subject in over twenty years.
Editor's Note G.V. S.
The Shalimoff translation of the Lobachevski catalog of Russian Imperial postage
stamps concludes with this issue of the Rossica Journal. It is planned to publish
in the next issue an extensive listing of errata and corrections.
Lobachevski's original publication of the catalog was in four sections and,
beginning with section two, he provided corrections and additions to previously
published sections. In some cases we were able to incorporate these into the
translation before we went to press. In other cases, we could not. Mr.
Lobachevski has kindly provided us with an extensive list of corrections to his
original article, apparently made on the basis of his readers' responses.
Likewise, through ignorance or carelessness, we have added errors of our own
in the publication of the Shalimoff translation. Some we already know about;
there may be others. If members would do us the courtesy of dropping the editor
a postcard detailing any other errors they find in the Rossica publication of
the translation, we would be most grateful.
All corrections known will be collated and printed in the next issue of Rossica.
As it is anticipated that this issue will go to the printers by fall, we would
appreciate hearing from you in the near future. K. L. W.
IS IT REAL OR A FANTASY?
by George V. Shalimoff
The appearance of numerous uncataloged Soviet varieties such as imperfs, part
perfs, miss-perfs, proofs, etc., at auction has tempted may collectors to bid
so as to add the unusual to their collections. One successful bid was for a
lot described as:
1961 Fairy Tales, 3K, Imperf, proof in brown only, n.h., v.f. Scott (2469P).
This lot is shown in the photograph,
placed above the issued stamp. A
comparison leads us to ask, is it
In the first place, the issued ^
stamp is offset printed, the
"proof" is engraved. The proof is w
1 mn wider and 0.5 mm taller than
the issued stamp.
Differences in detail abound: the 3K.e OTA CCP S S
shape of the bush in the upper left,
shading lines in the bodies of the
fox and rabbit, ornaments on the
little house. The size of the date
in the lower right corner is
significantly different. iMCA., 3ai n neTyx
With such differences, can it be a
This item does not conform to the
usually accepted definition of a
proof. It may be called as essay,
a test impression of an engraved plate
or some such. Or it may simply be an 3 O qAC P
example of some excellent printing
Although the design is similar to the Soviet issued stamp, how does one know
if such an item is really a product of the Soviet designers and printers of
postage stamps? There is no documentation of such items in the literature
yet many of them appear in auctions. What assurances are there that these are
not simply unusual examples of the printer's art, without any connection to
the postal entity they appear to represent? Can it be they are really fantasies?
What is responsible for this sudden surge of uncataloged Soviet varieties,
printer's waste and such? These are questions that I believe really must be
answered before we accept them as desirable additions to one's collection of
ESTONIAN ARMY THREATENING PETROGRAD IN 1919
by August Leppa
It is not easy to find a suitable short expression for the title of this story
because the aims of the Estonian Army units co-operating with the White Russian
generals were clearly different in the 1919 War for Estonian Independence. Small
Estonian units twice moved quite far away from the Estonian border during the
struggle for Petrograd, but securing their own border was more important than
conquering the Red-held Petrograd. On the other hand, Estonians prepared to
fight also with White Russians because the question of Estonian independence was
not so clear to Yudenitch and other Imperial Russian generals.
In the spring of 1919, after the first months of the Independence War, Estonians
had practically reoccupied their whole national area. In the south the front
stablized roughly along the border between Estonia and Latvia. At the eastern
front the 1st Estonian Division was able to hold its position on the eastern
side of the River Narva. In May 1919 the Estonian Army started to move into
Latvia and in the east to Pskov and towards Petrograd. At the Narva front
Estonians partially followed the attack of the Russian White Northern Army Corps
and advanced to Yamburg. At the same time a small Estonian detachment, including
the newly formed Ingermanland Battalion, landed behind the Red Army front. The
Estonian part of this detachment returned to Estonian territory in May. The
counterattack of the Red Army forced the White Russians back during the next two
months and at the beginning of August 1919 the 4th Estonian Infantry regiment
was responsible for the front to the west of Yamburg and the 1st Regiment along
the Ingermanland lakes to the north of Yamburg.
