Sunday, 30 September 2012

Forgotten Ukraine Trident collections

Just as most novels are forgotten and we remember only the novels of the great writers, so most collections are forgotten and we remember only the names of the great collectors.

 But the forgotten novels and the forgotten collections provided an important context for the work of the major novelists and collectors.

They learnt from them and they provided inspiration for them.

 Ukraine trident collecting was a serious area of philatelic activity from 1918 until (say) the 1950s. As late as 1960, the Ukraine - Philatelisten - Verband (U.P.V.)in Germany had 84 members with Oskar Peters and Rudolf Seichter as Honorary members and such "ordinary" members as Gustav Seefeldner, Waldemar Pohl, Julian Maksymczuk, Eugene Kotyk, Cecil Roberts, Simon Tchilingirian, and John Bulat.

 Recently, the collection of another UPV member from that period, Philipp Schmidt, re-appeared after maybe thirty years in storage and was sold at auction by Christian Arbeiter in Bamberg. Schmidt was born in 1900, and became an engineer living in Munich.

He was collecting Trident overprints at least as far back as 1943 - see how he writes to Dr Seichter to ask about the Kyiv I overprint in black on the 10 rouble imperforate (Bulat 49a). Dr Seichter replies on the back of the half sheet of paper (this was war-time!).

 Collections of the "second rank" like those of Schmidt provide useful information about what was available to someone whose collection would never equal that of Dr Seichter but was nonetheless a serious collector. They also sometimes contain surprises - things which even Dr Seichter might have been pleased to have.

Postscript 1 October 2012: I discover I have an envelope (without contents) sent from Dr Seichter in Soltau to Philipp Schmidt in Munich postmarked 25 1 37, so I assume Schmidt had already begun collecting Ukraine at this date - and [ added 17 April 2015] Michael Kuhn has now found this cover from Schmidt to Dr Seichter which takes their connection back to 1932 when (interestingly) Schmidt (an engineer) seems to have been working in Soviet Ukraine:

Monday, 17 September 2012

Russia 1990s Inflation

Commercial covers can be more exotic than anything fabricated by philatelists. The three shown here must have involved an awful lot of work. If you think philatelists are obsessive, what about the guys who franked these covers?

601600 ALEXANDROV VLADIM.O[blast]. 16 04 93 to VÖRU [Estonia] 15 05 93 franked 1991 Reprints of 1984 Soviet 3 rouble definitives, 4 on the front and 30 on the back (= 102 roubles) + a possible but unlikely contribution from the 7 kopeck imprint and the unclear kopeck uprating beside it

432002 ULYANOVSK 08 04 93 to VÖRU 27 4 93 franked 44 x 900 kopeck cut-outs (totalling 396 roubles) from a Soviet-period franking machine. At this period, some offices modified their franking machines by scratching out "KOP" at the base and inserting "RUB".

The Winner at the top of this Blog:

390072 NOVOVORONEZH 05 03 92 to VILNIUS [Lithuania] 10 04 92 franked - as far as I can tell - with 148 x 10 kopeck stamps which are cancelled together with 2 x 1 kopeck stamps which may have been originally applied to uprate the postal stationery envelope and have probably been ignored - or which may have been silently revalued to 10 kopecks to complete what was intended as a 15 rouble franking.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Armenian Overprints on Turkish Fiscals?

In collections and accumulations of world-wide fiscals, you quite often find old stamps with Arabic inscriptions "overprinted" typographically in Armenian script.

These are in fact Ottoman Turkish newspaper tax stamps which were applied to the sheets of news - paper before printing took place. This can be seen on the example here of a complete 1887 newspaper which consists of four broadsheet sides of print on a single sheet of large news - paper

The newspaper is AREVELK published at Galata, Constantinople, by Han Noradounghian. It was founded as a daily newspaper in 1884 by Arpiar Arpiarian and was published continuously until 1915. It is probably the source of most of those fiscals found in old collections.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Katerynoslav Tridents: Work to Do?

Trident collectors will know that Katerynoslav Type I was (normally) applied in a horizontal handstamp holding five Tridents clichés, so that 20 impressions were required to overprint a sheet of 100 kopeck value stamps. But how many handstamps were there? And were they modified when a Trident fell out or deteriorated?

Bulat (page 46) illustrates just ONE handstamp of 5 but says that there were THREE different handstamps. Dr Seichter in a 1956 pamphlet says that "ungefähr 70 verschiedene Kombinationen" [about 70 different combinations] have been identified - not by him but (from the context) by C W Roberts. However, Seichter even in this specialised publication just about Katerynoslav illustrates just TWO variants: a "feiner Aufdruck" and a "grober Aufdruck" - a thin and a thick overprint, roughly as illustrated above from my holding of these Tridents.

Well, frankly, this is not impressive. These stamps are not rare even in multiples and it ought to be possible to produce a guide which gives us the same kind of information as we have for Kyiv II or Poltava I.

It may be that there were actually a small number of physically distinct handstamps but that individual clichés in the handstamp were frequently replaced due to them falling out or because of wear. In this way, THREE and SEVENTY might be brought closer together.

I am not going to do the work. If someone is interested, I have here an accumulation (ex Zelonka) of 22 complete sheets, representing 22 of the 26 values overprinted including the 35 kopeck perforated and imperforate. Some of the sheets are a bit toned. Anyway, the Bulat catalogue value is around $2870 for the basic stamps (no premium added for the multiples). I reckon 500 €uro a reasonable price for the Lot. And if a buyer succeeds in making progress on classifying the Handstamps, then he or she is invited to announce the results on this Blog to tell us how many Katerynoslav I handstamps there really are.... Get in touch if you are interested ( I may not reply before 112 September).