G. H. Kaestlin Collection of Zemstvo and Imperial Russian Stamps and Covers

Finding Guide
refer to caption

Lokhvitsa’s 1911 No. 48, three-color hectography emergency issue

Prepared by Thomas Lera, Winton M. Blount Research Chair Annette Shumway, Museum Technician.


The G. H. Kaestlin Zemstvo and Imperial Russian Stamp Collection consists of 13 volumes of stamps and covers, 15 staging albums of stamps and postal stationery from Russia from 1865 - 1917.


Vera Madeleine Kaestlin-Bock of St. Petersburg, Russia and later Zurich, Switzerland donated these specialized Russian philatelic collections, gathered by her uncle, George H. Kaestlin, of Moscow, Russia and later London, England to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Philatelic Collection.

The specialized collection of Zemstvo and Imperial Russian stamps and covers was donated on October 18, 1984 (Accession Number 1984.1026).


George H. Kaestlin, one of three remarkable philatelists to join the Rossika membership rolls, was a quiet collector, building his collection without exhibiting it or authoring articles for Rossika, nor joining the Rossica Society after WWII. However, Kaestlin’s attention to detail and fastidious collecting habits, so evident in the layout and handwriting on his album pages, made him a natural source of information for Karl Schmidt, author of the monumental zemstvo catalogs of the 1930s.

The quantity and quality of the stamps contained in the collection is outstanding. It has more than 1,500 pages and 14,000 stamps. An impressive amount of those 14,000 stamps were assembled by auction purchases from the famed Agathon Fabergé and the Phillip von Ferrary collections.