The next offensive of the White North-Western Army started in October 1919 and
in a few days almost reached Petrograd. This time also an Estonian detachment
was sent to occupy the fortress of Krasnaja Gorka. At the end of October the
4th Regiment followed and tried to finish this task but in vain. At the same
time the 9th Estonian Infantry Regiment stayed near Yamburg. At the beginning of
November these Estonian units returned to their former positions because the Red
Army had forced the White Russians to retreat in panic. In the middle of
November also the Ingermanland lakes were left because of the advancing enemy
and the front stabilized along the front that was formed previously at the
beginning of May. Estonians stayed still on the Russian side of the border but
in this story I'll concentrate only on those two forays deep into Russian terri-
tory from the Narva front. The offensives to Pskov and further to Belaja Strugi
and toward Ostrov are not considered.
Both offensives toward Petrograd were quite short lived and mail connections were
not very easy. Yet some field post items can be connected with these offensives
and with the units participating. On the other hand, more items can be found
if the units, time periods, and locations can be exactly defined. The purpose
of this story is to list and locate those units which were or might have been
on Russian territory, i.e., on the other side of the border that was negotiated
afterwards. A complete list of unit cachets used during these offensives is
not given, only principles according to which field post items belonging to this
area can be distinguished.
Estonian Units and Their Location
The attack of the Russian Northern Army Corps started on the 13th of May. The
1st Estonian Division at the Narva front had only the 4th Infantry Regiment and
some smaller units available. On the 15th of May a small Estonian detachment
landed at Luga Bay. This detachment consisted of the Ingermanland Battalion
and some of the Marine Battalion. Ingerians landed also in Kaporje some days
later but the Estonian contingent was brought back to Tallinn on May 25th.
Besides the units of the Estonian Fleet (e.g., "Vambola" has been mentioned),
an English squadron also participated under the command of Admiral Cowan. On the
15th of May White Russians(Balalhovitch) co-operating with the Baltic Batallion
of the Estonian Army took Gdov on the eastern bank of Lake Peipsi (Peipsi
laevastik). Two days later parts of the 4th Estonian Infantry Regiment advanced
with White Russians to Yamburg but no further. On May 21-23 units of the
Estonian Fleet on Lake Peipsi occupied Raskopel on the eastern shore.
On the railway line from Narva to Petrograd the attack advanced rapidly. After
Yamburg the attack reached Volossovo in a couple of days but the Estonians
stayed in Yamburg. Only the Ingermanland Batallion followed the Northern Army
Corps, later called the North-Western Army, along the coast.
During the summer of 1919 the Red Army pushed back White Army generals but
Moloskovits, a well-known place for collectors of OKCA stamps, was still in the
hands of the North-Western Army at the beginning of August. As early as July
the Estonian 1st Division formed a new front from the railway line, some miles
to the west of Yamburg, northward along the Ingermanland lakes. The 4th Regiment
was in charge at the southern end, the 1st Regiment in the Ingermanland lake
area and the Ingermanland Battalion (in August in was reorganized into a regiment
with 2 battalions) on the left flank. At first only the 3rd Battalion of the
1st Regiment was in the Ingermanland lake area. From the 12th of July onward
the other battalions were still in Northern Latvia, but at the beginning of
August the whole regiment was in Ingermanland.
The artillery batteries which the 1st Division used or which were allocated to
the regiments have not been precisely defined. Before the change in the names of
artillery units in the summer of 1919, at least the following artillery units
fought in the Narva front: the 1st Artillery Regiment and 2nd Fortification
Artillery Division with several batteries in both units. The 1st and 5th batteries
of the First Artillery Regiment followed the battalions of the 1st Infantry
Regiment in Latvia and at least the 5th battery didn't return. On the other
hand, fortification artillery was probably used very near Narva to strengthen
the fortified positions. Yamburg is also so near the Estonian border that
artillery units might have been on the Estonian side.
After the reorganization of the artillery the units at the Narva front can be
distinguished: Field Battery 1 followed the 1st Infantry Regiment; field Batteries
2 and 3 and Heavy Fortifications Batteries 6, 7, and 9 were located behind the
4th Infantry Regiment; Field Battery 16 belonged to the 9th Infantry Regiment
which returned from Latvia at the beginning of August and which remained in
reserve in Narva.
The second offensive toward Petrograd started in October 1919. At first the
offensive of the North-Western Army was rapid and successful. Pavlovsk and
S Tsarskoje Selo were reached on 23 October. White generals reached the gates of
Petrograd but were not able to continue and the retreat was as quick as the
advance. By the middle of November the Red Army attacked against the Estonian
front near Yamburg. The North-Western Army was disarmed in Estonia; only about
2500 men remained at the Narva front.
