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Table of Contents
Officers and representatives of the society
Life of the society by Gordon Torrey
The 19th century issues of Imperial Russia by Sir John Wilson
Elva, local issue of 1941 (part I) by Vello Mandvere
The South East help the hungry issue of 1922 (Scott's B30-33) by Rimma Sklarevski
Additional comments on the varnish lozenges by George V. Shalimoff
The Chronicle stamp - an airmail label as a record of history (translated by E. Wolski)
The Rossica bookshelf
THE JOURNAL OF THE
ROSSICA SOCIETY OF RUSSIAN PHILATELY
VOLUME 88 1975
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Rimma Sklarevki, 34 Wilfred Court, Towson, MD 21204
EDITORIAL BOARD: Gordon Torrey, Rimma Sklarevski, Norman Epstein
PUBLISHER: Kennedy L. Wilson, 7415 Venice Street, Falls Church,
TABLE OF CONTENTS
OFFICERS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE SOCIETY....................... 2
LIFE OF THE SOCIETY Gordon Torrey .................................3
THE 19TH CENTURY ISSUES OF IMPERIAL RUSSIA -
Sir John Wilson...................
SELVA, LOCAL ISSUE OF 1941 (PART I) Vello MNndvere ................46
THE SOUTH EAST HELP THE HUNGRY ISSUE OF 1922 (SCOTT'S B30-33) -
Rimma Sklarevski .................51
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON THE VARNISH LOZENGES -
George V. Shalimoff ..............59
THE CHRONICLE STAMP AN AIRMAIL LABEL AS A RECORD OF HISTORY -
translated by E. Wolski ..........61
THE ROSSICA BOOKSHELF .............................................63
Enclosed with this copy of the Rossica Journal is a brief description
of the Society and a membership application form. If any member has a
friend who is interested in the philately of Russia, please pass along
this information and help us build up our membership.
OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY
PRESIDENT: Gordon H. Torrey, 5118 Duvall Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20016
VICE-PRESIDENT: Constantine Stackelberg, 1673 Columbia Road N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20009
SECRETARY: Kennedy L. Wilson, 7415 Venice St., Falls Church, Va. 22043
TREASURER: Norman Epstein, 33 Crooke Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11226
LIBRARIAN: J. Lee Schneidman, 161 W. 86th Street, New York, N.Y. 10024
BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Samuel Robbins, 3563 Meier St., Los Angeles,Ca. 90066
Boris Shishkin, 3523 Edmunds Rd. N.W. Wash.D.C. 20007
Lester S. Glass, 1553 So. La Cienega Boulevard,
Los Angeles, California 90035
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE SOCIETY
G.B. SALISBURY CHAPTER: Norman Epstein, 33 Crooke Ave.,Brooklyn,N.Y.11226
WASHINGTON-BALTIMORE: Boris Shishkin, 3523 Edmunds Rd.NW,Wash.D.C. 20007
LOS ANGELES: Samuel Robbins, 3563 Meier St., Los Angeles, Cal. 90066
GREAT BRITAIN: John Lloyd, "The Retreat", Wester Bergholdt,
Colchester, Essex, C06 3HE i
Anything in this Journal may be reproduced without permission. However,
acknowledgement of the source and a copy of the reprinted matter would
The views in this Journal expressed by the authors are their own and the
editors disclaim all responsibility.
The membership dues are $7.50, due January 1st for all members. Application
forms are available upon request from the secretary or treasurer. Member-
ship lists will be sent annually. Kindly make all checks payable to:
ROSSICA SOCIETY OF RUSSIAN PHILATELY
% Norman Epstein
33 Crooke Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11226 USA
We have a very limited number of back issues of the Journal for sale,
both in English and Russian language editions ( some ). These may be
obtained from Mr. Epstein.
LIFE OF THE SOCIETY
by Gordon Torrey
We are happy that the Journal 86/87 was so well received by our members.
This was produced under new editorship and by a new printing firm. Al-
though certain aspects of the issue were not up to our expectations, we
believe that with time and more experience the Journal will continue to
improve. Printing costs have gone up considerably and nearly equal our
annual membership dues. Next year we will be faced with increased post-
age costs. We hope that increases in membership will defer a raising of
dues and we will hold the line as long as possible.
It is hoped that this issue will be mailed out prior to Rossica's annual
business meeting at SEPAD (November 14-16). I am quite disappointed at
Rossica's poor showing at this exhibition, the first time that we have
been invited to participate with other societies and one in which the
society has been given both a lounge and meeting rooms gratuitously as a
part of SEPAD's hospitality. If it were not for the efforts of Norman
Epstein and Arnold Engel, there would be no exhibits of Russian material
at this important exhibition. I do wish to thank members Raymond Hofmann
and Howard Rappaport, as well as Epstein and Engel, for the small, but
very fine Russian section. Being a judge, I could not participate.
Certainly, if Russian philately is to grow, its devotees must exhibit in
order for it to attain the recognition that it is due.
In the forthcoming year we hope to increase our membership even more than
in the past and to publish many fine articles that will interest all seg-
ments of Rossica's membership. We always need articles for the Journal,
so do not feel bashful about submitting them. Any editorial service po-
tential writers need will be given willingly, and we are in a position to
handle photography for the articles. Also, we expect to get our own ex-
pertization service under way in the near future.
Applications for membership in the Rossica Society have been received and
accepted from the following individuals since the publication of the last
membership list on May 15, 1974. Their names, addresses, and philatelic
interests will appear on the next membership list to be published before
the end of the year.
883 J.R. Mason Muscat, Department of State, Washington,D.C. 20521
885 Mrs. Lydia Daugherty Box 203, Bairdford, Pennsylvania 15006
887 Gregory Sidney Whitt 308 West Delaware Avenue,
Urbana, Illinois 61801
888 William Lee Ervin 1060 W. Walling, Brea, California 92621
889 Barry Hong 735 Dynes Road, Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7N 2V7
891 Arno I. Winard 4308 Farmers Place S.E., Oxon Hill,
892 Guillermo Perdomo Jr. Argjavegur 41-3800 Argir,
894 Olive S. Hayward 4225 Durand St, Apt 1, Racine,Wisconsin 53405
895 Ernest E. Holappa Rt. 9, Box 324, Britton Springs Road
Clarksville, Tennessee 37040
896 Leo Zuckerberg 36 Harwich Road, Providence, Rhode Island 02906
897 Roger Koerber 605 Northland Towers West, Southfield, 48075
898 Melvin Budzell 27400 Euclid Ave, Euclid, Ohio 44132
899 Michael M. Chartkoff P.O. Box 203, 505 Highland Avenue
Cheshire, Connecticut 06410
900 Edward J. Heidelmark P.O. Box 462, Windsor, Connecticut 06095
901 Michael A. Traylor Box 678, Co. A.F.S.B., APO New York 09742
902 Michael B. Wickberg 1321 N.W. 19th St., Oklahoma City,
903 Gary L. Kling 6735 A Spalding Ave., Fort Sill, Oklahoma 73503
904 Don Heller 5677 Hobart St., Apt 6, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
905 Howard A. Waitzman 9448 So. Fox Circle, Sandy, Utah 84070
906 Boyd D. Eveland Box 52, Lemoyne, Nebraska 69146
907 John Glynn 58 Nevilles Court, Dollis Hill Lane,
London N.W. 2, England
908 Ms. Marian F. Merulo 242 Main Street, Winthrop, Massachusetts
909 Kenneth Powell Star Route 1, Box 158A, Belen New Mexico 87002
910 Alan McKenzie 426 Halford Road, Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada
911 Douglas R. Potter 5735 Creekside Lane, North Ridgeville
912 Dr. Dale P. Cruikshank Institute for Astronomy,
2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
4 ( continued Page 45 )
SIR JOHN WILSON BT. KCVO
The doyen of all Russian collectors,
Sir John Wilson, died on February 6,
1975, in his 77th year. He had been
a member of the Royal Philatelic
Society of London since 1921 and a
member of its Expert Committee since
a short time after his joining the
Royal. He became its President in
1950. On the death of Sir Edward
Bacon in 1938, he was appointed Keep-
er of the Royal Philatelic Collection
and although he retired from this
post in 1969, he remained a member of
the Expert Committee until his death,
a term of 48 years. To collectors of
Russian material he is best remember-
ed as the author of a series of arti-
cles in The London Philatelist begin-
ning in January 1941. As a tribute to
Sir John and as a help to many of our
members we are reprinting the series
in this issue of Rossica.
THE 19TH CENTURY ISSUES OF IMPERIAL RUSSIA
by Sir John Wilson
A glance at any standard philatelic index is sufficient to convince
students of the rarity of serious contributions on the old general
issues of Imperial Russia. This may be partly due to the fact that a
good standard work on the stamps was produced as long ago as 1895, to
wit, the volume in the Krotzsch series of handbooks written by Dr. E.
von Bochmann, entitled Die Postmarken des Russischen Kaiserreichs,
which was partly translated into English in the Philatelic Journal of
Great Britain, Vol. XXIX.
A good deal of information has, however, become available since then,
and it may be of permanent reference value to record some facts and
inferences which a long study of the stamps, a knowledge of various
collections of importance, and the exchange of views with other enthu-
siasts hate collectively brought home to me.
Especially is this the case since the very praiseworthy effort to re-
write the list of these stamps in our standard catalogue, the green
Gibbons, which, in my view, contains a few errors and certainly gives
very wrong ideas of relative rarity and importance in many of the
I do not propose to repeat unduly the information given by von Bochmann
as to the creation of the first design. The full story is taken from
an article by F. Breitfuss, the great Russian collector of old days--
who had access to the archives--which he wrote for the special issue of
Le Timbre-Poste commemorating the Twenty-fifth Jubilee of that grand
old journal in 1887. Suffice it to say that the design was a deriva-
tive of an essay submitted by Gottlieb Hasse & Sons, of Prague, select-
ed by Tcharnkowski, who had been sent abroad to report on the adoption
of adhesive postage stamps. The arms of the Imperial Post Office
Department with the post-horns at foot embossed in white on a coloured
ground were specially chosen partly to make forgery a difficult matter,
and partly to show clearly on the white background the proposed numeral
obliterators or the penstroke which was to take their place until the
obliterators could be prepared for and distributed to all the post
Originally the arms of Russia had been the simple badge of St. George
and the Dragon, or it may be St. Michael trampling on sin, as the two
badges are the same and both saints were closely connected with Russia,
there being orders of chivalry of St. George and also Michael in that
country. Ivan the Terrible, according to Koprowski, altered the arms,
introducing the double-headed eagles of the Holy Roman Empire, and
placing the badge in the shield on the eagles'breast. In the embossed
first issue it is very difficult to get clear enough copies to show this
feature, but the subsequent small electrotype designs for the low value
stamps bring out the details of the badge.
The three values were intended to be issued together in perforated con-
dition, but the machine ordered from Vienna proved so defective on arrival
that, pending its repair, 3,000,000 stamps of the 10 kopec value were is-
sued imperforate to fill the gap, and to have something to support the
decrees which commanded the issues of stamps for the prepayment of inter-
nal postage by the 1st of January, 1858.
There are various interesting points about this first imperforate stamp.
First, its extraordinary rarity in mint condition. I have never seen a
copy in any collection. Unused is a very different term from mint, but
we know what a mint copy should look like as there are mint copies in
collectors' hands of the same stamp perforated, coming into existence
only ten days later. W. von Polanski, a leading Polish collector who
frequently displayed his Russians in the international exhibitions of
the last century, had a mint corner pair which Agathon Faberge subsequent-
ly acquired, but this pair was stolen from Faberge and has not since
anoeared to charm collectors. All the specimens which I have seen which
could be described as unused looked like stamps which had gone through the
post unobliterated, or mostly unobliterated, as light penstrokes, provid-
ing they do not fall in the embossed centres, can easily be removed,
causing considerable difficulty in detection, and the same is true of a
postmark if carelessly struck.
I remember discussing the stamp with Sir Edward Bacon when I asked him if
he had ever seen it really mint. He told me that in the days when every-
body collected unused only, there were many stamps, of which this was one,
which were unobtainable mint, and there was a phrase then current (though
happily for collectors it has now expired), passant pour neuf. Such copies
were accepted in an unused collection rather than have the stamp unrepre-
sented. For myself I feel that if a specimen appears in a collection as
unused, it must be unmistakable and must show all the freshness and bloom,
if not all the gum, of a fully mint example. So I am still waiting for
Russia No. 1. One can suggest reasons for the great rarity of this stamp
unused. It was really a provisional, and three million stamps comprised a
small number for a country the size of Russia. It was before the days of
stamp collecting, but possibly more important, it was never sent out as
a postmaster's sample stamp. I believe the sources of many rarities in
the early unused stamps are collections of postmasters' samples. This
10 k. was for internal postage only, but anyway the administration which
admittedly later sent samples to adjoining postal authorities was not in
such a mortal hurry that it had to send a stop-gap, what they regarded
as an imperfect stamp, when the real thing with all its teeth could be
accompanied by its brother and sister ten days later.
After writing the above I recollect a series of articles entitled
"Memories of an Old Philatelist," by Eugene Lentz, which appeared in
Volume VIII of the Philatelic Gazette in 1918. Mr. Lentz was a German
or Swede, trading in St. Petersburg with an old-established English firm
from the year 1881.
After 1881 he got interested in stamps and had permission from various
firms to go through their correspondence and remove the stamps therefrom.
His memories are very interesting and I quote one passage in support of
what I have said: "Of the 10 kop. unperforated, I found many on letters;
I especially remember a notation '30 kop. to be paid to the bearer'. The
Russian post at that time worked slowly but surely and for this reason it
was customary to send express letters between Kronstadt and St. Petersburg
by steamer in both directions. For this purpose the steamer had a letter
box, and when it reached its destination the letters were speedily deliver-
ed on payment of the above-mentioned fee. The post office had nothing to
do with this, so if an ordinary postage stamp was affixed to the letter
it could not be cancelled. Even later on I often found such letters which
furnished my 'unused' specimens. It is really these few stamps, which
only escaped cancellation by luck, that are the only true unused 10 kop.
unperforated in existence, because neither Moens, whom we have to thank
for so many unused stamps, has had any, nor have any remainders been dis-
covered in the archives of the Russian post office. Consequently I think
I can safely say that this stamp does not exist in mint condition." His
last statement is a bold one, and a dangerous challenge to make, but Lentz
was no mean philatelist; he was a member of the St. Petersburg Section of
the Internationaler Philatelisten Verein Dresden in its palmy days, was
an intimate friend of such great stalwarts of collecting as Breitfuss,
Notthaft, and Kirchner, men who would pay extraordinary prices for what
they really wanted, and if in the whole of that very keen and wealthy
group of collectors which later included the young Grand Duke no mint copy
could be bought or wangled" in some way, this is no mean tribute to such
A second point of interest is the relative rarity of connected pieces.
There are said to be three blocks or four in existence, but the only one
which I have seen was in deplorable condition. Lentz thought that an
assistant of his, working with a penknife in removing the stamps from
correspondence, had destroyed the only block which had existed, but that
was some time ago. Strips are very rare, much the grandest piece known
to me being the strip of four on cover in the Tapling collection, and even
pairs are exceedingly scarce.
It is true that the sole use of the stamp was for internal postage, but
there must have been many letters sent requiring more than one stamp, as
the one lot appearing on the stamp represented only about half an ounce.
The explanation is fairly simple. A large proportion of the sheets were
cut up into singles by the postal authorities. It was desired to get the
widest possible distribution and use of the stamp and it was on sale in
small branch post offices, many of which would be part post office and
part shop. The administration could not afford with so small a printing
to hand out sheets in quantity and they often cut up the sheets and sent
This is also the explanation of another curious feature of this stamp.
The sheets when printed were of a hundred stamps divided into four panes
of twenty-five, five by five, with gutter margins between the panes. This
arrangement permits the greatest possible number of marginal stamps, there
being only nine stamps in each pane, thirty-six in the sheet, or about a
third of the copies printed, which could not be cut with a wide margin on
one side. Further, allowing for the gutters, one can find no less than
sixteen stamps with corner margins, and one would anticipate some piece
being known as in Belgium or some of the German States joining two panes
with the gutter between. Instead of this we find a notable uniformity in
the size of the specimens, copies are relatively very rare with any wing
margin, those with wide margins on two sides exceedingly rare, and there
is no pair known joining two panes together. Nor has any copy ever been
recorded with the marginal inscription of the sheet watermark.
