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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Russia's 1990s Inflation - a Catch 22 cover?




Click on image and use Magnifier to enlarge

This crazy cover was sent from MOSCOW 03 09 93 using an unmodified Soviet-era franking machine only capable of reaching 999 kopecks (9 roubles 99 kopecks). A clerk (either working through the night or with only one letter a day to frank)has assembled 94 cut outs (front and back) on this cover in addition to the single regular frank at top right.

On the back there is a TALLINN transit and a VORU receiver

I am not very good at arithmetic, but I reckon the franking totals 841 roubles (there are franking labels for 100, 500 and 700 buried among the 900 labels). The Manuscript at bottom left suggests someone had calculated a postal charge of 780 roubles for 100 grams. But there is a catch: the labels when gummed (and boy are they gummed)add significantly to the weight of the envelope. So maybe the weight step changed. Or maybe we are all bad at arithmetic.

In some organisations at this time, an easier solution was found: you file down the KOP at the bottom of the franking stamp and insert "p" or "pyb", thus achieving a x 100 revaluation

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