Home Page - see the new Project handbooks
Click here for the Project Site Map and Links

The PeaceHavens Project

https://www.facebook.com/groups/PeaceHavens/ ..

 

Russian Flax/Hemp Bale Seals

 

CПБ, NP, SP, SPB, WK, WU (Not Archangel)

are on the reverse of the seals along with the date of inspection.

 

 

These letters are State Certified Bracking - not Ports of Export.

Previously regarded as the ports of export, in the light of new research, these letters can only be attributed to "State qualified inspection" .... there is proof of thousands of tons of flax being sent out

of both Riga & St Petersburg under the letters NP .. and from 1829 there were thousands of tons of

 flax being sent out of Riga & St Petersburg under the letters SPB, SP & CПБ  .. see article below.

For many decades in the 18th & 19th centuries, Russia was by far the world's greatest exporter of flax via the ports of Archangel, Konigsberg, Kronstadt, Libnau, Memel, Narva, Pernau, Reval, Riga, St Petersburg, Tilsit and Great Britain was Russia's major customer. All of these ports exported flax with seals stamped NP, WK, WU, SPB, SP and CПБ, and there is no certain way of saying which port exported any particular bale.    However the seals on our database combined with the records of tons of Flax shipped out of St. Petersburg and Riga in the same years prove that the letters NP, WK, WU all relate to Flax bales up to 1828 and after 1829 all the bale seals with SPB or CПБ refered to Flax bales regardless of the port of shipping... meaning .. all of the flax bales coming out of St Petersburg up to 1828 were stamped NP .. not SPB ...  NP being the State Authorised Inspection code letters for Flax shipped from the Baltic, regardless of the port of shipping .

 Russian Flax Exports in tons

 

 Russian Hemp Exports in tons

Date

St.SB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riga

Flax seals

before 1829

are stamped

NP, WK, WU

regardless of

port of export

Date

St.PB

 

 

Riga

Hemp seals

from 1740

to 1828 are

SPB, SP

regardless of

port of export

1825

7,324

23,701

1825

32,367

11,828

1826

7,432

23,383

1826

29,339

10,415

1827

11,192

24,758

1827

30,397

11,587

1828

10,884

21,377

1828

29,157

11,156

1829 6,685   24,394  All flax seals
from 1829
are stamped
SPB or CПБ
regardless of
port of export
1829 16,387   10,487

Hemp seals

from 1829

are a few

 ПEH.1, 2, 3

or PiLPD's

1830 9,365 19,807 1830 21,673 12,360
1831 4,774 18,195 1831 24,678 11,833
1832 8,472 20,533 1832 29,136 13,838
1833 5,589 25,474 1833 31,582 11,797

 

Import of fibres, by Port, 1829 (cwt) into Dundee, Scotland
Port Flax % Hemp % Mixed % Total %
Archangel 12,196 4.1 209 0.8 788 5.2 13,139 3.9
St Petersburgh 67,094 22.7 9,163 34.1 1,820 12.0 70,077 21.0
Narva 8,189 2.8         8,189 2.8
Riga 135,677 45.8 15,990 59.4 8,491 55.8 160,158 47.0
Libau 26,634 9 1,042 3.9 2,360 15.5 30,036 8.9
Memel 27,505 9.3 499 1.9 379 2.5 28,383 8.4
Konigsberg 6,164 2.1 7 - 1,266 8.3 7,437 2.2
Pilau 9,158 3.1 - - 102 0.7 9,260 2.7
Rotterdam 3,456 1.2 - - - - 3,456 1.2
TOTAL 296,082 - 26,910 - 15,206 - 388,198  

 

The majority of flax seals before 1829 have the designation NP  .. tens of thousands of them .. on rare occasions the seal maker carves Cyrillic letters such as HP, ИP, ИП, or even P instead of NP (note that SP is a hemp seal like SPB and CПБ )

A very rare 1762 seal has ЛП (LP) presumed to be (Flax Dockside {Port} inspector).

Probably CПБ was used by Russian Owners and SPB by foreigners.

The SP Conundrum ...  SP is a hemp seal like SPB and CПБ before 1829

                 

47 CRMCH:1991.29.01

1777

Cromarty

PD

?.Arev (hemp)

2

AБPH

SP

BC

14 CRMCH: 1990.3.14

178?

Cromarty

DD

Kan-ev (hemp)

??

BC1N

SP

BC

IDS 1243

1775

Gainsborough

PD

----n (hemp)

1-

ВС2З (Z)

SP

MS

IDS2023

1778

Newark on Trent

DP

V.Simanov.(hemp)

*

MS1H

SP

ПП

 18 CRMCH: 1990.3.18

1779

Cromarty

DD

Klyuev (hemp)

*

ПП1H

SP

ПП

 52 CRMCH: 1991.29.06

1779

Cromarty

DD

Klyuev (hemp)

*

ПП1H

SP

ПП

IDS782

1777

Thames Foreshore

DA

E.Robitsyn (hemp)

1

ПП1H

SP

                 
                 

 

The WK Conundrum

Some flax seals have WK or WU instead of NP leaving a mystery as to location.

Perhaps location is not the question .. but WK is simply

Wilna Krown .. a superior flax exported via Memel.

  The extensive cultivation of flax in Russia country is mainly owing to the alluvial soil upon which it is grown and the low price of labour among the serfs. The vast plains of the interior are traversed by large rivers which annually overflow and leave a rich deposit upon the soil, which encourages the growth of the crops. The soil is well adapted to the flax culture, but a want of care accounts for the low grade of Russian flax. The quality of the fibre varies, however, and is partly distinguished by its colour. The silver-coloured is the best, and that from Wasnikow and Karelia is remarkable for a shining whiteness. Greater care is taken in sorting the flax at Riga than at St. Petersburg, hence the superiority and greater the trade in flax at Riga as shown in the tables above. Russian flax is mostly brought from beyond Moscow by water, in large, flat-bottomed boats or barges. Several thousand of these reach the lake Ladoga (just to the north of St Petersburg) in the spring and summer. There is a Wasnikow, Wjasnikow (Vyaznikovsky) region in Vladimir Province, east of Moscow, which has a modern day flax industry .. which could be the source of the original Wasnikow flax.


 Deciphering WK Flax Seals 1754 - 1828 ..  example

   WK and WU follow the same rules as NP seals

obverse

ЛД
И.ПEЛ
EПEЛ
H129

 ЛД = LD = L'nyanoy Dosmotr = Flax Inspector

 (early seals have ДA Desyatnik = Quality Control Officer
 И.ПEЛ = I.PEL (first part of the name).
 EПEЛ = EPEL (second part of the name).

 total name is I.PELEPEL.

  H129 = N129 = the post number.

 

 reverse
WK
ИФ12K
1827

 WK = the state control used until 1829 by some ports.

 ИФ (IF) = initials of the previous Grower/Owner/Agent

 12K = 12 Crown grade flax heads in a bale. (This could  be 6K, 9K or 12K  .. also 6H, 9H, 12h would be the ordinary grade heads in a bale.

 1827 = date of the inspection, grading or "brack".

  Notes:- variations are numerous.

          

         ЛД (LD with) WK             ДA (DA with) WK      Number Only Seal with WU

  WK, WU are a smaller state or company district control than the normal NP control

 

WK - State/Company area designation seals.

Initial

Port

Year

Site

#

Inspector

Post

Grade

-

IDS245

1776

Worcester

DE

Malinkoi (flax)

52

AЧ12H

WK

AG

NP1814w53

1814

West House

LD

F.Zaitsov (flax)

12

AG12K

WK

AN

152 JH(L) 02

1760

JS

--

N 5 (flax)

5

AN9FF

WK

AN

154 JH(L) 04

1760

JS

--

N 5 (flax)

5

AN9FH

WK

AN

IDS789

176?

JS

--

N 5 (flax)

5

AN9PH

WK

AN

NumKn02

1761

Knaresborough

--

N25 (flax)

25

AN9ПS

WK

AN

163 MH 01

???0

JS

---

N 25 (flax)

25

AN6PK

WK

AN

IDS718

1760

Chester

---

N 29 (flax)

29

AN9Ao

WK

AN

IDS98

1761

Staffordshire

---

N 43 (flax)

43

AN9Ao

WK

AN

IDS99

1761

Staffordshire

---

N 43 (flax)

43

AN9Ao

WK

AN

IDS704

1759

eBay

--

N58 (flax)

58

AN9ПS

WK

AN

IDS1011

175?