To the large towns, of course, sheets must have been sent, but even these
must mostly have been cut up to account for the rarity of connected pieces
and marginal copies.
It is a pity that there are no records of the distribution among the post
offices of this stamp. That it was very wide is evidenced by the variety
of postmarks which can be found on it. In fact to the collector of Russian
postmarks, No. 1 is far and away the most fruitful field. This is also
easy to explain. The preparation and distribution of the numeral obliter-
ators of various types was by no mean accomplished by the time this stamp
was issued and in consequence postmasters used the town obliterators
(some including and some not including dates) which they had previously
applied to correspondence passing through their hands. Many of the speci-
mens were pen-cancelled, generally with a simple cross, and many,too, are
both pen-cancelled and postmarked to make certain that the stamp would
not be used again.
Coloured obliterations are of great rarity, most of the red ones emanating
from Polish towns, but there are very attractive fancy obliterations, and
the bilingual postmarks for use in the provinces mostly inhabited by the
Germans are an interesting and unusual feature. One or two postmarks have
no Russian lettering at all, giving the curious feature of a stamp in one
style of lettering obliterated by a postmark in another. As the numeral
obliterators became fully distributed, most of the rarer cancellations
became less and less used on stamps, and there are some which probably
only exist on the imperforate 10 kopec.
Occasionally specimens can be seen dated in 1857, and I do not know the
explanation of this and offer none. The 2nd May 1 d. blacks are, after
all, the subject of a good deal of controversy.
This stamp was beautifully printed. The registration of the frame and
centre is uniformly perfect, and there is very little variation in the
rich brown colour, and none in the blue centres.
Ten days later the set of three was ready for issue and I propose to
defer comment on the preparation of the dies and plates until the three
values can be considered together.
A final word in leaving this stamp. It is, of course, the most popular
among all collectors of the whole of the general issues, and that is
probably because it is imperforate. Every collector likes to emphasize
the individuality of his collection. Perforated stamps in one collection,
especially if mint, cannot be distinguished with any ease from their
brothers in another, but imperforates always have the added individuality
of the way they are cut. Ferrari used to trim his copies to suit his
taste, Van Gelder was alleged to trim his blocks to make extraordinary
singles, but anyway the copy of an imperforate stamp we may select for
ourselves will have for us an individuality much less likely to be shared
by its perforated successors.
So even if you don't collect Russia, at least keep a copy of its only regular
imperforate issue and select a No. 1. Its a grand little stamp.
10th January, 1858. The First Watermarked Set
It is rather curious that attention has never been drawn to an extra-
ordinary feature in the production of these three stamps. They are, as
are all of the subsequent issues to which reference will be made, the
product of the State Printing Works at St. Petersburg, under the presiding
genius of Kepler, who was responsible for finally settling the design and
engraving the dies. One would have thought that one master-die could have
been used for the three values, the slightly varying inscriptions of value
and weight being added before striking the electrotypes, but a study of
the stamps shows that this was not the case. All three values were en-
tirely separately engraved, but the work is so good that the fact does
not immediately leap to the eye. The background surround consists of
successive rows of short vertical lines and diamond- shaped dots. The
20 k. starts from the top with the dots and ends at the bottom with the
dots and the other two values reverse this process; but that observation,
although it should put collectors on guard is insufficient to prove
entirely separate engraving of the dies. Compare the three values, how-
ever, with a lens and it will be seen that the crowns are all quite dif-
ferent, the 30 k. being much the best drawn for detail, the loops tying
the shoulders of the mantle are different shapes, the shading of the
mantle is never identical in any value, the inscriptions all differ to
the extent that free-hand engravings must, and the background of the lines
and dots to which reference has been made can be seen to be entirely ex-
ecuted by hand for each die and not to be the work of any machine or
method of reproduction.
What was the reason for this extraordinary procedure? Was it intentional
to work as a further check against forgery? We don't know. I do not
think the differences were ever noticed by collectors until I pointed
them out to members of the Society, at any rate I have never seen them
referred to by any writer on Russian stamps. No one has ever questioned
Kepler about it and we have no records on the subject, and so we can only
make valueless speculations. Two things can be said, that while quality
counted in those days in Russia, time mattered very little, and secondly,
with a Government printing establishment probably money was not a very
material consideration. Whether Kepler or his fellow craftsmen got any
more for engraving three dies rather than one we don't know. Surely one
of his standing as a printer would know the technique of using a blank
master-die. It is all speculation, but it is a very interesting comment
that, when the low values were needed to extend the set, exactly the same
teclmique was adopted, and I shall have occasion later to draw attention
to the differences in the central frame and portions of the dies of the
1, 3, and 5 kopecs of the issue of July 1864.
As to how the printing plates were constructed we have some knowledge.
The article by Breitfuss in Le Timbre Poste states from an official source
that both frame and centre plates were electrotypes, but it goes no further
than this. Were they separate cliches or was an electro taken of the
whole plate? Probably the latter, but this is only an inference from a
study of the stamps themselves. The absolute uniformity of spacing, and
the level printing suggest, but do not prove it.
Of the frame plates one can prove that the same individual cliches were
used for the 20 kopecs for this series and for the subsequent unwater-
marked stamps with the large perforation, as matched stamps with individual
small flaws can be found in the two series, but that does not establish
the community of one printing plate as it could occur after a rearrange-
ment of the cliches. In the 30 k. I am satisfied that the same unit on
the plate can be identified in this issue and the unwatermarked issue of
1865 with the same perforation, but this again does not establish the
fact that the one plate lasted over the three series. It is probable,
that is all we can say.
As far as the plates for the centres are concerned, owing to the heavy
pressure, there would necessarily have been more frequent replacement
but the detail in plain embossing on a coloured ground is inadequate for
accurate inference to be advisably attempted.
In the 10 k. value there is a general uniformity in the paper. In the
20 k. and 30 k. values there are two entirely different printings, on a
thin transparent brittle paper, and on a heavier paper which does not
allow the design to show through. The thin paper also appears today in
used samples to be slightly yellowish. In the 20 k. the two papers can
be readily distinguished from the shade of the blue frames which always
appeared a much blacker blue on the thin paper stamps, but in the 30 k.
there is not a great deal of difference in the shade. Moens as long ago
as 1893, in his handbook on Russia, drew attention to this distinction
in paper for these two values. The thin paper stamps are the rarer
printing, especially in really fine condition.
All three values are rare mint, the two high values exceedingly rare.
Tapling, for instance, with one possible exception, has no copies I
should describe as mint at all. The set does exist, however, in mint
blocks of four, one block of the 10 k., and two each of the other values.
These blocks have been stated in an article to have been removed from a
sheet of specimen stamps in the records which had a diagonal inscription
denoting specimen in Russian ("OBRASETZ"), two corner blocks of six on
the sheet having missed the overprint. This may have been the source of
such extraordinary pieces (though Lentz says that there were only ten of
each and that they were divided into singles), but the further statement
which appeared in one note, that one set of blocks was presented to His
Majesty King George V is certainly without any foundation at all. I do
not know if the remainder of the alleged specimen sheet is in the archives
still, but I have never seen copies of this series with a specimen over-
print. The blocks of the high values are on thicker paper. I have not
seen the 20 k. on the thin paper mint, and only one copy of the 30 k.
Sheets of the watermarked paper exist with the watermark "1" and "2",
the latter on the thicker paper. They have a marginal inscription in
Russian of the value of the stamps in the sheet and the date.
Some collectors complain of the difficulty in seeing the watermark, and
the consequent uncertainty in identification of these stamps. There is
some point in the former comment, especially with the thicker paper stamps
but none in the latter. The stamps can be told from the face, without
ever turning them over, by the colours. The subsequent glance at the
reverse need only be to see if the copies are thinned. In the 10 k. the
shade of the brown frame is uniform with the imperforate stamps and with
some of the prints of the larger perf. unwatermarked stamp which follows,
with which it cannot be confused because of the obvious difference in
perforation, but never with the unwatermarked small perf.series of 1865.
The last is a much redder brown. In the 20 k. the colour of the centre
is an absolute test. Here again the colours of the issue and of the
large perf. series correspond, but the 1865 20 k. is a far redder orange
and never looks like its predecessors at all. In the 30 k. the frame is
a fine rich crimson matched by some copies of the large perf. stamp, but
the 1865 stamp is a much pinker tint of rose.
Moreover, the 1865 set were printed at the time when great precautions
were being taken over the surfacing of the paper by printing on a solution
of chalk and gum, whereas, as von Bochmann pointed out, this technique had
not developed for the first three watermarked stamps, and the consequence
is that the 1865 stamps have an appearance of glazed prints quite foreign
to the first series.
Get the colours into your mind's eye or compare with the cheaper large
perf. set, and you always have a chance of getting a good stamp by mis-
take as the seller may not have seen the watermark. A few have come my
There is a good deal of excuse for not finding the watermark easy to
detect. It took over twenty years to be discovered by philatelists at
all, though in the earliest period little attention was given to water-
marks, and Moen's catalogue of 1882 appears to be about the first to
record these. Lentz, who cut off a quantity from letters in 1884, did
not at first know about the watermark, and could not sell or exchange the
stamps. It was lucky because when he could differentiate the printing he
asked much higher prices, and even then he was more or less accused of
swindling for trying to pass off as rare watermarked stamps mere unwater-
marked material which could not be distinguished from later issues.
Of this watermark he says: "As it is not, as usual, caused by a thinning
of the paper but by a process of compression, it cannot be seen by holding
against the light nor by immersion in benzine. The best way to find it is
as follows: place the stamp, face down, on a black surface, raise it to
a level with the chin and a foot from the face, look at the stamp against
the light, and gradually the larger figures will become visible against
the somewhat darker background. Sometimes it takes quite a while before
the eye can detect them, but, when they have been seen once, they are
always found, providing, of course, they really exist."
I agree that with practice the watermarks can be detected with some ease
but few would care to look for the variety of the 20 k. which Moens lists
with inverted watermark.
In used condition the 10 k. is not, of course, rare except in blocks,
which are very scarce indeed. In the higher values blocks are not re-
corded used, but even pairs or strips are of considerable rarity espe-
cially in the 30 k. Lentz records that out of a find of one hundred and
twenty covers with the 30 k., one pair was the only connected piece.
Coloured postmarks on any value are rarities and the uniform numeral
postmarks become increasingly used.
A copy is known of the 20 k. bisected on cover from Berditchev to Warsaw
with the script Berditchev obliterator. The cover is stamped with the
firm's name in Berditchev and is annotated by the recipients in Warsaw
as having emanated from this firm on 15 July, 1858. The cover has the
Warsaw arrival obliterations, as usual, illegible and had not been sur-
charged. It is quite genuine but of course the bisect was not officially
The two higher values are very scarce indeed on cover. I have two fine
pieces of the 30 k., one a large cover with a strip of 4 and a pair on
thick paper, and the other with a fine pair of the thin paper stamp.
The perforation machine was a harrow, perforating the whole sheet at one
operation, and Breitfuss quotes from official sources the rate of print-
ing from the presses and of perforating the sheets.
The well-known essay or colour trial of the 20 k. in violet and green
which exists both on the watermarked and unwatermarked paper may not be
contemporaneous with this series as it appears to have more chalk sur-
facing than the usual mint copies of these stamps. I do not know that
any official information is available on the subject.
October, 1858. The Large Perf. Unwaternarked Set
The reason for the change to this paper was that the special watermarked
paper was too tough, and that frequently the stamps would not adhere to
the envelopes in consequence. By getting from abroad a softer paper it
was hoped to obviate this nuisance. The reason for the change in per-
foration I do not know. Old catalogues give different thicknesses of
paper for all three values, but I have not found marked differences in
the 20 k. and 30 k. which appear to me to be remarkably uniform prints.
In the 10 k. which was printed in far larger numbers there are marked
differences in the paper, one printing on very thick and somewhat coated
paper being in my experience very scarce indeed. In the 10 k. there are
also distinct varieties of shade both in the frames and also in the
centres, but more noticeable in the former.
It was during the production of these stamps that printing on specially
surfaced paper was first attempted. Breitfuss gives the official des-
cription of the process from a document inspected by him, but briefly
stated the idea was to print upon a specially prepared surface coated
with a solution of gum and chalk which would dissolve if an effort were
made to clean the stamps for re-use, and take the design out altogether.
Examples of this issue are rare on markedly coated paper and it is seldom
one sees specimens (as one does later on) in dealers' stocks or in col-
lections with parts of the designs missing owing to having been floated
in water. This is especially true of the two higher values.
These stamps are not really rare unused, but connected pieces are another
matter. Of the 10 k. blocks exist, but are no mean items. Of the higher
values such pieces simply do not come along, and I have never seen either
value in an unused block. Used blocks are also very rare, and of the two
higher values even strips are not to be despised.
The reference in the catalogue to the fact that the 10 k. and 20 k. exist
bisected and used for half their facial value is presumably taken from a
well-known continental catalogue. I have not seen such pieces, and with-
out the existence of satisfactory covers they cannot be accepted.
In the Berlin Exhibition of 1930 a German collector showed Russia, and
included in the description of his collection in the official catalogue
of the "Imposta" is an imperforate between pair on cover of the 10 k. An
imperforate between pair of a stamp which was perforated by a harrow ma-
chine at one fell blow takes a good deal of explaining, but, if the piece
is genuine, and the fact that it is on cover is much in its favor, it can
only be due either to broken pins in the machine, or to the total break-
down of the machine and the temporary use of a line machine to similar
gauge. There is no official record of the latter, and I have not seen
any connected piece which suggested perforation by a line machine.
Blue postmarks are commoner on this set of stamps owing to their fairly
wide distribution in the Levant post offices where their use preceded the
special issues of the steamship types. The circular type of Constantinople
dated postmark is fairly frequently seen on the 10 k., and the frames
"FRANCO" and diamond of dots in blue are also Levant obliterators. Red
postmarks are rare, especially on the two high values, though the St.
Petersburg date-stamp which was struck in red is sometimes found on the
The 5 K. Town Local Stamp of 15th July, 1863
At first this stamp was only intended for use in the towns of St.
Petrsburg and Moscow, though its use has been said to have been extended
This is the first stamp of Russia which was recorded as a new issue in
philatelic literature, and it caused quite an enthusiasm among those who
received it at the time. Witness M. Moen's: "Ce timbre est charmant de
gravure et d'execution: sa couleur n'attire pas attention ne frappe
pas le regard, mais il gagne beaucoup a etre examine de plus pres: et
a notre avis, c'est un des timbres les plus remarquables que nous avons
It is also the first stamp of Russia which we are able to examine in a
sheet, because it was represented in the remainders which Herr P. Kosack
bought in collaboration with Mr. Ruben of Copenhagen. It may be of interest
to give some details of what the examination of a sheet proves to us. It
is in four panes as before, and of course electrotyped. No master pane
was made and repeated, as such small flaws as occur do not repeat in the
same positions on each pane. There are registration marks as follows:
two dots in the line of the very centre of the gutter margin about half
an inch above the top row of stamps and below the bottom row in the margins.
There are two more about the same distance from the stamps on the line of
the perforation separating the third and fourth stamps of the left-hand
panes, and two more similar blue dots about the line of the centre of the
right panes. Two blue lines like half moons back to back also appear
below the left corner of the second stamp in the left pane. The marks are
all in the top and bottom margins. All the colour dots are always pierced
through, and it may be that the pins were placed on them to regulate the
fall of the second plate and guarantee perfect registration, which incidently
is a feature of the stamp. On some sheets (I have seen them both with and
without), there is an apparent slight retouch of the design in a small
circular area just southwest of theU(("z" of "ZENA") on the first stamp of
the bottom row of the second or right top pane. The electro was probably
damaged and most skillfully repaired. The area appears to print a little
blacker than the rest of the background.
Owing to the remainders this is quite a common stamp unused, but it is by
no means common used, it is rare on cover, and very rare in connected pieces
on cover. The issue of a 5 kopec stamp of the general issues gradually
took the place of this local, and it fell into disuse though it was not
withdrawn from circulation until 1884. For some reason or other, probably
because of the shortage of used copies beloved by continental collectors,
a good many were passed through the post for obliteration shortly before
its withdrawal. I have seen pairs, and even blocks of four of these but I
do not consider these late postmarked copies as of anything like the same
interest-or value for that matter-as the early dated specimens when the
stamp was fulfilling the functions for which it was brought into use.
Get the red postmark of St. Petersburg on the stamp or else a dated black
postmark of the sixties, but don't overvalue the specially obliterated
material of the eighties.
Issue of 10th July, 1864, 1, 3 and 5 K. Large Perforation
The issues of stamps up to now had been for internal postage within the
Russian Empire only, and letters for abroad and heavy money letters had
to be paid for in cash, but the convenience of the adhesive stamp caused
an increase in the existing postal treaties with foreign countries, and
the natural demand that letters for abroad should be frankable with ad-
hesives. The varying rates naturally necessitated new values for the
set of stamps, as the existing three stamps were inadequate for the pur-
pose, and these three low-value stamps consequently came into being.
Their arrival caused quite a sensation among contemporary philatelic
chroniclers. The Stamp Collector's Magazine states: "The newly issued
series of Russians is really, as the Scotch proverb has it, a sight for
sair een.' We give a description of them, as in duty bound in accordance
with our custom...but neither description nor engraving can give a cor-
rect idea of the extreme elegance and attractive appearance of these beau-
tiful stamps, in which beauty and simplicity are so marvelously combined
with the most elaborate execution... The grand peculiarity in these stamps
is in the groundwork, which though at first sight apparently of uniform
colour, is found by the naked eye (if an acute sight) or at all events
by the microscope, to be composed of an innumerable number (poetically
speaking) of minute figures representing the current value of each denom-
ination." Moens was equally enthusiastic and specially admired the small
size of the stamps. Edward Pemberton in the Stamp Collector's Handbook
writes much later: "The groundwork of the 1864 set is worthy of note,
being very beautiful, and copying that used on the Thurn and Taxis 5 and
10 silbergroschen, and 15 and 30 kreuzer; viz., a tessellated ground of
repeated numerals of value." This is an interesting observation, but
E.L.P. was not to know that his term "copying" was hardly a fair descrip-
tion. This form of background was Kepler's idea, more or less his pa-
tent, and Kepler himself had designed and engraved dies of the Thurn
and Taxis stamps to which Pemberton refers.
I think it would be difficult for anyone to state with assurance whether
the outer frame-lines and circles in the corners were separately engraved
for each die, but a very close comparison of the curved scrolls adjoining
the circles seems to me to suggest minute differences which would not be
there if a common die had been used. Certain it is, however, that the
central designs were separately drawn for each value, though the similar-
ity is a remarkable tribute to the engraver. Compare the crowns, the
pearls, and the shading details, or the eagles' tongues and the size and
slope of the crowns on their heads. Look at the post-horns (in the 3 k,
the rings are broken, and they would undoubtedly be unblowable), the
badges on the eagles'breasts, the feathering of the legs, and the shape,
position, and direction of the extreme base of the tail. The lettering
in the oval is different, the 1 k. having more pronounced serifs than the
3 k. and the 5 k. being bolder, larger and better defined than the other
values. The ornamental scrolls, too, on each side of the Roman numerals
are quite different in shape or position.
Just as in the case of the set of 1858 there is no explanation why a
master-die should not have been employed, but I am glad it was not, be-
cause it is a pleasure to compare such beautiful work and try and decide
which is the best of the three. For myself I would give palm to the 5 k.
even though the sceptre is broken at the base!
This set was perforated by the 12 1/2 machine. The 1 kop. comes in
blocks of four or more unused, the 3 k. very much more rarely in a block,
and the 5 k. is quite a rarity in such condition, though not unobtainable.
Used blocks of the two higher values are scarce. The set is on slightly
surfaced paper, and one sees copies which have lost part of the design by
being washed off letters. There is very little variation in shade, the
paper is uniform, and I know of no major varieties.
The 1865 Set on Unwatermarked Paper with Small Perforation
I do not know the reason for the reversion to the small perforation,
but the Russians continued with a harrow perforating machine of approx-
imately this gauge for the sheets of a hundred stamps for the rest of
the century. From the collector's point of view it is rather a pity that
the 12 1/2 machine was not permanently adopted as connected pieces with
the small gauge are very liable to splitting.
The stamps of this series are the heaviest coated of any Russian issues
with the chalk solution to which I have previously referred, and the
colours in consequence are extremely brilliant. They are, however, best
collected mint or on cover as they do not stand up to immersion in water
at all, and a very large percentage of the copies one sees are "incom-
plete designs" due to the colour coming away with the surfacing owing to
the action of the water.
I have never seen it stated definitely whether the paper was treated
only on the surface or to some extent on the back as well, but I suspect
that the back would require treatment of some description or other to
prevent curling. There is an imperf. proof of the 10 k. which belongs
to this set and which is regularly offered to collectors by the unin-
formed as the extremely rare imperforate variety of the 10 k. of the
next series on watermarked horizontally laid paper. The chalk surfacing
is only on the face and the proofs are not known to me gummed, but the
stamp has always a tendency to curl up like a sausage, and unless it is
mounted with hinges on both the top and the bottom no amount of pressure
in an album will prevent it doing so. I take it that this was a print
taken while experimenting with the surfacing. The gumming of sheets
generally has a tendency to increase rather than diminish curling, and
it may be that it was necessary to do something to the back of the paper
to offset the liability to curling which heavy surfacing of the paper
with a solution would necessarily involve. I am not happy, therefore,
in making too much of the marked differences in the thickness of the
paper which is admittedly measurable in this set. I believe it to be
chiefly due to the amount of surfacing-and conceivably backing-which
it received, and I do not consider it a matter of great philatelic
importance. It is remarkable how much the thickness of the paper can
be reduced by complete cleaning of the backs of the stamps. I have
experimented with poor copies of the thicker paper 20 k. which had lost
some of the design anyway, and after washing the backs very carefully I
have greatly reduced the very marked thickness of the paper. I do not,
however, deny that dealing with mint stamps only, one can find them
measurably varying in thickness.
The catalogue lists the 10 k. with centre inverted. This variety was
recorded many years ago in the new issue and discovery column of Stanley
Gibbons' Monthly Journal, but on looking up the reference, it is clear
that it had not been submitted to the inspection of any expert member
of the firm nor to the editor. It merely states: 'We are told that a
copy of the 10 kopecs of 1865 has been discovered with the centre in-
verted. Moens catalogues the 10 k. of the 1875 type in this condition
but the earlier stamp has not been heard of before." I do not believe
in denying, without good reason, the existence of a stamp which easily
could have been printed, but I am suspicious that a mistake has here
been made, as the variety is entirely unknown to the many collectors of
Russia of my acquaintance, and nobody seems to have any knowledge of the
whereabouts of the copy mentioned in the note. It is not a stamp of so
little importance that it could conceivably change hands without record,
and until I see a specimen or hear that it has been passed by a competent
expert I shall continue to regard it as a myth.
I think there is always the risk in catalogue lists of perpetuating mis-
takes. Somebody rewriting a list uses all possible sources of information
and he may take a variety and include it because it appears in a standard
continental catalogue of repute. To take an instance in point, one of
the best known continental catalogues lists the 2 k. black and rose of
1875 with background inverted and also with centre inverted and quotes
different figures used and unused for the two varieties. In this case we
can definitely say that there can only be one such variety, and when the
Russian list was rewritten for our green Gibbons, the two varieties of the
2 k. also appeared as well as two different estimates of price. This is
enough to show how careful one must be that the rewriting of a catalogue
list, which one desires should be as complete as possible, should not
include all the mistakes of all the catalogues published to date. It is
needless to add that this involves no sort of criticism of the editor of
our standard catalogue, who to my knowledge takes every possible care, but
no catalogue editor can possibly be an expert on every country, and he has
to depend on information received which may or may not be correct.
The 20 k. is known bisected on cover with Polish concentric rings obli-
teration numbered "167", dated 13.1.69, and addressed to Breslau. The
letter went via Warsaw.
Mint blocks of the higher values are very rare, especially the 20 k. and
30 k., due partly, I believe, to the tendency for the perforations to
split. Used blocks are becoming less unfindable owing to the increasing
use of the stamps on letters to foreign countries.
The Issues of 1866-75 on Laid Watermarked Paper
The object of the adoption of a watermarked paper of complicated design
of laid texture with cross laid lines was clearly greater protection
against forgery, though I do not think that any forgery to defraud the
Post Office appeared before that of the 8 kopecs of 1875.
There is no purpose in giving any detailed description of this water-
marked paper as there is a very lengthy article on it in Gibbons' Stamp
Weekly (Vol. X) entitled "Notes on the Russian Watermarks" by Hugo Kr'tsch.
The large sheets of paper were cut to the size of the printed sheets,
which measure approximately 12 inches vertically by 10 inches horizontally.
Depending upon the way the large sheets were cut the watermark is either
horizontal or vertical, but this would not depend upon mere fortuitous
cutting, and the stamps on vertically laid paper are found with limited
dates of use in each case showing that the practice of cutting the sheets
vertically took place during a limited period.
All the values of this set on horizontally laid paper existed in the re-
mainders to which I have previously referred in dealing with the town local
stamp of 1863, and I have studied a set of the sheets. I regret I never
asked Messrs. Kosack and Ruben to let me inspect their entire stock of
sheets, though, as they were sellers, they might well have been unwilling
that anyone should know how many there were. Had it been possible to do
so one might have discovered sheets of some values from different print-
ing plates, a point which cannot otherwise be established as there are no
plate numbers, and, as far as I know, no official records to which ref-
erence can be made. One can establish, however, that some of the values
of the following set with straight labels needed more than one printing
plate, the well-known "bar flaw" of the 10 k. is not on my sheet of that
value, and the life of this issue would seem to point very strongly to
the necessity for more than one plate of some values.
My descriptions can only be confined to the set of sheets in my possession
and it may well be that some other collector may be in a position to des-
cribe some plate which differs from mine.
The arrangement of the sheets is as before, in four panes of twenty-five
stamps, five by five, with gutters between the panes. The marginal marks
are placed as follows:
( a ) For the three low values 1, 3, and 5 k.:
A mark in each side margin about 1 1/2 cms. from the stamps on the line
of the middle of the horizontal gutter dividing the panes. A second dot
appears in each side margin about 1 cm. from the stamps, opposite the
centre of the first stamp in the third pane in the left sheet margin, and
opposite the centre of the last stamp in the second pane in the right
margin respectively. In the 1 k. sheet in my possession the former
pair of dots are apparently in black and the latter in yellow, the
frame colour, but in the case of the 3 k. and 5 k. sheets all the dots
are in frame colours.
(b) For the three higher values, 10, 20 and 30 k.,with embossed
A dot in the top and bottom sheet margins level with the line of the
centre of the horizontal gutter dividing the panes about 1 1/2 cms.
from the stamps. A second dot in the right and left margins on a level
with the line of the centre of the horizontal gutter dividing the panes
for the 10 k. and 30 k., and a little below the line of the centre of
the gutter for the 20 k. and about 1/2 mm. from the stamps. All these
dots are in the colours of the frames of the stamps.
All the dots in both types of sheet are pierced in the same way as in
the town local previously described, and I suggest again guiding pins
to regulate the descent of the second plate which in each case would be
the plate of the central design.
In none of the six sheets was a master pane employed. Such small flaws
as occur on the cliches do not repeat in each pane, and the very slight
variations in alignment of the cliches are not constant in the four panes
In the case of the 10 k. sheet, I suspect that the edges of the plate
have been bumped up from the back as all the frame-lines of the stamps
in marginal positions are apparently of abnormal thickness, but I do not
notice this feature in the other values. It is, of course, impossible
to date sheets of this issue, for whereas the 10 k. and 20 k. sheets
must have been printed before the change to the straight inscription
design of 1875, the low values could presumably have been printed any
time before they were replaced with the new type in December 1883. One
cannot, therefore, deduce anything from this bumping of the edges, but
it is worthwhile recording here as it is a noticeable feature of the
sheets of the common 7 k. with straight label of 1879 and onwards.
As regards the plates for the embossed centres of the three high values,
one might have anticipated a master plate which would serve to create
plates for printing the centres of all three values, but I cannot see
any sign that such existed at this time from the study of the three
sheets before me. Of course this is a much harder matter to establish.
The alignment cannot be checked so easily, the details are much less
clear, and the centres vary very much in definition. It is, however,
possible to run a line from the bottom of the centre of the first row of
the pane to the bottom of the centre in the last row, and it will be
found that there is slight variation in alignment which is not repeated
in the panes nor constant in the sheets of the three values.
This is the first issue of Russia in which we get any major varieties.
They are all of great interest and some of great rarity, and I propose
to devote a little space to their consideration.
The best known and the most easily acquired is the 3 k. value with the
background of Roman numeral (V) intended for the 5 k. Used copies are
all dated in 1870. I suppose it is the best example of this kind of
error in all stamp printing. The "tretio" error of Sweden and the "zwei
ein halb" of Lubeck are both very fair examples of contradictions in
terms, but these are both partially corrected errors and not a whole
printing contradicting in one part of the design the value expressed in
the other. The error was very widely circulated and is not rare in used
condition, but mint copies are another matter, and a mint block of 4 is
an item which takes a lot of finding.
The next best known are the inverted backgrounds of the 1 k. and the
inverted centre of the 10 k.
Some people have a very hazy idea from the description "inverted back-
ground" what the variety should look like. The background plate had no
design over that portion of the surface of the stamp which was covered
by the centre and frame design. It had, therefore, four blank circular
corners, and a blank oval band surmounted by a blank crown. If the printed
background was fed the wrong way up for printing of the central design not
only do we get the small figures "1" of the background inverted, a point
difficult to verify as the figures have no serifs, but we have also a
blank space for an inverted crown at the bottom of the central oval.
The inverted background varieties are very rare indeed, and I do not think
any attempt has ever been made to establish from how many different sheets
the existing copies in collectors' hands must have emanated. I have seen
two unused copies, both of which had a small stain and were not too bril-
liant, one in the Hawkins collection and one in the Faberge collection.
There was a famous block of 8 in von Polanski's collection, but I have
never seen it nor a photograph of it. I have two singles and a vertical
pair, all of which seem to be from different sheets. The pair has the
background placed too low and the top outer line of the background goes
through the middle of the ball on which the cross at the top of the crown
is mounted. The postmark is the railway obliteration of Nischni Novgorod
(Krdtsch, P 1. XVII, dl) and the date 8th June 1882. The colour is orange-
yellow. One single has the background a little higher than this copy as
the outer line goes just beneath the cross bar of the cross. The postmark
is very difficult to estimate, but it is not of the railway type and is dated
1883. It is also orange-yellow. The third copy has the background placed
too high and the line of the bottom of the background coincides with the
base of the "A" of "O HA". The postmark is one of the multiple dot types
of Moscow, but the date cannot ofcourse be told. This specimen is lemon-
yellow. The Ferrari copy had an obliteration of Mitau and a date in 1883.
With the screen it is not possible to tell the exact position of the back-
ground, but it appears to me not impossible that the specimen emanated from
the same sheet as the first single of mine which I described. The other
inverted backgrounds which I have are imperforate copies and will be dealt
with when I come to describe these imperforate varieties.
The inverted centre varieties of the 10 k. are much rarer still, and
of course, more popular as they stand out so clearly. I should doubt
if there are ten copies in existence in collectors' hands. Most of the
specimens come from a sheet which was issued at Kibarty and are dated
in February 1874. The inverted centre is printed a little too high
leaving a blank curve at the bottom of the oval, but it is well centred
laterally. The Faberge collection contained a beautiful piece on which
two of these rarities were used side by side. Specimens are also
known from another sheet, which was issued at Poreschtje, and my copy
is dated 16 Jan 1875. The inverted centre is printed too far to the
right and a little low leaving a blank curve on the left of the oval.
Of these two values there are two interesting varieties which are not
catalogued. In the 1 k. there is what at first sight seems to be a
very clear double print, but further inspection shows that the second
impression is in fact a remarkably distinct offset print as the serifs
of the four figures in the corners are on the right of the figures. It
must have been caused by placing a newly printed sheet face down on an-
other sheet. The second (offset) print is to the left of the good print
but it is the clearest example of this type of variety known to me in
all stamp printing. The postmark is undecipherable and the colour a
In the 10 k. there is a well known flaw variety, generally known to
Russian specialists as the "bar flaw". The figure "10" in the left
top corner of the stamp is almost obliterated by a diagonal colour bar
which goes right across it. Though it must have been only one stamp on
a sheet, the plate with the defective cliche must have had a good print-
ing life as most specialized collections of Russia contain copies of it.
I have not made a note of all the dated copies I have seen which would
give a better clue to its length of life, but my copy on cover is dated
25th July 1874. The flaw does not appear on the full sheet in my
possession. In fact it is of extreme rarity unused. I have one mint
copy, have seen one other unused, though not nice, and know of no others.
We have now come to the imperforate varieties of the set, and these provide
an example of what I previously referred to as an imperfect cataloguing.
In order to illustrate the point let me arrange these varieties by them-
selves in the manner in which they appear in the catalogue with the foot-
note applicable to them.
Horizontally laid paper:
1 k. Variety e. Imperf. (1875) 80 0 5E
3 k. Variety c. Imperf. (1875) L0 E12
5 k. Variety b. Imperf. (1875) .12
10 k. Variety c. Imperf. L10
Vertically laid paper:
5 k. Variety a Imperf 20
The imperf. stamps are nearly all from printer's waste."
Let me deal first with the implication of the footnote. I do not know
what most collectors think about the term "printer's waste" but for my-
self I have always regarded anything labeled as "printer's waste" as
something totally unworthy of inclusion in a collection. It conjures
up visions of imperfect stamps stolen from the printer's office and
landed on collectors either ungummed, because unfit for even the extra
expense of gumming or post marked "par complaisance" to provide an
item suitable to the palate of the inexperienced philatelist. Occasion-
ally to vary the menu we find these delectable philatelic tit-bits with
forged postmarks, but in whatever shape we come on "printer's waste"
there is a very nasty taste in the mouth after its consumption.
A second reasonable innuendo from the catalogue list arises from the
bracketing of the date "(1875)" after the first three values of the set.
This is very nearly libellous, if stamps could be libelled, because the
reasonable innuendo is that in this year there was in the Imperial
printing department an employee who distributed "printer's waste" for
his own ends to the philatelic or other public.
The facts are indeed against this proposition because
(a) no copy of any of the three values in imperforate condition
is known to me dated in the year 1875,
(b) no copy of any of those listed is known to me unused, and
(c) no copy of any of them is known to me postmarked "par complaisance."
I fancy that the footnote has been attached by somebody with an imperfect
knowledge of these imperforate varieties. ("A little learning,etc.") He
may have seen one or two copies and jumped to conclusions, but the conclu-
sions are entirely unjustified. Imperforate varieties of perforated
stamps vary very much in interest. The least interesting are those from
line machines which in single stamps are more or less uncertfiable as im-
perforate varieties. Comb machines are a different matter as the only
possibility of error is generally over a marginal stamp, but harrow
machines such as these used for Russia are a matter of reasonable cer-
tainty, and can be measured to the nearest fraction of a millimetre.
They are therefore the most desirable of all imperforate varieties,
recognizable in singles as obviously genuine, and completely fool-proof
provided the fool has some eye for added margins.
But theremust be some reason for so misleading a note, and indeed there
is. Most of the imperforate varieties of this set are badly registered
sheets, that is to say that the centre designs do not fit in accurately
to the frames, and it may very well be that an inspector condemned the
printed sheets and did not send them to be perforated. That is a very
different thing to the implication of irregular issue and I propose to
take them each in turn to establish that no suggestion of this nature is
in any way justifiable.
In the 1 k. the catalogue pricing of 80/- unused and L5 used raises a
further slur upon the varieties if coupled with the footnote as it suggests
that more of these "printer's waste" stamps got into the hands of collect-
ors unused than used. No Russian specialist of my acquaintance can recall
ever having seen a specimen of this stamp unused, and I should be as
interested as I should be surprised to see one. I can from material
in my possession state that there were at least four sheets and possi-
bly more, but the early "seventies" are bad times for the survival of
varieties of this nature. Stamp collecting records had only been
going for about ten years, and imperforate varieties were very small
beer. Moreover, Russia was a particularly bad country from which to
expect survivorship. It had a bigger percentage of illiterates in
those days than most countries, and 1 k. stamps except when used with
other values for composite rates had a very large "w.p.b." mortality.
All the imperforates known to me are orange. The four sheets which I
can establish are represented in my collection as follows:
(1) Horizontally laid paper: single, used, with very wide
margins. The background is centred somewhat to the left of the
central design, the outer line at right passing about 1 mm. to
the right of the top of the N.E. figure "1" and a little bit to
the right of the ball at the right base of the S. E. figure. It
is also a little low, the outer top line of the background run-
ning just beneath the cross-bar of the cross. The background
and centre are, however, as well registered as many of the approved
perforated sheets and it is unlikely that this sheet was rejected as
imperfectly printed. The postmark is not clear enough for detailed
description, but I fancy the last two numbers of the year date are
(2) Horizontally laid paper: a horizontal pair, used,with
margins. The background is badly registered and far to the right
of the central design, and high. The outer left edge of the back-
ground runs through the centre of the N.W. figure "1" and touches
the tip of the serif of the S.W. figure. It is also slightly high.
The sheet might well have been rejected as imperfect by an inspec-
tor. The postmark is the circular "post-waggon"type and dated
18 May 1874. It has been struck twice and has no appearance of
having been done to order.
(3) Vertically laid paper. Very badly registered, the back-
ground being left and high compared to the central design. The
outer right edge of the background passes 1 mm. from the point of
the N.E. figure "1" and just touches the ball of the S.E. figure
where it stops. The postmark is unfortunately too off centre to
decipher, but the first two lines of the date are 21st April.
(4) Vertically laid paper. Two examples from the same sheet
with inverted background. Very badly registered indeed, far too
high and to the left. The outer line of the background at right
cuts in half the serif of the N.E. figure "1" and the S.E. corner
of the background is very near the centre of the downstroke of the
S.E. figure. Almost certainly rejected by the inspector but per-
fectly genuine circular obliterations of November, 1872.
We cannot have any exact knowledge at this date how these stamps
got into circulation, but that they were genuinely issued in error
is obvious (a) from the appearance of the stamps themselves,
(b) from their rarity.
"Printer's waste" material printed in sheets of a hundred and irregularly
issued is not in my experience very difficult to hunt out or buy, but let
the collector try his hand on these stamps and see how many he can find
in a decade.
Next we have the 3 k. The catalogue obliges with the date of 1875 again
and a price of L10 unused and L12 used which repeats the implication with
which I have already dealt in the case of the 1 k.
It is particularly regrettable in the case of this stamp which I make bold
to state is about twice as rare if not much more so than the inverted
centre variety of the 10 k. It was entirely unknown to the St. Petersburg
section of the Internationaler Philatelisten Verein Dresden and is proba-
bly recorded on the basis of a pair in the Ferrari collection which I have.
To the best of my knowledge it has never been heard of unused. The back-
ground is registered to the left of the centre plate, the right outer edge
going through the extreme right edges of the N.E. and S.E. figures "3".
The postmark is circular, the town undecipherable, except conceivably for
a Russian scholar, but the date is 31st May, 1876.
Of the 5 k. there were certainly three sheets. Two are in different
shades on the horizontally laid paper and the other is on the vertically
laid. Once again one must object with reason to the bracketed date of
Of the black and lavender sheet or rather black and dull mauve I have a
horizontal pair and I have seen a similar one in the Faberge collection.
The centering of the background is to the right of the main design, the
left outer edge going more or less through the points of the downstrokes
of the N.W. and S.W. figures "5". The postmark is very blurred, but the
date can be read and on my pair it is 23rd March 1873.
Of the black on purple stamp I have a marginal single and have seen some
four or five similar copies. The background is slightly off-centre to
the left and high, but the stamp is of good appearance and I am doubtful
if it would have been rejected. The postmark is the Riga town circular
type and it is dated December, 1876.
The vertically laid stamp appeared in the Faberge collection. One was
apparently unused, that is to say, that there was no apparent postmark,
but it had been very hardly used otherwise. The second copy was pen-
cancelled. As these two specimens told nothing about where they were
issued and were not of the quality that I like to have I did not compete
for them, but they were obviously genuine, and equally obviously not
"printer's waste", which is always much sweeter-looking than these two.
They were very dull in colour.
The 10 k. is, like the 3 k., of extreme rarity, though I have seen more
examples of it (all singles). The centre is left and low relatively to
the frame design. The circular postmark on my specimen is beyond me
except for the year date which is definitely 1874. This stamp too
may be twice as rare as the inverted centre variety of the same stamp
perforated. Remember over this variety that there is that horrible
proof of the former issue to which I have previously alluded, and
which you may probably be offered as the imperforate variety.
I am writing these notes without reference to some of my ordinary used
material which is not available at the present time, and I cannot there-
fore give the dates of use of the vertically laid paper stamps of the
various values. It would certainly be interesting to see a list of the
average dates of these varieties, but to be of value one should avoid
all exceptionally late dates as they prove nothing except that they
have been kept unduly long before they were put through the post. Id.
blacks with 1844 obliterations, or such a specimen as I own of the first
water-marked 30 k. with an 1872 dated obliteration, do not establish any-
thing regarding the dates of issue of the stamps.
The vertically laid stamps are good in mint condition especially in
connected pieces, and the 5 k. is unfindable thus. The Tapling collection,
if my memory serves me right, has a complete sheet of the 1 k., and
certainly has a pane of the 30 k., a very fine item.
These stamps whether vertical or horizontal are coated but not so heavily
as those of the previous issue. As time goes on the coating gets less
and less, and in the next series I have soaked off large quantities of
the 7 k. value in blocks without harming a stamp.
The 2 K. of 1875
M. boens in advance notices of this stamp, which was for use on wrappers
and unstamped postcards, gives the date for its introduction, and also
for the reduced letter rate 8 k. stamp as 1st July and records its receipt
in the August number of Le Timbre Poste.
This 2 k. was not a separate and new engraving, but is derived from the
die of the 5 k. value. It is interesting that the 5 k. should have been
chosen as when I dealt with the production of the three values I suggested
that this was the pick of the three. The 2 k. even has the characteristic
The sheet in my collection has marginal marks in red (also punched), in
the same positions as in the sheets of the other three low values already
described, but in this case undoubtedly a master pane was used as the
small flaws and remark applies to both background plate and main design
plate. The background plate was of course individual to this value with
its alternate arabic and roman figures "2". I observe that certain of the
background cliches present common flaw features. The arabic numeral due
west of the scroll surmounting the S.E. circle has a dot to its right,
and the arabic numeral N.W. of the same scroll has a flaw at its foot,
occurring on Nos. 5,6,11,15,18 and 22 of each pane. They suggest the
use of one mould to create a master shell which was the father of all
the other electros showing this flaw (see Mr. Purves, P.J.G.B., 1931,
Much as I dislike repetition it seems necessary here to add a word of
reservation with regard to any generalization from the observation of
this one sheet. It cannot be dated, but there is no proof that it is
the first plate produced for this value. One would suppose that once
the technique of a master pane was adopted it would from then on be
generally applied. We know that two plates of the 20 k. of this series
issued a little later in 1875 were produced and used for printing with-
out the master pane being employed (see London Philatelist, Vol. XXXVIII,
page 254 et seq. and p. 275 et seq.), but we shall find that it was in
general application for the 7 k. of 1879.
It is a reasonable but unprovable presumption that the technique was
discovered and adopted between 1875 and 1879, and that is as far as we
can go, unless we hazard the dangerous guess that this is not in fact
the first plate of this value.
The catalogue lists two varieties, one with the background inverted and
the other imperforate. The former is an exceedingly rare variety and I
believe there are four known copies. It is the clearest and most pop-
ular of the inverted background varieties, partly because of the red
colour which shows up well, and partly because an inverted arabic "2"
is more easily recognizable as an invert than a "1".
The known copies must have come from at least two sheets. In the Faberge
copy the inverted background is a little low but perfectly placed laterally
whereas in mine the inverted background is centred right and high, its
lower left extremity coinciding with the line of the sceptre. The post-
mark on my copy cannot be read, but Le Timbre-Poste in recording the
variety gives its date as July 1880. It seems to me of little value to
quote a price for a stamp like this in unused state as no specimen is
known, and this mild criticism is of wide general application.
I have never seen a copy of the imperforate variety and as I have hunt-
ed hard, and had the chance of an early pick of some very fine collect-
ions of the country it does not seem to me overquoted at L10, especially
in comparison with the L40 allocated to the 7 k. and 8 k. which it
immediately precedes. The 2 k. on vertically laid is a comparatively
rare stamp, and I have never seen a block. Mint singles are by no means
to be despised.
The Embossed Straight Label Series 8 K., 10 K., 20 K. and 7 K.
I propose to leave the 7 k. to the last for consideration as it was the
last to be issued.
The 8 k. for the new letter rate was the first to appear in the new
straight label design and is consequently an entirely new die. On my
sheet the marginal marks are as follows: Two dots in grey (pierced)
in the right and left margins in the line of the centre of the horizontal
gutter dividing the panes and about 1 1/2 cm. from the stamps. Two more
dots nearly 1 cm. from the stamps in the same margins about two-thirds
way down the first stamp of the third pane, and the fifth stamp of the
The irregularities in alignment disprove the use of any master pane for
the frame designs and the same observation is true of the centres. The
last stamp on the second or right top pane of the sheet shows a broken
letter"B" which has in my view quite unworthily received catalogue rank
under the title "error Cocem" for "Bocem" in Russian text. It is a de-
fective "B", but "C" it certainly is not, and to me it signifies nothing
of interest. It is not even a major flaw like the bar flaw of the 10 k.
curved label previously described.
The catalogue also records three other varieties:
(a) Wove paper, no watermark.
(d) Centre omitted.
The first variety I have, but it is with my unmounted material in "cold
storage". I regret that I have no note of the obliteration or date, but
I certainly can say that I could not detect either watermark or that the
paper was laid. It appeared to have quite a mesh.
The second is a rare stamp. All the specimens seen by me come from a
sheet issued at Riga. The centre is perfectly printed in relation to
the frame, and the sheet could never have been an inspector's reject.
There is a beautiful vertical pair in the Tapling collection with part
gutter or sheet margin, dated within a day or so of my copy which shows
3rd March, 1879.
The only copy of the third variety which I have seen would not have been
accepted by me as a gift. To have an omitted centre a Russian stamp
would require one of four alternative causes:
(a) A whole sheet failing to go through the second printing process.
(b) The centres being so misplaced that a row of centres printed
on the sheet margins and a row consequently did not appear
on the stamps as in the variety of the 1 rouble of the 1889-94
(c) The intervention of a piece of foreign matter such as paper
between the press and the printed frames in the second printing
process. Two sheets passed through one on top of the other is
a variation of this type of variety.
(d) The folding of part of a printed sheet on insertion to the
press for the second process so that the embossing appeared
on the back.
With sheets of a hundred stamps and the careful inspection given to the
Russian issues only the third of these alternatives appears to me as a
reasonable possibility, and one should find under these conditions traces
of an albino impression, unless the stamp was covered in leather and the
variety purposely made. There were some funny varieties of printer's
waste rubbish later in Russia, but up to 1900 the record is exceedingly
I do not deny the possibility of the variety, but I should like to
satisfy myself from a specimen, first that it was genuine, and secondly
that it was genuinely used.
There is rather a crude forgery with embossed centre of the normal
stamp on wove paper, too bad to deceive collectors, and as the stamp
is worth about Id. at best probably produced to deceive the revenue.
