The Samovar

Parcel Cards - what were they used for?

ruskystamps - 1/1/2020 at 06:12

Happy New Year everyone - from UK !

Just a question please...
I have come across Russian 'Parcel Cards' for sale and wondered what these were used for?
And were there maybe different types of 'parcel cards' - I'm just guessing that COD parcel might have a card accompany it with details of money to pay and so on...but can someone please enlighten me on all this?

...and also comment on whether these are keenly collected, only I see very few for sale on eBay for example.

IvoSteijn - 1/1/2020 at 16:12

Big question with a long answer! Parcel cards, called "Accompanying adres" in Russian, accompanied a parcel (so the franking was not on the parcel itself but on this card. After the parcel is delivered (or picked up at the post office, usually), the parcel card got filed in a post office archive from which many were later "liberated". Parcel cards were introduced in April 1904 so they're a relatively short-lived phenomenon for Imperial Russia - the Soviet variety seems to be much scarcer.
You can find card for regular parcels, parcels with declared value, COD parcels and COD parcels with declared value.

I collected them for many years. I like that you get really unusual frankings on these cards (if you want an article that lists all the rates, send me an email at dr.ivo@ivosteijn.com), and of course they're totally non-philatelic which is also nice. I don't know if there are specialized parcel card collectors - might be a nice side collection. Also, Happy New Year!

ruskystamps - 1/3/2020 at 04:36

Many thanks IvoSteijn for the very helpful and informative reply...I just thought I might collect a few - as a side collection to my core Russia collection - similar to what I have done with BOB, Cinderella, Civil War, Cancellations, Postal History, etc ...I even have some Russia banknotes (through to 1991)!

The image here is one of the 'liberated' examples I have seen for sale!

s-l1600.jpg - 201kB

IvoSteijn - 1/3/2020 at 16:47

Very nice! That's the COD/Declared Value type. Sometimes you will find that certain postmarks really only occur on these cards, so postmark collectors are always on high alert for them.
I forgot to mention that there is a ton of additional complications you can find with these cards: storage charges, parcel returned to sender, etc.

ruskystamps - 1/6/2020 at 06:16

Again...very helpful Ivo

I was outbid on all four parcel cards that I was watching on eBay :( ...but I had no real idea of their value - they went for $6.50 to $11.50 US each. I don't know if this is typical(?) - but I will keep my eyes open for others!! Just a new side collection interest really - not serious.

IvoSteijn - 1/6/2020 at 14:57

Unless the postmarks are really special, I'd say that's about typical. I think I got my start by buying a little lot of them (which turned out to have some really early examples, April-June 1904) so that was a good learning experience.