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Author: Subject: Russian Consular Post in Kashgar
Bill Stoten
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[*] posted on 1/19/2014 at 10:14
Russian Consular Post in Kashgar


Searching through one of the shoeboxes I have accumulated over many moons, I was strengthening the Central Asia theme in Semirechinsk collection and came across this cover. It's a 14 kop. Postal stationery envelope addressed to Scwabes optical instrumentation store in Moscow. It's got a nice cancel of Narynsk, Semirechinsk Obl. On the indicia and Moscow receiver on the reverse. I then noticed the bottom line on the cover, something I missed previously: 'Ot Kashgarska Konsula'... From the Kashgar Consul(ate). It's dated August 1886 and the Moscow receiver is about 28 days later. Could this be example of the hitherto unrecorded Consular post from Kashgar? T&S speculate on its use there were no examples recorded. Any thoughts?

kashgar001.jpg - 138kB
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[*] posted on 1/31/2014 at 07:15


A potentially important little discovery indeed, and yet another illustration of the importance of careful checking. Nice one Bill
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Maxime Citerne
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[*] posted on 1/31/2014 at 16:17


Interesting! The Consular Post in Kashgar opened in 1860 (ref: Dr Casey) and up to the begining of the XXth century cossacks were carrying the mail to the border for further transportation through the Imperial Post system.

That would explain why there is no specific handstamp recorded yet: there might be none at all! The written indication, if the cover is genuine, is certainly fantastic, congratulations.

On the other hand, unfortunately it doesn´t confirm that the cover was carried by the Consular Post (cossaks), but just that the envelope originates from the consulate. Maybe, it has been carried privately and then posted in Narinsk. Seems a grey area here... :question:
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howard
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[*] posted on 2/5/2014 at 14:54


Great cover. Mail from Naryn (population 1000) is rare. I have not seen any before 1912. The postal station there opened in 1875 and was upgraded to an otdelenie in 1886 or 1887.

Mail from the Kashgar consulate was normally carried by courier to the post office in Osh in Fergana oblast. I have a 1894 cover from Sven Hedin when he was in Kashgar which was handled that way. The Kashgar consulate did not use postmarks until 1907.

Now there was a road from Kashgar to Naryn (261 versts), part bridle path and part carriage road, through the Turugart Pass (12000 ft elev). This cover may have traveled along this road, but we can't exclude the possibility that the consul himself mailed this in Naryn.
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Bill Stoten
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[*] posted on 2/10/2014 at 06:01


Here is some more information I have received from an expert in the general history of the Russian Consul in Kashgar.
... "A postal station in the Naryn Fort (Narynskoe ukreplenie) was opened in 1875, a post office - in 1886. The Russian post office in Kashgar was opened in 1912.
Mail from the Russian Consulate-General in Kashgar was sent into Russian Turkestan in two directions. The first route led to the Fergana region:
Kashgar - Irkeshtam Pass - Osh (summer road via Taldyk Pass - 241 verst; winter road via Terek Davan Pass - 178 verst). The second route led to the Semirechye region. It had two major roads. The winter road: Kashgar
- Turugart Pass (296 verst), and the summer road: Kashgar - Bugushty Pass - Naryn fort (233 verst). On the first route the jigits (horse-mounted couriers appointed from the locals) were regularly passed on at the Irkeshtam Pass. The second route used to send documents and small parcels. Mail on this route was delivered by the Cossacks of consular convoy only. Mail from the Russian consulate in Kashgar was sent to Russia twice a month. Apart of the regular mail, there were the urgent shipments.
The cover ... bears the autograph of Nikolai F. Petrovsky, the Russian Imperial Consul-General in Kashgar (active 1882-1903). With a high probability, Petrovsky handed this letter to Mr. Baranov, a photographer from the town of Vernyi, then the administrative center of the Semirechye region, for delivery to the Naryn Fort. Baranov arrived in Kashgar in the second half of July 1886. He became the first professional photographer to visit Kashgar and have deployed there a “field photographic studio". Within two weeks of work in Kashgar, he earned round 400 rubles, an incredible amount for the provincial photographer. Baranov took a picture with the consul Petrovsky (which is now in our collection), that was dated by Petrovsky himself as August 4, 1886. Baranov left Kashgar for the Naryn Fort on the 5th of August 1886, and handed the Petrovsky’s letters to a local post office in the Naryn Fort. Among these letters was the one which you have ... which was addressed to Schwabe’s store, as well as a letter addressed to a government official in St. Petersburg, which contained the Petrovsky’s photo portrait. One interesting detail - a letter to the Schwabe’s store contained a list of scientific instruments that Petrovsky wanted to buy in the store, and those instruments to be delivered into Kashgar. The instruments were needed to set up a meteorological station on the consulate’s grounds. The meteorological station in Kashgar became the first meteorological station ever deployed in Central Asia. It was set up by Petrovsky at his own expense and opened in October 1886."
So it seems that we all have been a bit blinkered in that we have assumed that all posts went to Osh and this cover now seems to be the first (and earliest?) example of the northern post route. The sources of this above information comes from the published letters of Petrovsky issued in Russia in 2010.
Now where are all those Naryn letters???!!!
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[*] posted on 2/10/2014 at 20:33


