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Sunday 19 December 2010

Georgia, Soviet Issues 1922 - 23: A Discovery!

Today I was tidying up my stockbook of Soviet Georgia 1922 - 23. I was turning over stamps in order to separate ** from * stamps. I turned over a block of 4 of a 1923 stamp: the 10 000 pyb machine surcharge on the 1000 pyb brown (the Sower): Michel 53A and Gibbons 42. Somethng wasn't quite right: the paper seemed thin and a bit brittle. Then I realised:

The basic stamp of 1922 (Michel 32A and Gibbons 29) is supposed to be on horizontally laid paper (gestreiftem Papier). This paper is quite distinctive - it reminds me of expensive notepaper - and the horizontal laid lines are almost always easy to see - the stamps have quite wide margins and you can look in the margins to see the lines.

My stamps were on ordinary wove paper with the stamp design and overprint showing through.

What was I looking at? My stamps are not Forgeries - the scarce Forgery type is on wove paper for all values but it has design differences and for the 1000r stamp the colour is quite different: a very pale brown. Think of cheap and nasty chocolate!

Then I looked at the Gibbons Part 10, 2008 note for the original, unsurcharged 1922 issue; " The 500, 1000 and 5000r are on horizontally laid paper and the 2000 and 3000r on opaque wove paper. It is believed that occasionally sheets were printed on the incorrect paper"

So, if Gibbons is right, I am looking at examples of "incorrect paper" - perhaps these stamps were originally held back for that reason and only later used up when the machine overprints were being made.

Of course, if these stamps were from Great Britain or Russia we would have a Major Catalog Variety - but, unfortunately, it's Georgia so I am not suddenly a rich man

I found a few more of this Variety in my stock - probably from the same source.

Now I suppose I should go through all the other stamps in the stockbook looking for more examples of "incorrect paper" on other values and with other surcharges ....

If I do, I will report back in due course.

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