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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.

Added February 2020: Most of my Ukraine-related Blog posts are now available in full colour book form. To find out more follow the link:

1 comment:

  1. For many years I've been utterly aghast at how bad the Michel Russia Civil War section is. The Siberia/FER section appears to be about some other planet altogether. The same person who edited that section must have tackled the Ukraine section as well. Their editing in general is appalling. I remember their Eastern Europe stationery catalog as being particularly bad.
    Scott and Yvert are indeed the world's most useless catalogs. Gibbons has invariably been useful.

    Ceresa had this at L 45, and Ukraine and Armenia are generally the Ceresa books I find useful, although the valuation section is the least useful bit as a rule.