When stamps got overprinted by hand errors or mistakes occur. I think about mistakes that are not what Ashford/Tchilinghirian describe as “human factor”, like: more or less pressure, angle variations, different mixtures or more or less diluted inks used. I also do not think about the Serebrakian “freaks” like putting four identical overprints on one stamp. What I am having in mind is putting a 3r HH overprint on a stamp were normally only 5r HH overprints would be. Done by a clerk who just used the wrong overprinting device by mistake. Back then, rules (T&A call it schemes) applied which basic stamp was used for a certain overprint. One example is the use of the 3r HH overprint on stamps with 3 Kopeck and 5r HH on stamps with 5 Kopeck face value. This changed sometimes since each time a new issue was prepared they checked the stamps in stock and decided on what to use and they had also to use the stamps were the face value did not respond to a new overprint value. Over the period of the HH Monograms (Ruble overprints) seven (7!) different issues were produced – according to Ashford/Tchilinghirian. There are several known cases of corrected overprints described by T&A and Ceresa. These stamps are not listed in Michel but you can find them in the Liapin catalog with quite high price tags. A last remark: you can also find rare so called OTC (over the counter) productions were overprints would (for a fee) be put on stamps where they did not normally belong. Since this was done officially, the OTC stamps could be used postally and are “legit”, so to speak.
Recently I bought (for quite a lot of money) two stamps of the 3r HH on 5 Kopeck stamp, corrected to 5r HH.
The overprints are clear to see, the 5r beeing of type 2. This stamp is part of the second HH monogram issue. Type 1 and Type 3 of the 5r HH overprint were introduced later.
T&A report that a small quantity of the 5 Kopeck stamps were mistakenly overprinted with the 3r HH monogram but the error was detected and no false stamp was allowed to leak out. Even if the quantity was small they obviously decided not to destroy those stamps but to correct the mistake and use them anyways. There must have been a real shortage of stamps since they valued them so much.
As T&A also writes, the 5r HH overprints was applied in a way, that the 5r part of the new monogram was placed gap of the 3r HH monogram and the new HH as less visible as possible. Probably so that the appearance of the corrected stamp was as clean as possible. This matches to the scan of my stamps.
I wonder how scarce this stamp really is. What was the small quantity in numbers? Does someone own a used copy of this stamp? Did it got used? Was it worth the effort to correct this small quantity of stamps?
Ray, it is great to hear from you. I checked the picture of the block of four from you book and made a scan. If you compare the position of the 5 regarding to the horns and bolts my impression is that this is a different stamp. Also the ink at the border seems to be missing on your stamp. It would be something if some of those stamps have found their way to me 🙂
Also the 5 does not touch the 3 like on the lower two stamps.