A Big Error in Michel

Catalog prices for Armenian stamps generally are a problem. Some stamps are missing, some are overpriced, some underpriced and some stamps listed simply don’t exist.

Part of the problem is that each of the publishers of stamp catalogs had another source. Stanley Gibbons worked with Tchilinghirian, Michel with Zakiyan while Scott and Yvert et Tellier had apparently no expert (or work of an expert) to work with. Scott even shows a lot of forged stamps as picture additions to its listing…

Let me give you an example.

Here is a very interesting excerpt from the book of Zakiyan and Saltikoff:

I tried to translate this (please write me, if you can proved a better translation!) as follows:

With the official documentary evidence, will do our best to clear stamp catalog Armenia from such speculative “varieties”, to only those types that have been released officially.
As already mentioned, after the establishment of Soviet power in Armenia, in the stock of the Erivan postal telegraph office remained around 1.9 million unsold stamps, which in value terms, accounted for 80% of the print run of the third edition (including a small number with overprints of the fourth edition). The five survived inventories, composed on various occasions in 1921, show that the total number of these stamps ranged as follows:

7 February1.910.492 pieces
1 July1.860.380 pieces
19 July1.865.968 pieces
20 July1.865.380 pieces
27 October1.892.853 pieces

Between 7 February and July 1, the number of the remaining stamps was reduced through the sale to the population. Later the stock was gradually replenished by shipments of small amounts from other postal establishments in Armenia. Three out of the five inventories of stamps listed both, the original and overprinted values, which allows us to determine the relation between the denominations used for the over printed stamps of the third issue. Here is an inventory of the unsold and remaining stamps belonging to the stock of the Erivan postal telegraph office, compiled on the 20 July 1921:

1r./1k.522.243 pieces10r. /50k.181.781 pieces
3r./Зk.273.046 pieces25r./70k.744 pieces
5r./k.175.351 pieces50r./1r.1.294.845 pieces
5r./5k.86.156 pieces100r./Зr.50k.27.334 pieces
5r./10k.163.105 pieces100r./5р.26 pieces
5r./15k.110.173 pieces100r./7r.91 pieces
5r./20k.189.616 pieces100r./10r.2.579 pieces
10r./25k.3.205 pieces4 коп.88 pieces
10r./35k.35 pieces

Lets have a look at the 10 ruble on 35 kopek overprint.

What we can see is, that on the 20 July 1921 only 35 pieces are left in the Erivan post office stock. When you open your Michel catalog, this stamps (#66) has a catalog value of 750 Euro as mint hinged. One of the highest values of the complete issue. My guess is – actually Mr. Patemans guess before me: Michel read this as print run figure. Because the number is small, this should be an extremely rare stamp.

Great, I am rich. Look at what I have got.

A part of a sheet with genuine 10 ruble overprints. That are already 25 stamps. Out of 35 possible. Michel is 18.750 Euro. Is this correct? Never! Actually, this a quite common stamp. As Mr. Pateman writes, you can buy genuine stamps with this overprint from him for 10 Euro.

However, don’t get me wrong. Michel is a very good catalog. Its just that you have to know a bit more than the catalog.

Addendum: This can be (and already has been) used be sellers to create a collection (or lot at an auction) with an incredible high catalog value.

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