The Samovar

Money order from a military fortress

David Jay - 4/27/2010 at 01:06

Recently on ebay, there was a series of at least five money orders sent from the Brest-Litovsk Krepost or Fortess. This one for 4R 30k sent 11/12/1909 to Moscow (received there two days later) is interesting for being on a form that was clearly not issued by the imperial post. It is on very rough cheap paper, rather brown in color. Also, it is notable that servicemen did not
have to pay postage to send money. The result seems to have been a bunch of money orders for small amounts -- one for only 1R 15k!

BrestLitovsk_front1.jpg - 99kB

and the back

David Jay - 4/27/2010 at 01:08

two different markings from an office handling money orders

BrestLitovsk_back1.jpg - 90kB

Yes, but...

oldteddy - 4/27/2010 at 20:46

Very interesting item. Just a few comments:

1: There were many money transfer forms (a.k.a. MONEY ORDERS) issued by non-government entities, most often by Post-Telegraph Districts (OKRUGs), similar to parcel cards. Sometimes that issuing entity was stated on the form (usually in the lower right corner), sometimes (as in this case) not. What is unusual about this one is that it's СЛУЖЕБНЫЙ ПЕРЕВОД (OFFICIAL MONEY TRANSFER FORM), so by the very title it couldn't be used for private transactions (of course, all kinds of violations were possible).

2: Where is that 1 rub 15 kop? I see 4 rub 30 kop.

3: Note that the first line of address (КУДА [to where]) was "modified" (not overwritten) with the manuscript "ОТ" ["FROM"] and that line was filled with a hand stamp "БРЕСТъ-ЛИТ. КРЕП. П.Т. КОНТОРЫ". So the sender was not some military unit, but the Post Office?

4: I wonder how that МЮЛЛЕРъ hand stamp appeared on the form? May be, the vendor [МЮЛЛЕРъ] routinely used to send it to his customers along with his merchandise?

Bottom line: there are many "mysteries" in this simple form, at least to humble me. But, may be, somebody would resolve them in a second (or two)...

David Jay - 4/28/2010 at 00:58

There were at least five of these. this one was 4R30k. One was 1R 45k (not 1R 15k, sorry). Given that a private party would pay 15 or 25(?)k at least for a money transfer, this is a pretty small amount, and would be inefficient for a private individual paying fees, which were not paid here. I also didn't say this was a private card -- merely that it was not an imperial form. Issuance by a PT District or maybe even military authorities seems possible. Nonetheless, I appreciate the points raised here, as I was not aware of them. Particularly the point that the name of the addressee's name is filled in by stamp is curious.

Given that the merchant I. F. Mueller was a music dealer -- was the army band ordering music???

the other one..

David Jay - 4/28/2010 at 01:04

Here is the one for 1R 45k, also to Moscow. It has the same source stamped in, but I can't read the hand written info below, aside from the fact that it is going to Moscow, and something that looks like "Kuznetskago".

BrestLitovsk_front2.jpg - 102kB

howard - 4/28/2010 at 09:52

These money order forms were issued by the Imperial Post to enable post offices to send money without resorting to cash in a money letter. In these particular cases, the small sums were the 2% commissions on COD parcels. According to article 243 of the 1909 Postal Regulations, the sender of a COD parcel had to fill out not only the usual parcel card, but also a sluzhebnyi perevod attached to the parcel card. This money order form was then sent back to the parcel's sender by the post office that received the parcel. No postal fees were incurred in sending the money order. These parcel card/money order combinations were introduced in April 1908. The regulation of 4 April said "A new type of yellow parcel card for COD parcels with or without declared value is introduced. The card has two parts folded over one another: one is the accompanying address blank and the other is a money order blank for the COD amount."

David Jay - 4/28/2010 at 12:41

Thanks to Howard for clarifying the purpose of the form, how it happens that the Mueller stamp is on the form, and . and why it is unfranked. This is a pretty cumbersome procedure, but how else to do it? I wonder whether both were actually imperial in origin? They are quite different from one another. Are they cataloged anywhere?

From the second item, we learn that it is a bookstore, thanks to Hronik. These soldiers seem to have been fairly cultivated, not just drinking and riding all the time, but then it was winter.

howard - 4/28/2010 at 12:50

Correction: The money order was not for the 2% commission (which stayed with the post office) but rather for the COD amount - whatever the item in the parcel cost.


oldteddy - 4/29/2010 at 06:21

Different design. For collectors of those forms (if there are any) might be of interest.