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Author: Subject: Zabaikalskaya pochta
achlenov
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smile.gif posted on 5/26/2004 at 18:23
Zabaikalskaya pochta


I have seen these several times. Does anyone know what their status was?

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achlenov
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[*] posted on 5/26/2004 at 21:10


Well, according to Mr. Kondrikov from Raritan Stamps this is a bogus issue cancelled as a favor.
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[*] posted on 5/27/2004 at 11:26
Baikal issue


This is an interesting "issue". It was produced in the baikal region during the early Civil War years and has been labelled a "bogus" issue due to:
1.The fact that most known covers are favour covers or philatelic.

2.Due to the fact that the "experts" claim that the Zemstvo posts ceased opperation in 1917-18

3.The issue does not seem to have had much in the way of serious research carried out on it.

Now, I do not (yet ;-)) claim it as a genuine issue but would make the following observations:

A. a favour or philatelic use does not preclude the item being a genuine issue - many siberian covers were mailed by Panagopoulos and are clearly philatelic but his involvement with the postal authority and the fact that although philatelic they all travelled through the mails attests to their genuine nature.

B. The fact that few covers have come to light does not mean they do not exist, simply that they may not exist or may not have yet been found (there are still huge quantitites of Russian archives unviewed by philatelists). Being a local issue it is quite possible that their main use was locally and being a zemstvo organisation it was probably small (witness the scarcity of many mainstream zemstvo covers).

c. The zemstvo postal organisation DID continue in some regions (as did some other zemstvo organisations - as witnessed by letters in the Russian archives from zemstvo organisations sent to prominent politicians and newspapers well into 1918) well after it was "officially" abolished although not necessarily using stamps but rather handstamps or free-frank labels. The myth of it's instantaneous demise has been perpetuated by "purist" philatelists who are only looking for postage stamps.

d. The Baikal authorities issued a currency note bearing the same overprint - which is known to have been used and you will find listed in all the appropriate specialised currency catalogues.

e. The administrative confusion following the Russian revolution in February 1917, the bolshevik coup of October and the ensuing Civil War is often overlooked by philatelists (and others) who by their nature and understanding seek order in things and blithly assume that because a decree is issued it takes immediate effect across the land.
This is manifestly not the case, even in a Russia at peace distance and communications problems often result in different implementation dates in different areas. Now compound that with Revolution and civil war and one has to look beyond pure documentation and the usual "beyond reasonable doubt" (proof needed in a criminal case) and begin to consider "on the balance of probabilities" (proof needed in a civil case).

f.The area under consideration was I believe under the control of the SR's/Mensheviks at the time of the issue both of whom were at loggerheads with the bolsheviks and/or in open armed conflict with them depending on the area under question. Their organisation produced local currency, had locally based banks and a local administration outside the control of St.Petersburg/Moscow. It is quite possible therefore that they produced a local postage issue.

g. The SR's did not control the region for long and were ousted by the forces of Admiral Kolchak who imposed his own administration. The short lived nature of the local administration accounts for the fact that many of the currency notes they produced received little circulation and it is perfectly possible that a stock of stamps produced for use but as yet unissued existed and has in part found it's way onto the philatelic market.

So where does that leave us?

My own view is that the jury is still out and the issue may be:

Bogus
Philatelic
Genuine and unissued
Genuine, issued and very small useage.

Any more information please post.
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[*] posted on 5/27/2004 at 14:37


I do not claim to have any particular insight into the status of this issue, but I do possess a cover, shown here. I have seen several other covers, also franked with several different values and also addressed in the same handwriting, some ostensibly from Verkholensk and others from Chita. Whatever the status of the issue, the existence of a number of attractive covers in the same handwriting does tend to suggest that there was a philatelic component in the story of these stamps.
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[*] posted on 5/27/2004 at 14:39


The attachment doesn't seem to have worked. I'll try again

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[*] posted on 5/27/2004 at 14:40


...and here is the back of the cover.