Cheshire

--

N 17 (flax)

17

AN9ПS

WK

AN

1 WHITM: SOH 420.1

1759

Whitby

--

N58 (flax)

58

AN9PK

WK

AN

2 WHITM: SOH 420.2

1759

Whitby

--

N58 (flax)

58

AN9PK

WK

AN

IDS336

1754

-----

--

N60 (flax)

60

AN12ПS

WK

AN

IDS351

1759

-----

--

N65 (flax)

65

AN6ПS

WK

AO

IDS525

1767

eBay

?Ф

Namestovshoi (flax)

64

AO12H

WK

CБ

IDS803

1799

West Lancashire

LD

T.Shel'kov (flax)

51

CБ12H

WK

CFK

IDS872

1791

eBay

LD

V.Larionov (flax)

39

CFK12K

WK

CGF

NP180?w03

180?

West House

LD

V.Pikin (flax) 48 CGF12K WK
CGF NP1814w170 1814 West House LD V.Pikin (flax) 48 CGF12K WK
CGK 19 CRMCH: 1990.3.19 1775 Cromarty DA S.Annibal (flax) 86 CFK6K WK
DH 20 CRMCH: 1990.3.20 1775 Cromarty DA S.Annibal (flax) 86 DH6K WK

ДH

IDS460

1787

Wales

LD

I.M.Selins (flax)

47

ДH12H

WK

EC

324 WEW 02

1801

JS

D

Molchanov (flax)

--

EC12H

WK

FL 155 JH(L) 05 1762 JS DL Vavilov (flax) 47 FL9H WK
GE NP1818002 1818 Bentham LD L.Koptev (flax) 91 GE12? WK
HP lig 5 CRMCH: 1990.3.5 1775 Cromarty DA S.Annibal (flax) 86 HP6K WK

ИФ

NP1827017 1827

Bentham

LD

I. Pelepel (flax) 19 ИФ12K WK

ИФ

NP1827005 1827

Bentham

LD

I. Pelepel (flax) 129 ИФ12K WK

ИФ

NP1827006 1827

Bentham

LD

I. Pelepel (flax) 129 ИФ12K WK

ИФ

NP1827004 1827

Bentham

LD

S.Darafee (flax) 124 ИФ12K WK

ИФ

NP1827001 1827

Bentham

LD

?. Pikin (flax) 58 ИФ12K WK

IM

10 ADMUS: 1988.298

1777

Cromarty

LD

Cherntsov (flax)

231

IM12H

WK

IR

56 CRMCH 1991.38.2

1775

Cromarty

D?

 Malenkoi (flax)

52

IR6K

WK

LIW

5 GRYEH: 1981.74.2

17??

Great Yarmouth

LD

V.Larionov (flax)

-9

LIW12K

WK

MH 156 JH(L) 06 1762 JS DM Vavilov (flax) 47 DM9H WK

MM

IDS736

1775

----

DV

Pirozhnikov (flax)

198

MM12H

WK

OH IDS 603 1798 Nottinghamshire LD T.Shelkov (flax) 51 OH6H WK

PB

IDS431

1797

Yorkshire

LD

M.Koroveb (flax) 78 PB12K WK

PБ

NP1797Kn02

1797

Knaresboro

LD

G.Nikiforov (flax)

71

PБ12K

WK

ЯC MM:2006.6 1795 Malton LD I.Vinnikov (flax) 20 ЯC12H WK

SB

1 HARGM: 12706.1

1757

Harrogate

--

57 (IDS205) (flax)

57

SB12AO

WK

SB

IDS 746 1871,0714.146

1754

British Museum

---

No 60 (flax)

60

SB9ӨK

WK

SB

IDS 833

1753

Lancashire

---

No ?? (flax)

??

