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Tuesday 1 April 2014

A Place Called PAROKHOD

Assumptions and preconceptions colour the way we see the world. This is true of big things, where the results are often enough disastrous, and small things where the results can be amusing:

If you collect postmarks of Imperial Russia then you get used to working your way, quickly, through hundreds of covers and cards in dealer stocks and auction lots - every time you get the chance. You will probably assume that place name postmarks are round, TPO postmarks oval, and ship mail postmarks also oval.

When I picked up the card below I headed for the place name at the top of the round place-name cancel and read PAROKHOD. That's a funny name for a place, I thought. Why would a place be called STEAMSHIP? And where is it? I looked to the bottom of the cancel and, moving between the three strikes, made out KHERSON. Oh, so it's in Kherson guberniya - and I looked for a GUB. to confirm it. Instead, I got ODESSA.

At this point I had my Homer Simpson moment. Doh!

Click on Image to Magnify

Of course, how could I have been so stupid - it's a steamship cancel for the Kherson -Odessa line. Forget that I never even knew there was such a line. There clearly is and now I have to find out about it.

Ninety-nine point something percent of swans are white, but there are also black swans. Ninety-nine point something of circular Imperial cancels are place name cancels but some are steamship cancels (as I did in fact know - Batum-Odessa being a common one).

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