The Samovar

Postage due 1918 - 1923

Randy - 5/25/2009 at 13:21

I have a cover posted from Odessa to New York on Oct 20, 1923. On the cover front is a DOPLATIT with '78 c' (French centimes I presume) in it. Also on the cover front is a 10 cent US postage due mark and a 10 cent US postage due stamp. I am trying to convert between the three currencies. Does anyone know where I can find information on conversion rates from kopecks & rubles to centimes and / or from centimes to U.S. dollars & cents? I appreciate any information anyone has. Thanks very much. Randy

jlechtanski - 5/25/2009 at 14:21

Amazing -- another Odessa internatinal postage due cover.

The Federal Reserve Bank Archive is a good source for historical rates.

Average 1923 exchange rates are listed here:

Randy - 5/25/2009 at 17:37

Thanks for the great help. As you probably know the exchange rate for Russia is given only as an average over the 4 year period 1922 - 1925 and is given in Chervonetz.

I'm still trying to get to earlier pages in the document but so far have not found my way.

Thanks again. This is a great start.

jlechtanski - 5/25/2009 at 19:41

Russia was going through a massive hyperinflation during the early 1920s. The government was trying to eliminate debt by devaluing the ruble. The ruble was not fully convertible and that is why it is not in the exchange rate tables.

On 11 October 1922 a parallel currency was created - the chervonetz - backed by gold (equivalent to 10 gold rubles) and fully convertible. It was used in international trade.

jlechtanski - 5/25/2009 at 20:19

By the way, as you may know, this hyperinflation had a effect on the postage rates and stamps of the period. Your cover from 1923 would be a victim of hyperinflation. What kinds of stamps and what rate is on the cover? In October 1923 there were stamps valued in paper rubles and stamps valued in gold rubles. It would be nice to see an image.

Starting on 1 Feb 1922, postage rates were set based on the gold ruble. The Post Office was to state the equivalent in banknotes quarterly. 1 gold kopeck was equal to 1,500 paper rubles. On 1 April 1922 it was reset to 2,000 paper rubles.

On 1 May 1922, 1 new ruble of 1922 was equal to 10,000 paper rubles of all previous currency issues.

In October and November 1923 the conversion rate was changing daily. On 20 October 1923, the date of your cover, the conversion factor was 585. So 1 gold ruble was equal to 585 paper rubles.