nigelc wrote:The writing on the stamp side looks like Russian.
The last word looks like kontora (office?).
The word above it looks like the Russian for "Chinese".
The word before that looks like peredat whatever that means.
Background points about Mongolia:
The traditional Mongolian script was 'replaced' by Cyrillic by Soviet linguists when Mongolia was brought into the Soviet sphere (as was done with the alphabets of most of the Soviet republics, ie. Azeri in Azerbaijan).
Mongolia was the first Asian country to be a Communist state (1920s).
Given its geographic position, Mongolia has always had close ties with both China and Russia. The Golden Horde (not
the eBay seller) were the Mongol princes who ruled the Russian parts of the Mongol empire, whilst Kublai Khan ruled from Beijing (the Middle East conquered lands were also handed over to relatives, and those Mongols ended up converting to Islam). When you're the ruler of the largest land empire in history,and email is 700 years away, its hard to exert your authority over everywhere from the centre.
The Russians set up a post office in Mongolia in ca. 1870s. The Chinese set one up early in the 20th century. The first stamps of Mongolia were in 1924, after the country was created.
A major figure involved in the 'creation' of the modern Mongolian state was a Russian:
Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg was a Baltic German-Russian Cossack Captain, who liberated Mongolia from Chinese occupation in February - March 1921.
An independent and brutal warlord in pursuit of pan-monarchist goals in Mongolia and territories east of Lake Baikal during the Russian Civil War that followed the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, von Ungern-Sternberg's goals included restoring the Russian monarchy under Michael Alexandrovich Romanov and the Great Mongol Empire, with Outer Mongolia under Bogd Khan as its part. Following his Asiatic Cavalry Division collapse in Mongolia, Ungern-Sternberg was left by his Russian officers and taken prisoner by Bolshevik's Red Army, was tried and executed.
from wikipedia (the Baron was quite a figure, and this rendering of history glosses over the pillaging and bloodshed that came with the "liberation".
So, Mongolian postal history straddles an interesting divide. There's different post offices operating, the alphabet changes, people are writing in Cyrillic so it looks like Russian but its Mongolian words, most commercial activity was with China (since Russia in much of the 1920s was hardly in a position to engage in trade).
Now, to the address
Since its postmarked UB, the Cyrillic is the sender's address, the Chinese is the receiver's address in Manchouli, China (OK that's stating the obvious). I would say that probably
all the Chinese black brushstrokes were written by the sender, AFAIK anyways.
The Cyrillic writing 'should' be Mongolian, however I've puttered at it trying to decipher and translate the words and haven't been coming up with anything.
Catalogues and reference literature generally don't bother trying to decipher/explain the details of the address, they just discuss the postal markings.
The red chopmarks are things like the name of the sender, a way of 'sealing' the letter. Chinese considered it very wrong to 'break the seal' on an envelope not addressed to you.
Red-band envelopes were the standard type of stationery for commercial correspondence, all the covers I have in my collection to China are such, and they are quite attractive IMO.
All-in-all, I'd say this piece is like most of the covers I've seen from this period--near-impossible to read anything on it unless you really want to struggle, and in the end you'll probably discover it boils down to being from one family-owned trading business to another.