Wednesday, 24 December 2014

August Augustovich Revest

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Collectors of Transcaucasia 1917 - 1923 will occasionally find the handstamp A.REVEST on the backs of stamps. From Googling, I found only that A. Revest was a member of Rossica in the 1950s and living in France. He had stamps of Transcaucasia for sale.

I bought the above cover as a nice example of a 10 rouble Registered franking from 1920. Sent from Kharkiv to Baku in June 1920, it has a pair of perforated 3r50 stamps used at face value and an imperforate 3 kopeck (with Kharkiv type 1 Trident) revalued x 100.

I looked at the front and noticed the name "Revest" at the bottom and I translate the first name and patronymic as "August Augustovich". If I am right, then this is most likely to be the A.REVEST of the handstamps, living in Baku in 1920.

Does anyone have more information?

Added 5 Feb 2015: Here is A. REVEST's signature on the back of a (genuine) Armenian stamp:

Monday, 22 December 2014

Good Health and Good Collecting in 2015

I wish my Readers Good Health and Good Collecting in 2015 and enjoyment of whichever celebrations they may be taking part in during the next few weeks

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Soviet Union Postal History Rarities

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Not very attractive, but this is an example from the first Soviet Union meter franking machine, introduced early in 1928. Several face values are known with the 2 kopeck providing most examples, probably because it could be used on bulk Printed Matter - the example above is on a long envelope addressed to Dresden. More details of Soviet meter franks can be found in the International Postage Meter Stamp Catalog, on line at

The Mark is unusual because no city of origin is indicated, though the bars above and below the date look as if they might be "dummies" intended for replacement at a later date with some kind of information. The stamp design has POCHTA at the top and CCCP in the middle

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Armenia in the Michel catalogue

Here are some thoughts on the Michel listing for Armenia. Your Comments are invited.

It is important to understand that Michel lists only stamps which, on the basis of archival research by C Zakiyan, are known to have been officially authorised. Counter surcharges made for dealers like Serebrakian and Melik Pachaev are excluded. In contrast, the Stanley Gibbons listing – based on the work of Tchilinigirian and Ashford – includes these counter surcharges.

Michel 3 – 28 Framed Z overprints

-          The earlier small type overprints are much scarcer and worth x 5 to x 10 more than the larger sized overprints

-          The earlier small overprints are roughly as common in black and in violet. But the larger overprints are scarcer in violet and are worth about x 2 to x 5 the price of black overprints

-         Michel 3,4,5 and 20 are scarcer than the valuations suggest

-          Large framed Z on 7 rouble imperforate exists and may be an official overprint, since the original handstamps would not have been available for late overprinting.

Michel 29 – 56 Unframed Z overprints

-          For the small Z overprints, violet and black are about as common; but for the large Z overprints, violet is much less common and worth x 2 to x 5 the price of black overprints

Michel 57 – 85 Rouble overprints

-          Violet overprints exist for the 1,3 and 5 rouble; they are scarce and worth maybe x 5 – x 10 the  price of black overprints

-          Violet overprints exist for the 10r on 25 kop but they are rarities

-          The valuations for Michel 65,66,72,73,84 are completely wrong based on a mis-reading of C Zakiyan’s first book. Zakiyan gave REMAINDER numbers for various stamps; Michel thought they were ISSUED numbers. Michel 66 for example is a common stamp worth maybe 15 €, not the 750€ given in Michel.

Michel 86 – 118 Combined Surcharges

-          The combined surcharges with framed Z (Michel 86 – 101) are all much scarcer than the unframed ones; Michel makes no distinction in valuations, though it lists the two types separately (Michel 86 - 101 for framed Z; 102 - 118 for unframed Z). Michel does not separately list stamps where the rouble Monogram has been obscured leaving the underlying Z clearly visible.

In general, framed surcharges are worth x 5 – x 10 their unframed equivalents. Only Michel 100 is quite common.

-          Again, some stamps are hugely overpriced due to the misreading of Zakiyan. This is true of Michel 95,96, 110, 111, 116 and 117. Fort example, Michel 111 is worth about 50 - 75 €uro not the 2200€ given by Michel

Chassepot Issue Ia – Ik

-          Stamps from the Original printing are relatively common, but the low values to 15r are scarcer as is the 70r. The set in ** condition is probably worth  20 – 25€

First Yessayan Michel IIa – II s

-          Stamps from the Original printing are probably worth 1€ each imperforate and 2 – 10 € each perforate. The 25 000 brown perforated is a rarity and worth 500 €. Confusion is created by the common Reprints/Forgeries of all values in both perf and imperf.

Second Yessayan Michel IIIa – IIIr

-          Unoverprinted stamps from the Original printing are scarce for those values which were not issued and worth 50 – 100 € each. They are rarities for the stamps which were issued and worth maybe 200 – 500 € each. Confusion is created by the two series of unofficial Reprints made by Yessayan, none of which were sent to Armenia.

-          It is a specialist task to distinguish the three printings.

Gold Kopeck surcharges Michel 142 – 166

-          In general this is a very good listing though 155a is too low (this is the 25 000 brown perforated)

Yerevan Pictorials Michel IVa – IV k

-          A set of the Original printing is not too difficult to find and 10 or 20 € seems about right; some values exist as remainders and are much more common – for example, the 400r

Manuscript surcharges Michel 167 – 170

-          In general this is a good listing, but the 2 kop surcharge (Michel 169) is a rarity.

Yerevan Pictorials with Overprints Michel 171 – 180

-          It’s very strange that Michel does not provide separate listings for the Metal and Rubber handstamps, nor for the three main colours (red, violet and black). This could be done quite easily. It is correct that the red Rubber overprints are generally scarcer. Red Metal overprints are probably Soviet reprints.