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[*] posted on 7/3/2010 at 12:21


I have studied this issue and my article was published in Russian by "Mir Marok" this year (No. 1). If somebody interested to read it please send me e-mail to igorfmyask@hotmail.com and I'll send article trough e-mail.
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[*] posted on 7/4/2010 at 08:15


My own opinion comes in brief to the following:
1. The stamps as well as some postal stationery with this overprint were printed in Irkutsk and prepared for issue by the Pibaikal Zemstvo government but never released because of change of the political situation.
2. These materials stored at the Irkutsk post/telergaph district premises in Irkutsk were sold (probably illegally) by the former district officials to some stamp dealers (allegedly, but not necessarily Shulyak in Kharbin).
3. All (without any exception) covers franked with the stamps are fakes manufacured to make this issue looking as legal.
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[*] posted on 7/4/2010 at 12:41


Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
My own opinion comes in brief to the following:
1. The stamps as well as some postal stationery with this overprint were printed in Irkutsk and prepared for issue by the Pibaikal Zemstvo government but never released because of change of the political situation.
2. These materials stored at the Irkutsk post/telergaph district premises in Irkutsk were sold (probably illegally) by the former district officials to some stamp dealers (allegedly, but not necessarily Shulyak in Kharbin).
3. All (without any exception) covers franked with the stamps are fakes manufacured to make this issue looking as legal.

1. It means that issue was not fantasy.

2. Also it can be sent to Verkhneudinsk together with overprinted banknotes. It was pretty hard to sell stamps from Irkutsk (RSFSR) to stamp dealer in Kharbin (China) at that time.

3. If mail items were fabricated, we can say that fabricator made the exceptional job:
- All postmarks are genuine.
- 2 covers and 3 postcards are franked with proper rate.
- 2 covers are prepared as philatelic ones.
- Text on back side of 2 postcards are crossed out to prevent its privacy.
- The proper dates were used on postmarks. Just before Chita issue started to be used.
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[*] posted on 7/5/2010 at 02:00


As concerns the postmarks, they were applied by genuine devices but manufactured not too long before, stored at the Irkutsk P/T District premises and never distributed to the places for which they were destined. We may call the job exceptional but, nevertheless, there are mistakes showing that the fabricator was not familiar with some realities. The franking of some items virtually according to the proper (assumedly!) rate can be regognized only with some assumptions. Selling the stamps (also the cancellers) abroad was not difficult, since the frontires with China were at that time actually open.
I would like to stress that the said above by igorfmyask and me reflects only our personal opinions as no documents are available.
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[*] posted on 7/5/2010 at 10:52


Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
As concerns the postmarks, they were applied by genuine devices but manufactured not too long before, stored at the Irkutsk P/T

Chita postmark is shown in Robinson's book under number 1595.6 with date 11.5.16.

Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
We may call the job exceptional but, nevertheless, there are mistakes showing that the fabricator was not familiar with some realities. The franking of some items virtually according to the proper (assumedly!) rate can be regognized only with some assumptions.

20-rub rate for registred letter is found on mail franked with Semenov stamps. 20-kop (new currency) rate was used in Desember after Chita issue started to be used in area.

Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
Selling the stamps (also the cancellers) abroad was not difficult, since the frontires with China were at that time actually open.

I agree if we are talking about FER but Irkutsk located in RSFSR and we are talking about selling from Irkutsk to Kharbin (China). How seller in Irkutsk found dealer in Kharbin?

Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
I would like to stress that the said above by igorfmyask and me reflects only our personal opinions as no documents are available.

It is true but we do not have documents for many other issues. Even for general Denikin issue for example.
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[*] posted on 7/6/2010 at 02:57


I am afraid this dispute can last without end, each of us both is able to bring arguments pro and contra. So I adduce my considerations once more but I am not against that if the field of battle will remain for my opponent. Thus,
1. Postmarks. Only a very limited set of postmarks can be found on this mail: CHITA "v", VERKHOLENSK (not in Pribailal'e), SELENGINSK, CHELYABINSK, ZHIGALOVO - have I forgotten something? None of them was ever seen on a normal mail. It is true that the Chita postmark is shown by Robinson. However, we do not know where he find it. A date error cannot be excluded in this case. In any case, the fact of being used earlier on mail does not exclude that the canceller found itself later in wrong hands in some or other way. This limited set of cancellers used both for dispatching and receiving postmarks was the only which the forger had on hands.
2. Rates. If wishing it strongly, one can assosiate the franking of some item with the rates allegedly in force drawing in rather artifical assumptions. However, it is quite impossible for the great majority of these covers. Ivo Steyn (who shares my opinion in essence) have sent me recently some additional pictures of such items, I show here one from Selenginsk. This letter-card is franked on 17 r. Can it be, for instance, that an ordinary letter rate was 17 r, while that for registered one only 3 r higher? And the postal rates in FER were fixed then (autumn 1921) already in the gold currency.
3. Addressing. Not a single item of this mail has a quite particular address: house #, street. All them are addressed somewhat indefinitely: military barracks, one's own house, trade with metals etc. This shows only that the fabricator was not familiar with the geography of localities where he 'directed' this mail. By the way, there are among these covers a registered letter to Chita and an ordinary postcard to Chelyabinsk addressed to the same person appoximately at the same time!
4. Selling. I do not insist on that the process of selling took place just in this manner. I regard only this as the most probable. However, there were no frontiers guards on the border between the RSFSR and FER at that time, the border was quite open as well as that between FER and China. I cannot exclude also the possibility that these materials were sold through intermediaries, e.g. to Japaneses etc - all was possible! But the details are not not essential. The principal conclusion that all these covers are fakes remains invariable.