N. L. Zeland published his travel notes in the Russian Western Siberia Geographical Society's journal (Book IX) in 1888. He says there that Naryn was located on the major trade route between Kashgar and Semirechensk. The place was mostly a trade center through which almost all goods from Kashgar passed. There were approximately 300 merchants in Naryn at the time. Nearby was the forlorn fortification, manned by a unit of about 100 troops and 50 Cossacks.

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[*] posted on 2/13/2014 at 14:32


The post office in Kashgar was open in 1907 as evidenced by a cover auctioned in 1974 in the Kurt Adler sale (lot 1019). The postmark was the basis for the illustration in the Tchilinghirian and Stephen handbook (Fig. 422).
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Bill Stoten
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[*] posted on 2/13/2014 at 20:07


The 1907 cancellation doesn't necessarily mean that there was a post office open. It could have been a marking applied at the Consulate as it just reads Kashgar Chinese Possession'. I have no other definite date for the opening of a formal 'post office' in the true sense other than in 1912. There certainly was an abundance (if that's an appropriate term) of cancels on stamps and covers from after 1912. Casey's cover of 1908 n the Feldman sale with a registered etiquette doesn't necessarily define the presence of a 'post office' other than a function of the Consulate... Has anyone got a yellow pages for Kashgar 1908?:D
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[*] posted on 2/14/2014 at 11:44


ВСПОМОГАТЕЛЬНЫЕ ПОЧТОВЫЕ ПУНКТЫ
РОССИЙСКОЙ ИМПЕРИИ

The above book by L Ratner published in 2012 quotes the official source for the opening of a postal agency in Kashgar in 1907. This agency was comparable to those at volost pravlenies. It never became an otdelenie or a kontora. The 1916 post office list still shows a postal agency at the consulate accepting all types of mail and money orders. Ratner's book has much more information about Kashgar including postal statistics.
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Bill Stoten
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[*] posted on 2/14/2014 at 13:10


Howard - where can we get a copy?
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[*] posted on 2/14/2014 at 14:11


Bill - I uploaded a pdf of the book to dropbox. If you send me (hweinert@gmail.com) your email address I will send you a link to the book.
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[*] posted on 3/30/2014 at 05:20


Another interesting item turned up recently involving the mail from Kashgar. The Sven Hedin material is quite well known and I have had several covers from him to his father or sister back in Stockholm during the exploration period 1894-1906. What I haven't seen before is a cover to someone else other than those two. The cover that has surfaced is one address to Count Lowenhaupt, the Swedish Minister for foreign Affairs. The cover is registered and triple rate with a franking of 4 10 k. Arms on the reverse and cancelled at Osh 28 Yanv. 1895. Hedin spent the winter in Kashgar during November 94 - February 95 so this came from Kashgar probably on the routine cossack couriers or camel train. I guess Hedin was trying to get some more funding from Sweden or just letting the Swedish govn. Officers know the state of 'the Great Game'. In his memoirs he writes about spending time with the Russian and British consuls over that time so perhaps he had some interesting 'gossip'.

B_203296_B.jpeg - 22kB B_203296_A.jpeg - 14kB
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[*] posted on 7/29/2016 at 04:07


Congratulations! Not a cheap cover:)
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