Russian stamps 10 kopecks imperforate, strip of five, largest multiple known. Ex Fabergé

Russian stamps 10 kopecks imperforate, strip of five, largest multiple known. Ex Fabergé

October 3, 2011

Russian Post in China 1: Very Rare Fulya-Erdi CER station


1917 (July) postcard from Mukden (stamp missing) adressed to Fulya- Erdi. Purple transit cds from Chan Chun imperial Japenese post office. Very rare postmark "Fulya-Erdi 28.07.1917" applied on arrival.

The history of the Russian presence in China/Mandchuria is a fascinating subject in itself, from which the famous Chinese Eastern Railway (CER) plays an important role.  Built between 1897 and 1901 with Russian investments, the CER was a smart diplomatic way of increasing and securing the Russian presence in China, extending its influence far beyond Vladivostok. Finally opened in Autumn 1901, around 100 different Russian post offices have been officially recorded to operate along its lines.; by 'officially recorded', I mean that their names have been written down in official Russian documents. 

In reality,  since the majority of these stations were  only small halts handling a negligeable quantity of mail --with the obvious exception of some important centers like Kharbin or Tsitsikar--, only a handful of postal material (loose postmarked stamps or covers) have survived through  the chaos of the XXth century: out of a hundred POs recorded 'in the book', more than 70 are nowadays still unknown to collectors (no material discovered yet)!

As a matter of fact, the great scarcity of any survived loose stamps or covers from these SMALL Russian post offices along the CER lines is bringing them to the rank of rarities. There is usually less than 10 items recorded for each small station 'philatecally' recorded.

Fulya-Erdi was such a small station on the Chinese Eastern Railway (CER) between Khurkura (another small station, no material known to date) and Tsitsikar. A post office from the Russian Imperial Administration operated there since 1913 (first date recorded), handling only ordinary mail. 

 A close up from the Fulya-Erdi postmark
(Tchilinghirian and Stephen Vol. 5, page 419, rated RRR)

When Tschilinghirian and Stephen published their famous opus in 1957, only one item was recorded from this station -- a strike of the Fulya-Erdi postmark dated 21.01.1914 on a loose Romanov stamp (collection Tracks). Collectors had to wait another 20 years (!) before a second item -- a complete postcard dated 03.11.1913 -- was discovered (British Journal of Russian Philately N°56, 1978). A few years ago I have seen a third item located in the USA -- another loose Romanov stamp -- bearing this postmark. 

To the best of my knowledge (your educated updates are welcome), the postcard illustrated above is one of about ten items recorded to date, excluding a small number of scarce pieces and loose stamps.

As a resume, cards/covers known with the Fulya-Erdi postmark are:

- Two registered covers (collections Dr Casey)
- A third registered cover (whereabouts unknown) 
- A postcard from Fulya-Erdi dated 03.11.1913
- A postcard to Fulya-Erdi dated 28.07.1917 (illustrated above)
- Four or five other covers and cards in miscellaneous collections

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