The Evolution of 'via-Siberia' Mail. 1897 - 1945

by Jerry Miller, Posted: 2016-12-16 Samovar Email the Link to this Exhibit

Exhibit Categories: ImperialPostal HistoryRailroad MailRSFSR and USSR

The Evolution of 'via-Siberia' Mail. 1899 - 1945

Topic Summary:

This postal history exhibit, as defined on the title page, offers the viewer a chronological overview of the postal evolution of mail sent by way of the trans-Siberian rail network between 1897 until 1945, not in-depth studies of the historical events. Included is only postal history having 'via Siberia' and variation markings on mail in support of the chronological storyline.

The exhibitor knows of NO other similar exhibit in North America, Australia or Europe covering this subject in breath and depth as this one. There are, however, other exhibits which include small portions of the 'story' of 'via Siberia' integrated in other known exhibits.

Philatelic & Related Knowledge & Personal Research

The exhibitor has conducted extensive personal research on the subject and gathered information from various published sources of directly and indirectly related historical publications.

Based on his research, the exhibitor has developed a 'storyline' reflecting the standard chronological evolution directly involving 'via Siberia' but also illustrating the historical effects of wars, revolutions or hostilities affecting the route and related consequential mail, routes and markings.

Furthermore, since no single reference on the subject had been found by the exhibitor, he proceeded to write a series of articles on the subject published in 2010.

Condition & Difficulty of Acquisition

All postal history material has been the best found on the philatelic market during the last 10-15 years and acquired by the exhibitor piecemeal.

Some cover examples are expertized; where certificates are involved, they are on the page reverse. 'Expertization' information will be indicated in small print below the example. However, all material is considered authentic by the exhibitor and 'non-philatelic' in usage.

Although relatively common examples of 'via Siberia' may indeed be found in dealers stocks, the examples shown are in most instances scarce to very rare. Examples shown include missionary & commercial mail, registered mail, value-letters, return-receipt mail, early & combination airmail, official postal service documents, parcel card, double-triple frankings, military & sea-post mail, newspaper wrappers as well as mail to unusual destinations and connected routes.

This exhibit includes over 200+ items of postal history of different rates, routes, markings from/to a wide variety of countries for the aforementioned mail classes including east & west-bound usages along with a variety of important Russian Post Office forerunner mail.

Rare or unique items will have blue matting around them and will usually be single on a page.


The exhibit uses colored text as follows:
Black: General historical, geographical & postal information
Light Blue: Chapter-Start-Page Heading & important annotative information.
Blue-matted examples indicate particular importance & scarcity.

Maroon: Postal rate information.

Thus, the viewer, or philatelic judge, can quickly survey the exhibit by following the colored text which is of most interest to him/her. Important annotative information, where indicated, is in blue text color, and could be "passed" if not of interest, for example. General historical or geographical information will be "boxed" and usually found at the top of the applicable pages.

Text (Century Gothic/Arial) font sizes are: heading/title (14), sub-heading (12) or boxed text (10), cover/postcard/document descriptive text (8 or 9).


Blackburn, J. Lewis & Sieh, Pingwen, Postage Rates of China 1867-1980 , Directorate General of Posts, Taipei, Taiwan, 1981.
Dehnert, Willi/Dr. Kiepe, Deutsche Post in China, Kiautschou, Via Siberia, Berichte, Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Sammler Deutscher Kolonialpostwertzeichen eV, Berlin, Issue 88, September, 1988, pp. 1838-1673.
Durban, William, From Moscow to Vladivostok, Outlook Magazine, November 4, 1899 Issue, pp 587-595.
Flynn, Peter A., Intercepted in Bermuda: The Censorship of Transatlantic Mail During the Second World War, The Collectors Club of Chicago, 2006.
Friedemann/Wittmann, Die Postwertzeichen und Entwertungen der Deutschen Postanstalten in den Schutzgebieten und im Ausland, 4th Edition, Wittmann Verlag, Munich, 1988, p. 124.
Lutgens, Rainer, Airmails Between Germany and China to 1945, Germania, Volume 42, No. 4, November, 2006, pp. 246-259.
Miller, Jerry H, The Evolution of 'via Siberia' Mail.. 1899-1945, German Postal Specialist, Volume 61, Nos. 4, 5 & 6, Whole Nos. 658-640, April/May/June, 2010, pp 141-155 (No. 4, Part 1).
Moeller, Peter, Eurasia Aviation Corporation, Die Entwicklung der Fluggesellschaft und ihre Luftpost China 1931-1943, Dr. Peter Moeller (self-publisher), Filderstadt, Germany, 1989.
Schmidt/Werner, Geschichte der deutschen Post in den Kolonien und im Ausland, Konkordia Verlag Reichold Rudolph, Leipzig, 1939.
Tchilinghirian, S.D./Stephen, W.S.E., Stamps of the Russian Empire Used Aboard, Volumes 4,5,6, The British Society of Russian Philately, 1959/1960.
Tupper, Harmon, To the Great Ocean .. Siberia and the Trans-Siberian Railway, Little, Brown & Company, Boston, 1965.
Van Dam, Theo., The Postal History of the AEF, 1917-1923, The War Cover Club/the Printer's Stone, Fishkill, New York, USA, 1990. Trans-Siberian Railway Trans-Siberian Railway
Young, Peter, Der Grosse Atlas Zum II. Weltkrieg, Bechtermunz Verlag/Weltbild Verlag, Augsburg, 1998.