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Thursday, 18 July 2019
A Rarity from 1923 Georgia
Click on Images to Enlarge
Most collectors have
the experience of never seeing a stamp which is listed in the catalogue they
are using - not a RRRR stamp but a stamp which might be catalogued at 1
or 10or 20 or 100. Sometimes, the
problem is simply a typographical error in the catalogue - it says 3 cents red
but should say 5 cents red. Sometimes, it is because of some unreliable
information the catalogue editor was given either by a collector or a
speculator. This is why editors of the better catalogues insist on seeing any
stamp before they list it.
Over the years, I have
handled thousands of stamps of Georgia for the period 1919 - 1923. They are
well-studied and not very complex, except for some of the handstamp surcharges.
But I had never seen one particular stamp, listed in the main catalogues: the
1923 machine overprint with Soviet arms and numeral of value, 300 000 on 20
kopek Imperial Arms perforated, but the overprint in blue instead of black. I
did look carefully - blue and black are sometimes hard to distinguish on a blue
stamp and maybe my eyes aren’t so good now.I never found a blue overprint.
Then last week I was
viewing the Dr Hans Grigoleit collection of Transcaucasia and there it was. Not
only the stamp but on cover. The stamp exists and is not some philatelic
variety - here are two copies on a clearly commercial cover from Suram / Surami
to Tiflis / Tbilisi with a manuscript Registration cachet and a Tiflis / Tbilisi
receiver (Ashford type 15). The letter is addressed in Georgian script and both
despatch and arrival cancels are in Georgian, but the registration cachet has
been written in Cyrillic as SURAM - the Georgian name is Surami.
So if you don’t have
the blue overprint variety in your collection, keep on looking. It exists. As
for this cover, it will be included in the Heinrich Koehler auction of Dr
Grigoleit’s collection in September 2019. (I am grateful to Heinrich Koehler
for letting me preview it here) To view Lots in the September 2019 Koehler auction, it is easiest to view by country at https://www.philasearch.com/en/country_topic.html?set_anbieter=35&set_auktionnr=5207