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Monday, 26 July 2010

Georgia 1919 - 1921 : the "Freak" varieties

Anyone who collects Transcaucasia seriously has no doubt seen some of the "freak" varieties deliberately inserted into late printings of the St George and Tamara issue.
Some are rarely seen;others turn up more frequently. Normally they are seen in pairs or blocks of four. Larger multiples are quite rare.
Recently, examining complete sheets containing the freak varieties I was reminded both how few must have been created and how easy they are to miss.
On the kopeck values, the freaks are found once in the sheet of 255 stamps - that's a big sheet and the freaks are buried in the middle rather than conveniently at the sheet margins. In their book Georgia (1983), John Barefoot and Andrew Hall give the sheet positions for each variety. But some of them - like the riderless horse on the 40 kopeck simply do not leap to the eye. Only the freak "bisect" on the 6o kopeck jumps out.
On the rouble values, the sheets are smaller - between 144 and 210 stamps. The 3r and 5r freaks are printed marginally, so they are easier to cut out. I don't think I have ever seen the 1 rouble freak inveretd rider whereas I have seen quite a number of the inverted "5" for "3" on the 3 rouble. So my guess is that the freaks were not produced in equal numbers.
If you come across blocks of imperforate St George and Tamaras it is always worth having a look to see if there are any Freaks which have been missed by previous dealers and collectors.

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