The Samovar

Once in a while....

David Jay - 1/5/2021 at 00:26

eBay still proves to be a source of interesting material at a very reasonable price. The unprepossessing item in the attached image was sent from ЦАРИЦЫНСКIЙ ПИКЕТЪ 19/8/1882, vial КОПАЛЪ, Semiryechensk 21/8?/1882 and Moskva (multiple cancels including III Eksped 11/9/1882) to London by the missionary, Henry Lansdell, who wrote a book about his travels in Russia in 1879 and 1882. The message on the reverse is headed "Near Kuldja", and ЦАРИЦЫНСКIЙ ПИКЕТЪ appears to be on the border to Sinkiang. It is a rarity for both its early date from a remote location and the cancel from a location that is both a military site and the location of a post station.

The message speaks of his travels, his interest in distributing tracts to exiles, and traveling by tarantass from post to post. It is interesting that the authorities in St. Petersburg welcomed him, as his message was certainly not Orthodox. He also must have had a little something more than the usual missionary mixture of cultural arrogance, bluster, and astrong stomach -- some aspects of his book are apparently considered quite good.

I would think there must be other items from this trip -- perhaps Howard Weinart can enlighten us?

I'll post the reverse, also.

TsarPiket.jpg - 252kBTsarPiket_back.jpg - 247kB

howard - 1/12/2021 at 17:41

Great card! How did I miss that on ebay?
You can track Lansdell's trip in his book Russian Central Asia [1885].
In Vol. 1, page 187 he reaches Tsaritsinskii Piket on August 31, 1882 (new style) on his way to Kuldja.
The addressee is Tressilian P. Shipp, Secretary of the London and Westminster Bank.

David Jay - 1/13/2021 at 13:10

It was not well presented -- poor picture, no meaningful description. Seller told me he had no
idea what it was.