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About the Postal Agreement of 1919

Printed From: Rainer's Stampcorner
Category: Nepal
Forum Name: Nepal Postmarks and Postal History
Forum Description: Please use for the discussion of Postmarks and Postal History
Printed Date: 22 November 2018 at 10:58am
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Topic: About the Postal Agreement of 1919
Posted By: Herbert Mailänder
Subject: About the Postal Agreement of 1919
Date Posted: 20 July 2014 at 10:14pm
About the Nepalese/British-Indian Postal Agreement of 1919

Although the British-Indian "Residency Post Office" in Kathmandu was initially established exclusively to serve the Residency staff and official visitors, from the second half of the 19th century onwards the postal service was tacitly permitted even at the native population for communication whit places outside Nepal. The opportunity to access the British-Indian postal service was much appreciated by the Nepalese population with an ever increasing volume of letters over the years, much that in the year 1919 it was decided to formalize the "status quo" and to improve the facilities with a postal agreement concluded between the Nepalese and British-Indian postal authorities. The outgoing letters from the Nepalese people (prepaid with only Indian stamps) were collected by the Nepalese Post Office and on a daily basis transferred in bulk to the Residency Post Office; as vice versa incoming mail was handed by Residency Post Office to the Nepales Post Office for distribution to the native addressees. One effect of the agreement was the establishment of an (british) "Exchange Post Office" located on the perimeter of the Residency in order to manage the connection between the two postal systems.

Recently appeared on the market two covers which are in some way related to the vicissitudes of the Agreement of 1919:

The first cover concerns the date of opening of the Exchange Post Office: Dr. Hellrigl not having found any tangible proof about the exact date of signing of the agreement and the subsequent opening date of the Exchange Post Office, has circumnavigated the lack of official dates with an ingenious system of interpolation setting a terminus post quem and a terminus ante quem the facts must have occurred. The terminus post quem, namely the date prior to which definitely could not have existed agreement, is identified by Dr. Hellrigl on the date of 1st April 1919 because a British-Indian Post Circular just dated 1st April specifies: ".... Nepal with whitch there is no postal exchange whaterver." (NEPAL POSTAL HISTORY by Wolfgang C. Hellrigl, page 183). The terminus ante quem, ie the time where the agreement was undoubtedly existing, is given by the earliest recorded usage of the oval KATHMANDU namestamp used by the Exchange Post Office. At the date of the publication of his book, 1991, Dr. Hellrigl indicates the earliest known usage "1st September 1919" and also Dr. Shrestha's later book "Nepalese Postal History" published in 2009 no change this date. The now appeared cover, shown below, has reached the Residency Post Office of Kathmandu the 7st August 1919 and has received on the front side a stike of the ovale namestamp in use by the Exchange Post Office.

(7 August 1919)

A small step to reconstruct with more and more accuracy the events of those days.

* * *

The second cover concerns the practice before the establishment of the Exchange Post Office and is related to the note n.49 written by Dr.Hellrigl at bottom of page 179 of his book, I cite: " ... As mentioned further on, I have no tangible proof that the Exchange Post Office was actually opened as early 1919. Initially, the functions of the Exchange P.O. may well have been carried out by the Kathmandu G.P.O. Instead ...". In fact, all the thousands of letters handled by the Nepalese Post Office before and during the validity of the agreement of 1919 have no signs of the Nepalese postal service and therefore an effective involvement of Nepali Post can only be assumed even if it is absolutely logical. With the cover pictured below, it seems that the goddess of fortune has turned in benevolence his face to us collectors making that a probably distracted postmaster has applied in unusually way a Nepalese postmark on a cover forwarded by the Residency Post Office. In this way, it looks like we now have a tangible proof of what was always supposed in relation to the time prior to the agreement.

(2 April 1915)

* * *

I would greatly appreciate any correction, comment or information about other covers concerning the theme,

 with thanks  Herbert Mailänder

Posted By: Herbert Mailänder
Date Posted: 23 July 2014 at 9:02pm

Re-reading my post above I noticed an inaccuracy on my part: I have reported the date of first ussage of the oval namestamp as originally indicated in the book of Dr.Hellrigl and not the revised date. Therefore, the sentence "... Dr. Hellrigl indicates the earliest known usage "1st September 1919"..." must be understood as follows: "... Dr. Hellrigl indicates the earliest known usage "21st August 1919"..." .

I apologize!


Herbert Mailänder

Posted By: Herbert Mailänder
Date Posted: 26 July 2015 at 12:04am

Some days ago, on Ebay appeared a further cover which concerns the exchange practice before the establishment of the first Exchange Post Office in Kathmandu. Unlike the previously above illustrated letter from 1915, this time it seems - maybe in view of the prominent addressee - that the native postmarking was not applied by simply distraction but deliberately. At the time of the year 1901, the native Post Office in Kathmandu had in use three types of postmarkings: the killer type for cancellations, a datestampe and a true postal seal (Hellrigel S3). The native post master has chosen to prefer the seal to document the transit through the Nepalese Post of this incoming Indian letter.

1901- Letter from CAUKHAMBA (northwestern India) to KATHMANDU - British arrival datestamp and native Postal Seal of Kathmandu G.P.O (Hellrigl S3).


Herbert Mailänder

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