Author Topic: Seals and sealing  (Read 1469 times)

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Offline brandm24

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Seals and sealing
« on: January 31, 2020, 12:16:29 PM »
Since I have no idea what this is, I decided to post it here.

The material appears and feels to be lead. It's roughly 26 mm in diameter and the thickness ranges from 9 mm to 2 mm. I can't give a weight as I have no working scale. Unfortunately, I can't read the inscriptions...in Russian I believe. As a matter of fact, the only notation written on the 2x2 holder is "Russia".

The real odd thing about it is the edges...one side has two oblong holes and the other is split and shows three small colored objects inside. The thing appears to be giving birth to something. :) My only thought on this is some sort of seal perhaps. Does anybody know what this is?

Thanks,

Bruce
« Last Edit: March 01, 2020, 12:46:50 PM by Figleaf »
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2020, 01:29:23 PM »
It looks like a seal to me as well.

On the lettering - it would appear to be Russian, but written in pre-1918 orthography. The second picture shows the word контроль = check or the act of checking, as in quality check or customs check rather than a tally check or chit.

The first apparently says СТ. БѢДЬІЯ at the top and БЕРЕГА above the raised area in the middle. I can't make out the text at the bottom and I presume what's on the raised area is a serial number.

CT. is often an abbreviation for старый = old.

БѢДЬІЯ is written using at least one obsolete letter of the Russian alphabet (Ѣ), possibly two, depending on whether the characters after the Д are the single composite letter Ы (in use before and after 1918) or two distinct letters ЬІ, where the I is obsolete in Russian (it is still used in Belarusian and Ukrainian). I'm uncertain how to interpret this because I can't make it into a proper word in either case, though it has some similarities to the word for "poor".

БЕРЕГА means "of the coast".

Given the total lack of sense from the above, some or all of my interpretations may well be completely wrong.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2020, 01:32:42 PM »
A further thought on the "serial number" on the БЕРЕГА side: I can make out 11 xxx 96, where the xxx are probably Cyrillic letters rather than numbers. They are sufficiently indistinct that with a bit of favorable light they can be interpreted as the first three letters of several months in Russian. So it could be a date, presumably in 1896. But equally I could be barking up the wrong tree. Or just barking.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2020, 02:31:28 PM »
Thanks for all your insight, FosseWay. At least i know have some idea of what I'm looking at. This is what I love about the WoC forum...many collectors, like yourself, with vast knowledge of numismatic topics, not to mention non-numismatic issues.

Do you have any thoughts on the "crystals" spilling out of the ruptured edge. That feature really interests me.

Many thanks,

Bruce
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2020, 02:46:54 PM »
Do you have any thoughts on the "crystals" spilling out of the ruptured edge. That feature really interests me.

None whatsoever, I'm afraid - but I agree they are intriguing!

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2020, 05:24:05 PM »
Thanks for all your insight, FosseWay. At least i know have some idea of what I'm looking at. This is what I love about the WoC forum...many collectors, like yourself, with vast knowledge of numismatic topics, not to mention non-numismatic issues.

Not only a community with an amazing aggregate knowledge, but also a pretty good hub in a network of top level collectors. Here is a reaction from Vladimir Belayev, of Zeno fame:

Is it lead hanging seal? I can read some text. But I need 3-4 times higher resolution image to try to read more.

It was stamped in 1896 at the railway station Belye Berega ("White coasts") in the Bryansk area, Russian Empire: Google Maps


Please contact me with a PM if you can make a high-res picture.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2020, 05:32:37 PM »
What a difference a letter makes! The character I was reading as Д is actually Л.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2020, 06:52:01 PM »
Not only a community with an amazing aggregate knowledge, but also a pretty good hub in a network of top level collectors. Here is a reaction from Vladimir Belayev, of Zeno fame:

Is it lead hanging seal? I can read some text. But I need 3-4 times higher resolution image to try to read more.

It was stamped in 1896 at the railway station Belye Berega ("White coasts") in the Bryansk area, Russian Empire: Google Maps


Please contact me with a PM if you can make a high-res picture.

Peter


Sorry, Peter, that's the best I can do. I take all my pictures with a Canon and as far as I know that's the best resolution I can get.

Bruce
« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 09:50:47 PM by Figleaf »
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2020, 12:42:33 AM »
Let's see if we can work that out bilaterally. In principle, a camera will take huge pictures.

