The Samovar

year upside down

David Jay - 10/2/2010 at 14:39

Various kinds of errors occur on Russian cancelers with some regularity. It is uncommon to find multiple examples
of any given error, however. Certainly they are scarce. Cancelers were often not replaced when worn -- they were used
right up to the point they became illegible and sometimes even then for a while longer. Sometimes, the date is partially or totally written in by hand after components of the date have broken. As an example of an outdated cancel continuing in use after it should have been replaced, both of the marks on this card will do. The 3line date Svir" mark became obsolete about 1890 when the X-date marks, like the one from Vil'na were introduced. They continued using the old mark, because it wasn't broken, and a replacement would have been costly.
After some time in early 1903, Vil'na should have replaced the X-date mark above, but they didn't. It is hard to say whether the year was inverted because of wear or carelessness, or whether this occurred regularly or just once. The Vil'na mark is indistinct, which could be wear or just poor ink. Exactly how the canceler was put together, no idea, but the date had to be (re)moveable.