SB9PK

WK

ST

IDS 1312

1775

PAS PUBLIC B35955

---

P.Ikovnikov (flax)

118

ST12H

WK

                 

The WU Conundrum
I am hinting towards WU being the independent Island of Gotland

 

    The city of Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea was famed for piracy under the leadership of the Victual Brothers. The name "Visby" comes from the Old Norse "Vis", the genitive singular of Vi the pagan place of sacrifices, and "by", meaning "village".   In the "Gutasagan" (mid 14th century) the place is referred to as just Wi meaning "holy place, place of worship", giving a tentative hint that Visby could be allied to the elusive WU trading block... Visby functioned as the leading centre in the Baltic, before the Hansa, on behalf of the Gotland, Livonia and Swedish regions. Sailing east, Visby merchants established a trading post at Novgorod called Gutagard, dealing in timber, furs, resin (or tar), flax, honey, wheat, and rye, however in 1525 Visby was in a feud with the Lübeckers, members of the Hanseatic League who burned down all Visby's churches except the cathedral. Control of trade was transferred to Riga.

 

WU - State/Company area designation seals

Initial

Port

Year

Site

#

Inspector

Post

Grade

 

9

13 MM: 2006.13

175?

Malton

---

No 25 (flax)

25

9

WU

44 JC 01

1758

JS

---

No 10 (flax)

10

AИ9ПS

WU

AN

153 JH(L) 03

1758

JS

---

N 19 (flax)

19

AN9ӨE

WU

BR

NP1811w09

1811

West House

1

M.Pikin (flax) 35 BR9H WU
BS IDS575 1754 Lancaster -- No 7 (flax) 7 BS9ПS WU
BS IDS1116 1755 UK -- No 3 (flax) 3 BS9ЛО WU

CGF

WU1809w05

1809

West House

LD

A.Galkin (flax) 15 CGF9H WU

CPK

IDS 799

1797

Norway

LD

P.Vavilov (flax)

91

CPK9K

WU

FW NP1822F01 1822 Folly Gill 1 T.Chernikov (flax) 18 FW9H WU
ICБ WU1822F01 1822 Folly Gill 1 A.Shipachev (flax) 90 ICБ9H WU
                 

 

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  Here is another reason why I contend that "the SPB, CПБ, NP, WK & WU on the Grower/Owner/Agents side of the seal" indicates the state or company region where the flax was grown, processed or stored and not the port of export.

   Exactly 200 years ago at a port on the coast of the Baltic Sea a flax inspector called F.Zaitsov worked at number 12 post. He used a crimping tool to stamp the inspected bales of flax stems and left impressions as shown in the pictures. The crimping tool, like a pair of pliers, had a stamp on each arm and the inspector put his engraved stamp on the left hand side.. which made the impression, always the same, as shown on the left above.

 

    He meets up with grower/owner/agent who has his own separate stamp which went on the right hand side of the crimper

LD  Ф.ЗAИЦOBЪ, H12 = flax inspector F.Zaitsov .. 12 Post.

NP  IMБ12K  1814 = NP .. Agent is I.M.B ..12 crown grade flax in 1814.

 

    Then shortly after along comes another grower/owner/agent who has his own separate stamp which went on the right hand side of the crimper and the inspector seals his flax bales.

 LD  Ф.ЗAИЦOBЪ, H12 = flax inspector F.Zaitsov .. 12 Post.

 NP  IH12K  1814 = NP .. Agent is I.H ..12 crown grade flax in 1814.

 

   Then shortly after along comes another grower/owner/agent who has his own separate stamp which went on the right hand side of the crimper and the inspector seals his flax bales.

 LD  Ф.ЗAИЦOBЪ, H12 = flax inspector F.Zaitsov .. 12 Post.

 WK  AG12K  1814 = NP .. Agent is AG ..12 crown grade flax in 1814.

 

     But now for no apparent reason we have the same inspector, F.Zaitsov, at the same post, number 12, at the same port,  in the same year but the grower/owner/agent designation has changed from the most common designation of NP to a much lesser used WK.

    The commonly held believe was that SPB, CПБ, NP, WK & WU and other initials indicated the port of shipment of the flax bales .. but this is just not true.

    I contend that with the SPB, CПБ, NP, WK & WU being only on the grower/owner/agents side of the seal they indicate the contents of the bale were "bracked" by State Qualified Inspectors.  But they were definitely not the port of export ...

If you have any questions please ask them at ged.dodd@blueyonder.co.uk

Website design and photos by Ged Dodd   Director of The PeaceHavens Project.
and powered with free uploading from 

Home Page

 New Project Handbooks

Identifying

History