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Author: Subject: When were mute cancels first used?
David Jay
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[*] posted on 4/28/2015 at 00:43
When were mute cancels first used?


There is apparently no known officially stated first date for the use of mute cancels at the beginning of WWI. The time period has been narrowed down to "about 1 August" by previous analyses. I have, for example, three cards that were written on 1 August that have mute cancels, at least one previously posted here. None have other date cancels, so it is impossible to prove they were posted 1 August, though this seems like. On the other hand, Alexander Epstein has was appears to be a mute cancel otherwise date 31 July 1914.

The attached image (a PC purchased in the recent H. von Hoffman auction), does an excellent job of pinning down the date for the Baltic area as 1 August. It was sent 31/7/1914 from Riga to Station Tukkum to a soldier, and has cancels, dispatch mark and receiver from 31/7/1914. It was then forwarded to Lemberg, Lifland (judging from the mute receiver). There are two mute cancels: 1) "Kontrol'" from Tukkum (Levin 32.022 33 7.01) and a cut cork mark from Lemberg (probably Levin 33.027 523.01). While it cannot be proven that the card was placed in the post for the second time on 1 August, this is quite likely, given the need to catch up to a soldier who was likely moving about. Also, the three other items hand-dated 1 August support this as the likely date for first use of mutes in the Baltic area. Clearly, but Riga and Tukkum were using regular cancels on 31 July 1914.

It is quite possible that other areas began using mute cancels the previous day, or a day later, but 1 August seems a logical date that would appeal to a bureaucratic agency.

Riga_Tukkum7-31small.jpg - 253kB
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howard
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[*] posted on 4/29/2015 at 08:06


It seems that this card was sent from Riga to Tukkum, and then returned to Riga where it was readdressed to the 29th Division and the word Riga crossed out. I don't see any indication of its going to Lemberg. Am I missing something?
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David Jay
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[*] posted on 4/29/2015 at 11:06


There are two mute cancels -- Kontrol' mark of Tukkum, plus the cut cork one below the stamps. I think this is
Levin 33.027 523.01 of Lemberg. It is not exactly like the example he illustrates, but if it is made of cork, as it looks
to be, this is not a surprise. it could be from some other location, but I haven't found anything that is a closer fit.
I had not noticed the "Riga" beneath the smear at the bottom, so it went back to Riga before being forwarded
on to the Army division.
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Alep
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[*] posted on 5/9/2015 at 11:37


The pencil note Lvov on the bottom is the addressee's surname rather than Lemberg. The cork, if genuine, looks to me the postmark of the post office of the division location. Certainly, it was applied days after 31 July.
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David Jay
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[*] posted on 5/13/2015 at 10:57


Two things --
1. I was referring to a location in Lifland Gubernia, the correct spelling of which is Lemburg, not Lemberg (apologies). However, the Levin number is unique and does point to the location I meant.
2. It is more common for mute cancels to be used as dispatch marks, not receivers, though there are lots of exceptions. Since the item was returned to Riga and dispatched to the front from there, one would think the
cut-cork mute should have been applied in Riga, most likely in the first days of August. However, no such mute has been recorded for Riga, so that seems not to be the solution to the problem. Amongst the known cancels, the closest match is Lemburg, Lifland. Presumably, there were units deployed there as well.
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