As far as the innards are concerned, I think the seal was produced in two stages. The (red) kernel was some hard material, holding a piece of thread. After inspection, the container or train car was closed and locked. The thread was rigged so that it had to be broken to open whatever it sealed, the other end of the thread was fastened to the kernel and cut off. Next, the kernel was enveloped with lead, pressed into shape with a tweezer-like instrument with the tops forming a mould. The two holes in the fourth picture are where the thread went in and out.

After the train trip, the sealing was presented undamaged, to prove that the shipment had not been tampered with. Rather than cutting the thread, the lead part was opened and the red kernel broken (this may have been the intended way to open the sealing).

I have a modern seal that works in a somewhat similar way. If you want, I can post pictures.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2020, 11:08:13 AM »
Let's see if we can work that out bilaterally. In principle, a camera will take huge pictures.

As far as the innards are concerned, I think the seal was produced in two stages. The (red) kernel was some hard material, holding a piece of thread. After inspection, the container or train car was closed and locked. The thread was rigged so that it had to be broken to open whatever it sealed, the other end of the thread was fastened to the kernel and cut off. Next, the kernel was enveloped with lead, pressed into shape with a tweezer-like instrument with the tops forming a mould. The two holes in the fourth picture are where the thread went in and out.

After the train trip, the sealing was presented undamaged, to prove that the shipment had not been tampered with. Rather than cutting the thread, the lead part was opened and the red kernel broken (this may have been the intended way to open the sealing).

I have a modern seal that works in a somewhat similar way. If you want, I can post pictures.

Peter

I had considered it could possibly be a seal, but couldn't read the inscriptions. I've run across train cargo seals from the late 1880's used in the US, or at least the impression of ones applied to coins. They're quiet rare and interesting to research as I've done a few times. Modern equivalents would be sealed cargoes on trucks, but they generally consist of a plastic contraption that looks like a small padlock. A number imprinted on the plastic matches the number that appears on the manifest. If the seal is broken the load is considered to be compromised.

I think your description of how this one might have worked makes sense.

I'd like to see a picture of your modern one. In the meantime, I'll look for any I have of the old train seal impressions.

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2020, 11:41:17 AM »
Here's one I have in my collection. The impression is applied to an 1868 US Shield Nickel so the full text isn't visible. Generally they're struck or impressed on larger silver coins.

The legends are hard to read, but are as follows. "NP. EX. CO." is the Northern Pacific Express Co., a railroad that operated in the western United States and western Canada. The reverse side says "Victoria" This would be Victoria, British Columbia where the railroad had a terminal. These are impressions that would normally have been applied to probably a lead seal to protect the cargo.

Bruce
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2020, 08:17:53 AM »
The item was difficult to photograph. Sorry for the different backgrounds. I needed the wooden stand to change the angle.

The seal is originally a small aluminium sheet. The sheet and strings are attached to each other with a bespoke tweezer, that cuts and folds the upper part of the sheet into a holder for the strings and presses the design into the lower part, all in one movement. This seal was used on the removal truck when we moved to France in 1984. I think PER•FRA stands for PERsoonlijk FRAnkrijk (personal France), bureaucratic classification overkill. I rescued it out of the hands of French customs (but had to pay bakshish to get the truck through the same day anyway).

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2020, 10:37:03 AM »
That's really interesting, Peter. I can see the reason now for the two holes in mine, but I still don't understand what the little colored crystals or beads are that are spilling out of the side

Bruce
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2020, 04:34:33 PM »
I think they are parts of the hard kernel that was holding the thread. The kernel served to make sure you couldn't just pull the thread out of the soft lead. The lead was added to make it difficult to approach the kernel without leaving traces. I think that at the place where the hole is and the kernel shows, there was some kind of provision or device to break the kernel and pull out the thread, so that the lead outside remained intact for further official officious purposes. I never understood how the word 'mini' became part of the word "administration". :'(

BTW, don't lick your fingers after handling the token. Lead is poisonous.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Lead seal?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2020, 07:08:41 PM »
Oh drat! After handling the token this afternoon, I ate an ice cream cone and licked my fingers off. I neglected to wash, but if the lead puts me in a hole at least the last thing I'll have tasted is salted caramel ice cream. I can think of worse ways to go.  ;D

Bruce
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