Monday, 29 October 2012

Correspondence in Hebrew and Yiddish

Anyone who goes through dealer boxes for Central and Eastern Europe at stamp exhibitions will soon come across postal stationery cards with the message written in Hebrew or (much more often) Yiddish. Such cards are quite easy to find for the period before 1914 from Austria-Hungary, Romania and Russia. In America, one university (Boston) has used such cards as historical evidence of Jewish commercial life before 1914 - go to for more information 

After 1914 and until the 1930s, these cards become scarce for reasons connected to the changing character of Jewish life - secularization, urbanisation, the decline of the shtetl. This change is characterized in such books as Bernard Wasserstein's recent On the Eve which surveys Jewish life in Europe between the two World Wars. From the early 1930s through to 1945, as persecution extends across Europe, Hebrew and Yiddish correspondence becomes a rarity.

Above I show just a couple of cards. 
The first dated  1913 is sent from Warsaw to Switzerland, the message spilling over onto the front of the Romanov card. 
The second is most unusual, sent from Odessa on 4 October 1941 and only arriving in Budenny (Voronezh Oblast) on 20 December 1941. Romanian troops occupied Odessa on 16 October and, in just a few days, 22 - 24 October, some 25 000 to 34 000 of the city's remaining Jews were killed (according to the Wikipedia entry on the 1941 Odessa Massacre). 

Friday, 19 October 2012

Who sends What to Whom and How: the example of Halukkah

As I have Blogged previously, I think of postal history as the study of Who sent What to Whom and How.

It's not uncommon to see pre-printed envelopes like the one above sent from Moscow in March 1903 and containing one rouble. Sealed with five Moscow Post & Telegraph seals, this money letter transited through Odessa and arrived at the ROPIT post office in Jerusalem in April.

It's obvious that the money is going to be some kind of donation. But only today did I Google and Wikipedia  a bit and discover that it is a specific kind of charitable gift which is being made which goes under the name of Halukkah.

Samuel (Shmuel) Salant was Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem for over sixty years and as such he was responsible for collecting and distributing Halukkah relief funds. 

Salant was born in Byelostok in 1816 and died in Jerusalem in 1909. By 1900 he was blind and requested an assistant. The person appointed was Rabbi Eliyahu David Rabinowitz-Teomin whose name also appears on the envelope. Earlier envelopes bear Salant's name alone. His assistant died in 1905.

One could make a nice collection of these envelopes, noting the towns and cities from which they have originated and the amount of money they contained. And Google and Wikipedia make researching the background to such material much, much easier than it would have been even twenty years ago.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Ukraine: Tridents of Zhytomyr

The Type I Tridents of Zhytomyr are not  a local issue but the regular issue of a Postal District, Volhynia  - in Imperial Russian times, Volinsk Guberniya. It is irrelevant that they were quite quickly replaced with overprints supplied from Kyiv and overprinted with Kyiv Tridents.

As mint stamps, they are a nightmare - the ink is a distinctive bright violet but is so fluid that often the Trident impression is no more than a smudge or a blob. Mapping an individual Zhytomyr Trident  to its position in one of the three multiple cliches apparently used (see Bulat page 18) is generally impossible. It is really only the ink that tells you that what you have is a Zhytomyr Trident (Type I).

As a District issue, it should have been distributed to post offices outside Zhytomyr and in fact it was. Only the 1 rouble imperforate stamp is likely to be found in used condition (Bulat 210, $20 which is probably too low). Above I illustrate use of the Trident stamps at three offices:

In the top row, a strip of three used at LUGINI VOK [ = Volinsk] 1 10 18. This strip is signed Dr Seichter. Luginy is a small town north of Zhytomyr and closer to Ovruch.

Bottom left, ZDOLBUNOVO VOL 12 9 18. Zdolbuniv also issued its own Local Trident, most commonly found on the 1 rouble imperforate but this is clearly not that type. This stamp is signed UPV and Schmidt. The town itself is west of Zhytomyr just south of Rivne.

Bottom right, LUTSK 8 11 18.This stamp is signed UPV and Schmidt. The town is in the far west of Volhynia, geographically closer to Lviv than Zhytomyr.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Postal History of Azerbaijan 1917 - 23

By 1917, Baku with its oilfields was the fourth largest city of Imperial Russia but away from Baku, the areas which became Azerbaijan were basically rural. But between 1917 and 1923 over forty post offices outside Baku operated at some time or another - Voikhansky gives a list (pages 207 - 208) in his 1976 book Postage Stamps of Azerbaijan (in Russian). 

