The Samovar

Postal rates

ameis33 - 11/12/2006 at 14:34

Does anyone of you know where could i find information on russian postal rates?
A tittle of a book, a web site, anything...
I'm particularly interested in postal rates pre-WWI, but a friends of mine who collects russian stamps would also be interested in the following periods, up to nowadays...

Howard time ago posted a translation of the russian postal regulament in 1872... Very interesting and very good job. How did it change after the UPU?


jlechtanski - 11/12/2006 at 18:28

Try this website for Imperial rates:


The fixed UPU foreign rates are shown.

For early Soviet rates:

howard - 11/12/2006 at 19:23

The best reference for pre-revolutionary internal rates is the series of articles by Kaminskii in Sovetskii Kollektsioner.

ameis33 - 11/14/2006 at 15:09

Thanks to all for your help

The link about Latvia covers even the following periods. In the bottom of the page there are two buttons, one related to the 1918-1945 period and the second related to 1945-2006...
As far as i know, Latvia just recently has become an independent country (or even before?) so the postal rates should be considered 90% russian postal rates, isn't it?

jlechtanski - 11/14/2006 at 19:15

Latvia was independent between WWI and WWII and again starting in 1992. During WWI it was occupied by Germany and during WWII it was occupied by the Soviet Union.

This website has the most complete set of basic postal rates that I have seen.

I just ignore the rates not stated in roubles and kopecks.

jlechtanski - 11/14/2006 at 20:08

A detailed discussion of Soviet postal rates appeared in Rossica 73-75.

jlechtanski - 11/25/2006 at 16:12

Anyone interested in the pre-UPU rates might be interested in the images and descriptions in this auction:

European Letter Rates 1840-1871

ameis33 - 11/25/2006 at 17:12

Do you know how to request an auction catalog?
The raw domain is not related to HA Harmers Auction, but to be honest, i didn't search deeply...

But anyone interested in pre-UPU postal conventions, in the rossica journal 117 and 120 can find the text of Russia-Prussia, Russia-Austria and Russia-Italy conventions. I've discovered them just yesterday...

I just want to underline the article XLV of the Russia-Prussia postal convention
"The terms of this additional convention do not extent to Prussia's postal relations with the Kingdom of Poland. Those relations are determined by a special clause"
sigh, sniff sniff... :(
Does anyone of you know this "special clause"?

PS! I cannot not to make my personal appreciation to the Rossica society, who has freely distributed this great source of information

jlechtanski - 11/25/2006 at 17:31

Harmers is owned by Bennett.

Here is the Harmers address and phone number:

howard - 11/26/2006 at 10:44

Note the following errors in the descriptions: lot 182-the correct rate was 30 kop. per lot from 1843-1863, when it was reduced to 20 kop. This cover was franked at the old rate. Lot 183- unit rate to France was 36.25 kop., or 37 kop. if paid with stamps. This cover was not franked at double rate.

jlechtanski - 11/26/2006 at 12:10

Here are two examples to Constantinople in 1865 at the 30k rate. I think the rate changed to 20k in 1871. Something I saw in the Journal.

ameis33 - 12/17/2006 at 05:40

I've requested the auction catalog at Harmers. The catalog in itself is the exact copy of the online one, but there is an interesting preface which introduces the owner of this collection, Gavin Fryer, and with an interesting table of values for the different currencies in 1855.

ameis33 - 12/17/2006 at 08:02

In the following site

describing the Austro-German postal union, i can read the following sentence:

In the North German states (Prussia etc), the currency was the Prussian Thaler, of the 14-Thaler standard, divided into 30 Silbergroschen. In the South German states (Baden, Bavaria, Württemberg etc), the currency was the Gulden, of the 24-gulden standard, divided into 60 kreuzer. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, up to 3lst Oct 1858, the currency was the Gulden, Conventions-Münze, of the 20-gulden standard, divided into 60 kreuzer; and from 1st Nov 1858, the currency was the Gulden, Österreichischer Werth, of the 21-gulden standard, divided into 100 kreuzer. (The currency standards noted above are the amounts of the units that can be minted from one mark Köln weight [233.77g] of pure silver)

How much does it worth actually 233,77 g of pure silver?
I don't know the raw material market, and of course it is subject to changes and fluctuations. I can estimate an average price of 300 euro/kg for the silver (cash payment), taking this price from an economic newspaper.
It's not difficult to make the following evaluation:

Prussia (Northern German States)
30 Sgr = 1 Th, Standard 14 Th
-> 1 Sgr = 300 [Euro/Kg] * 0,23377 [Kg/Standard] / 14 / 30 = 0,17 Euro

Bayern (Souther German States)
60 Kr = 1 G, Standard 24 G
-> 1 Kr = 300 [Euro/Kg] * 0,23377 [Kg/Standard] / 24 / 60 = 0,05 Euro

Austria (up to 31/10/1858)
60 Kr = 1 G, Standard 20 G
-> 1 Kr = 300 [Euro/Kg] * 0,23377 [Kg/Standard] / 20 / 60 = 0,06 Euro

Austria (from 1/11/1858)
100 Kr = 1 G, Standard 21 G
-> 1 Kr = 300 [Euro/Kg] * 0,23377 [Kg/Standard] / 21 / 100 = 0,03 Euro

The basic postal rate in Prussia (like in the other states partecipating to the postal union) for a 1 zoll (16 g) letter over the 20 german miles (150 km circa), which was 3 Sgr, would be equivalent to 0,51 euro... (?)
I don't know how much can this result be reasonable...
It reminds me an old spot of the italian phone company, where a young girl asked her boyfriend: "Do you love me? How much do you love me?" and her mother asked her: "Do you cost me? How much do you cost me?"...

Standing to the table in the auction catalog, in the 1855, 3 Sgr were equal to 9,28 kopecs...

howard - 12/19/2006 at 15:04

Correction to my posting of Nov. 26: the letter rate to Turkish ports was reduced to 20 kop. in 1863 only for letters sent from Odessa.

Sijtze Reurich - 1/11/2008 at 07:41

jlechtanski mentioned one of the philatelic pages of my website (
This link is obsolete now. Quite recently I moved all postal rates pages to another website:

<a href="http:///"

You can find the basic postal rates of Estonia and Latvia from 1783 there.

Sijtze Reurich - 1/11/2008 at 07:44

I am sorry. I should have typed simply: