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Friday, 21 September 2018

Transcaucasian Federation 1923: First Star Overprint Issue (Michel 1 onwards)


Towards the end of his life, the late Dr R J Ceresa accumulated a large quantity of stamps from the first Star overprint issue of the Transcaucasian Federation, together with examples of their use (mostly on Money Transfer Forms). I bought some of this material at the London auction of his collections this week.

Some preliminary conclusions:

- The Star overprint on Imperial 10 kopek is by far the commonest stamp of this issue (#1 in most catalogues); this stamp also exists in mint remainders and is the most likely stamp to turn up in a mint multiple. It’s a pity since the dark background of the  10 kop stamp makes it difficult to study the overprint.

- The 50 kopek is the second most common stamp

- The 1 ruble perforated is by far the scarcest of the basic set, except for the unissued overprint on 3 rubel 50 perforated (my 2007 Michel catalogue mistakenly gives this as an imperforate stamp).

- Of the listed varieties, I have never seen the 25 kopek with Armenian overprint under the later Star overprint; and I have only once seen the Armenian 5r overprint on the 10 kopek and under the Star – that copy was in the Voikhansky collection. Neither variety was in the stockbook of 1000 stamps which I bought. Big rarities.

- The 50 kopek with Star over unframed Armenian Z is quite scarce but definitely not rare, though mint copies are almost never seen. In contrast, the Star in violet instead of black (which Michel lists) is rare. There were three copies in the stockbook, one a copy I had previously sold to Dr Ceresa. One of the two new copies had a legible cancel of AKSTAFA ELIS[avetpol] and is the most violet of the three. I have never seen a mint copy of this variety which I do not think had any philatelic motivation. You need to work under good light to spot this variety.

- The 1 rubel perforated is the only stamp I have seen with Armenian framed Z under the Star. This combination is very scarce.

- Forgeries are not common and most are badly done. The commonest forgery has curved lines making the rays of the star; on genuine stamps the lines are always dead straight. Other forgeries are in the wrong inks – there is consistency in the genuine overprint inks which is very obvious when you look at a large quantity of used, genuine stamps. Though Dr Ceresa collected forgeries, there were only a small number in the 1000 stamp stockbook. Below I show most of them, and most are obviously pathetic. Note that many involve combinations of Armenian and Star overprints.



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