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Thursday 15 November 2018

Single Frankings

One way to combine stamp collecting with doing postal history is to collect covers with single frankings, one cover for each stamp issued. It should be easy – after all, stamp denominations relate to tariffs. Or do they? Inflation is the main enemy of single frankings. Another is the inability of Supply departments to get the right stamps into the post offices at the right times.

For Imperial Russia, there are really a very small number of stamps to collect from one kopek to 10 rubels, which is just like the range 1 cent to $10. Ignore the rubel values and surely the kopek values will appear as single frankings….

It’s actually very difficult to complete this relatively small set. It seems that collectors quite often get stuck on the 70 kopek, so here is a cover to prove that 70 kop single frankings exist.

BUT it’s a use in Bolshevik Russia in September 1918 – and a very unusual one. This is a registered court envelope sent from Petrograd to Sestoresk. There is a cachet on the back and a number (450) bottom left of the cover which together entitle this letter to a privilege. The Court did not have to pay for the basic letter ( a 35 kopeks tariff at the time) ONLY for the Registration fee (70 kopeks at the time).

If you have interesting single frankings at 70 kop, send me a scan and we can expand this section …

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Added 17 November 2018: Here's a very fine cover from Howard Weinert (USA). This 70 kop franking from 1916 represents a sixth weight step ( 6 x 10 kop) plus 10 kop registration fee on a large envelope from Tiflis to the Psycho-Neurological Institute in Petrograd. Mail to this Institute does turn up in dealer boxes so at some point I guess its archive was sold off.

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Added 19 November 2018: Here's a very nice 1911 registered cover scanned to me by Henri Taparel (France), this one going abroad. Note that this cover shows an early printing of the 70 kop in a paler brown. Howard Weinert's cover above shows a later printing of the 70 kop in a darker brown:

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Friday 2 November 2018

Russia 1920s Tula Local Revenue stamps for agricultural improvement

For many countries, fiscal / revenue stamps issued by national governments for general use are very common. In contrast, stamps issued by provincial or local government organisations can be scarce or rare. The obvious reason is that fewer  copies were used; the less obvious reason is that dealers or collectors at the time may not have known of their existence and so did not seek them out.

Early Soviet Russia was a very bureaucratic society but also one where local improvisation and local initiatives were common. There are a LOT of early Soviet fiscal stamps which were not issued by the national government.

I illustrate here one example since I cannot find these stamps already illustrated on the Internet. They were issued and used in Tula and they imposed a local tax on land transactions in addition to that nationally prescribed. This local tax was intended to fund agricultural improvement. It’s possible that there was some continuity with the activities of the Tula Zemstvo organisation. 

The stamps which indicated payment of the local tax were locally produced on poor quality coloured papers and had no gum – sometimes they were attached to legal documents by overlapping the gummed national-issue stamps. There is evidence of their use in 1922, 1923 and 1924. There were three values: 5 k orange, 10k pink and 20k green. The high value appears to be the scarcest. The stamps were also modified in three different ways as I illustrate below. Click on Images to Magnify.

5 kop without modification used here on a May 1924 document:

5 kop with revaluation to rubels by means of manuscript Руь in tablet at base used here on 1923 document:

10 kop without modification used here on May 1923 document:

10 kop with handstamp Γ.Ο.З. in tablet at base used here on June 1923 document:

10 kop with handstamp С Д А Н О in tablet at base used here on February 1923 document:

20 Kop without modification used here on February 1922 document. The 20 kop appears to be the scarcest value and the strip of three on this document is the largest multiple on any of the documents I have seen: