Today in Postal History

Manchukuo to Egypt
August 1, 1936

This registered cover was sent from Harbin.
Harbin is over 700 km northwest of Vladivostok.
At the time Manchukuo was a puppet state of Japan.

Harbin is where the the Chinese railroad running north from
Beijing joins the Trans Siberian Railway between Cita and Vladivostok.
It is easy to understand why the cover was routed VIA SIBERIA.

The cover was neatly typewritten in the Royal Danish
Consulate who marked the cover Registered.

The cover has an interesting prenumbered registry label that
required a boxed HARBIN 2 handstamp to provide the city.

The cover was franked with two 1936 orchid crest
stamps - a 2 fen light green and am 8 fen ocher (Scott 75 and 77).
There is also a 1936 10 fen blue Communications Building at Hsinking
and a 6 fen carmine rose wild goose over the sea of Japan from the
issue commemorating the postal convention with Japan (Scott 81 and 82).

There are two indistinct Harbin CDS.

The destination was Tantah or Tanta.*
Tanta is in the Nile Delta about 90 km north of Cairo and 120 km southeast of Alexandria.

It received an AMB.[ulant] TARVISIO VENEZIO GUILIA [choose the English link(?)] CDS on August 13.*
This is the railroad transit mark applied at the transfer point for mail incoming from Austria.
Tarvisio [drag mouse across the mountain range picture] is in the northern Alps lying between Italy and Austria.

On August 14 it received a Brindisi Transit registered cancel.

Its next mark was from Alexandria where it arrived on August 18.
The Alexandria CDS notes FOREIGN.
The Tanta receiver is also dated August 18.

*Thanks to Mauro Mowszowicz for identifying Tarvisio.
His suggestion that it was the transfer point for mail between the Austrian
and Italian postal systems led to an understanding of the whole cancel.
Thanks to Anne Burson-Tolpin for these comments and links about the cover:

'The 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica notes [Tanta's] 'central position nearly midway between the two main branches of the Nile'--it was the 'converging-point of several railways traversing the Delta in all directions. It has a population (1907) of 54,437, is the capital of the rich province of Gharbia,' and has 'a large railway station.' The Alexandria-Tantah leg of the cover's journey would have been a quick hop, skip, and a jump.

"I couldn't track down either the sender or the receiver, but the College St. Louis was a secondary school run by the Society for African Missions (Societas Missionum Afros), a secondary college. Google isn't giving anything current about it, so it may well have been closed after the revolution in 1953. But that's just speculation."


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