However, material you can find from these offices - loose stamps, covers and cards - probably adds up to less than ten percent of the total available. Material from Baku dominates overwhelmingly. Nonetheless, with such a modest number of offices it is tempting to try to collect examples from all of them. It will just take a very long time ...

Some offices clearly ran into problems. At Anneno (the German colony of Annendorf) they never seem to have had a proper canceller, making use of official seals instead. At Shemaka, the mechanism for changing the dates on the canceller stopped working so that the dates had to be entered by hand. And at Alty Agash, after making use of a boxed cachet (illustrated in the 1971 edition of Voikhansky's book, Plate XX) it seems they changed over to manuscript as shown above.

This item just came into my stock. The Money Transfer Form is overprinted at the top with a cachet of the Transcaucasian Commisariat of Posts and Telegraphs. The stamps are cancelled with the date (6 July 1923) in manuscript and at bottom right this date is repeated with the place name Alti Agash Baku Gub[errniya] also in manuscript. At bottom left, you can see that this is the first or fourth Money Transfer despatched from Alti Agash Baku Gub. The Transfer arrived in Baku the next day and was paid out on the 9th July.

Stamps of Azerbaijan 1919 - 1921

Between 1919 and 1921 the first stamps of Azerbaijan were all printed in Baku and all printed by lithography. The paper used was in very large format - most often, a full sheet of news-paper -  with two or three hundred stamps fitted on to the sheet.  This has attracted the attention of several prominent collectors interested in plating: Voikhansky in Azerbaijan and Peter Ashford and Ian Baillie in England (where many of the sheet remainders were exported by the Soviet Philatelic Agency).

There were two printings of the first (Musavat) stamps and for the second (Soviet) printing some sheets were reorganised. There was just one printing of the Soviet pictorials and the Famine Relief issue. Most sheets contain one or more gutters, horizontal and vertical. The main gutter which divides top from bottom or right from left to create two half sheets is rarely found intact. It seems that the difficult- to- handle big sheets were cut in two before being sent to post offices.

The 1000r Famine Relief stamp shown at the top was printed in a sheet of 15 across and 18 down (270 stamps) with a single horizontal gutter between Rows 9 and 10. The block above (ex - Ian Baillie) is the first one I have seen with a gutter. You can also see very clearly across the top of  Row 2 the guide marks used in the transfer of the plate block of six (2 x 3) to the large lithographic plate. There are both outer marks every second stamp and individual corner marks on each stamp. Normally, such marks were cleaned off the plate before use and it is unusual to find them so clearly as on this value.

The 5r block below is also unusual. It is from a re-set plate used for the Soviet reprint. There are no wide horizontal or vertical gutters. Instead, each transfer block of six (3 x 2) is separated from the one below by a slightly wider margin than within the transfer block itself : about 6.5 mm instead of 4.5 mm. This pattern is not, however, repeated horizontally.

To a modern eye, these first stamps of Azerbaijan may look "primitive". However, the printing process was actually complex and sophisticated. Very large lithographic plates were created using complex transfers and "infilling" to deal with single rows or columns left over after the regular transfer process was completed. Though minor colour shifts and offsets are frequently found, major varieties - dramatic colour shifts, missing colours, inverted backgrounds - are rare. So too are proofs and printer's waste. The printers in Baku behaved like modern "Security Printers" - in fact, more so: they did not have anything going out the back door to supply the needs of the stamp trade!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Russia 1913 Romanov Tercentenary stamps

We are only three months away from the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Russia's Romanov Tercentenary stamps. They are always popular and will be more so in the coming months. But how much are they worth?

Used stamps with nice postmarks are not difficult to obtain and dealers accumulating used stamps in quantity should be able to offer a Set of 17. But four catalogues which give Set prices offer very different guidelines:

Stanley Gibbons specialised Russia 2008 has £40 (about 50 € at today's rate) with £19 of that in the 5 rouble alone
Michel Osteuropa 2010 / 2011 proposes 60 €, with the rouble values little differentiated (1 rouble - 10 euro; 2 rouble - 12 euro; 3 rouble - 12 euro; 5rouble - 15 euro)
Russia's own Standard catalogue 2009 suggests 1400 roubles, about 42 €, with the highest price on the 5r at 450 roubles 
The Russian Soloviev catalogue of 2009 / 10 has 550 roubles, about 14 €, with no stamp higher than 150 roubles (the 5r gets this)

So the range is from 14 at the bottom to 60 at the top, with an average of 41.5 euro.

Personally, the values I sometimes can't find for set making are the 2 and 3 roubles. The 1 rouble is very common and the 5 rouble is not hard to find. I ask about £20 (25 euro) for a used Set with nice postmarks. The chalky paper used for the kopeck value Romanovs does mean that a lot of those stamps have unattractive smudged cancels which I would not include in a Set.

Mint stamps are more complicated. For a few values there do seem to be remainder stocks available, even today, so that is is possible to get ** stamps and blocks 4. But to make a Set which is ** is extremely hard. For some values, most collectors will have to accept * stamps. In addition, many stamps now suffer from gum toning.

Let's look at our four catalogues again:

Stanley Gibbons has £95 (about 119 €) for a * Set and, as normal, offers no price for **
Michel has 75 € for * and offers no ** price
Standard has 5000 roubles(about 125 €) for * and 30000 (about 750 €) roubles for **
Soloviev has 4500 roubles (about 112€) for * and 12000 (about 300 €) for **

So the range is 75 to 125 for * and 300 to 750 (from just two catalogues) for **

All the catalogues except Gibbons make the 2 rouble the scarcest stamp. Gibbons price the 5 rouble highest but here I think Gibbons is wrong, even allowing for "extra" interest in Nicholas II. The 1,2 and 3 rouble stamps are all harder to find * or ** and different collectors and dealers will have different ideas on what is the scarcest - quite often, I am told the 1 rouble * or ** is hardest to find. 

As for kopeck values, I give one example, the 35 kopeck illustrated at the top of this Blog gets these valuations:

Gibbons £1.40 (about 1.75€) for *
Michel 2.50 € for *
Standard 120 roubles (about 3 € ) for * and 800 (about 20 €) for **
Soloviev 60 roubles (about 1.5€) for * and 150 roubles (about 3.75 €) for ** with 700 roubles (17.5 €) for a ** Block 4.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Russia Imperial Arms10 rouble Imperforate

I have been doing some work on early use of 1917 Imperial Arms imperforate stamps looking at non-philatelic covers and cards. However, for the 10 rouble I have only loose stamps. So far, the only early uses I am able to record are in independent (but German Occupied) Ukraine. Above I show in the top row KHARKOV dated 4 4 18 SUMI KHARKOV  23 4 18 and 29 4 18 and also  KHARKOV 16 5 18. Then in the bottom row there are cancellations of KHARKOV POCHT for 21 5 18, 26 5 18, 27 5 18 and 17 7 18. But I think these stamps (and I have others similar) are probably cancelled to order even though they have no gum. The strikes are too similar.

Can anyone show uses of the 10 rouble in Russia in 1917 - 18?

It seems clear that not all district postal administrations received the 10 rouble. I have never seen copies from Armenia (with or without overprint) or from Georgia, but I have seen a couple of copies from BAKU. Use in  independent Ukraine, with and without overprint is quite common, especially in the Kharkiv and Odesa districts. But they can also be found from Poltava, Kyiv and (as great rarities) Podillia. They are not found for Katerynoslav. 

Postscript 22 October 2012: I can now show an earlier date 1st March 1918 on a stamp used at LOKHVITSA POLTAV[a] G[uberniya]. The image below shows part of a Parcel Card fragment, signed Mikulski. Both the old 7 rouble and the 10 rouble imperforate were still available in Poltava at the end of 1918 and were re-issued with Poltava Trident overprints

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Ukraine 1920 "Petliura Provisionals"

In a recent issue of Ukrainian Philatelist,( 2012; vol 60 no 1) Mark Stelmacovich gathered together known information and background about the stamps shown above. In fact, very little is known and the stamps are rare which doesn't help. John Bulat lists them in his catalogue at page 140 (#2545 - 2551).

I have only come across them on three occasions in 20 years: (1) A small group of singles and tête-bêches in an old collection of Russian or Ukrainian provenance which I bought in an English postal auction. (2) A set in the Zelonka collection. (3) Now this group above which lacks the 2 Hr value. With the other known sets or part sets listed by Stelmacovich we still have only half a dozen sets or part sets recorded. But rather crude forgeries exist.

The most obviously notable feature of these stamps is the paper. It is the kind of paper intended for things like chocolate or cigarette boxes or for decoration. It seems unsuitable for stamp production: it would have been very expensive and the dark colours used for the 3 and 5 Hr make the overprint impossible to read - so much so that I have ended up putting the 5 and 3 in the wrong order above. 

 Zemstvos sometimes used papers like this (Nolinsk, Livny for example) and I have also seen similar "chocolate box" papers used for the 1915 Fellinn War Charity vignettes.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Very, Very Difficult Local Tridents: Lubashivka

I promise that this is the third and last Blog in this short series on Local Tridents. And I warn you that you may need a strong coffee (or something even stronger) to get through to the end ... [ But the good news is that this Blog has been corrected on 19 October 2012 and now makes more sense :)]

You know there are going to be problems about Lubashivka when you try to spell it. Dr Seichter tries both LUBASCHEWKA and LJUBASCHEWKA. Dr Ceresa sticks with LIUBASHIVKA and John Bulat with LUBASHIVKA. I follow Bulat here but reckon that the Imperial postmark would have read LIUBASHEVKA (this is what I transliterate from the late Gary Combs' Imperial postal place names list - I can't reproduce the original Cyrillic here).

Rather more importantly, no one agrees what the Lubashivka Trident looks like:

At the top Dr Seichter shows us a stamp, or rather a photograph of a stamp, which is reproduced in Dr Ceresa's publication on the Special Trident Issues (Plate CDXCIX). Underneath is Dr Ceresa's enhanced copy of this photograph - he has drawn in the lines of the trident so we can see them. Next comes John Bulat's design (page 128 of his Handbook) followed by Svenson's 1932/5 catalogue illustration. Then there is a random illustration which Dr Seichter has on his album page. Then comes a Seichter drawing based on another stamp. Finally, there is John Bulat's illustration for an "Unknown" type at page 137 of his book.

Well, even a casual glance should indicate that our authors are not in agreement. Does the central spike balance on the top of the base cap with a horizontal line (Bulat's first illustration) or is it pinched in (Svenson's illustration) or is the space between base cap and spike open? These are major differences!

On this question, Forgers also disagree but the majority opt for Svenson's pinched line:

What - if anything - is the truth? Well, the 10/7 kopeck used stamp of which Dr Seichter has a photograph turned up in the Schmidt collection, signed by Dr Seichter. In addition a 15 kopeck imperforate used stamp was linked to it with a note from Seichter and his signature.

When Dr Seichter writes "so eingepäckt nicht möglich zu signieren" - so packed up like this not possible to sign - he means it literally: some of Schmidt's rare stamps were enclosed in tiny cellophane packets which were used before the days of Hawid mounts. They are very difficult to open - I use a scalpel to slit them and take out the stamps and I did this going through Schmidt's collection, keeping the little pieces of paper for future study. But of course Dr Seichter could not sign a stamp packed up in a cellophane bag! So he signed these little slips of paper instead with his official handstamp. 

The Trident on the 15 kopeck is unclear. But there is something important that these two stamps have in common and which would lead anyone to group them togethere: the cancellation is the same and it is in the same (and unusual) blue-green ink. And in the case of the 15 kopeck two letters are very clear and they read "...ASH..." just as we should expect if these stamps have anything to do with LubASHivka. 

In addition, both the trident overprints appear to be in the same ink and they both appear to be of the same dimensions (they are large tridents as Tridents go). 

Seichter does not list the Lubashivka Trident on a 15 kopeck imperforate. Neither does Bulat. They both list it on the 15 kopeck perforate. But Svenson lists it on the 15 kopeck imperforate and not on the 15 kopeck perforate.This is relevant to what follows.

Go to Bulat page 137 where he has the "Unknown" Trident illustrated last in the display above - and there he lists a 15 kopeck imperforate with violet overprint (Bulat Q4) and comments "The 15 kop has been found with a partial cancellation in green ink which has the same characteristic as the ink used in Lubashivka". Bulat probably got this information from Seichter or Schmidt and it may be that all that has happened over the years is that imperforate got switched to perforate at some point.

But there remains a genuine question: Are these two stamps with characteristic Lubashivka cancellations overprinted with the same Trident or not and, if so, which Trident among the ones I have illustrated?