I have seen a few copies, but cannot record one with a legible post-
The vertically laid papers are again fairly rare used, mostly obli-
terated St. Petersburg. Mint copies are another matter, but there is
at least one block of 4 in this condition as it is in front of me as
The 10 k. was recorded with the 20 k. in the November number of Le
Timbre-Poste. Each value of this set has a different groundwork pat-
tern in the background which would be engraved by hand on the die,
but it seems to me that the centre portion of the die of the 8 k.
without either groundwork, expression of value in roman numerals, or
the ornamental scrolls to right and left of the figures must have been
used as a basis for the dies of the 10 k. and 20 k., as the shading of
the mantle and the crowns are too alike to suggest separate hand en-
The sheet which I have of this stamp has marginal marks as in the
sheet of the 8 k. For the frame plate quite clearly a master pane of
twenty-five was employed as the small flaws repeat. In fact most of
the cliches can be allocated to their positional numbers in the panes.
The plates of the central design do not seem to have been constructed
in this way, though this is a particularly difficult sheet to guarantee
in this respect, as the centres are very well aligned, there are no
major flaws to test for repetition, and the embossing on this sheet
is worn and lacking in definition.
Once again we cannot generalize from this one sheet, and I am suspicious
that this is not a first print of this value.
Two varieties of this stamp are catalogued:
(a) With centre inverted, and
(b) "I" for "T" in Russian word at foot.
The invert is a standard rarity, and although I think there may be one
or two copies more in collectors' hands than of its brother 10 k. with
curved label, I should very much doubt if there are a dozen surviving
copies. Most of the specimens emanate from a sheet issued at Kostroma.
The inverted centre is printed very centrally in the oval and only
slightly high for perfect registration. The third copy of the Faberge
sale, the postmark of which is too blurred for identification, must
have come from another sheet as the inverted centre is far to the right
in the oval and the stamp itself is also cut off centre to right, the
outer line of the design at left being cut by the perforations. I am
inclined to think that the second copy of the Faberge collection is
from a third sheet for, while the centreing of stamp and embossing
are similar to the Kostroma sheet, the postmark is certainly not Kostroma
and the embossing itself appears sharper than in the Kostroma copies.
In the cross for "T" variety of this stamp I do not believe. As I
explained in my notes in the London Philatelist (Vol. XXXVIII, p.254)
the variety of the 20 k. is solely due to a flaw in the striking of the
moulds which can be present in many cliches if the first cliche showing
the flaw is used to produce others. In the 20 k. there is some excuse
for cataloguing the variety as it occurs some eighteen times in two
plates, but in the 10 k. there is no excuse for doing so. The fact that
it was ever listed dates back to the days of ignorance when it could be
thought that a wrong letter had been used in the inscription. The var-
iety does not appear on the sheet in my collection, and is of no impor-
tance and certainly not worthy of catalogue rank as a flaw variety.
The 20 k. has been sufficiently described in my previous notes (L.P.
XXXVIII) and I do not propose to make further reference to it here
except to state that I accept Mr. Purves's amendment to my theories.
It seems more likely that the cross for "T" varieties were due to the
use of a cliche (with the flaw) as a master for the production of other
cliches than that it was due to the repeated use in the bath of a mould
exhibiting the flaw.
Since I wrote my previous notes I have seen a third copy of the inverted
centre variety of the 20 k. (M. Champion's) and I am obliged to my friend
Baron Alphonse Rothschild for a photograph of his copy which he acquired
in the Ferrari sale. The inverted centre is low and a little to the
right, the postmark is too light for identification and the stamp appears
to be from the second plate described by me. I should doubt if there are
half a dozen copies of this stamp in existence.
We come now to the 7 kop. value. This is an entirely new design and is
not in any way a derivative of the 8 kop. The marginal marks on the
sheet appear in different positions from those on the sheets of the
other values. The dots which are opposite the centre of the horizontal
gutter are as before, but the other pair of dots are near the top of the
first stamp of the bottom row of the first pane and near the bottom of
the fifth stamp of the top row of the fourth pane respectively.
The fact that the registration marks are different for this value would
seem to imply the preparation of special plates of central design for it,
and this is the case. At the time when I acquired the blocks of the
20 k. value,which is some fifteen years ago, I also got a very large
amount of used material of the 7 k. in blocks, including some blocks
of fifty, panes, etc. I have only a little of this material available
at the present time, but it is sufficient for these notes. In 1929 I
stated that for this value a master pane had been used during part of
the life of the stamp. I was not then sure whether this master pane
had been used for the whole of the stamp's life, but before displaying
the collection to the Society in March, 1932, I was able to give further
study to this value, and I was satisfied that this was the case, as I
had seen no block which could not be fitted into this master pane. Dr.
A.H. Wortman, who presides over the Russian Study Circle, in recent years
told me that he was studying this stamp, and asked me for the loan of
the sheet in my collection. He was working entirely independently of me,
and did not have either the annotated plating study or the mass of
reserve material in blocks. His report supported my conclusions as he
confirmed the use of a master pane both for centre and frame designs
and makes a further point that the constant flaws occur on the three
shades which are characteristic of this value during its currency.
These three shades he groups as follows from dated postmarks:
1. Grey 20.3.79 to Dec. 80
2. Black 8.4.80 to 10.6.82
3. Light grey Dec 82 onwards
He continues that "only the one master pane for the main design, and
the other for the centre design were used throughout the whole time of
use of this stamp." This is the only conclusion of his on which I can-
not agree with him, and I am still satisfied that the minutes of the
meeting of March 17th, 1932 (L.P.,XLI, p.92) more accurately states the
case. It is tiresome to non-specialist readers to suffer too many
plating details, but the point can be reasonably briefly stated. It is
possible from minute flaws in the cliches to identify more than half the
units on the panes. If these constant flaws are present on early panes,
and absent from later printings it is evidence that the same master pane
can no longer have been used to make the later plate, but if the other
constant flaws or most of them are still present in the pane then we
know that we are dealing with a derivative of the first master pane as
creator of the later plate. I believe this to be true of this value
both for centre and frame designs as I have examples of late prints
which do not show the constant flaws on certain cliches characteristic
of earlier panes. It is, however, true that the first master pane or
a derivative of it was the father of all the plates of this value as
certain flaws are constant on all prints, and always occupy the same
positions in the panes.
Dr. Wortman gives me two other notes which I am glad to incorporate.
He writes: "three copies have been found showing a crack in the upper
part of the stamp. Although this particular stamp has no particular
plate flaw to make its identification certain it is almost certainly
No. 3 in the pane, that is the middle stamp in the top row. It is
therefore likely that the crack was in the electrotyped plate and not
in the original cliche. It is not known in which pane it occurred."
It is, of course, impossible to identify single copies as belonging
to certain panes, but this is not always the case with large blocks,
owing to the practice with this value of "bumping" the edges of the
sheets, a common enough trick in surface-printed stamps where no
"Jubilee" lines are available to take the extra pressure on the sheet
margins. If a pane be regarded with this in mind, the thickness of
the outer frame lines on two contiguous sides, and the heavy blurring
of the corner of the corner cliche will indicate the almost certain
position of the pane in the sheet.
The second note applies to the vertically laid stamps which Dr. Wortman
states are only known used between May and September, 1879. I cannot
recollect having seen these stamps except with St. Petersburg obliter-
ations. The short life proves that they are not really common, and it
was a long time before I saw a used block. Mint copies are much more
valuable, but this stamp does crop up fairly often, very much more so
than the 8 k., and I have seen some three mint blocks. Mr. Lincoln was
sent a remittance in vertically laid 7 k. stamps, and his stock book
always contained a few copies, which were replaced from reserve if
there was a run on them. Whether there were ever any blocks I do not
know, but his son told me about fifteen years ago that he had none left.
The varieties of this stamp include three great rarities. The first is
the uncatalogued variety with inverted centre of which only one copy is
recorded. Dr. Diena kindly reported this stamp to me as it had been sub-
mitted to him for expertisation, and he sent me a photograph of it. It
is a beautiful specimen, too lightly postmarked for identification of
town or date, and the inverted centre is very slightly low and to the
left of the oval. It was never offered to me, indeed I could never ask
that it should be, as it was discovered at the time of sanctions, but it
has found a good home in M. Champion's collection, and he showed a fine
colour slide of it at the time of the Stamp Centenary Exhibition in May.
The second variety is that with hexagon (fiscal) watermark, the post-
marked copies of which show the town where it was issued to have been
Perm. Mr. Eugene Lentz in his reminiscences dealing with his fellow
collectors in St. Petersburg has the following note: "An old member
from Reval, lieutenant-colonel Waldemar Jurgens,was a frequent and well-
liked guest who always brought along good things from Finland. He
carried on considerable Exchange, and after having received his dis-
charge as a colonel, he moved to Finland and devoted himself entirely
to this exchange. He limited his activities toFinland and Russia. He
is the one who discovered the rare Russian stamp 7 kop. grey and rose
with the fiscal watermark, a hexagon. Breitfuss secured the first copy
and I the balance which consisted of three stamps." I do not know
whether more than these four copies are now known, but Mr. John Vallis
who was so long with Mr. Lincoln, and later worked for Mr. H.F. Johnson,
used to state that he well remembered a mint pair of this variety in
Mr. Lincoln's "black box". Mr. Lincoln used to advertise that he would
send Bibles abroad in exchange for stamps, and Mr. Vallis stated that
this pair came as part payment for a Bible. The "black box" was a
special spot in the safe where Mr. Lincoln put material which was not
for sale, and contained some remarkable material such as the well-
known sheet of the 1 r. green Dominican Republic of the first issue
which was sent with the postmaster's apologies for supplying part of
Mr. Lincoln's order from obsolete issues. Mr. Vallis was very confident
that he had often seen a pair, but it must have since disappeared.
The third rarity is the imperforate 7 kop., of which I have seen two
single copies. The centre is nearly perfectly printed and the sheet
could not have been a printer's reject. The postmark is circular, and
the date "2nd Dec 1882". (The "2" is not very clear and might con-
ceivably be a "4".) This stamp was not represented in the Ferrari or
Faberge collections, and I believe it to be rarer than the similar 8 k.
I do not remember seeing a copy of the catalogued wove-paper variety,
but sometimes the laid lines are difficult to see.
The Issue of 14th December, 1883
1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 14, 35 and 70 Kopecs
I regret that with this issue I must postpone any description of the
Post Office sheets, as, although the remainders included this series,
I have not got the sheets for reference at the present time. I shall
have to confine my notes, therefore, in main to the interesting errors
and varieties of this and subsequent issues up to the end of the
I do not know the reason for the slightly amended central designs, but
few will concede that they are an improvement on the former stamps. In
the low values the shields on the eagles' breasts have been so reduced
in size that the badge has lost all definition. The eagles' wings are
more feathered, and the tails have been given further embellishment.
One can with more reason understand the change of the background design
as the new pattern of dots is common to all values, and there is, there-
fore, no risk of repeating the type of error of the previous issue(viz.
3 k. with background of the 5 k. value). Moreover, the issue of an
additional value in this type (the 7 k.) does not necessitate the
creation of a new background design especially made for it.
One might have expected that now that the printers had established the
practice of using an existing die to build up a new one (as in the case
of the 2 k. of 1875 from the old 5 k.), the oval band and lettering and
the crown would be taken from the 1 k., 3 k., or 5 k. die, even if the
arms and posthorns were to be altered, but I do not think that this is
the case. The lettering is not nearly so bold or clear as in the 5 k.
and the pearls of the crown do not seem to me similar to the 1 k. or
3 k. So we must conclude that an entirely new die was made for the
whole main design as well as for the background plate. I consider, how-
ever, that there was only one master die for all the values for both
plates. In the case of the main design die the master die did not in-
clude the fancy scrolls in the ovals on each side of the roman figures
of value, and these differ in each value, as they were inserted by hand
to complete the dies.
For the higher values in two colours and with embossed centres, the
centres are obviously from an entirely new die, but the frames are a
different matter as they have too great a resemblance to the design of
the 7 k. of the previous series not to suggest that they are partly de-
rived from that die. The background of dots has of course been changed,
and just as in the low values they have given up having differing back-
grounds in each value. The new design of dots is common to the three
values and a master die has obviously been engraved. This master die
seems to have included the ornamental fleurons at each side, and the
portions which would not appear on it would be the numerals of value,
which could probably be inserted on plugs if desired, and of course the
incription of value in the curved band at the foot which would have to
be separately engraved for each value owing to the varying numbers of
letters in the Russian word fourteen, thirty-five and seventy.
The Major Varieties Found In This Set
Before dealing with each value in turn two words of general application
may be recorded. With regard to inverted backgrounds the observation
previously made is applicable and these stamps must show a white inver-
ted crown below the oval band. With regard to imperforates I shall only
deal with copies which are known to have been issued in that condition.
There are proofs of this series in the accepted design and colours,
there are essays in slightly amended design and I have seen them sold as
imperforates. One set of essays with the backgrounds of this set and
the centres of the earlier type is well known to collectors. None the
less I have seen specimens very successfully auctioned as imperforate
varieties of issued stamps, though any experienced collector could iden-
tify them some yards away. Over imperforates therefore beware proofs
Of the 1 k. value there were at least two sheets of inverted background
stamps issued. The variety is not recorded unused. One sheet is in the
red-orange shade, and the copies are postmarked Izum (like Bochmann XIII
b.p.), which is in the district of Kharkov. I have not seen the year
date, but my specimen reads 10th February. The other sheet is in the
orange-yellow shade, and the specimen I have is too lightly cancelled
for identification of town or date. It is, however, a circular type.
The variety is very rare, but I know of five copies, including a slight-
ly defective severed pair.
Of the catalogued imperforate variety I have never seen a specimen and
have never met any collector who has.
The catalogue pricing of the inverted background variety of the 2 k.
would suggest that this is a commoner stamp than the similar variety
of the 1 k. but this is not the case, and there is only one recorded
specimen of it. The copy is a little defective. It is postmarked
with the St. Petersburg numeral obliterator (Bochmann XIV c.c.), and
the number is "8".
The imperforate variety of this value is due to the issue of an imper-
forate sheet in myrtle-green at Moscow. The backgrounds are printed a
little high and to the left of true registration, but not sufficiently
so to suggest that the sheet would be rejected. This is not a very rare
stamp, and I fancy it fell into the hands of someone not disinterested
in philately because specimens are seen with part gutter or sheet
margins and there are a few mint and used pairs in existence. Used
pairs are particularly suspicious as they are relatively uncommon in
the ordinary perforated stamps. It is not for a moment suggested that
the variety was made for collectors or was irregularly issued. The
postmark is the Moscow circular date stamp type (somewhat like Boclumann
XVI d.d.), and most copies have dates in December, 1885.
The imperforate variety of the yellow-green stamp which was issued to
take the place of the myrtle-green, because the latter was difficult
to distinguish in artificial light from the 7 k. value, is quite unknown
The inverted background of the 3 k. value is again modestly priced at
L12 in the catalogue, but of this stamp there is only one recorded
example. It is obliterated with the Riga circular date stamp of 7th
May, but the year date is not quite legible.
The imperforate variety of this stamp is a considerable rarity, though
it is known mint and used. The background is perfectly registered. I
have a used pair, rather cut into at right, obliterated with circular
dated postmark of Lagodekhi (in Trans-Caucasia) 6th Feb. 1887 (like
Bochmann XII b.p.).
The invert of the 5 k. is another first-class rarity, but of this
variety I know three copies. The specimen which I have shows the back-
ground low and a little to the right of perfect registration, the ex-
treme tops of the upper figures "5" being touched by the outer extremity
of the background design. The postmark is in black and circular, but
too indefinite for identification. Mr. H.C. Goss discovered a fine
copy of this rarity with large red circular obliteration, and it was
displayed in the Stamp Centenary Exhibition at Lancaster House. Of
course there is always the possibility of finding additional copies of
these inverted background stamps as it is probably only the specialist
in Russia who knows them, recognizes them at a glance, and is always
on the lookout for them, and one of the objects of recording the types
of obliteration known on stamps is to assist in the hunt for them.
The catalogued imperforate variety of this value is unknown to me.
