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Quarantine Stamped Letters

Quarantine Stamped Letters

  • Date: 22 April and 21 September 1833
  • Material: paper, ink
  • Technique: written by hand
  • Dimensions: 42 х 26 cm
  • Inventory number: ZI 2014-2015

Letters sent from Constantinople to Vienna. The sender was Fathala Gadban and the receiver was Simon Đ. Sina. The letters bear the sanitary stamp: "Gerauchort von Contumaz Amt zu Semlin". Some of the most important rules regulating the regime in the quarantine were those concerning the disinfection of letters and documents. They also give us an idea of the constraints imposed upon the import trade at the frontier. Special officials and servants were in charge of the process of disinfection The old method of passing letters through vinegar was abandoned as unsatisfactory. Instead, letters and paper documents were opened and held over steaming vinegar. The letters had to bear the "sanitary" stamp of the quarantine office. In the 1830s a letter travelled 16-17 days between Constantinople and Vienna. The first of the letters shown here was sent from Constantinople on 10 April 1833 and it reached its destination on 27 April; the other, dated 10 September, arrived on 26 September. In both cases the distance from Zemun to Vienna was covered in five days. In both cases the addressee was Simeon Đ[orđa] Sina, son and heir of Baron Đorđe Sina, a famous Viennese banker,. "More a baron than a banker", according to the opinion of his contemporaries, Simeon Đ. Sina founded the First Regional Credit Bank, The First Hungarian Insurance Society and financed the construction of the Picture Gallery of Hungarian Art, of the Greek Church in Fleischmart in Vienna, of the Academy of Sciences palace in Athens, and completed the building of an observatory in Athens, which had been begun by his father. He was the holder of the highest decorations of numerous states and corporations and the banker of the Austrian and Hungarian ruling houses. His death marked the demise of one of the best-known banking firms of the 19th century.

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