The Samovar

Multiple Post Wagon cancels on one item

David Jay - 10/22/2009 at 01:01

In Yamshchik 56 (2005), Dr Levandovkiy argues the rarity of mail with multiple post wagon cancels. My initial reaction was that he over-rated their rarity, estimating that there were <100 items in existence with 3 PW cancels, 20-30 with 4, and <10 with 5. Items with 6 and 7 marks he thinks unique (at least to date). Digging through my TPO collection and some other areas with the material from the right time period (mostly 1871-1886 or so), I came up with the attached table.

Material searched:
1) TPO covers, all periods
2) Post station covers of the imperial post with circular, S.L and boxed cancels -- the heyday of these offices was about 1870-1890.
3) RR post Stations (semi-postal offices)
4) arms issues covers from 1866-1891.
5) SPB little RR covers.

I did not search material organized by province or city, or by later issues.

The result was 38 covers/cards with two TPO marks, 13 with three marks, three with four marks, and two with 5 marks. Alas, I did not have any of the items, stated to be worth $5-10k, with 6 or 7 marks.

1) These items are less scarce than previously reported, but six or more TPO marks on one item is still exceptional.
2) The issue of scarcity is mainly one of scarcity of the early TPO material before 1885 or so. Multiple TPO marks are found on a considerable fraction of all early TPO covers, especially in the 1870s.
3) Sampling bias is likely important. I see many outbound covers to the west, Dr. Levandovskiy likely seems more inbound covers (of which I have very few)
4) Sample size is too small at this time to make reliable estimates of rarity.
5) As mail volume increased over time, mail was bagged, so didn't receive more than one TPO cancel in the more populated parts of the empire. Multiple marks occurred in places like Siberia in later times, but usually only two.

Almost as important as what I found was what I didn't find:
1) There were no oval TPO marks on letters with multiple TPO marks. Surely someone must have an example, even if none have appeared so far.
2) I had thought that the SPB "little RR" marks would also occur in combination with TPO marks. Although I have several items with multiple Poezd marks, there no Poezd marks in my collection in combination with Russian TPO marks, though there are some with inbound German TPO marks.
3) Multipl TPO marks occurred, but were not common, in combination with RR Post station semi-postal offices.

Attachment: Multiple_TPO.xls (23kB)
This file has been downloaded 415 times

Alep - 10/22/2009 at 14:10

It seems to me that the availability of multiple PW markings in the earlier times and lack of them in later periods is connected with the following. Approximately, up to the XXth century (a very crude estimation!) when the amount of mail was not too great, the mail was delivered individually, i.e. each cover was postmarked when handed over from one to another PW. Later, postal packages found a wider use, and the items of mail received postmarks only at the points of dispatch and arrival; other (transit) markings found themselves on the post packages. This transition coincided approximately with the time of introduction of oval TPO postmarks (from 1903).

David Jay - 10/23/2009 at 00:36

Yes, I think that is true. But the switch to more efficient handling began well before 1900. the multiple TPO
items tail off by 1885 or so.

howard - 10/23/2009 at 11:19

I have one item with 4 postal wagon cancels. The 1879 card was mailed from PW 7-8 and sent to Kislovodsk. It was also canceled on PW 35-36, PW 13-14, and PW 51-52.

Kislovodsk 1879a.JPG - 140kB

Nice item with multiple postmarks

Gary - 10/23/2009 at 14:34

The cover is from Sevastopol' to Derpt. Along the way, it travelled on rail lines:
#60, #15, Nikolaevsk, #39, and #40.


1888-front.jpg - 203kB1888-back.jpg - 187kB

David Jay - 10/24/2009 at 12:25

Nice items

Lacplesis - 10/25/2009 at 04:03

A postcard from the transition time from round to oval tpo marks.
Stationary PC from 1904 with:
81 oval
226 and 124 round

tpo.jpg - 89kB

David Jay - 10/27/2009 at 22:31

Very nice! These had to exist. This is also a later example than any I have
of multiple TPO marks.