Now we come to the 7 k. value and here the invert is priced unused at
L24 which would suggest that it is the second rarest of the series. In
fact this is the only one of the whole lot which comes on the market at
all. The unused copies come from a sheet where the inverted background
is registered a little low, its outer extremity going through the bottom
of the cross bar of the cross surmounting the crown. The shade is
bronze-blue. The variety has been known a long time and is represented
in the Tapling collection which has had nothing added to it for over
fifty years. The used specimens are rarer than the unused, and come
from at least four sheets as I have four copies which differ from each
other either in shade, registration of background and main design, or in
postmark. One may well be from the same sheet from which the unused
copies emanate, but I cannot identify the circular obliteration, two
are in deeper shades of blue, and one of these was used in Warsaw, and
the last is in the very deepest shade in which the stamp is known. The
Faberge Collection contained both mint and used pairs of this stamp, and
one of his copies had an identifiable postmark of Odessa.
The imperforate variety of this value is also entirely wrongly valued
and it is the commonest of all the imperforate varieties of Russia. The
sheet was issued at Moscow and comes in used condition with dates in
March, 1885 (Bochmann XVI c.x.), though it is much rarer used than mint.
The background is printed too far to the right and the shade is bronze-
blue. The relative rarity of this stamp is well illustrated by the fact
that Agathon Faberge collecting in Russia and missing nothing, never
saw any imperforate varieties of this set except the 2 k., 7 k., and
14 k. values,and of the 7 k., among other pieces, he had a mint block
of four, and two mint strips of five.
The last invert is an inverted centre and not an inverted background
variety, as the 14 k. is the bicoloured stamp with the embossed centre.
This 14 k. is a very rare stamp and has not been recorded unused. Most
of the copies which I have seen show the embossed inverted centre regis-
tered a little high and to the right. The obliteration on my copy is
unfortunately illegible. I should think there might be twenty copies
of this stamp, good, bad and indifferent, in collectors' hands.
The imperforate sheet of this value was also issued at Moscow, and
again I fancy it fell into philatelic hands. The sheet was well regis-
tered and the centres are printed from an over-inked plate and are some-
what ill defined. I do not know that the whole sheet was imperforate as
most copies show slight traces of the impression of the pins of the per-
forating machine, and there is unreasonable proportions of the existing
specimens with bottom sheet margin. Further, I have never seen a copy
that was not cut close at the top. A philatelist who cut them so care-
fully to show the bottom sheet margin would presumably also cut copies
with top margins either of the gutter or the sheet if it had been
possible. I have a mint horizontal pair, but no vertical pair is re-
corded. I suspect that a sheet was put carelessly through the machine
and that the bottom row or two rows had insufficient pressure applied to
go through the paper. The used copies are slightly rarer than the mint.
They are obliterated with Moscow circular dated postmark of 1890
(Bochmann XVI d.d.).
It will be seen that the varieties of this issue contain some extreme
rarities, and the 1 k., 2 k. yellow-green and 5 k. imperfs., if they
exist as issued stamps, must be placed in the same category.
The Caucasus Provisional
Presumably there is some official decree authorizing the creation of
these provisional 7 k. stamps which are generally stated to be due to
the fact that there was a local shortage of the 7 k. value. The cata-
logue note here says: "The official Russian catalogue states that the
above was a speculative production issued in the Caucasus at the instance
of a prominent collector. Copies are known to have been used." The
second half of this note is certainly true as to the best of my knowledge
no copies are known unused, but the first part of the note seems to be
extremely likely also. It is a regrettable thing when the country had
up to date so clean a record, to find a variety that shrieks suddenly
of speculative philatelic status. The copies one sees of this provision-
al, which is undoubtedly very rare, have dates at the end of August,1884
and either the Tiflis or the Kutais circular date stamp. Except for
one copy on cover all the specimens which I have seen are neatly post-
marked pieces. The local postmaster never seems to have made the mistake
of applying the postmark so that it did not tie the split. He should
have lived a little earlier in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, or Nova Scotia.
In addition to all this some copies are actually used in conjunction
with the 7 k. value, the absence of which is the stated reason for the
creation of the provisional. Finally, there is the very suspicious
appearance of the provisional itself, a diagonal bisect and a red sur-
charge. It is the only provisional of the 19th-century issues of Russia
itself, but they didn't produce material like this for use in the Levant.
Experienced collectors seeking for a parallel are more likely to think
of certain provisionals of Turkey and on looking them up in the cata-
logue to discover the note that "they are now omitted, as it is believed
that they were produced clandestinely by speculators, and were passed
through the post with the connivance of certain officials." I have seen
too many stamps in my time to put any great value on this provisional.
The 3 1/3 R. and 7 R. Stamps of January 1884
It is somewhat surprising that Russia managed for nearly thirty years,
even though foreign mail for some years had to be paid in cash, with no
value higher than 30 k.-which represented less than 8d.- as it was not
until the 1883 issue that any higher values were introduced. Collect-
ors of Russia who are used to the occasional sight of used panes or even
half sheets of the 7 k. grey and carmine can well understand that, from
the authorities point of view, there was real need for these two stanps.
The Russian public, however, was very slow in taking to new ways, and
so it is not surprising that the stamps, though they had a life of over
five years, are really rare, particularly in fine used condition. They
are not so rare mint because some sheets were sold in the remainders
to Messrs. Ruben and Kosack, and although most of them were broken up,
Herr Kosack showed me both values in sheets as late as the time of the
Exhibtion in Berlin in 1930.
The stamps are of very striking appearance and of the usual superb
quality of engraving and printing, and they look particularly hand-
some in sheets. These sheets comprise twenty-five stamps in five rows
of five, and no special harrow machine was built to perforate them.
This, in fact, was accomplished with a line machine, which can easily
be proved if a block of the stamps is examined.
I am pretty confident that the two catalogued imperforate varieties
are proofs, which are known to exist in this condition on the laid
paper, and I have never heard of used copies,
The horizontally laid variety is a different matter. This is an ex-
treme rarity, and copies very rarely appear on the market. The back-
ground design plate of these stamps containing the coloured portions
and the central embossed eagles is slightly larger than the black
frame design plate, and when the two are perfectly registered there
is a small margin of colour all round outside the outer black frame
in each stamp. The sheet of the horizontally laid paper, copies of
which are sometimes seen, is not quite perfectly registered, the colour
appearing high and to the left, and there being practically no colour
margin at the right of the stamp, and none at its base. The eagle is
in consequence a little high and to the left in the central oval. 1
have never seen a copy with a legible obliteration and so cannot give
either town or date, but I doubt if these stamps were very widely dis-
tributed' and suspect they only exist with postmarks of the big towns.
There are rather dangerous forgeries of these two stamps which have
dated St. Petersburg postmarks of May 1888.
The 1889 Series With Thunderbolts,
In the Same Designs and Colours as Before
The group now under review comprise the 1 k., 2 k., 3 k., 5 k., 7 k.,
14 k., and 35 k. values. The thunderbolts, as the catalogue truly
states, were to symbolize the amalgamation of the postal and telegraph-
ic services. They must have been added in the low values to the dif-
ferent "value dies," as the varying shapes and positions of the orna-
mental scrolls exactly correspond with those of the previous series.
It is a compliment, however, to the engraver to compare these thunder-
bolts in the different values and to see how little variation there is
in their position and formation.
I should like to make here one observation which applies from now on
to the end of my notes. The stamps of this group do not differ from
their successors except that they are printed on horizontally laid and
not vertically laid paper. The catalogued varieties are mostly taken
from reports in various journals where new issues and new discoveries
were recorded. Russian stamps were chiefly collected in Russia and
on the Continent, especially Germany, and it is to the German phila-
telic papers that we have chiefly to turn. In doing so there is a
difficulty which at once presents itself. The varieties are recorded
all right, but it is very seldom stated whether they are on horizontally
laid paper or vertically laid, and it is pure guesswork to-day to use
these reports to allocate some of these varieties to this series or to
the following one. In certain cases, however, there is no doubt about
it, as specimens are in collections for identification and description.
The warning about proofs which was necessary in the case of the 1883
series does not apply to these stamps, as there was no change in the
designs or colours except the addition of the thunderbolts, which was
not a sufficient variation to necessitate the pulling of proof sheets.
Before dealing with each value in turn, a word should be said about
specimens of this and the following series with a portion of the main
design missing. These specimens occur if the sheet is creased and
folded back when put into the press to receive the impression from the
main design plate, the crease subsequently being remedied before per-
foration. I cannot say whether such specimens were regularly issued,
and as I have not seen used copies I do not record them as regularly
issued varieties, which they may well be. Of this series I know of
copies of the 2 k. and 3 k. values. Examination of such specimens
proves one fact which could not otherwise be established, that the
background design was printed first.
The Errors and Varieties
Of the 1 k. value in orange I have an imperforate pair with partial
pane or sheet margin at the bottom. It is unused and the gum has been
washed off to improve the appearance of a crease. The background is
slightly low and a little tilted to the right, but the stamps are
quite up to the average appearance of the perforated stamps. I cannot,
of course, prove that it is a regularly issued variety, as I have not
seen used copies.
The 2 k. with background inverted is a very rare stamp, and I fancy,
is only known in used condition. The specimen in my collection has the
inverted background a little low and to the right, and has the circular
dated postmark of St. Petersburg (the actual date being unfortunately
illegible), which would seem to indicate that there was more than one
sheet of this variety, though the registration was not dissimilar from
my copy, and it is, of course, a possibility to find specimens from the
same sheet used in different towns, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The imperf. variety of this value is not very scarce in mint condition,
and is sometimes seen in pairs. It is much rarer used. I have a copy
on piece with an ordinary perforated 3 k. dated 24th July 1898. I
cannot swear to the town, but fancy it is Tiflis. It is in a deeper
shade of green than the unused pairs and from another sheet. Both pair
and single are almost perfectly registered prints.
The catalogued double background variety of the 3 k. is not known to
me. From its pricing it would appear to be fairly common, both used
and unused. I cannot help suggesting that this sounds a most unlikely
variety, having regard to the fact that the backgrounds were printed
first. If the backgrounds were truly put twice through the press it
would be noticed before the central design was printed, if the two
prints were really separate. If they were not, then I do not see how
the variety can be recognized from a mere heavy print of the back-
I have no particulars of the catalogued background omitted, 5 k.
variety, as I have never seen a copy. It certainly exists in the
The inverted background variety of the 7 k. is another very rare stamp,
vastly rarer than its predecessor of 1883 or its uncatalogued successor
on the vertically laid paper. I know of four copies. The inverted
background is too low, and its outer edge cuts the tops of the upper
figures "7". It is known used and mint, but I have not inspected a
copy where I could identify postmark or date. The shade is a full,deep
blue, and the inverted crowns show up very clearly.
The omitted background variety was in the Faberge collection in a mint
block of four, but I have not seen used copies.
The imperforate variety is very rare and I have only seen a few singles
in used condition. My copy has the background too far to the left and
a St. Petersburg postmark.
The inverted centre variety of the 14 k. is, in my experience, a little
commoner than its predecessor of 1883, and I know of three mint copies
and several used, including one on cover, the latter slightly "phila-
telic" in appearance, with the inverted centre registered too far to
the left as in the mint examples. It is also dated Atamanskaya 1.3.
'03, which is a bit late and suggests that the finder of the mint
copies may have had a demand for one on cover.
From the different registration of the centres, the variation of shades,
Sand the number of types of obliteration, there must have been at least
three sheets issued. My copy, which is used on a piece with a normal
7 k., is dated in 1891. Some copies have St. Petersburg postmark,
and dates in February 1893.
Some of the low values of this set, and, indeed, of the 1883 set,
occasionally turn up, and the laid lines and watermark are undeciper-
able, but I do not regard these as of great importance.
The 1889 Series with Thunderbolts
This set is completed by 4 k., 10 k., 20 k., 50 k., and 1 R. values in
new designs and the 3 1/2 R. and 7 R. values of the 1884 design with
narrower and smaller posthorns and added thunderbolts. At the present
time I have no material in these stamps, but can give a little infor-
mation on the listed varieties.
Of the double background variety of the 4 k. I have the same knowledge
and respect as I have for the similar variety of the 3 k.
The inverted centre variety of the 20 k. was reported in the Berliner
Briefmarken Zeitung in 1907, a year when frequent reports of discoveries
in Russian varieties appeared. It is not stated whether the invert is
on horizontal or vertical paper, and I cannot give further particulars
of it, as it has not apparently changed hands since.
Of the catalogued 1 rouble varieties the inverted centre is not known
to me, and as it was not known to Faberge or Ferrari either, it would
* not appear to be over-priced. I do not know the authority on which
it is listed, but it is curious that the variety is repeated in the
following series and priced at a similar figure in mint condition.
The centre omitted stamp is different, as we have the description of
its discovery in the Berliner Briefmarken Zeitung in 1907, and a trans-
lation in Stanley Gibbons' Monthly Journal. The 1 R. was printed in
sheets of forty in eight rows of five. "The 1 R. was said to come
from a sheet on which the second impression was greatly out of place,
two stamps, the last in the top horizontal row and the first in the
bottom row, having the centre blank, and the remaining thirty-eight
very much off centre." We are further told that this sheet was found
in a post office in Moscow on the 10th March, 1907. Once again there
is no statement as to whether the stamp is on horizontal or vertical
paper, but the story, -if it is on the former,- is somewhat fishy, be-
cause the horizontally laid stamps were replaced, as far as the 1 rouble
was concerned, by the vertically laid stamps by the middle of 1904,
and one would not expect to find in Moscow very old stock of a value
so largely used for postal and telegraphic purposes.
Some time after 1900 there was undoubtedly a bad leakage of printers'
waste material, such as the 7 k. with the background print only, and
also, in my view, varieties made for collectors, such as the 14 k.
and 15 k. without centres, and I suspect that this sheet may be of
this type, and put through a post office to create a good market
This value was also perforated with a line machine, and I know both
vertical and horizontal mint pairs imperf. between. They are good
prints, and I have nothing against them, as they are varieties which
can easily occur.
This brings me to the end of the century, except for one subject which
I shall have to postpone for the present, the forgeries which were made
to deceive the post. On these I am short of the necessary information.
Most forgeries are on wove paper, which makes it difficult, except with
dated copies, to approximate them to their right period of issue, but
of the 7 k. value there are several forgeries, and of the 70 k. at
With my collections I stopped with the end of the century as a con-
venient date, and therefore I did not take these stamps on vertically
laid paper. I have mentioned a caution concerning printers' waste,
but I do not for a moment suggest that all the listed varieties of this
series to be condemned.
There are first-class rarities among the inverted centre varieties,and
it may be worth while to add a word on them.
The invert of the 14 k., though priced used, and unused, has, I fancy,
crept into the catalogue by excess of zeal, as I cannot find any Russian
specialist who has seen or heard of a specimen.
The 35 k. is a very considerable rarity, and the copy of which I have
a record has the inverted centre printed rather high in the oval. The
stamp is off centre to left and high, and it is rather heavily obliter-
The uncatalogued 70 k. exists, and was handled by Herr Kosack, who
offered it to me. It was in a Hamburg collection, and an enlarged
photograph of the only recorded copy appears among the illustrations
in the catalogue of the Vienna Exhibition ("Wipa" 1933), a glance at
which is worth more than detailed description, but the inverted centre
is high and slightly to the left in the oval.
The 3 1/2 R. specimens are all used, and those I have seen had Caucasus
obliterations. The sheet was evidentally carelessly perforated, as
some of the existing copies are badly off centre.
The 7 R. is only known to me in mint condition, and I have seen a
certain number of them. Probably a sheet was saved. Some of these
copies are also off centre from careless perforating.
The 15 k. pale blue and plum of 1905 is, in my opinion, the commonest
inverted centre of Russia, and I have seen many copies on piece with
postmark of Kolomna and dates about September 1907. This value was
issued partly for use on money orders, and I should not be surprised
if these pieces have something to do with money orders. The inverted
centres are slightly right in the ovals.
Of the 25 k. I have seen fewer copies, and I have not kept note of the
postmarks, but the Faberge copy could be identified as having been used
in Zhitomir. Neither of these inverts is known to me unused, though
they are priced only slightly higher than used copies.
