The Samovar

Another unusual mute cancel

David Jay - 10/1/2009 at 00:56

The Levin catalog of mute cancels lists one mark for Odintsovo, Moscow Prov, used late in 1914, with <3 examples known. I picked up on ebay what appears to be another example, except that the card was sent from Moscow rather than Odintsov. The text indicates a date of 5/12/1914, there is a 7/12/1914 Dvinsk routing mark, and an 8/12/1914 Griva-Semgalen, Kyrland receiver. It is addressed to a factory of some sor (booze, I think), and this timing and routing makes sense for something sent from Moscow province. The stamp is not really tied (possible a little at the very top of the card). Using a bright light, I looked for removal of a smaller stamp and a cancel behind this stamp. No sign of this. It is possible that a different 3k Romanov (also not tied) was removed, but this seems unlikely.

The only explanation I know of for use of a mute in Moscow province is that the local canceler was broken and no new cancelers were available. There are isolated other examples of mutes from provinces where they were not authorized, and this is the usual explanation.

Any thoughts would be welcome.

MoscowProv_back.jpg - 89kB MoscowProv_cancel.jpg - 72kB

now the front

David Jay - 10/1/2009 at 00:57


MoscowProv_front.jpg - 92kB

Lacplesis - 10/1/2009 at 02:01

Quote: Originally posted by David Jay  

The only explanation I know of for use of a mute in Moscow province is that the local canceler was broken and no new cancelers were available.

How about the card beeing used not in Moscow Gub., but elsewere, by a travellimg salesman i.e.?

David Jay - 10/1/2009 at 10:43

That is possible. However, the routing information and the timing suggests an origin in the direction of
Moscow province.

Alep - 10/1/2009 at 14:02

My personal opinion (one can agree with or reject it) is that the stamp on this postcard was replaced by another one with a mute postmark. Probably, Dvinsk was the place of shipping but its cancellation on the original stamp was shifted to the right, so only a part of it appeared on the card. In other words, this card seems to be a fake.
I do not believe that there could be used mute cancels in e.g. Moscow or Vyatka provinces etc, i.e. in the territory outside that under the Supreme Commander's-in-Chief rule. I regard all such examples shown by Levin as fakes and I reported this opinion to him.
The traditional explanation as to broken or stolen cancellers cannot be valid, since post offices had usually more than a single cancelling device, so another canceller could be used.

Gary - 10/1/2009 at 17:13

Although there are a lot of signs that indicate the possibility may exist that this item could have been posted in Moscow using the written information on it, I have to agree with Alep in that it appears the stamp on this item was not the original franking. Moscow is different than Moscow gub. Great item for a fake/forgery album.

David Jay - 10/2/2009 at 01:06

Hmmm, without wishing to be too categorical, I find two issues with Alex' explanation of this item:

1) The stamp does not extend all the way to the right side of the card. If the cancel was shifted right, there should be either: a) signs of a cancel, or b) signs of removal of a stamp at the right edge of the card.

2) why the two day difference between the time of writing and the Dvinsk cancel, if Dvinsk is the origin? Not impossible, but not overly likely either.

The problem with mutes is -- they are hard to interpret. The item seems unlikely, but there are not actual signs that it is a fake, other than "it shouldn't be....". Given the chaos of WWI, this is a weak explanation.

I would also question the logic of Alex' rejection of all "out of area" mutes. We have clear evidence of mutes after the time they were authorized to be used, apparently pressed into use because of need. If new cancelers were easily available, these shouldn't exist either, but they clearly do. This does not mean that the covers from some of the "odd" locations are not fakes -- some might well be.

The remaining question is -- where is the mute cancel from, if it was not applied in Moscow province?
(Clearly it was not applied in Moscow, and I didn't suggest that it was.)

Lacplesis - 10/2/2009 at 02:16

Since I have no Levin at hand, I can only fall back on the listing in Sovietsky Kollektioner 26.
There, this postmark is attributed to "Novoborisovsk", but I have no clue on the location of this place.

Alep - 10/2/2009 at 09:41

Some additional observations to support my point of view:

1. The printed text on the card reverse not necessary indicate to that the card was posted from Moscow or its province.
2. If the original cancel was shifted rights, its signs as well as signs of replacement can well be under the replacing stamp, the more so that the stamp height is approximately equal or a little greater than the Dvinsk cancel diameter.
3. The two day difference between writing the message and the date of Dvinsk postmark might mean only that putting into mailbox or handling at the post office was delayed. By the way, transit postmarks were almost never used in Russia in the 2nd decade of the XXth century.
4. "Out of area" and "out of time" are different matters. Indeed, the mute cancels were used almost up to the end of war but only in the areas near to the front line under the army commanders' authority.
5. There exists a great lot of mutes found only on loose stamps not listed by Levin which cannot be attributed to either location without having evidence in the form of covers etc.

Novo-Borisov was in Minsk gubernia, and its mute shown by Levin on p. 86 is very similar to that on this postcard.

David Jay - 10/2/2009 at 10:30

It is very useful to know that the Novo-Borisov and Odintsovo marks are so similar. According to the drawing in
Levin, they are slightly different diameter (17 vs. 18 mm), and the triangle is a little different. Judging from this strike, one would be very hard put to draw a nice clean picture and specify the diameter. It is quite possible that, despite the header on the card, this one was sent Novo-Borisov to Minsk to Dvinsk to Kurland. This would fit the timing indicated by the dates on the item. There just isn't any evidence that the card has been tampered with.

I think this cancel was made by inking some common industrial item. With that kind of cancel, it is possible for more than one location to have the same mark.