Last Sunday, July 11, celebrated the Day of Russian Post. This is a young holiday — it has been celebrated since 1994 on the second Sunday of July.
At the same time, Russian mail is one of the oldest in Europe. The prototype of postal messages already existed in Kievan Rus: the population was obliged to provide horses and food for them to princely messengers. During the period of the Mongol yoke, a system of pits — postal stations (from where the word “coachman” came from) developed. Peasants and townspeople carried the postal service: they carried princely messengers. Since 1516, the Yamsky order was established to oversee the coachmen; he also controlled the delivery of government papers. Under Peter the Great, the first post offices re established; in the army, a military field post was launched. Further, the system of delivery of items branched out and became more complicated; new types of communication and transport came to serve her.
With the advent of the Internet and e‑mail, paper correspondence and individual artifacts like postage stamps seemed to have disappeared, but they remained with us. Partly by necessity: paper documents sometimes still need to be sent. Partly because of the charm that a paper card or letter carries.
Postcards and stamps continue to live. Probably, the same thing will happen (and is already happening) with paper magazines: they have ceased to be as massive as before, but continue to live, change and evolve in their niche.
There are at least two great hobbies that come from the mail.
Collecting postage stamps is a whole universe for those who understand. Canceled stamps with a postmark are of particular value to collectors. Interestingly, not only stamps, but also clippings can be collectibles: parts of an envelope with a stamp, and in modern collections you can also find entire envelopes.
To store postage stamps, you will need a special album with holders (it is called a klyasser), and, possibly, separate clipboards (these are holder strips for stamps and other small items that can be pasted into albums).
And in specialized shops for philatelists you can see magnifiers, tezers and even cosmetics for stamps.
Or the international exchange of postcards. It is both a hobby and a platform of that name founded in 2005. As of July 14, 2020, 791,745 people from 206 countries are registered in the project. It is based on the mechanism of indirect exchange: you send postcards to one person, and receive from others.
It works like this. You register on the platform, and your address is included in the project’s large database of addresses. You are given a bunch of names and addresses of people from all over the world; you look at their preferences (it’s better to do this, and not send them at random), choose postcards, and write your own message to each. Experienced postcrossers recommend that you first glue the required number of stamps, then write the address, and write a few friendly words on the remaining space.
And, of course, it will be very cool if your postcard represents the country, tells something about the culture of Russia. If this does not contradict the request, send a new acquaintance views of old Moscow performed by Apollinary Vasnetsov, Ivan Bilibin’s illustrations for Pushkin’s fairy tales, or sketches by Lev Bakst — a foreign friend will surely be pleased to receive this.
By the way, collecting postcards is called “philokartia”.
Did you collect stamps or postcards as a child? Do you have postcrossing experience? Tell about it!