The Samovar

A mute cancel that is not a mute

David Jay - 3/18/2016 at 23:54

This letter arrived in Zurich on 1916/2/9. Mute cancels after 1914 are not
that common, so any late example like this is of interest. But is it really a mute cancel? In fact, the stamps are cancelled Kharkov Vokzhal 1916/7/7 (the date is a little unclear), but certainly they are cancelled, though lightly. Looking a little more close, the mute cancels are applied OVER the Petrograd censor tape. Most likely this means they were applied in Petrograd, though they could have been applied anywhere between Petrograd and Switzerland. Of interest is the fact that the mute cancels resemble others applied earlier (decades earlier in some cases) to obliterate lightly cancelled stamps. While it may seem a bit paranoid to cancel an already cancelled stamp (tied down by a censor tape no less), perhaps the degree of theft from the postal service motivated such actions. Even the indicum of the envelope, hardly re-usable merited a strike.

Not a Mute_sm.jpg - 169kB