The Samovar

A Zemstvo money letter

David Jay - 1/18/2017 at 01:52

This is very much NOT my area, but I ran across this 13/8/1899 7R money letter sent from Umet' Zemsk. Poch. (umlaut on the "e" -- didn't know Russian went in for umlauts), Kirsanov Uezd, Tambov Province to St Petersburg. The present transliteration on Wikipeida is "Umyot". The small waxseals at the corners says Kirsanovka Pochta Zemskaya, while the central seal comes from the main Kirsanov PTK. There is no zemstvo postmark, and no stamp because it is a money letter. Someone knowledgeable about zemstvo issues will know whether Kirsanov ever issued stamps. One interesting thing about this item is that it seems not have been sealed until it reached Kirsanov. How was the cash secured between its origin and Kirsanov, other than being in a postillion's bag, perhaps it was inside a package?

Umyot_back_small.jpg - 174kB

the front

David Jay - 1/18/2017 at 01:53

Here is the front of the letter

Umyot_front.jpg - 170kB

verny - 1/22/2017 at 18:05

Interesting that you posted this up, I have a collection of money letters as yet not written up and have recently been excercising my mind trying to find out about a similar Zemstva money letter - no stamps, Zemstvo seals in the corners and main PO in the centre. I cannot seem to find anything in the literature I have so far examined.

Maxime Citerne - 3/8/2017 at 15:37

Extremely interesting and rare item.

Kirsanov never issued postage stamps but a Zemstvo Post was in operation. Stampless mail handled by the Kirsanov Zemstvo Post appears from time to time, worth in my opinion a huge premium in comparison to similar stampless mail from - say - Orlov or Urzhum Zemstvos.

The envelope was probably sealed at Kirsanov mail Zemstvo office (four corners), the center left free for Kirsanov Imperial PO where the mail was handled to, for further transmission to St Petersburg.

When you look carefully at others Zemstvo money letters, you can observe a pattern where the four corners seals are applied in a different location (i.e volost of private seals) that the one in the centre (Imperial PO, like the cover here).

The small Zemstvo framed postmark is of great interest, first time I see it.

Most of the Zemstvo money letters that I have seen are sealed on the corners with either 1. private seals or 2. Volost Pravlenie seals. Now regarding the use of ZEMSTVO PO seals on a money letter: I can remember having seen only one other cover (Glazov Zemstvo, 1905 insured letter, sealed with Zemstvo PO seals - communication with Terry Page).

From my collection, please find below another Glazov Zemstvo money letter sent from a village, accepted by the Starshina and waxed with the Volost Pravlenie seals. Interestingly, in the Glazov district, some of the Volost served as Zemstvo Postal points (having examined other Zemstvo money covers from other districts, I suspect that was a normal habit not limited to Glazov).


Lot 1406.JPG - 355kB

David Jay - 3/9/2017 at 01:18

Thanks to both of you for posting. I seem to be better at finding mysteries than solving them.