I hope these few notes may serve to persuade collectors how much of
interest there is in the series of stamps discussed, and to take them
up and join in the hunt. Even to-day finds are far from impossible
in these rarer varieties.
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ELVA, LOCAL ISSUE OF 1941 (PART I) *
by Vello Mindvere
Elva had a pre-war population of 1700 and is situated on the Riga-Tartu
railroad 28 km. southwest of Tartu. I spent the war-summer of 1941
there. The momentum of the initial German attack had scattered the
Russian forces. On July 9th, remnants of the decimated Red Army passed
through Elva closely followed by spearheads of the German thrust.
After blowing the bridges on the river Emajogi, which bisects the city
of Tartu, the Russians were able to make a temporary stand there. The
communist functionaries had departed Elva with the post office funds,
and the German occupation Administration did not arrive until weeks
later. In the meanwhile ex-officials of the Estonian Republic set up
a local administration. The postmaster needed funds and in the absence
of a higher postal authority obtained permission from the Regional Home
Guard Chief to overprint his stock of Russian stamps and to restore
mail service. (1,2) The former Commander of German Army Communications
in Estonia writes: "As German forces crossed the Estonian borders,
many Estonians believed that this meant the rebirth of their republic
and thus took charge of local government and postal services." (1)
R. Poll, the local postmaster, was not a philatelist and could not
foresee the subsequent complications. He had a stock of 7200 Russian
stamps and 300 pieces of postal stationery (2, 3). The inventory was
accounted for by denomination only. Therefore, although the total of
stamps available is known, the number of different issues within each
denomination cannot be verified by documentary evidence. The only
exceptions are values consisting of only one issue, the 3 and 5 rubles,
the 4 kop., etc. The postmaster overprinted a quantity of stamps and
placed them on sale. Various sources differ whether the date was
July 9 or 10. My first visit to the post
office was on the 10th. In my research
which covers roughly a thousand stamps the
earliest cancel dates from July 12th. The
Stamps were sold to anyone and no restrictions
iFig. 1 were placed on the quantities purchased.
Even local philatelists regarded them mainly
as an expression of political freedom, and a
Demand for them arose only several years
,.. after their issue (3). The area of postal
service was quite limited at first. I have
* Reprinted by author's permission from
The Estonian Philatelist 1975 (16/17)
not yet seen a bona fide commercial cover. Pre-franked letters and
mint stamps were validated for postal service by the overprint on pay-
ment of a cash fee equal to their face value. Thus some of the un-
listed overprints are completely legitimate. When the originally over-
printed stocks were depleted, additional stamps were overprinted as
needed (4) and eventually the complete stock was sold out. The sale
ended on August 12 according to Bleyer, but Poll has stated that it
continued until September 1 (3). Michel gives the last validity date
as August 14 and this date is quite common on cancelled stamps. Scat-
tered cancels exist from the second half of August and even from September
(Fig. 1). The regular occupation stamps (Michel lx-3x) went on sale
either August 8th (1) or 12th (2), and one or two Estonian Centennial
issue stamps were available without overprint; therefore mixed frankings
with both issues are possible.
The only printing device on hand was a set of loose rubber-stamp letters
and the postmaster compiled the hand-stamp from these. The upper line
measures approximately 14 mm, the lower 12mm. The same stamp was in
use throughout the issue (4), but the setting and letters vary (2). It
is likely that some letters fell out and
were replaced. At least one stamp with .sces ,0.- .
interchanged letters exists. Owing to its s *e .
composition from loose letters, the over-
print shows many variations. The prime e
determiner is the strength and angle of *
the strike. A typical block of four Lt *
(Fig. 2) shows that shapes and distances. '
of the individual letters shift and change. ., -i' r .- .
This is evidenced by comparing the differ-. '' ;
ences in the capital "E-s" in the illus- I, -
tration, the missing point in the "i" and *
the relative proximity and contrast in the -:
letters, e.g. "P" and "O". The normal i
strike tends to be heavy, frequently dis- jv tB IS iJ
torting the letters and often slanting the
overprints in various directions. There I
is little evidence of wear in comparing P
early and late overprints. The character-
istic that appears to remain constant is ..
the positioning of the lower "s" on a
higher plane than the proceeding "o", Fig. 2
usually followed by a still further el-
evated "t". The "o" is oval, never round, and the back of the "e" is
rounded rather than flat. Owing to their positions, the end-letters:
"i" and "t" change their appearance and slant, and therefore these two
letter are the least trustworthy in determining the genuiness of the
overprint. Inverted, vertical and slanted overprints, also multiples
containing stamps without overprint owe their existence to the mint stamps
brought in by philatelists. From personal experience I can state that
stamps sold over the counter always had the normal horizontal overprint.
The ultimate fate of the rubber stamp is unknown. It was supposedly
confiscated by the German Army Communications Branch for delivery to the
Postal Museum in Berlin (1, 5). The date of the confiscation is unknown.
According to a visitor from Tartu the rubber stamp was still at the post
office on September 27th, and it was reluctantly applied to stamps
brought in by him (Fig. 1). An ordinary black stamp pad was used for
the overprint. All overprints in other colours are forgeries.
Owing to the denominational book-keeping method, all sources agree that
it is impossible to segregate the original stamps stocked by the post
office from those brought in from the outside. Even the issues definite-
ly sold over the counter were supplemented by further copies submitted
by the public. Although this results in a great variety of unlisted
overprints, the number of these stamps was insufficient to have a marked
effect on the total quantity overprinted (3, 6). The situation is
analogical to the East German "Hand-Overprints" of 1948. A sudden
currency reform necessitated rubber stamp overprints by individual post
offices of their current stock, but pre-franked letters and mint stamps
brought in received an overprint for a fee.
After mail service was regularized, the Postmaster General in Tallinn
called for an investigation of the local issues. Julius Bleyer, direc-
tor of the Postal Museum, was involved in the Elva inquiry. When the
postmaster of Elva was requested to provide proofs of the overprinted
stamps, he was unable to comply because he had not retained any. He
turned to the local philatelists and asked them to provide him with a
set of overprints. A 30 stamp lot was put together, mainly from A.
Lassur's collection. Most of these were on stamps which had been in
the post office stock, but some may have been of philatelic origin. The
late Lassur had remarked later regretfully that he had given away some
overprints of which he had only a few copies (3). Five stamps were later
added to the list, whilst one, the 50 kop. Agricultural Fair was struck
off (3). Bleyer's list forms the basis of the overprints recognized by
most catalogues, with minor variations. "These 30 overprints and the
two pieces of postal stationery are in the files of the Postal Museum
in Tallinn. The information concerning the number of stamps overprinted
is approximate since no exact record was kept. Certainly the number of
stamps overprinted exceeds 30" (2). The stamps overprinted and their
quantities listed by Michel are basically in agreement with Bleyer's
documentation, which appears to be Michel's source. Considering the
foregoing, it is clear that any reconstruction of the stock originating
in the Elva postoffice can only be made from memory. Dr. Meyerholz
writes that on his many visits to the Elva post office he asked to pur-
chase one of each available overprint. He received the following stamps,
listed by Michel number: Ix, 2, 3, 5-12, 14, 18-21, 24, 28, 30, and
unlisted varieties on Russia 755, 812 and 813 (1). Making a similar
request during my several visits to the post office, I purchased all the
stamps from lx to 21 mentioned by Dr. Meyerholz, with the exception of
number 15. In addition from that range I also obtained numbers 4, 13,
and 18. Some Agricultural Fair stamps (see 24, 28 and 30 above) were
also available, but I cannot recall which pavillions they were. Of the
unlisted varieties, 755 was available but 812 and 813 were not. Nor
did I see any Estonian stamps on sale. My first visit to the post office
on July 10 probably proceeded Dr. Meyerholz', and my last call was some-
time in August. Since Poll has stated that overprinting was done accord-
ing to need (4), it does not preclude that the ruble values not obtained
(Michel 22, 23, and 812) had not been sold on other days. The same is
undoubtedly true of some unlisted overprints. No one will ever know if
all or only some of the thirteen different 30 kopec Agricultural Fair
stamps were in stock. Generally there is little disagreement about the
issues in stock, but three controversial stamps emerge. These are Nos.
15, 813 and ly. Although 813 has been reported as over the counter pur-
chase (1) neither this 2 ruble value nor the 45 kop. value (Mi. 15) were
recorded in the denominational accounting at the post office. The water-
marked 1 kop. (Mi. ly) presents a different problem. Org states that
despite intensive research he was not able to find a cancelled copy of
the watermarked 1 kop. stamp from any post office in Estonia dated during
the 1940-1 Russian occupation. This was one stamp that was added to the
original list of 30 at the insistence of two philatelists, one of whom
was Lassur. On the other hand there are assurances that these stamps
Three bridge cancels in the regular 29 mm diameter were available. The
"B" and "C" cancels were mostly used on letters whilst the main use
of "A" was on money orders (4). Having examined over 200 overprints with
full cancels, the following picture emerges: cancelled with "B" 75%,
"C" 20% and "A" 5%. Since 50% of the "C" cancelled stamps bear one day's
date, "B" becomes even more dominant.
Curiously the cancels become more of a stumbling block to the forger
than the overprint. Whilst the overprint shifts and evolves, the cancel
remains static. The "B" cancel has distinctive horizontal lines in the
"E"-s. The "A" in"Elva" is closer to the "V" than the proceeding "L".
and the anchoring points formed of triangles are quite distinctive
(Fig. 3). In the "C" cancel again the three "E-s" are individualistic
and the right anchor star is higher than the left one.
Forged overprints range from crude to excellent. The less successful
forgeries declare themselves by their regular well aligned letters
and neat strikes. Most of the fakes avoid the slant and accentuation
of the genuine overprint. The size and primitivity of the original
rubber stamp hampers a successful forgery more than a regular over-
print would. Although ultraviolet examination is not the answer, most
fakes disclose their origin through photographic enlargement.
1. Meyerholz, Dr. H. "Hannoversche Nationale Postwertzeichen Ausstellung
1966 Katalog", and personal correspondence 1970-72.
2. Bleyer, J. "Kohaliku ja ulemaailnse tahtsusega ajutised Posti-
maksuvahendid mis 1941 a. Postiliikluses olid tarvitusel".
3. Org, V. "Eesti Post ja Postmargid 1940-42" and personal communications,
4. Poll, R. Personal correspondence 1974.
5. Peterson, F. Eesti Filatelist No. 7, 1961, page 9.
SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
An easy way to find SCOTT CATALOG NUMBERS FOR SOVIET ISSUES
Even though Rossica members are expert in the stamps of
Russia, finding Soviet issues in Scott's can be time-consuming
and frustrating. I have invented a unique (Ithink) way of
locating them quickly and easily. My system, advertised in
Linn's, is based on using only nine topographic features of
the stamp. They are: kopec value, its location, the latest
year shown, the stamp format, how many colors used in printing
etc. From these features a code number is developed. Tables
of these code numbers are given and opposite each code number
is shown the Scott catalogue number.
I offer to Rossica members a copy at 20% discount from the
Linn advertised price of $5.00. Send $4.00 in cash, check,
or mint U.S. stamps ( postage only please ) to:
J. PAUL CALI
P.O. BOX 1865
ROCKVILLE, MD 20850
THE SOUTH EAST HELP THE HUNGRY ISSUE OF 1922
( SCOTT'S B30-33 )
by Rimma Sklarevski
In April 1922 through the initiative of the South East Commission for
the Relief of the Hungry a set of four stamps was issued. Although
the issuance of these stamps was approved by the Commissioner of Narkofin
(Peoples Committee for Finance) of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist
Republic (RSFSR) for the South East Region of the RSFSR, it was without
the approval of Narkompochtel (Peoples Committee for Posts and Telegraphs).
The stamps included the word "pochta" or "post" in their design and had
to be added to all registered letters, parcels, and money orders in
addition to the regular postage. Receipts from the sale of these stamps
went into the Fund for the Hungry. Therefore, this was one of the forms
of local tax initiated by the Commissioner of the South East Region of
the RSFSR and put into operation by the post office. It was obligated
to sell these stamps to collect, in addition to the regular postage, 2000
rubles for registered letters, 4000 rubles for money orders, and 6000
rubles for parcels. Actually, these stamps without question must be
considered as revenues or postal tax stamps. The latter classification
is more correct because they were used in conjunction with the dispatching
of postal matter.
They were lithographed from designs of philatelist A.L. Manerick and
printed in two colors (red and green) in sheets of 133 stamps. The left
two-thirds of the sheet was printed in green and had Scott numbers B30
and B33, while the right one-third of the sheet was printed in red and
had Scott numbers B31 and B32. They were printed on white unwatermarked
paper and issued imperforate. The total printing was 740 sheets.
These stamps were issued on April 19, 1922 and sold in Rostov on Don,
Novocherkask, Millerov, Nakhichevan, and other cities of the South East
region. None of these cities had complete sets of four on sale. In
Novocherkask, for example, all but B30 was on sale, while in Rostov on
Don all but B31.
The total issued of each value was:
No. in Total
each sheet stamps issued
B30 2000 r. green 54 39,600
B31 2000 r. rose 27 19,980
B32 4000 r. rose 24 17,760
B33 6000 r. green 28 20,720
The total number of stamps that was sent to post offices in the Don
Territory was as follows:
2000 r. green 5400 4000 r. rose 2376
2000 r. rose 5678 6000 r. green 3744
Therefore, for all practical purposes, the total number possibly used
in the South East Region was very small.
These stamps were cancelled with the regular postal cancellers. Like-
wise, it is unlikely that all of the stamps sent to post offices were
used up. Therefore, properly cancelled stamps of this issue are scarce
and those on covers are rarities.
On May 2, 1922 Narkompochtel of RSFSR ordered these stamps to be with-
drawn from use and returned. None were returned because they had all
sold out very fast. Since the period of official use of these stamps
was very short, there actually was not enough time to distribute these
stamps to other places in the Don Region.
Narkompochtel ordered all of the unsold stock of these stamps to be
sent to the Soviet Philatelic Association in Moscow which, at that time,
sold stamps of Russia and the States wholesale and retail.
The total number of each stamp sent to Moscow was:
2000 r. green 34,200 4000 r. rose 15,384
2000 r. rose 14,207 6000 r. green 16,976
The Soviet Philatelic Association listed these stamps for sale for
a long period of time. The price list for 1935 still offered them for
sale in quantities of 10 and 100 sets.
It is interesting to note here that a complete sheet of these stamps,
in the usual colors, was reproduced half size and included as an enclosure
at the end of the 1933 Catalogue of the postage stamps of RSFSR and USSR.
Unfortunately, many copies of this catalogue no longer contain this sheet
because they were removed and found their way into stamp collections or
dealers' stock where I have seen them.
Scott's catalogue lists all of these stamps with double impression. On
the other hand, the latest Soviet catalogue does not mention either these
or other errors.
Because of the great demand for these stamps, they were extensively
counterfeited. The largest number of these counterfeits was made in 1924
and 1924 by Kull who used zinc cuts (line etching). These forgeries are
well executed but contain muddy imprints of the fine lines. The paper of
the originals is smooth, while the counterfeits were printed on paper
with a high wood content and they have a slightly yellowish tint. (From
Check to the Forgers translated by F.H. Kreuter, Philadelphia).
There are other forgeries in addition to those made by Kull. They include:
2.Unknown 1923-4 and 3.Russian 1969
In this article we describe the first two types, listing salient points
of each. Y.M. Vovin in his "Reference for Expertization of Soviet Postage
Stamps" states the following about the 1969 counterfeits, which incident-
ally I have not seen ---- "In 1969 came into existence new counterfeits of
the stamps of the series South East for the Hungry which are im-
pressions produced by copying of an original sheet. Stamp design and the
size are very close to the originals. The paper is whiter and the colors
are lighter. Details of the design are heavier and the inscriptions in
most cases are spotty."
Before going into the descriptions of the originals and the types I and
II of the forgeries I will mention an interesting cover. The 1967 (no.3)
issue of the Philatelist V.K. describes a cover with complete set cancel-
led "Novocherkask 5/7/22". On the front are Scott's Nos. B30, B33, and
a registry label of Novocherkask; on the back are Scott's Nos. B31 and
B32 plus a 5 ruble and two four kopec stamps. The 5 ruble and the two
4 kopec stamps make a proper rate of 100,000 rubles for July 1922,
Although the stamps and the cancellations are genuine, this cover must
be considered only as a curiosity and is worth less than the cancelled
stamps. The reasons for this are as follows:
1. The stamps were recalled on May 2, 1922.
2. Novocherkask never had No. B30 on sale.
3. A registered letter only required 2,000 rubles.
Other points brought out in the journal were:
1. There are no receiving date stamps which were required at that
2. There is no return address. All registered letters required
a return address.
3. The registry label was in a foreign language, which was only
used on international mail.
In separating good from bad examples of these stamps one must be careful
because in some instances some of the salient features are missing or
distorted, and because of that, more than one point must be considered.
Plate 3 illustrates 4 types of cancellations which appeared in black in
large volume. Frank H. Kreuter who illustrates these cancellations
states that type A was never used on Soviet stamps but was purchased
in 1919 by an Estonian officer in Pleskow and probably resold later to
Estonian forgers. On plate 3 we illustrate counterfeit stamps with
1. Soviet Stamps of Pomgol (Help for the Hungry) by A. Kolesnikov
Soviet Collector, 1966 No. 4. (Russian)
2. Check to the Forgers, translated from German by F.H. Kreuter,
3. Handbook for Expertising Soviet Postage Stamps, Y.M. Vovin, Moscow 1972
4. Postage Stamps of USSR, 1958 (Russian) (Russian)
5. Enigmatic Cover, V. Karlinsky,"Philately,USSR",1967,No.3. (Russian)
6. Soviet Postage Stamps,1917-41,V. Karlinsky,"Philately,USSR" 1968 No.4
Originals Forgery -T.I Forgery T.II
Paper Smooth white Pulp with high wood Yellowish
B30 2000 r. green 57.5 x 47 mm. 56.5 x 46.5 mm. 57.75 x 47 mm.
1 First letter "p" Same height as Shorter Letter "P" is shorter
in word R.S.F.S.R. other letters in RSFSR at the right
2 Peasant's whiskers Wide, dense Narrow, sparce Same as on original
3 Inner outline of Inner outline Left inner line Inner and outer line
peasant's collar- uninterrupted, joins with outer are interrupted
outer line Interrupted right line at bottom
4 Stem of wheat Smooth curve Slight bend in Slight bend in the
the center center
5 Circle Complete Complete Break at top left
6 Frame line Complete Interrupted
7 Letter "T" after Horizontal stroke Right horizontal stroke Same as on original
numeral "2" in the even on both sides is shorter on the
left lower corner right
8 Stroke in lower Vertical stroke Vertical stroke is Same as Forgery I
part of worker's is long short
9 Fold in the upper Diagonal line Dot Same as original
portion of the arm
B31 2000 r. rose 35 x 42 mm. 34.75 x 42 mm. 35 x 42.5 mm.
1 Corner Complete Broken Complete
2 Fingers on stretched 4 fingers are Same as on original No fingers. Vertical
arm of the peasant I visible line in the hand
Originals Forgery T.I Forgery T.II
3 Upper ornament No period No period No period or period
4 Shading at the bottom Lines Blot of color Same as original
of peasant's shirt
5 "T", lower right Period after "T" Period No period
6 Letter "A" No line below left Diagonal hair line Same as on original
stroke of A
7 Creases in woman's 2 lines joined at 1 line 2 parallel lines
hair kerchief the bottom
8 Arc Does not touch the Same as on the
center ornament original
B32 4000 r. rose 57.5 x 47.5 mm. 57.5 x 47.5 mm. 58 x 48 mm.
1 Corners All corners sharp All corners obtuse Top outer corner flat
2 Right sleeve 4 lines Spot of color Same as originals
3 Shading on left arm Evenly spaced dots Haphazardly spaced
4 Right "T' in right Does not touch Touches circle Same as originals
B33 6000 r. green 28.5 x 59 mm. 28.5 x 58.5 mm. 29 x 60 mm.
1 Outer lower left line Continuous Broken Same as original
2 Basket Smooth outer surface Broken surface,with Same as original
diagonal line on left
|c .c. c.4,. c.p TA CP.,C.c
C 1C.P. q n TA P C'Cr 'b
FnoHMorH 'oI O)AIO i_ _
2. 12-t . 2.
T T" 2T.
P.cc.p. IO qTA Pc.-.c.P
tenu 56 -
0/10AI;H' n ,0l1AOLMroAl OOAIAIOU H M
4 a rI- TOKojioAIUHM 4 iro-BainrsjilMAiHM
/ nfaA a C.l.C.P. MAPKA \ / Io4TIAi P. C.*.C.P. MAPKA
u'in cf+. C-+.
nO4TA nO .TA P. *. C. P.
P. C. C. P. I P.C. 1. C. P.
6 T. 6 T. 6T 6 T. 6T. 6 T.
SOJ10BAAIOIJJHM lrOJ1AAIOHM I rOfOAAIOULHRM
P L A E
p c..p* II nO qTA P c...c.R '
n 0 TA
P. C. C. P.
A4 CT0 0 AMO OK t r ocTR
IO0lTOBAS P.C. .C.P. MAPKA
Ct I. T. I w-ik T.A c4+ cancels
S5 IV2 22 721 ^)
Coun+r-Pe'+ Co nceIs s8 -
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON THE VARNISH LOZENGES
by George V. Shalimoff
Since writing the article on the varnish lozenges which appeared in
the previous issue of our journal, I have obtained several back issues
of the Rossica Journal which contained important information about the
varnish lines that should have been mentioned.
In Rossica #59, A.M. Rosselevitch provides a possible mechanism as to
how the varnish was supposed to act in attempts to clean a canceled
stamp. He stated that the usual but unknown chemicals which were
used to remove the cancellations would also remove the varnish and
printed design beneath the varnish leaving quite obvious white criss-
cross lines. This apparently is what is meant by a "cleaned" stamp
that others repeat.
Unfortunately, the chemicals used to remove the cancellations and
varnish are not known to us so we cannot completely test this hypo-
thesis. I have been able to remove the varnish and design beneath it
with certain solvents leaving the criss-cross pattern, but none of
these solvents would remove the cancellation ink.
The article in Rossica #59 also emphasizes the term "varnish" in place
of "chalk" to describe these lines. This is entirely correct. The
physical phenomenon of the material in the lines absorbing ultraviolet
light as described in my article in Rossica #86/87 is more consistent
with the material being varnish than chalk. The term "chalk" is a
misnomer in this case which unfortunately has come down through the
years from some unknown beginning.
The term"chalk" is also used to describe the white smooth paper of
certain issues as well as the filler in some papers to give better
printing qualities. In these instances the term "chalk" is also in-
correctly used, I believe. I have made chemical analyses of these
paper fillers and whiteners and the composition of the material more
closely resembles white clay in many cases, or clay with zinc oxide
added. In no case did I find chalk or calcium carbonate as chalk is
chemically known. I believe the term was used because the finished
paper had the same smooth texture as hard chalk but the term "chalk"
does not really indicate the composition of the material used.
Getting back to the term "chalk lines", Vibert used that term in his
1927 articles in Gibbons on the issues of 1909-1923. De Stackelberg
repeats it in his check lists in Rossica #57-63. However, in his
comments to my article, de Stackelberg says the idea was copied from
the Austrian use of varnish bars on their stamps.
My own work on the varnish bars of the Austrian stamps shows similar
results as obtained with the Russian stamps. There was, in addition,
a fluorescence of the Austrian varnish bars in the ultraviolet region
on some issues suggesting at least two different types of varnish.
Also it seems that prolonged soaking of the Austrian stamps in water
removes the varnish bar and design. This does not readily occur with
the Russian issues.
I appreciate the comments and added information which Dr. de Stackelberg
gave following my article. I agree each printing of the period had its
own characteristics. The number of articles and check lists in Rossica
and elsewhere is testimony for the great efforts made to understand
these issues. However, I feel the varnish characteristics are less well
known and even less well documented for the different periods.
Finally, in his last paragraph of comments, Dr. de Stackelberg expresses
doubt that the 35 kopek stamp shown in figure 1 of the article is a
1909-1912 printing. This stamp is violet and green and not the red
brown and green variety. It is quite similar in color to the 35 kopek
Scott #37 (1883-88), similar also to the color of the Scott #52 (1889-
92), but not quite as dark as the 35 kopek Scott #65 (1902-05). From
its violet and green color it must be of the first printing period as
described in Dr. de Stackelberg's own check list given in Rossica #60.
ATTENTION ZEPPELIN COLLECTORS
NEW CATALOGUE '
ZEPPELIN-MAIL AND ZEPPELIN STAMPS OF RUSSIA
with nearly all known printing-varieties of stamps
and all flight covers photographed on 70 pages 8" x 12".
Realistic market prices in D-Mark. VERY LIMITED EDITION
in German. $29.95 postpaid ( NY residents add tax ).
H.G.I. STAMP CO.
P.O. Box 472 Port Jefferson Sta., N.Y. 11776
ZEPPELIN AND FIRST FLIGHT COVERS OF THE WORLD AVAILABLE
ON APPROVAL. References, please '
S THE CHRONICLE STAMP *
AN AIRMAIL LABEL AS A RECORD OF HISTORY
translated by Mr. E. Wolski
At one time, together with the Kharkov Friends of the Air Fleet
Association, a new society was organized. It was the Ukrainian and
Crimean Association for Aviation and Aeronautics, the OAVUK
(Ukrkrymvozdukh), which began the collection of funds for the develop-
ment of the "Red Air Fleet".
One of the means of collecting voluntary contributions was the dissemi-
nation of special stamps which were not valid for postal franking.
Activists of the patriotic defense society, members of the first
modeling and glider clubs (to which the author of these lines belonged),
went into the streets of Ukrainian towns with collection cups for coins,
and with sheets of labels.
Labels issued by the "Ukrkrymvozdukh" printed in several series were
prepared in Kharkov in 1923 in values of 3, 5, and 10 Rubles. When a
new currency was issued in 1924, the labels were revalued with a hand-
stamp as new values of 10, 25, and 50 kop. Further, such labels were
issued by local OAVUK branches in Odessa, Kremenchug, and other towns
of the Republic.
Of special interest is the series issued by the OAVUK in 1925 for the
collection of funds in support of the "Il'ich Squadron" (see illus.).
These small artistic miniature-labels for voluntary donations are
interesting and important as historical documents of the development
of Soviet aviation.
Fig. 1 Fig. 2
* From a short article by M. Lyakhovetskiy in Grazhdanskaya Aviatsia
(1968, No.4, p.31) in Russian
Editorial Comment: In 1956 J.H. Reynolds published a handbook of 44
pages entitled "Russian Propoganda Labels for Aviation". This hand-
book lists numerous labels used by various organizations.
SO ,O l lK '+ -. MA00.000
Fig. 3 Fig. 4
We are illustrating in figures 1 to 4 the original Kharkov issue which
consisted of 3 values, namely 3, 5, and 10 rubles in red and black,
perforated 11 1/2, in sizes 39 x 35 mm.
Reynolds lists the following varieties:
1. 3 r. red and black (520,000) (Fig.2)
(a) red and black (520,000) imperf.
(b) red and black (520,000) yellow paper
(c) red and black (250,000) (Fig.l)
2. 5 r. red and black (520,000)
(a) red and black (520,000) imperf.
(b) red and black (250,000) (Fig.3)
(c) red and black (1,200,000)
3. 10 r. red and black (100,000) (Fig.4)
The numbers listed in the parenthesis are the quantities issued as shown
in the illustrations 1,3, and 4 at the bottom right. The inscription at
the bottom left reads "2nd Government Lithography, Kharkov".
Illustration 2 of the 3 ruble variety has the same inscription at the
bottom left, while the one on the right is changed and has, in addition
to the quantity issued, "No. 1 C. 2. ya". Reynolds does not list the
overprints. Neither does he list the following
"Il'ich Squadron" varieties which were issued
1. 15 k. brick red
2. 25 k. brown on brownish paper
(a)25 k. brown on white paper
THE ROSSICA BOOKSHELF
BOURDI-CHASSOT. Catalogue des Timbres de Poste Locale Russe: Zemstvos.
Lyon, 1972. 180 p.p. and 34 p.p. of illustrations and fold-in map
A welcome addition to the bookshelf of a Russian stamp collector, this
handy volume has the essential reference material on the local issues
of Russia from Akhtyrka to Zoltonosha (Poltava). Also supplied are
good illustrations of key issues and a map of goubernias (governments)
showing the location of Zemstvos.
The prices in this catalogue are in French francs, on the basis of
prices given by Chuchin in the 1923 edition of his classic zemstvo
In addition to Chuchin, listed as sources for the Bourdi-Chassot 1972
catalogue are the 1893 Moens, Roussin's "L'ami des Timbres", and Larsen's
"Philatelic Sidelines Handbook of 1968". Strangely enough, the authors
made no use of such basic references as the listings by Carl Schmidt
based on the famous collection of Zemstvos in the Reichspostmuseum.
Although the Bourdi-Chassot catalogue is in French, this should present
no problem to any collector familiar with Russian rural stamps.
CATALOGUE OF POSTAGE STAMPS OF USSR ISSUED IN 1974
The above catalogue, listing 109 postage stamps and 8 souvenir sheets,
is on hand. Rather than putting out a new catalogue each year, the
Russians have, in recent years, published a complete annual listing.
This well printed and illustrated catalogue in its forty pages gives
detailed information on each stamp which appeared in 1974.
In the back, on three pages, is a thematic listing of stamps that
appeared in USSR. This catalogue also gives the quantities issued of
THE ESTONIAN PHILATELIST 1975 (16-17)
Through the courtesy of Mr. V. Mandvere of Ontario, Canada we are able
to review this extremely fine publication. This organ of the Estonian
Philatelists (in the Free World) is printed in Sweden on fine coated
paper with very clear illustrations. The 128 page handbook contains
a number of articles which are not only of interest to Estonian
collectors but also to those of Russian material. One of them is
an article by Mr. V.Mandvere on the Elva Local Issue of 1941 (part I)
which is reprinted in this issue of Rossica. Another is a lengthy
article on "Estonian Forerunners" by Vambola Hurt covering some 50
pages and describing and illustrating all of the cancellations known
to the author. In addition to these offerings which are in English,
there are other valuable articles in Estonian.
For those of us who collect Estonia there is an interesting contribution
by Dr. Peter G. Gleason entitled "A Review of Estonian Forgeries". This
article includes a story of Orald (Siimson) and Herbert Kull who forged
numerous stamps of various countries as well as some Russians; viz.Nos.
223, 224, B17, B30-33, etc.
THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF RUSSIAN PHILATELY
This 36 page journal, edited by Mr. P.T. Ashford, continues the fine
work of our friends across the Atlantic. This issue, No. 51, contains
the following articles:
1. The Earlier Postal History of Cracow by S.J. Copes
2. Village Cancellations (2) by Dr. A.H. Wortman
3. The Budapest-Vienna-Cracow-Lemberg-Kiev Airmail 1918-
by E.S. Poulter
4. The 1916 Surcharge by L. Taren
5. An Outstanding Item from Azerbaijan by D.W. Lewandowsky
6. The Role of the Forwarding Agent by V.D. Vandervolde
7. Aaland Islands by Messrs. Marsden, Faberge', and Hellman
8. Varieties of Soviet Miniature Sheets by H. Norwood
9. Russian Post in Bulgaria by V. Stoyanoff
10. Two Problems by K. Hellman
POST AND PHILATELY (M.N. Iszaelit)
This 175 page handbook, published by "Sviag" Moscow 1975, covers
various phases of "Philately of the Socialist Countries".
Some of the subjects covered are: History of Development of Posts,
The Universal Postal Union, Conferences of Ministers of Socialist
Countries, History of Postage Stamps, The Postal Museum and Letter
Week, Professional Organizations of Workers of Communication, Activities
of Philatelic Organizations, Philatelic Exhibitions, and Special Stamps.
This handbook was written especially for thematic collectors and it
describes in great detail and illustrates stamps pertaining to the
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