The Samovar

TPO 65-66

David Jay - 1/3/2018 at 01:21

There are many mysteries and loose ends in collecting imperial postmarks, and the "bi-directional" TPO 65-66(7) mark listed in K&R is definitely one of them. I've always found the bi-directional marks to be the most interesting, as they date from the early days of the Russian rail post, when marks were added to letters when they went from on TPO to another (at least sometimes). Such marks are known for all the railroads indicated by TPO 1-2 up to 59-60, plus TPO 65-66, 83-84 and 85-86. My experience suggests that TPOs 33-34, 49-50 and 65-66 are the scarcest, with 65-66 being in a category by itself. K&R indicate the existence of only one example, and their supplement list no other examples. Ian Baillie writing in BSRP 77 mentions also the existence of a TPO 65-66 mark, but his work is based on K&R, so it seems we are dealing with a situation with only one known mark.

There are two odd things about the mark as shown in K&R, as shown by K&R: a) it has the (7) designation, while trains 1-6 are unknown, and b) it is worded "Pochtoviy Vagon 65-66" not "Pochtoviy Vagon No 65-66". I have not seen another example of the bi-directional TPO marks with this second characteristic. While train 7 seems high, it is worth noting that the 3-line data and X-date TPO 66 marks exist up to train 6. It would be nice to see an actual image of this mark, or any other TPO 65-66 mark. K&R is a great work of scholarship, but "5" and "6" can be hard to distinguish in a smeary postmark, and perhaps TPO 65-66 (7) is really TPO 55-56 (7)??? I would be delighted to be proven wrong in this speculation, and I'm looking for an example to add to my collection....

TPO65-66.jpg - 54kB