This time YOU have to do the work. Just click on my image to enlarge it. Comments welcome.


Postscript: The Forgeries are stamps I showed to Ron Zelonka and which he condemned. It may be helpful to see the two 10 / 7 kopeck stamps together:

Second Postscript 9 October 2012:

Tobias Huylmans using more advanced methods than I have available gets the Trident image below from the 10/7 kopeck Seichter signed stamp (the stamp on the left just above). It confirms the fan-like top to the spike but leaves some doubt about how the spike joins the base though it rules out the idea of the spike sides smoothly joining the base cap and leaving the middle space open.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

More Difficult Local Tridents: Nova Pryluka

Suppose you find what you think is a Trident of Nova Pryluka. It is not signed. How do you find out if it really is a Trident of Nova Pryluka?

At the moment, there is no recognised Expert for Ukraine Local Tridents so you can't just pay someone to tell you.

You can Google "Nova Pryluka" and you will get images of stamps with very good provenance.

You can look at Plate CDXLV in Dr Ceresa's 1987 publication on the Special Trident Issues. This is what I did and I reproduce the page above. At the bottom he writes, "Examples and photographs ex the Dr R. Seichter Collection". Then I looked back at what I had just acquired from the Philipp Schmidt collection, shown in the first illustration above. Ah...

I have
(1) a copy of the photograph shown top right in Ceresa.
(2) the actual 1 rouble imperforate shown top left in Ceresa
(3) the actual used 10 kopeck shown on a small piece of white backing paper middle of the third row
(4) the actual used 20 /14 kopeck  shown bottom left

But notice: the "Seichter" page in Ceresa is a collage. The 1 rouble perforated stamp in the photo at the top is also there in reality as the stamp bottom right. And it looks like a fake. It has what looks like a PETROGRAD 1 EXSP cancellation. The enlarged 10 kopeck stamp at middle left is a photograph.

This collage, in my opinion, shows stamps which Seichter believed to be Tridents of Nova Pryluka and stamps he believed to be forgeries or doubtful. Ceresa's page is not one from which we can easily expertise this Trident.

In 1960, Seichter gave a lecture to the Berliner Philatelisten Klub, "Ukraine: Fälschung oder unbekannte Typen? Kritische Betrachtungen über Lokalausgaben 1918 /20". Here he looks critically at (mostly) mint stamps appearing on the market with Beresno or Tchernigow II Tridents.

It is my belief that Seichter worked with Schmidt on this problem of doubtful Local Tridents. Schmidt's copy of the photograph of nine stamps is dated on the back "1958". And the six used Schmidt stamps provided Seichter with expertising material for problematic overprints of the Nova Pryluka Trident, such as those shown in the photograph. Each of the six stamps at the top were mounted on small pieces of paper. I think the handwriting may be Schmidt's rather than Seichter's but each piece of paper is signed SEICHTER BPP. The stamps themselves are not signed.

The six used stamps I found in Schmidt have a good case to be regarded as authentic. All are on values listed by Seichter and Bulat. The two 1 rouble value stamps have very good strikes of NOVAYAR PRILUKA KIEV cancels with October 1918 cancels. If these stamps are not genuine Tridents of Nova Pryluka, then none are.

Then 15 kopeck perforate has a cancel which begins "NO .." and the other stamps will probably yield to further study. And Dr Seichter signed a piece of paper attached to each stamp - one of those pieces of paper can be seen on the Ceresa page.

In contrast, look at the two stamps at the bottom, the 1 kopeck and the 5 kopeck imperforate. These are ex-Lindenmeyer (if I recall correctly) and Ron Zelonka told me they were both fakes. The 1 kopeck perforated is listed by Chuchin 1926 (though not by Seichter or Bulat) and the Trident looks pretty good ... but it has an Odessa cancel. The 5 kopeck imperforate is a listed value for Nova Pryluka BUT here it has a fragment of a 1922 cancel, which kills any idea that it might be genuine just as the PETROGRAD cancel killed the 1 rouble perforated.

I am sorry this is a long and boring Blog. What it shows, I hope, is that if you want to collect the more difficult Local Tridents you have to be willing to do lots of detective work  - scrutinise every stamp. Not only that, scrutinise the published work.

Ukraine Local Trident Overprints

Like RSFSR Postmaster Provisional revaluation of 1920, locally produced Ukraine Trident overprints - which are also Postmaster Provisionals - are difficult to collect. But less difficult than is sometimes imagined.