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[*] posted on 7/6/2010 at 12:00


Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
I am afraid this dispute can last without end, each of us both is able to bring arguments pro and contra. So I adduce my considerations once more but I am not against that if the field of battle will remain for my opponent.

We agree that issue is real but not a fantasy. This is very important. Our disagreement is related to the postal usage only.

Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
1. Postmarks. Only a very limited set of postmarks can be found on this mail: CHITA "v", VERKHOLENSK (not in Pribailal'e), SELENGINSK, CHELYABINSK, ZHIGALOVO - have I forgotten something? None of them was ever seen on a normal mail. It is true that the Chita postmark is shown by Robinson. However, we do not know where he find it. A date error cannot be excluded in this case. In any case, the fact of being used earlier on mail does not exclude that the canceller found itself later in wrong hands in some or other way. This limited set of cancellers used both for dispatching and receiving postmarks was the only which the forger had on hands.

It is amazing that somebody could collect 5 genuine postmarks of proper area. By the way posmark "Selenginsk" is made with the new soviet orthography.

Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
2. Rates. If wishing it strongly, one can assosiate the franking of some item with the rates allegedly in force drawing in rather artifical assumptions. However, it is quite impossible for the great majority of these covers. Ivo Steyn (who shares my opinion in essence) have sent me recently some additional pictures of such items, I show here one from Selenginsk. This letter-card is franked on 17 r. Can it be, for instance, that an ordinary letter rate was 17 r, while that for registered one only 3 r higher? And the postal rates in FER were fixed then (autumn 1921) already in the gold currency.

We can see just front side of letter-card (sekretka). Additional three 1-pub stamps may be attached to back side because there is no room for them at front side. For example letters from Verkholensk have stamps on both sides.

Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
3. Addressing. Not a single item of this mail has a quite particular address: house #, street. All them are addressed somewhat indefinitely: military barracks, one's own house, trade with metals etc. This shows only that the fabricator was not familiar with the geography of localities where he 'directed' this mail. By the way, there are among these covers a registered letter to Chita and an ordinary postcard to Chelyabinsk addressed to the same person appoximately at the same time!

We are talking about area where before October revolt lived about 50,000 people with literacy rate around 7% so number of potential postal service clients was not more than 3,500 people for entire area including children who could read and write. Of course not of them used postal service especially in the Civil War time so "military barracks, one's own house and trade with metals" were good adresses because the only one "military barracks, one's own house and trade with metals" existed in place. By the way similar adresses we can find on covers franked with Semenov or Imperial stamps. For example letters sended
to Chita: German Branch of Red Cross
to Kharbin: Mr. Duzeev, Kharbin, T-vo "Idl-Urasev"
to Tientsin: Mr. F. Beck, Bordes Hotel, French Concession

Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
4. Selling. I do not insist on that the process of selling took place just in this manner. I regard only this as the most probable. However, there were no frontiers guards on the border between the RSFSR and FER at that time, the border was quite open as well as that between FER and China. I cannot exclude also the possibility that these materials were sold through intermediaries, e.g. to Japaneses etc - all was possible! But the details are not essential.

Without details we cannot say for sure that selling was really had place. This is just your guess.

Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
The principal conclusion that all these covers are fakes remains invariable.

This sentence is unproved.
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[*] posted on 7/6/2010 at 13:11


Of course, I can only guess in some matters which are impossible to prove. At least, it is that I regard as the most probable.
I feel myself powerless to move you from your principal position, the same should apply to you as well. So it is needless to continue our dispute at this forum, at least. The only thing which I would like turning your attention to is: you may be right in either individual assumption you made but if taking these assumptions in the whole, they would contradict the theory of probability.
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[*] posted on 7/6/2010 at 18:52


Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
Of course, I can only guess in some matters which are impossible to prove. At least, it is that I regard as the most probable.
I feel myself powerless to move you from your principal position, the same should apply to you as well. So it is needless to continue our dispute at this forum, at least. The only thing which I would like turning your attention to is: you may be right in either individual assumption you made but if taking these assumptions in the whole, they would contradict the theory of probability.

