The Samovar
Not logged in [Login ]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
Author: Subject: Straightline RR Station Postmarks
David Jay
Major Philatelist

Posts: 464
Registered: 1/24/2007
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 4/30/2015 at 00:43
Straightline RR Station Postmarks

The most recent issue of Rossica that arrived in my mail box a couple of days ago has some great articles in it, including two by Howard Weinert, and a discussion of a Zemstvo fake by Leon Finik and N. Sorokin. And others -- this is not a table of contents, so I won't mention all of them, but this is really a great issue. The article that most caught my interest was by V. Levandovsky, the RR postal historian, on undated marks of the semi-postal RR Stantsia. The article illustrates most of the 30 marks known to the author, and suggests that they are a rare, collectable new type of postal marking. Collectable they certainly are, and to assemble such a number of these rare marks is an achievement.

Given that the marks were never officially sanctioned and extremely diverse, the article raises the question of -- what qualifies? I have a couple of these, and my take on the first of mine was that it was a bit of local boosterism -- why not advertise the name of your village, maybe someone will come there and do something? The isolation of rural Russia was legendary, the temptation seems obvious. But this article provides quite a different perspective.

One the one hand, any mark that is used for a postal purpose is a postal marking (e.g. the mute cancels of 1914). On the other, some question should be asked of these marks, to see if they qualify:

1) Who applied it? If it was the sender, as is the case with at least two of the marks here, then it is by definition not a postal marking, unless it is clearly serving a postal purpose.

2) Does it name the post office, not just the location? Essentially all Russian markings of the imperial post, from the dot-numeral cancels forward indicated the status of the office. (The most conspicuous exceptions are the mute cancel and the geometric cancels of Moskva and Peterburg City Posts, but the latter are not imperial markings.) Unless there is a clear postal purpose, as there is in some cases in the article, a mark without a status indication is suspicious.

3) What is the postal purpose? There were many offices in the imperial postal system that did not have cancellers because they only handled regular and registered items, and they did not have/use any type of canceller. For example, there is not a single extent mark from the Aulskoe Prav. offices of the Caucasus region. So why did a few RR stations mark their mail? There could be a several reasons, but for outgoing mail, boosterism seems likely. On the other hand, it might be useful to stamp incoming mail to prove that it had been received before it was sent on its way to the hinterlands.

The marks displayed in the article run the gamut from questionable to terrific. In the latter category are the three registered letters with a straight line mark used for registry purposes. Aside from being amazing, this is curious -- all three have conventional cancels, so why did they lack registry marks or labels? Was the lack of labels temporary or long term? The example of the post offices in apothecary shops and other businesses also comes to mind -- like the RR stantsia they were contract offices. In many cases they had registry labels and/or cancellers, but they do not seem to have improvised as we see here.

In the dubious category are two marks:

1) Markovo (no status indicator) on a PC with a St. Markovo cancel. The jaunty angle of the mark matches the sender's hand writing -- this was likely applied (as the author indicates) by the sender. There is no indication of postal purpose. So not a postal marking.
2) the Arzamas mark used by a station telegraphist on a PC. The card is laid out carefully, as noted. The Arzamas mark appears with the author's handwritten date, as is normal (date and address at top or bottom of card). Why is this a postal mark? As the author notes, the station has post marks at its disposal. My conclusion is that it is not a postal marking. It should be seen as akin to merchant's marks thatt often appear on imperial items.

Despite these minor quibbles, this is an eye opening article, and the marks are rare. I was able to find only two examples in my collection of RR Stantsia, and none in my TPO collection. I may have others scattered about in my collection, but that will take some looking.
View user's profile View All Posts By User

  Go To Top

Powered by XMB 1.9.11
XMB Forum Software © 2001-2017 The XMB Group
[Queries: 17]