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Monday 18 April 2016

Russia, RSFSR Inflation covers

Click on Image to Magnify

Inflation covers are popular with collectors and would be more popular if there was not one problem: a large proportion of inflation covers are not complete. At some point, a dealer or collector has decided to remove a stamp - just one - or maybe a block of four needed for an album page. Sometimes it is not immediately obvious from where the stamps / s have been removed.

So buying inflation covers is a time-consuming business; you have to check each one.

The cover above is complete. It was Registered from VOLOCHISK ZHEL DOR P. O. - Volochisk Railway Post Office and addressed to Dr Brender in Berlin. There is a Berlin 47 receiver cancel for 20 11 22 - you can see it towards the top of the image in the middle. The Volochisk cancels are weakly struck and even though there are about 300 of them, I hesitate to identify the day in November when this letter was sent.

It is franked correctly at 300 roubles, the Foreign Registered tariff introduced on 3 November 1922. 
The franking is provided by six complete sheets of 1 rouble imperforate Imperial Arms stamps, each sheet comprising 50 stamps.

I suspect the addition of all these stamps to the envelope would have actually taken the letter into the second or third weight step and I sometimes wonder if there were clerks who tried then to charge additional weight step postage for the postage stamps they had stuck on the envelope and so on ad infinitum.

The cover above nicely illustrates just how disruptive inflation could be at the post office counter when not matched by appropriate stamp supplies. Three hundred stamps are used up here, each sheet laboriously attached to the envelope and each stamp separately cancelled. In addition, there must have been temptation at times for postal workers to steal such exotic looking covers in transit.

Somewhere someone must have recorded what is believed to be the largest number of adhesives attached to a single RSFSR cover of the 1917 - 23 period. Can anyone tell us what it is?

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