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Monday 25 June 2012

Russia 1990s: Postal Forgeries / Fälschungen zum Schaden der Post

The 25 rouble stamp above is a Postal Forgery, made to defraud the post office. It was quite widely distributed and used on commercial mail in the 1990s and is listed in Michel as 239FFa. The stamp is gummed, but the perforation is wrong (11 instead of 12.25 x 12) and the colour is wrong. The design is poorly defined but the overall appearance is good enough for it to pass, even at the post office counter on a registered letter. This one was sent from St Petersburg in 1993, but I cannot work out the exact date.

If you go through large quantities of Russian commercial mail of the 1990s you will find this forgery maybe 1 in 1 000 or 1 in 10 000 letters. There are other postal forgeries (for example, of the 100r from the same definitive series) but I think they are less common. The mint stamps are hard to find, since people were using these stamps to defraud the post not to add to their collections. Some philatelists did recognise the Forgery and created philatelic covers using it ...

It's the kind of thing which can make even modern, boring office mail very interesting to the postal historian.

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