I just cannot believe that a fabricator could make so great job. In addition to getting genuine stamps he had found 5 genuine postmarks, selected proper time, used good rates and even crossed out text on 2 postcards. I have one card and somebody partially took off crossing lines on second card
so text became readable. Text is very interesting. Mikhail informs Nikolai that he have already sent postcard today and asks him to respond through registered mail. Fabricator was very smart and connected second postcard to first. I believe in Probability theory but cannot believe that a real fabricator could make so impressive job.
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[*] posted on 7/7/2010 at 06:26


Igor, if you are so eager to consider these covers genuine, you're welcome! And let the readers of this discussion to choose their standpoints.
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[*] posted on 7/7/2010 at 09:57


Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
Igor, if you are so eager to consider these covers genuine, you're welcome! And let the readers of this discussion to choose their standpoints.

Alexandr,

We agree that the issue was real one and this is the most important thing.

In your opinion stamps were never used. I am ready to accept your opinion as soon as I get answers to several "whys":

Why proper dates were used (November 1921)?
Why proper rates were used?
Why text on 2 postcards was crossed out?
Why somebody put the following text on one cover: "otr. Chita Chinarov P-ra 2. - o." and what does this text mean?

I cannot believe that fabricator was so smart.
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[*] posted on 7/8/2010 at 02:05


Igor, I really did not intend to continue this discussion but I am now forced to try answering your questions. Of course, nobody can give you exact answers, so I do as I see it myself.

1st Why: It looks as you underestimate the fabricator. Actually, he should be sufficiently clever person but not familiar with some realities in the FER (Chita). For instance, hr knew that there were no stamps until the end of November 1921 when the first stamps of the Chita issue were released, and the mail was paid in cash. Hence the proper dates. On the other hand, he did not know e.g. that there were no more ranks in the Red Army of RSFSR or People Revolutionary Army of FER; otherwise, he would not address some covers to a lieutenant at military barracks in Chita. He did not know also that Verkholensk was not in the FER. He did not know the street names in the towns where he addressed the covers, hence not a single cover with a precise address.

2nd Why: The virtual coincidence of franking with the proper rates on 2-3 covers is quite occasional and needs some assumptions. For instance, we should assume that the 3.50 rub stamp on some postcards was taken for 3 gold kopeks. By the way, you refer to the Semenov's 20-rub R-cover rate but this rate was in force only during the 1st half of 1920; later it was raised to 50 rub.

3rd Why: I have seen thousands of postcards but do not remember anyone with the whole message crossed out. Indeed, there were names and/or addresses crossed out, some words in the message erased (that was quite sufficient) but not the whole message. I believe that the fabricator merely overdid it to make looking the items convincing. He did not spoil, however, the front which is most important for the collectors.

4th Why: I cannot answer this queston, since I do not understand these abbreviations.
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[*] posted on 7/8/2010 at 09:24


Quote: Originally posted by Alep  
Igor, I really did not intend to continue this discussion but I am now forced to try answering your questions. Of course, nobody can give you exact answers, so I do as I see it myself.

1st Why: It looks as you underestimate the fabricator. Actually, he should be sufficiently clever person but not familiar with some realities in the FER (Chita). For instance, hr knew that there were no stamps until the end of November 1921 when the first stamps of the Chita issue were released, and the mail was paid in cash. Hence the proper dates. On the other hand, he did not know e.g. that there were no more ranks in the Red Army of RSFSR or People Revolutionary Army of FER; otherwise, he would not address some covers to a lieutenant at military barracks in Chita. He did not know also that Verkholensk was not in the FER. He did not know the street names in the towns where he addressed the covers, hence not a single cover with a precise address.

2nd Why: The virtual coincidence of franking with the proper rates on 2-3 covers is quite occasional and needs some assumptions. For instance, we should assume that the 3.50 rub stamp on some postcards was taken for 3 gold kopeks. By the way, you refer to the Semenov's 20-rub R-cover rate but this rate was in force only during the 1st half of 1920; later it was raised to 50 rub.

3rd Why: I have seen thousands of postcards but do not remember anyone with the whole message crossed out. Indeed, there were names and/or addresses crossed out, some words in the message erased (that was quite sufficient) but not the whole message. I believe that the fabricator merely overdid it to make looking the items convincing. He did not spoil, however, the front which is most important for the collectors.

4th Why: I cannot answer this queston, since I do not understand these abbreviations.

I am trying to find Selenginsk postmark with date after November 1921. As soon as I find it (God usually helps me) case will be closed.
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[*] posted on 7/8/2010 at 13:40


Good luck!
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