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Friday 18 April 2014

A Good Example of Genuine Use of Chassepot Revenue Stamps

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When I looked at this 1923 document, written in Armenian, I immediately concluded it was genuine in all respects on the basis of an entirely incidental feature.

The 1 rouble Chassepot stamp was overprinted with Soviet Armenia's Arms and simultaneously revalued to "3 rf" (Zakiyan # 17) and then revalued again in ink "300 000" (Zakiyan # 25). It was applied to the document probably on 13 August 1923 - the date in blue - green ink inside the boxed violet cachet at the top left of the document. The same blue-green ink pen cancels the stamp.

The incidental feature is this: the stamp is from the bottom row of the sheet with selvedge:

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Now in my experience, Chassepot stamps from the Original printing (like this stamp) are very rarely found with selvedge. For some reason / s it is almost always removed. It would be most unlikely that a forger looking for a genuine (Original printing) 1 rouble Chassepot stamp to overprint would happen upon a stamp with selvedge, even though 26 stamps in a 10 x 5 sheet begin life with selvedge,

That's the incidental reason which convinced me. On examination, one can also note that the overprint on the stamp has the generally strong and clear features found in genuine overprints and missing on the digital forgeries which I have seen. Compare the 1990s digital forgery which I have now placed beside the genuine stamp (the forgery omits the "3 rf" which is always present on the 1 rouble, but that's another fault with the forgery):

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It's also the case that the 1 rouble Chassepot is the most common of the fiscally used Chassepots and often occurs as a single franking. Multiples are not very common. For this reason, it would be very difficult to plate this issue and I do not think any collector or Expertiser has attempted it. But in an ideal world, an Expert would be able to Plate the stamp on this document as part of a demonstration that it is genuine and genuinely used. Most or all of the ink revaluations appear to have been carried out in batches rather than at the point of the stamp's use, and so only a limited number of inks are found - the violet ink of this revaluation being one of them. 

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