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Monday 23 June 2014

1914: A Very Cross Stamp Dealer

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" Dear Sir. For the last time I am writing to you to ask you to return me my stamps. I am really disgusted to see you drag this matter in such a miserable way: You asked me to send you a selection, I complied with your request at once and for 5   months I can't get a reply: is it right?  Is that the way you would like your customers to act against you?? Don't you understand that if I had my stamps I would have sold them during this season? I beg to let you know that if you do not return my stamps within a week from today I will charge one of my many friends & customers in your city to come and ask you my stamps "

Monday 2 June 2014

Carpatho-Ukraine: Forgeries do not come simpler than this ...

Before World War Two, the long eastern tail of Czechoslovakia went under the name of Podkarpatska Rus and enjoyed some autonomy from Prague. It's postmarks, for example, are bi-lingual Czech and Ukrainian. Then in 1939, the region was occupied by Hungary and stayed that way until the Red Army entered in 1944. There followed a brief period of semi-autonomy remembered now mainly because of the postage stamps issued at the time. Two of them appear on the Court documents (printed in Hungarian) below:

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These look typical and convincing. However, they have been altered in the simplest possible way.

These documents date from the end of 1945 (26 XII 945 on the inside of the item with the green stamp; 5 I 946 in manuscript inside the reddish-violet cancellation). By this time, Soviet stamps had replaced the local issues and these two items were probably franked with 30 kop Airman stamps of the Soviet Union - examples can be found though they are not so common as items with Carpatho-Ukraine stamps. Or these documents may have been stampless.

The Carpatho-Ukraine stamps are easy to find in mint condition; they have been added to these documents (maybe after removal of a Soviet stamp, maybe not) and the cancellation over the stamp completed using .... PENCIL. Nothing more sophisticated than that.

It would be necesary to lift the stamps to see whether a stamp was removed or whether the items were originally stampless. I haven't done that. I just like the cheekiness of the forger who very nearly succeeded.

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Added February 2020: Most of my Ukraine-related Blog posts are now available in full colour book form. To find out more follow the link: