Saturday, 30 June 2012

Ukraine Poltava Tridents: Bulat 971

If you are a Ukraine Trident collector, please ask yourself: What is a fair market price for this Block 4 used stamps, 1 rouble imperforate with Poltava Type I Trident in violet, not expertised but genuine and without punch-holes. Don't look at the answer just yet! When you start reading, remember to multiply by four to check whether you valued this block correctly!

Until recently, the Michel catalogue had a well-organised, compact Ukraine listing based on the work of Dr Seichter. Unfortunately, some Idiot decided to remove Seichter's work and replace it with a completely useless list. In the 2010/11 catalogue, the stamps above would count as # 39 valued "for the cheapest sort" at 0.20 €uro

I only have an Yvert because someone gave it to me. I often think it is the world's worst catalogue. My Yvert 2003 lists this stamp, with Type I overprint, as 34g - which does not distinguish between black and violet overprints - and values it at 0.75 €uro

Runner up for the world's worst catalogue? I threw away the last one I had so I don't know what it says.

The 2008 Russia Specialised catalogue does distinguish between violet and black overprints, though not between Type I and Type II. The stamps above are listed as L341 at £33 [ about 40 €uro ] each. With Black overprint, the value is just £1

In his 1966 Sonderkatalog, Dr Seichter lists this stamp (Type I with violet overprint) and values it at 80 Deutschmarks in used condition. In his Introduction to the 1998 American edition, Ingert Kuzych advises multiplying Seichter's DM figures by 0.33 to get a current US $ valuation, so about $26 for this stamp.

This stamp is # 971 in Bulat's 2003 catalogue where it is valued at $5.00. This is, in fact, one of the numerous typographical errors in the book. Bulat generally divides Seichter's figures by about two to get his own valuations, but he sometimes adds a bit. Bulat had a special interest in Poltava tridents, and would more likely go up a bit on Seichter than go down. So I reckon the $5.00 is a misprint for $50.00. Bulat values the more common variety, with the Type I overprint in black, at $10 but here there is probably another misprint: Seichter values the black version at just 3 DM so even if Bulat went up we would be looking at $4 or $5.

This stamp with Black Type I overprint is common. I have handled lots and priced them at 1 to 5 €uros each depending on whether there is a legible date cancel or not and on whether there are punch holes (many, maybe most are punch-holed).
With violet overprint, this is a scarce stamp. Seichter rates it at 80 compared to his 3 for the black overpint. That's a big differential, reflecting the fact that in Poltava, Rouble value stamps normally have a Black Trident overprint just as kopeck values normally have a Violet one.

I think both Dr Seichter and Gibbons are in the right zone. Bulat 971 must be worth around 20 - 30 €uro each and so this block of 4 would be reasonably priced at 100 €uro to reflect its interest as a block 4 with complete cancellation (I think it's postally used - the back is a bit messy).

Am I right? What do other catalogues say?

For the moment, the real problem Trident collectors and dealers face is having to check Bulat against Dr Seichter to make sure they are not just dealing with a typographical error.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Russia 1990s: Postal Forgeries / Fälschungen zum Schaden der Post

The 25 rouble stamp above is a Postal Forgery, made to defraud the post office. It was quite widely distributed and used on commercial mail in the 1990s and is listed in Michel as 239FFa. The stamp is gummed, but the perforation is wrong (11 instead of 12.25 x 12) and the colour is wrong. The design is poorly defined but the overall appearance is good enough for it to pass, even at the post office counter on a registered letter. This one was sent from St Petersburg in 1993, but I cannot work out the exact date.

If you go through large quantities of Russian commercial mail of the 1990s you will find this forgery maybe 1 in 1 000 or 1 in 10 000 letters. There are other postal forgeries (for example, of the 100r from the same definitive series) but I think they are less common. The mint stamps are hard to find, since people were using these stamps to defraud the post not to add to their collections. Some philatelists did recognise the Forgery and created philatelic covers using it ...

It's the kind of thing which can make even modern, boring office mail very interesting to the postal historian.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Where is this Document with Russian Fiscal stamps From?

This is part of a large document. The two Russian Fiscal Stamps date it as after 1905.More importantly, the bi-lingual violet cachet with the bottom half in Russian dates it as after the October 1917 Revolution, since the words "People's Court" can be seen. This court appears to be located in Mashad which is in Northern Persia, so that the document is likely to be written in Farsi. But below "Mashad" one can see also "St. [normally short for "Stantsia" ] and "Margelan." But "Margelan" ( = Margilan) is a place in the (old) Fergana Oblast and now in modern day Kyrgyzstan
There are two violet seals on the left. The one on the outside left is probably in Cyrillic.

Maybe I have simply misread the cachet, since Mashad and Margelan make a very unlikely combination.

Can anyone help identify the date and place from which this document comes and tell me in what language it is written? Thanks. Answers below ....

Friday, 15 June 2012

Soviet Ukraine 1921 - I Have to Invent a Word for This Item!

Here is an interesting item: a scarce Ukrainian National Republic formular for sending parcels, used in Sovietised Ukraine in January 1921. It is endorsed "Red Army" in pencil at the top and is being used to send a large package (39 Funt) from MONASTIRISHE KIEV 27 1 21 to Borshevo Voronezh (arrival cancel on reverse 11 3 21). The cost of sending this parcel is shown at the bottom as 97.50 (and this will be roubles rather than Karbovanets). With stamps revalued 100 times, it looks at first sight as if the franking totals 98 roubles. But wait a moment ...

Look at the 3 kopeck imperforate with Kyiv II Trident overprint. This has not been badly cut. It has been cut to approximate a 2 roubles 50 kopecks stamp. The stamp has been sexisected (bisected, trisected, quadrisected... I am not even going to look at the Dictionary to see if a word exists. I have decided that the right word is sexisected :))

Maybe the postal clerk put the unused, sexisect portion into his accounting book to show why he had only received 2 roubles 50 for a 3 rouble stamp. Maybe he used the sexisect on another parcel card which needed a 50 kopeck stamp.... Who knows. But I think the clerk's intention was clear.