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THE BORDER POSTAGE OF 1½ PRUSSIAN GROSCHEN
Erling Berger (Fredensborg, Denmark)


In the period 1822-1844 this border postage is simple and well described in article VI in the 1821 postal convention between Russia and Prussia: “Until now only letters to and from the governments Courland, Livonia and Estonia have been charged – besides the normal foreign shares – by the Immersatt border postage of 1½ Prussian Groschen per Loth. From now on this border postage is charged on all letters to and from the Russian Empire. The amount is paid to the (Prussian) post office in Memel for speeding up the Russian Mails twice a week (by establishing new posts): One post from Memel to Berlin and one post from Berlin to Memel and further to Polangen. The Immersatt border postage is charged even on letters travelling the short distance between Memel and Polangen.”
 
Where do we see the Immersatt Border Postage?
 
It can be found on foreign letters to and from the Russian Empire (including the Baltic and Finland) and we find it in printed tariffs. As from 1844 we see it no longer.
Fig. 1 : Prussian Map of 1829 showing Memel and Polangen.
Just under the border line we see Jmmersatt (spelled by a “J”)
 
On Letters gGr = gute Groschen, PrGr = Prussian Groschen. 1 gGr = 4 PrGr (only for postal affairs) Let’s imagine a letter from St. Petersburg to Amsterdam between 1822 and 1844. The tariff is calculated the following way:
Prussian share is 12 gGr or 48 PrGr
Dutch share is 2.75 gGr or 11 PrGr
The normal foreign share is 59 PrGr
We add the Border Postage 1½ PrGr
Russia pays in total to Prussia 60½ PrGr
We will see these 60½ PrGr on letters in both directions. The presence of a “½” shall always make us think of the Immersatt border postage even if it will disappear on double rate letters, but of course appears again on triple rate letters.
 
Here are some examples:
 
 
 
Fig. 2 : Amsterdam 1833 to Riga.
The total foreign share is 60½ PrGr (in red) as described just above. The Baltic share is here 125 Kopeks Assignats (Paper money)
Fig. 3 :
St. Petersburg 1825 to St. Nicolas (in Belgium)
Memel- Aachen 12½ gGr or 50 PrGr
Aachen-Henri Chapelle ¾ gGr or 3 PrGr
Henri Chapelle – St. Nicolas 2 2/3 gGr
…..rounded to 2 ¾ gGr or 11 PrGr
Normal foreign share 64 PrGr 
We add the Immersatt Border Postage 1½ PrGr
Russia pays to Prussia 65½ PrGr
 
 
 

(Fig. 4)
Fig. 4 :
 
St. Petersburg 1824 to Bordeaux
Prussian plus Belgian share 13½ gGr or 54 PrGr
French share 10 gGr for 6-8 gram or
13½ gGr for 11-15 gram or 54 PrGr *)
Normal foreign share 108 PrGr
 
We add the Immersatt Border Postage 1½ PrGr
Russia pays to Prussia 109½ PrGr
 
 
*) We must be aware that the Russian tariff of 1822 was based on a weight limit of one full Prussian Loth. This weight would in France be considered as a double letter weight. The actual letter weights only 6-8 gram so France receives much less from Prussia than Russia prepaid
to Prussia to cover the French stretch.
.
 
 
 
 
 
 

(Fig. 5)
Fig. 5 :
 
 
St. Petersburg 1821 to Bordeaux.
The weight is 20-25 gram, a double letter in Russia.
The total foreign share is 128 PrGr
For a single letter it would be the half: 64 PrGr
 
 
The Immersatt border postage was not paid, because this letter was dispatched before 1822 and outside the Baltic area.

(Fig. 6)
 
 
Fig. 6 :
 
 
Amsterdam on October 30, 1819 to Pernau in the Baltic area. Triple rate letter 3f(ach)
The destination was in the Baltic, so the Immersatt Border Postage was active here prior to 1822, yet with the triple amount 3 x 1½ = 4½ PrGr. (For the first weight class: the total foreign share is 60½ PrGr)
 
 
 
 
Dutch share 3 x 4 Stuivers = 12 Stuivers or 8 gGr or 32 PrGr
Prussian share 3 x 12 gGr or 36 gGr or 144 PrGr
Immersatt Border Postage 3 x 1½ PrGr 4½ PrGr
Russia pays to Prussia 180½ PrGr (not 3 x 60½ which gives 181½)
Up to Riga 1660½ Kopeks Assignats
Riga - Pernau 3 x 20 or 60 Kopeks Assignats
Postage due in Pernau 1720½ Kopecs Assignats (Paper money)
8 and 1 are letter bill list numbers. They are well known in Scandinavia, Saxony and Russia.
We find the border postage in the printed tariffs

Fig. 8 :
 
The Finland (Jacobstad) version of the Russian foreign tariff of 1822. We see no “1½” PrGr in the tariff, but for Memel we see a “9” handwritten.
Prior to 1839 in the Russian Empire there existed a paper currency (Kopeks Assignats) with a much lower value than the silver currency. In 1839 it was fixed at 1: 3½ in relation to the PrGr - but all indications of the value that I have seen are not lower than 1:4. Nevertheless the Russian Postal Service asked their correspondents to pay in Kopeks Assignats at a value of 1:6 relative to the PrGr.
Therefore we see that the border postage of 1½ PrGr was given as 1½ x 6 = 9 Kopeks Assignats
The Silver Kopek had a 3% lower value than the PrGr, so for every Silver Rouble the Russian correspondents paid 5.82 Roubles Assignats. We might say that a kind of tax was charged on foreign postage - an idea we recognize for Finland. There a tax of 10% was charged on the foreign postage to the benefit of the Finland postal service.
 
 
 
From: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Russland-Philatelie, 88 (2008)