The Samovar

Why no postage?

stamplover - 12/23/2015 at 14:09

A club mate showed me about 8 covers sent between 1911 and 1915 from small villages in northern Bessarabia (currently in Ukraine) to Canada. Apparently, they were sent by low-literacy Polish- and Russian-speaking country folk to their relatives. All senders paid no postage, and the covers were charged Canadian postage due. My questions:
1. Why didn't they use any postage whatsoever, though received proper origin cancels? No stamps available in countryside? Poverty? Was it usual for postal service to accept such mail?
2. Were they routed via Odessa? Were they supposed to receive transit postmarks?
3. The 1915 cover has no censor mark. Was it usual?
There are no doubts that the covers are genuine.

Alep - 1/31/2016 at 14:54

1. It is impossible to answer this question definitely without seeing the covers. If no stamps available (what is diffucult to believe), there should be, at least, a clerk's note that e.g. the letters were paid in cash.
2. Not necessarily via Odessa. If from the northern Bessarabia, then they could be routed rather via Austria, at least, before the war. In 1915, they could be routed e.g. through Romania. etc. No transit postmarks were usually applied in such cases.
3. Not every cover was censored at that time. Usually either persentage of mail was examined.