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Friday 1 November 2013

The One Kopeck Tariff in Russia, Imperial and Soviet

Imperial Russia had a One Kopeck tariff from 1866 to 1917. The items of mail which qualified for this concessionary tariff varied throughout the period, but still it should be possible to find every variety of Imperial one kopeck stamp used as a single franking. This includes the 1 kopeck imperforate of 1917 (I have one example). Below I illustrate an early item from the well-known Gunzburg correspondence. This is a single sheet of printed matter sent in June 1869 from St Petersburg to Vilnius, franked with a 1 kopeck on horizontally laid paper. I show both sides of the lettersheet (Click on Images to enlarge them) :

Perhaps more surprising, a 1 kopeck tariff was re-introduced in the early Soviet Union. I have only a few examples and illustrate them below. The first from October 1923 is a printed item sent locally in Petrograd franked with an imperforate Worker stamp. The second item is an unsealed envelope containing Printed Matter (PECHATNOE) sent locally within Leningrad in 1925 and franked with a perforated Worker stamp. You can see that it was unsealed, with the flap tucked into the envelope, because the roller cancel on the back does not run all the way across the flap. The final item is a single printed sheet sent locally in Leningrad in 1929 and franked with a large Head Worker definitive. The printed text would make it a nice item for a Pushkin collector

Whereas auctions are full of high-value frankings you will very rarely see 1 kopeck frankings in auction. But some of them are much scarcer than the 30 or 40 or 50 kopeck frankings. You will have to look for the 1 kopecks in dealers' boxes ...

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