4th October 2022 Postal History of the Russian Levant & Batum – Malcolm Hughes

On Tuesday October 4th 2022 Banbury Stamp Society welcomed Malcolm Hughes who gave a presentation in two halves, the first being ‘The Postal History of the Russian Levant’: In the 1860’s Russia came to an agreement with the Ottoman Empire to open 18 post offices on the Black Sea, Adriatic and the coast of Palestine.


The Russian Steam Navigation & Trade Company won the contract for the postal service which ran until the start of the Russian Revolution.  Stamps were initially procured by the company but eventually replaced by the Russian imperial postage stamps.  As well as the stamps we were shown covers which used the various rail and sea routes and showed the range of postmarks used.

The second half covered ‘Batum, the British Occupation, 1919 1920’. 

After the Great War, the development of oil fields, was of strategic importance.  Britain took an interest in the Baku oil fields in modern day Azerbaijan, and these exported through the Black Sea port of Batum in Georgia.  In 1919 they sent an occupation force to support Georgia’s independence ambition and to protect the trans-Caucasus railway.  Stamps were a range of Russian Imperial and Georgian stamps overprinted British Occupation.  When the British withdrew in 1920, the remaining stamps were dumped in the Black Sea.

The next event will be the Banbury Festival of Stamps on Sunday 23rd October from 10am to 4pm at Blessed George Napier School, Springfield Avenue, Banbury where there will be a range of dealers in stamps, postal history, postcards, albums, catalogues, and accessories.  The next club meeting will be ‘Tonga to Togo in Stamps’ on Tuesday 1st November 2022 at 7:30pm at the Hanwell Fields Community Centre. The Banbury Stamp Society is on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’, or contact John Davies on 01295 255831.