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Author: Subject: Warsaw estafet postmark
David Jay
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[*] posted on 12/7/2009 at 23:53


Gary -
I would be delighted to find that we are dealing with rare examples of the relay or courier post, but I don't think this is what we are looking at. There have been too many examples. Also, even if the sender did not pay, then I would expect to see some listing of charges.

Does the message on the card show any indication of being urgent?

David
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Gary
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[*] posted on 12/8/2009 at 16:47


Sorry, but I do not have a lot of time at the moment to get very deep into this fascinating topic. But some facts as supported by literature of the time and thoughts...

Estafet is a term that can be found in almost every set of postal rule and regulations from almost all locations in the Empire, especially when referring to what the post can do for their clients. The regulations include the 1830 and 1860 major reorganizations. The Complete collection of zakons from 1649-1881 also indicate the establishment of specific estafet routes and rules of use.

Poland is often segregated along with Finland from the rest of Russia proper and is even called a part of the Western Okrug in 1868.

Courier post is also listed as is extra-post.

The year-end statistical reports (obzor) for many locations often tell us how many horses there are in the postal system and how many are allocated for estafet use; how much money came in and how much was spent.

The horses used are referred to as: courier or estafet and relay.

We do now that there was a special book into which all the pertinent information such as sender, amount paid, destination, and info about stations used during transit.

We also know that there was a reduced rate for any part of the trip that used the rails if available.

The rates are very well covered. Ordinary mail, insured, registered, as well as packages could use the estafet system for a price.

It is easy to get the impression that this was as common as sending a letter via regular mail. However, the proof as applied to the letter itself or shipping papers for an item has not really come forward to be seen.

So we know the estafet function was used. I have found nothing yet that tells us the postal clerk was required to annotate the item itself and I suspect it went into a special pouch or container of some kind with the paperwork.

As such, we cannot say the Warsaw estafet marks directly indicate this item was sent using the estafet system. However, we also cannot say that there wasn't a special dispatch office or section within the Warsaw Post Office that handled estafet correspondence. We need for someone to find that conclusive piece of evidence that these marks are or are not associated with the Warsaw estafet.

Just thoughts:)
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howard
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[*] posted on 12/9/2009 at 11:23


My posting of Nov. 20 2007 explains that this postmark was used for both ordinary and estafet mail. Furthermore, the few estafet letters that have come to light all show clear manuscript indications of the estafet status of the letter and the enumeration of the various charges.
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Gary
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[*] posted on 12/9/2009 at 12:46


Thanks Howard! Seems we overlooked a word. :(

Here is the table in which this information is located. I definitely overlooked it.

Attachment: estafet people.pdf (47kB)
This file has been downloaded 285 times

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Gary
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[*] posted on 12/10/2009 at 13:01
Real estafet letters


These two items are in the collection of Vladimir Tyukhov. He published them at the WSRP in 2006. Although they are not from Warsaw, they are the only examples I can easily find to show what one looks like.

The first one is from 1871. Mr. Tyukhov's text entry was:

Free frank letter sent with "estafet" post from Syzran (19.10.1871) to Simbirsk (20.10.1871. Special handwritten mark^ "with one horse estafet" and tariff calculation:"133 versts, progon (for the horse)- 3 R,poverstnye(for the distance) - 66 3/4 K,for reciept - 5 K. Total sum - 3 R 71 3/4 K. Befor 1878 usual weight tariff for estafet letters was not charged. Estafet letters were taken by post and delevered to the addresse at any time of the day and night.


1871 estafet front.jpg - 38kB
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Gary
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[*] posted on 12/10/2009 at 13:02
second estafet letter from 1882


Here is Mr. Tyukhov's second letter and the text he entered in 2006.

Letter sent with "estafet" post from Syzran (8.05.1882) to Simbirsk (9.05.1882). Handwritten marks: 1) In one way, with estafet and 2) The packet is recieved at the court 9 May at 4 hours 45 minutes in the morning. On the back there is tariff calculation: 2 l(ots), for horse - 5 R 98 K, for the distance - 67 K, for receipt - 5 K. Totally - 6 R 70 K. From 1878 along with special rate usual waight rate began to be paid with stamps. It was a big sum for that time.

1882 estafet back.jpg - 19kB 1882 estafet front.jpg - 26kB
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David Jay
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[*] posted on 12/17/2009 at 02:19


These are terrific examples. I now remember where I saw in an auction catalog an example (or examples??) of a supposed Estafet letter(s). This(these) were in Nagl Auktionen #13 and #14, as lot 75 in the latter case. This item (items??) was (were) later discussed by Martin Siegler in Journal of Classical Philately No 8. The complication about whether there was one or two arises because the item discussed by Mr. Siegler is not in fact, lot 75, though it may be a similar item from the same correspondence. I have catalog #14, but not #13, which may be where the item discussed by Mr. Siegler is pictured. Unfortunately, Mr. Siegler does not picture the lot, but describes it, along with a very nice example send in 1844 from Moscow to Stavropol that really is an estafet letter. Mr. Siegler's discussion is very interesting. One of the Nagl items was shown to Mr. Mikulski, who thought that it was an example of Estafet post. However, if this is the case, it was only for the last stage, a delivery to a small village in the countryside. Most of the distance from Moscow, it traveled in comfort by TPO 83-84. While the instructions on the letter indicate that it should be delivered "at once", there is no notation of extra charges, and the letter spent the night in Staritsa. Had it been an Estafet letter, it should have been dispatched immediately to the village, not stored overnight. For these two reasons (no list of charges, and the slow delivery) Mr. Siegler argues (I think correctly) that this example(s) is(are) not really Estafet letters. His larger point, however, is interesting -- by the 1870s, the period for which some regulations exist (e.g., for Riga in 1878-1880), Estafet delivery was largely obsolete. Why would a card be taken by horse when it could travel (in most instances) by rail much faster? Estafet would be useless on foreign letters (the Russian postal service could only compel fast delivery within Russia) and in metropolitan Russia for most delivery of domestic mail, except in those instances where transit to or from rural post stations was need. This may be why there are so few examples known.
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Gary
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[*] posted on 12/17/2009 at 08:05


Hmmm. Not all locations were served by rails even as late as the end of the empire days. Why would estafet or similar service be obsolete for those areas not supported by rail service? Was Poland treated similarly but differently from Russia proper?
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David Jay
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[*] posted on 12/17/2009 at 12:05


Certainly it would be useful in some remote areas. But most of the examples we have come from Moscow, St Pet or provincial capitals or are to such major cities, as are the examples discussed/shown by Mr. Siegler. These places were served by the railroad post, better and better as time went on. This distribution of examples is not surprising, because up to some undetermined date, only official correspondence was carried. Siegler also argues that there is no real difference between "Estafet" and "Extra Post" -- same horses, same procedures, just perhaps different charges for different classes of users. The Sizran to Simbirsk examples above are interesting. In 1871, perhaps a rail connection was not available, but it certainly was by 1882. But it looks like no rail connection ran directly between the two places, and the letter would have had to change trains at Inza, probably. Horses would have gone more directly cross country. Still, same-day delivery was not achieved. I wonder if the rail connection could have delivered the letter the next day?
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