AUSTRIA 1783 - "LESSER" OR "CLAPPER" POST FROM PRAGUE
Original exhibit title: MALÁ NEBOLI KLAPAČKOVÁ POŠTA Z PRAHY
Exhibit owner (author): POŠTOVNÍ MUZEUM Praha (ČR), Praha, Czech Republic
Registration number of the exhibit: 183
Version of the exhibit: 1
Number of pages: 1
A unique money letter with 50 florins in the form of banknotes from Prague to the town councillors of Ungarisch Skalitz (today's Skalica, Slovak Republic), paid in full on posting and sent by registered mail on 11.9.1783. The content of the letter was counted on posting and sealed according to the valid regulations with one seal of the sender and two seals of the office of posting, i.e. an office of the so-called lesser or clapper post. The letter was dispatched for transportation by the chief post office in Prague and cancelled with the first type of post office stamp, the single-line stamp "Von Prag". The lesser or clapper post was operated in Prague as a private post service in the years 1782-1789. The stamp "Von Prag" began to be used in 1782.
In 1782 the postal administration issued a licence to the private businessman and owner of the "lesser post" in Vienna Francois Garsia for operation of a similar business also in Prague. The lesser post, also known as clapper post according to the instrument sounded by postmen to signal their arrival, was established in the Celetná street and was operated as a local delivery service by pedestrian postmen in Prague and its close neighbourhood. Its owner was licenced to charge for a letter up to 6 half an ounces (105 g) of weight 2 kreutzers within Prague or 3 kreutzers within the distance of 3 miles from the town gates. A quarter of the netto profits on the collected charges was due to the postal administration. The lesser post had within the licenced area its own letter collection points and the lesser postmen passed five times a day through the streets of Prague where they delivered and received letters. The debts of Garsia towards the postal administration because of the unpaid due profits were used in 1789 by the chief post office as a reason for transformation of the lesser post into a part of the chief post office. In the early 19th century its couriers were sent up to a distance of thirty miles from Prague; as such it became a rural courier institution. In 1821 it was finally cancelled due to a lack of business.
It is a part of collections of the Czech Postal museum in Prague: www.postovnimuzeum.cz