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Wednesday 22 July 2015

Russian Brides

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I guess this Blog post is going to get a lot of hits ...

The card above is of interest in at least four ways.

For the Russian Tariff collector, it's a nice example of the RSFSR's  27 rouble foreign postcard rate, in force from June to October 1922, and paid for here by a combination of kopeck stamps revalued x 100 together with three one rouble stamps used at face value. So 5 + 5 + 14 + 1 + 1 + 1  = 27 . But the Tariff is not a particularly scarce one and on its own makes the card worth maybe 30 €

For the Russian Censorship collector, there is a Petrograd Three Triangle civilian censor in the middle of the card. But it's upside down and only a part strike, so you wouldn't choose it if you had the choice of a better one.

For the Russian Stamp collector, this is really interesting (and I didn't at first see it). Look at the one rouble stamps on an enlarged image. They are perforated well off-centre. More importantly, they are examples of the scarce post - revolutionary perforation 12.5 which all catalogues give a big premium on. I hate measuring perforations and rarely do but I have checked these all round and, yes, they are 12.5. Pity about the brown toning at the top. That said, I have absolutely no idea what this card is worth as an example of that perforation used on a regular item of mail. But examples must be scarce if the catalogues are right about the basic stamp.

For the social historian - and this is what I first noticed - the interest is in the addressee, Mrs L F Mead. She was the wife of Lieutenant Leonard Frank Mead (b 1898) who served with the Royal Flying Corps and then with the Royal Air Force in British-Occupied Batum. His letters home are well-known to collectors of British Batum. 

He also visited Tiflis and it was probably there that he met Nadia Archangelsky who became Mrs L F Mead. [See now the Postscript] The card is from her family who had by 1922 moved to Petrograd.

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Postscript added 25 November 2015: Here is an envelope sent within Tiflis by Leonard Mead (his initials bottom left) to Mlle. Archangelsky; the billet doux is no longer inside the envelope:

Added 22 March 2016: And here is a card from TIFLIS VOKSAL 13 12 24 addressed to the same Nadia Archangelsky but now Mrs Mead living in Reading, England. That the card was underfranked was noted in Tiflis and Postage Due was raised by London's Foreign Section:

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