First of all, think about the situation which generated legitimate local tridents. Official Trident overprints came into use late in August 1918. In September, the use of unoverprinted stamps was tolerated - and mixed frankings are quite common. Only from the beginning of October were unoverprinted stamps invalid.

So Postmasters had a problem only if they found themselves without (enough) Trident stamps at the beginning of October. They could put in requests for supplies and, eventually no doubt, they would get them.  Meanwhile, they might decide to improvise their own local Tridents.

In other words, there is no reason to expect to find a local Trident used before October 1918 and probably not much reason to expect to see them in use after say January 1919.

Producing the Tridents would have been extra work for a local post office, so it is likely that most local tridents were produced in small batches. When their use came to an end, it is unlikely that there were many mint remainders which could be called in by regional or central authorities. Of course, they could ask for a new batch to be produced ( for onward transmission to philatelic agencies) or they could ask for the handstamp and then produce their own Reprints. Likewise, if philatelists turned up quickly enough at some out-of-the-way post office they might be able to get a supply of mint stamps - this clearly happened in some cases.

Either way, when starting a collection of local Tridents it makes sense to avoid mint stamps since they will include Reprints, other philatelic productions and - of course - forgeries.

When Dr Seichter was working on Local Trident overprints he had four problems to deal with.  First, forgeries  produced by Captain Schramschenko (really Scamschenko) whose handstamps had not yet been discovered and prints taken from them published. Second, forgeries produced in the Soviet Union and authenticated with a large Soviet guarantee mark which Alexander Epstein has since shown to be a forgery. Dr Seichter seems not to have known this. Third, the lack of accurate drawings and illustrations of the Tridents. Fourth, the general lack of material.

The first two problems no longer exist. We can identify these forgeries quite easily. The third problem does remain. The catalogues in general use are not very helpful. We really need to see colour images with enlargements.

As for the fourth problem, the solution is to make a start with the commoner local Tridents. I exclude Chernihiv (Tchernigov) and Zhitomir since these were productions of regional post and telegraph administrations (as Alexander Epstein has shown).

Back in 1926, C Svenson in his Ukraina-Handbuch, II Teil  picked out the tridents of Ovruch and Sarny as both clearly legitimate and reasonably common issues (page 33). This remains true. Svenson even gives two prices for Ovruch 50 kopeck stamps: used (10 Marks) and used on complete postal Formular (15 Marks). Well, those Formulars are no longer that common in relation to the stamps but the stamps can be found. The illustration to this Blog shows my complete holding for Ovruch. The stamps are all Bulat 2465, catalogued at $55 used and unpriced for mint. Cancellations are dated October and November 1918. The Parcel Card fragment has the same style of punch hole as the complete Formular so probably was also sent to Kharkiv. A stamp has been harvested from the fragment to provide a copy of a used stamp - presumably an Ovruch Trident. This is characteristic of the way the Formulars were treated when first released in the 1920s and 1930s. All five loose stamps are signed (3 Dr Seichter, 2 UPV)

With Ovruch one is really only dealing with one stamp and one cancellation and nothing in the holding I am illustrating here is doubtful. In contrast, Sarny stamps were used at other offices and there are more values to collect. There are also mint Reprints and lots of forgeries, mint and used.

By the way, it is a good habit to try to find the cancellations used by local Trident post offices but on more common stamps, like General Issue (Shagiv) stamps. This is a good way of double checking authenticity.

The more difficult local trident issues are, of course, more difficult and I will write about this in my next Blog.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Denikin stamps with local perforations

Back on 6 August, I blogged about a Denikin stamp with Postmaster Provisional perforations. To my surprise, I find a few similar items in the Civil War part of the Schmidt Collection, about which I blogged yesterday. Here are five loose stamps (two were once a pair) with a local perforation - this is not the "regular" Denikin perforation. They are all the same type and the legible cancellations read ROSTOV NA DON 25 10 19.

Of course, it would be much better to have these on cover or Formular. But you can see how a demand may have built up from such improvisations to have Denikin stamps perforated officially at source.

The stamps were in an old Auswahlheft (Approval Book) and were not distinguished, by price or otherwise, from the normal stamps around them. We are lucky that the perforations were not cut off to make the stamps look nicer - this is what sometimes happens to these messy local perforations.