The Samovar

Vladisvostok Doplatit mark on 7k card

amtc911 - 3/26/2010 at 06:46

This is a 7k letter card used from Harbin/Kharbin/Charbin north China to Vladivostok. The letter card was cancelled by a partial Harbin-263-Vladisvostok oval railway mark. Only a partial 1(2) of the date is visible. Luckily the Vladisvostok arrival is clearly struck and dated 14 1 17.
A poor "263" strike, I thought so at the beginning until I examined the indicium closely - there is some gum on top, hence a stamp (7k or 10k?) had fallen off!
There is an unclear oval Doplatit mark, the last few letters of (Vladis)vostok can just be discerned. If the stamp had fallen off upon receipt at the railway station or during sorting, the sorting clerk would have applied the very rare 263 Doplatit instead. Therefore, it is likely that the missing stamp was spotted by the authority on arrival and applied the postage due handstamp. But why 14k?
Second part of the mystery is the triangular mark and the large green 3 which I take it as 3k to collect. The triangular mark is not a censor mark and I can see two words, Doplatit and Vladisvostok.
Can you explain the drop in charges from 14k to 3k?
China joined the UPU in 1914, therefore, international letter rate should be 10k, but would Harbin be considered "Russia" still and rated only 7k internal rate?

PD01.jpg - 99kB Vladisvostok_PD1.jpg - 36kB

Lacplesis - 3/26/2010 at 09:06

Possibly the due was not collected in russian currency?

amtc911 - 3/28/2010 at 00:45

What other currencies were in use in Vladivostok at that itme if not roubles and kopecks?
I think the first doplatit was marked in error to 14k (7k+7k penalty) thinking that an unoverprinted (KITAI)card was invalid from China and the domestic rate of 7k would apply. Another person, say the chief cleark detected the missing stamp (probably a 10k) and accepting the 7k payment and charged the excess 3k since the lost stamp not being the fault of the sender.
(The trace of a stamp missing is hard to see unless under good lighting or UV)

Lacplesis - 3/28/2010 at 01:16

Yeah, sorry, I was thinking in the wrong direction...
Very, interesting item.

Alep - 3/28/2010 at 09:38

The question is: why to affix an adhesive over the indicum? The latter paid the correct tariff from Kharbin to Vladivostok. Maybe, was there some foreign stamp, e.g. Chinese, and the letter-card was put into the TPO mailbox? The TPO clerk did not recognize the franking at all and charged 14 k due. Then a recount was made at Vladivostok, and the foreign stamp was recognized valid but insufficient and an excess of 3 k charged. As to the stamp itself, it was removed or fallen off at a later date. A possible scenario?

amtc911 - 3/29/2010 at 06:48

The size of the gum patch over the indicium is the same width as a Russian stamp. I don't think there are Chinese stamps at that time that are that small.
Perhaps the sender thought the unoverprinted stationery was not valid and stuck a KITAI overprinted 7k on.

Alep - 3/29/2010 at 06:57

The KITAI overprints were valid there as well. If judging by the missing part of the cancel, the affixed stamp was larger than the indicum.

amtc911 - 3/30/2010 at 23:53

I have measured the "space" of the missing stamp. It is 18mm wide (size of an Imperial Russian issue) whereas a Chinese stamp at the time would be the 1913 (or later printing) Junk issue; the width of the stamp is 20mm - too wide

amtc911 - 3/30/2010 at 23:56

Can anyone tell me what is the third word of the triangular mark, the first two being Vladivostok and Doplatit?