Together with the first overprints on stamps the Armenian postal office also overprinted postal stationary. While the stamps, starting with the k60k overprints are well known, the stationary are not. It even took a couple of years before the stationary reached the the western collectors. As a result they avoided the first years of the massive forging efforts and so far not much forgeries are known. The stationary itself are also not available in abundance and you need to search for them.
At the end of 1919 the base Armenian postal stationary was produced by applying a “30. kop” overprint. This matches the postal rate for postcards and correspondents well to the 60 Kopeck postal rate for letters that were addressed by the k60k overprinted stamps. Not much later the stationary received an addition overprint, a framed Z. Apparently not all were used up and the remaining items got a 5r HH rubles overprint. This leaves us with three types:
- plain “30. kop” overprint
- combined “30. kop” and framed Z (type E6)
- combined “30. kop” and HH monogram (5r HH)
Here two pictures of #2 used and unused.
The used postal stationary is from the Bob Taylor collection. So far I have seen about 10 used type 2 and all of them were Serebrakian made.
Right now I am in contact with the Michel catalog guys so these items will be listed in the postal staionary catalog (Michael Ganzsachen Katalog).
I still need scans and data about the other types or none Serebrakian type 2. If you can provide scans I would be deeply grateful.
There are some forgeries among the items presented in the current auction.
The first two items got fake overprints. The Jemchouchin signature is probably faked too.
Both stamps were not available at the time in the post office stocks. They can only exist as so called “over the counter” productions. If genuine, a very rare stamp. In this case both overprints are crude forgeries. You can find posts on my blog with details about the genuine overprint.
This is one of the typical “I got old paper from a worthless cover, lets add some stamp paint some cancels and see how much we can get for it”. The Erivan cancel is such a crude forgery, no professional auction house should have a problem seeing this.
Another of the “lets us some old paper I found” forgery. This time the 1K manuscript overprint is forged as well as the cancel. I would expect a professional stamp dealer to be able to spot this.
In the description you can read “reprints”. This is correct. This also means, those stamps are forgeries. They are worthless and should not appear in an auction. Same story with the sheets in the lot before.
Collections are always dangerous. In this case, and there are three more pages almost all overprints are forged. Perhaps 5 to 10 stamps are genuine.
Ray Ceresa passed away on the 10th of June. He was a great philatelist, author of the Handbooks about Transcaucasia, Ukraine, Russia and the regions of civil war 1917-23. I had the opportunity to met him and still remember this day vividly. I learned a lot with the help of his books and papers. He also commented a lot on this blog.
I will remember him always as a fellow collector, researcher and friend. He truly was one of the greatest in the area of Armenian philately.
My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife and family.
On November the 6th I wrote an article about a fake cover offered at David Feldman auction house. It is listed again. Please meet Lot 20385 at the current Russia auction.
There is something new also. We got a scan of the Holcombe certificate. Looks genuine. Peter Holcombe seems not to be a reliable source for certificates regarding Armenia.
PS: Mistakes happen. I got a very fast answer from the auction house, the lot has been withdrawn and marked as “bad” so no new listing should happen.
Sometimes the back-side of a stamp is almost as interesting as the front-side. Here is an example of a stamp with 5 signatures:
- A fancy sign that is often present on stamps with genuine overprints.
- The signature of Philipp Kosack (* 17.5.1869; † 16.5.1938) a German dealer located in Berlin.
- Dr. R. J. Ceresa, a well known expert for Armenia and other areas.
- Emil Louis Richard Senf (* 02.08.1855; † 17.01.1941) and
Wilhelm August Louis Senf (* 02.08.1852; † 12.02.1940)
– the famous Senf Brothers – dealers in Leipzig
- Oscar Riep, dealer in Berlin – around the same time as Senf brothers.
I guess there is still place for some more. But seriously, in the stamp trade of the first half of the 20th century you will often stumble over just the same names again and again.
A made a page on the blog where I list the signatures that you can find on stamps of Armenia together with some background information. See here.
The latest addition to my collection is this quarter sheet of overprinted stamps.
This is a high quality scan so you can zoom in a bit and check all the details. The stamp itself is quite common but getting large multiples is certainly not. Since the overprints are made using hand devices there is a lot of variation. This often makes checking the overprints difficult because it is necessary to distinguish between variations resulting of the so called “human factor” (including changes in the ink, pressure and angle used when applying the hand stamp and how often the clerk used the hand stamp before he used fresh ink) and variations that mean the overprint is forged. With time and training and a lot of material for comparison most forgeries can be detected by checking distinctive regions of interest.
Here some examples of the variations. Some of them are useful for forgery detection.
Example 1: The serif is quite prominent and in the shape of a diamond.
Example 2: The serif now looks like a triangular hook.
Example 3: The diagonal line is broken. Not a distinctive characteristic of a genuine overprint but it shows how far the variation can go. For forgery detection the shape of the “handles” in the middle is quite important.
Example 4: A left over of the frame. The unframed Z overprint are the successors of the framed Zs when the frame was removed due to wear.
Example 5: A very prominent leftover of the frame at the bottom of the overprint.
Again a cover is being offered in an auction. This time the auction house is Hadersbeck Auktionen in Berlin, Germany.
The description (translated from German) reads:
“1920, 1R, horizontal pair and 5 on 20 K., vertical pair on registered cover, St. “Yerevan 10. 10. 20″ to Tashkent (arrival postmark)”.
Makes me wonder. Tashkent! Where? It is obviously sent to the company “Fortuna” located in Tiflis. The arrival cancel reads Tiflis too. Not much effort was put into checking this item.
The resolution of the scan is too low for a real check, but the unframed Z overprint could be OK while the 5r HH overprint looks fake.
The easy giveaway for this forgery are the cancels. The serial character seems to be a “d”.
The large Erivan characters are a good effort but the date figures are totally wrong. They look nothing like the genuine ones. Even spotting serifs. They remind me of the Goldkopeck overprints though. The arrival cancel of Tiflis is fake too.