The Estonian Army was not very eager to help the Imperial Russian generals and
the operations around Krasnaja Gorka have been explained as preparations for
possible conflict with potentially victorious Yudenitch. In any case, some
Estonian units fought a couple of weeks deep into Russian territory. For a while
two companies of the 4th Infantry Regiment refused to advance into Russia but
only temporarily. At the first stage a special group of small units landed on
13 October in Kaporje and on 14 October in Peipija. This group consisted of, in
addition to the Estonian Fleet, the Ingermanland Regiment, the Kuperjanov
Battalion with its Field Battery 14, the Scout Battalion, the infantry detach-
ment of armored train 3, and a Marine detachment (probably part of Marine Battalion).
According to Hinnom, the Kuperjanov and Scouts Battalions were already reorganized
into regiments but according to the official study these units were still con-
sidered battalions in October 1919. The aim of this army group, Krasnaja Gorka,
was not reached and some days later, on 26 October, the 4th Infantry Regiment
tried to take the garrison from the south but still in vain. Field Battery 1
followed the regiment to Djatlitso, Gostilitso, a few miles to the west from
Krasnoje Selo. The 4th Regiment stayed there only for a few days because White
forces began to retreat. The first group was evacuated in 5 November when the
Estonian fleet left Kaporje. The 4th Regiment returned on 9 November to the
position of Ingermanland lakes but after only a couple of days enemy pressure
forced the Estonians to leave for new positions around Narva.
The Baltic Battalion has also been mentioned at the Ingermanland lakes front
during the last few days of this operation. Along the railway line the 9th
Infantry Regiment had followed the advancing Russians up to Yamburg in October
but not further. A month later the Red Army was back in Yamburg and heavy attacks
forced the 9th Regiment with Field Battalion 16 to retreat hastily westward. The
force of this attack is clearly described in a card sent by an Estonian artillery-
man from this regiment at the end of November better than in any written book:
"...Dead remained there but wounded we managed to bring back...".
Estonian Field Post System
In May 1919 when the first offensive toward Petrograd began, the field post
system had already been functioningseveral months. At that time all mail went
via the field post office in Tallinn but in the autumn of 1919 the nearest field
post office was located in Narva. For a collector these offices are not of
interest because nothing on nailed items refers to them. They just delivered
mail without any cancellations or code numbers.
The main principles of the system, used almost from the beginning of the war,
are as follows:
- mail from active forces to home was postage free if the letter, card, or
parcel was handed to a military unit's office and there received an official
rubber stamp marking indicating the name of the unit
- mail from home to enlisted personnel was paid as usual civilian mail
- mail from a unit was handed to the nearest civilian post office which delivered
it to the main field post office or later on to those two other field post
offices in Narva and Valga. The route was the same in both directions.
- mail was usually censored
- messages could not include the location of the sender's unit but mail from
Latvia is often, especially in June, easily distinguished by written location
During those shortlived raids into Russia practically no civilian mail system
was available. Very probably units delivered their mail to Narva or in the case
of marine troops by ship to Tallinn or other ports. Transportation of supplies
to the far away units, e.g., the 4th Regiment in October, was very difficult.
Dates of sending and arrival may differ more than normal in these cases.
On every card or cover there ought to be the official cachet of the sender's unit.
Sometimes soldiers have also sent franked items, probably hoping that delivery
would be quicker. For some reason, several such items from the Narva front in
December 1919 are known. Because usually every company-size unit had its own
cachet and some units had more than one during the whole period, the number of
different cachets is enormous. Some regiments, like the 8th Infantry Regiment
which was formed during the war, used fewer different cachets, but those units
mentioned earlier in this article with the possible exception of the 9th Regiment
seem to have different cachets for every company. All of those three regiments
also used common cachets without notice of the company number, i.e., cachets
with the regiment number and the text for letters (kirjade jaoks). On the basis
of the material I have seen it is not possible to confirm the hypothesis that
these "more common" types were used later than company cachets.
In most cases chachets are round with the name of the regiment on the circle
and the number of the company or other markings in the middle. Usual expressions
are kirkade jaoks, posti saadetus or tegevast vaest (from active force). The
spelling differs sometimes a bit but it is not a mistake since language was
developing at that time.
The material I have available is so meager that there is no way to conclude
which cachets of those which are listed in Eesti Filatelist were used during the
offensives. The only way to define such an item is to find a suitable date and
maybe also a suitable location on a card. In the summer of 1919 the 9th Regiment
also used the old cachet of the former unit, Parnu Kaitse Bataljon or Parnu
Defence Battalion. This cachet was still in use in Narva when this regiment
arrived in the beginning of August. Also the old cachet of the 2nd Heavy
Fortification Artillery Division, 4th Battery, was used in September 1919 but
this unit probably was located on the Estonian side.
Besides several cachets of those infantry regiments 1, 4 and 9 a lot of cachets
have also been registered from the Kuperjanov and Scouts Battalions and from
artillery units. On the other hand, the cachets of the Ingermanland Regiment
Headquarters, Miiniristleja Vambola, Marine Battalion and Commandant of Yamburg
seem to be single items found up to day. The latest cachet indicates that
Estonians stayed also in Yamburg but the list in Eesti Filatelist doesn't tell
at what time this cachet was used. A more detailed list of unit cachets can be
found in the article by Ojaste, Osi and Ostrat and in its several addenda.2
In the following a short and very probably incomplete list of units which fought
in Russia between Narva and Petrograd is given. This list is only an expression
of my opinions and should be taken as such. In addition to the artillery units
not easily located, perhaps some special units from the rear area of the 1st
Division could be added. For example, signaling (side komando) or medical care
(sidumise salk) units belonging to a whole division are difficult to locate.
Unit Estonian name Location and time period
1st Infantry Regiment 1 Jalavae polk July-November on the
Ingermanland lakes line,
I & II Battalion August-Nov.
4th Infantry Regiment 4 Jalavae polk or May in Yamburg, up to
eg. 4 Eesti October near Yamburg but
Rahwawae polk resting in the rear area is
also possible; the front
line in August-October was
also very hear the border;
October-November in Gostilitso
near Krasnoje Selo.
9th Infantry Regiment 9 Jalavae polk, October-November near
formerly Parnu Yamburg
Ingermanland Battalion Inkerin Rykmentti May Luuga and Kaporje
and Regiment landings; May-July near
Petrograd on the coast;
August-October at Ingermanland
lakes; October-November at
Krasnaja Gorka and lake line
Baltic Battalion Balti Pataljon May Gdov; November lake line
Marine Battalion Meredessant Pataljon May Luuga; October-November
at Krasnaja Gorka
Kuperjanov Battalion Kuperjanovi October-November at Krasnaja
Partisanide Pataljon Gorka
Scouts Battalion Scout Pataljon same as Kuperjanov Battalion
Field Battery 1 Valja Patarei Nr 1 October-November with 4th
Field Battery 14 Valja Patarei Nr 14 same as Kuperjanov Battalion
The small infantry detachment of the armored train Nr. 3 (Soomusrong Nr. 3,
loogisalk) which participated in the attack on Krasnaja Gorka in October,
probably never used its own unit cachet. At least such a cachet has not been
found although interestingly the surgeon of this train had his own cachet (arst).
It would be interesting to know what cachet these soldiers used if they had time
to write or possibly to send any cards. Only two artillery batteries are included
in the list; the one that followed the 4th Infantry Regiment to Gostilitso and
probably belonged to the 1st Regiment before that, and the second one Valjapa-
terei 14 which followed the Kuperjanov partisans. Other artillery units mentioned
are not included, but it is certainly worth having a closer look at dates, places
and also the message on cards bearing unit cahcets of these artillery batteries,
i.e., 1 Suurtukivae Polk and 2 Kindluse Raske Suurtukivae Divisjon and later on
Valja Patarei 2, 3, 16 and Kindluse Patarei (Fortification Battery) 6, 7, and 9.
Out of those units mentioned only Field Battery 14 is still lacking an identified
cachet. The Estonian fleet, both on the Gulf of Finland and on Lake Peipsi, are
excluded. "Vambola" can be found on the cachet list but otherwise it is not
possible to identify those cachets used by fleet personnel and whether they were
used on ship or in the harbor of Tallinn. Identified items and information
from fellow collectors are necessary to solve these problems.
A Couple of Cards from Russia
The best way to describe the difficulties involved in collecting this specific
part of the postal history of Estonia is to tell the story of some field post
items. For example, the card from the 4th Infantry Regiment had been for a long
time among my exchange items but nobody wanted it because of the unclear cachet.
1. "4-s Eesti Rahwawae polk/Posti Saadetus" on a card dated 29.X.19 "Greetings
to you from Russia... .We just returned from hunting the Reds and maybe we
soon get to Narva." On 29th October the 4th Regiment was near Krasnoje Selo
where it arrived only a couple of days earlier.
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; .. ..................................... .....................
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