Signatures and other Markings

When you turn your stamps around and look at the backside you often can find markings of some kind. That can be pencil script or impressions of small ink cancels. Sometimes it comes in the way of text, sometimes there are fancy signs. Those signs and markings can tell small tales about the history of the stamp and sometime give hints about the stamp and or the overprint being forged or genuine.

The origin of those markings can be distinguished into the following areas:

  • Owner Markings
  • Expert Markings
  • Dealer Markings
  • Society Markings

In the following text you can find examples and some details.

Owner Markings

In older times is was not uncommon to mark or flag the stamps of your own collection. Like an ex Libri sign, just on stamps. Those markings usually do not give hints about the stamp being forged or not.

The “UZ”

So far always on stamps with forged overprint.

Dzenis of Riga

So far always on stamps with forged overprint.

The “HEZ”

Often on stamps of the pictorial issue.

The “AG”

Often on stamps of the pictorial issue.


Expert Markings

Experts signed stamps they got from collectors or dealers when they thought them to be genuine. Those markings can and have been forged too. Sometimes experts made mistakes or research yielded new knowledge making older expert markings obsolete.

Dr. R.J.Ceresa

The “old” version of the Ceresa mark. He said it is not a guarantee marking but rather a sign that this stamp passed his hands or was part of his collection at some times. Still most of the time on stamps with genuine overprints.

The newer expert signature in two colors. Sometimes the ink can be spotted from the front-side. Almost always on stamps with genuine overprints. Some mistakes from the last years are known. I guess age and health take a toll even on the biggest experts.

Dr. P. Jemchouchin or Jemtschoujin

The signature comes as script, in an oval and most of the time as “Dr. P. JEM”. Sometime the last part of the “JEM” does not print.


Expert and Dealer located in Mt. Kisco NY (USA) 1920–60s.

General Leo Dawydow

A former member of the Zsar army and known for his interest in stamps and making money.

Zbignieniew Mikulski

A well known expert for Poland and Russia. Lived in Warsaw later St. Gallen Switzerland. Not often on Armenian stamps.

Max Thier

Max Thier, Berlin-Charlottenburg, 1852–1925, renowned expert 1890–1920

Waldemar Pohl

An expert for Russia and areas from Bamberg, Germany. Apparently not on Dashnak stamps.


Ashford and Tchilinghirian

Souren Serebrakian

On Dashnak stamps you can often find parts of the lilac “Serebrakov” cancel. The complete mark is from a cover front-side. Sometimes he used the “SER” in a frame.

Serebrakian worked at the post office of Erevan in the first years of the Dashnak regime. A stamp/overprint with this sign is most likely genuine.

Melik Pasha

Dealer Markings

Dealers often marked stamps they sold. Since overprints have been forged right from the start (inside and outside of Armenia), dealers sold quantities of early forgeries trusting them to be genuine because the came directly from Armenia or Armenian people. Some of the forged stamps found their way into Kohl handbook/catalog and Maison Romeko catalog and others.

Julius and Henry Stolow


The brothers Henry (1901–71) and Julius, originally from Riga, were stamp dealers in Berlin 1920s to 1933, after which they moved to Brussels for a few years, before emigrating to the USA.

Richard Borek

Richard B. (Sr.), 1874–1947, dealers f. 1893, in Braunschweig Germany.

Dr. Serge Rockling (Rochlin, Rocklin) –  Maison Romeko Paris

A dealer and expert from Paris. He bought a lot of stamps from the Soviets. He also published an own catalog. Dr. Serge Rockling  1893–1975, dealer Maison Romeko 1921–c.65, AIEP 1968–75. Forged signatures are known.

Kalenik Lissiuk

New York NY, 1889–1980, dealer 1924–44.

Society Markings

The soviet philatelic society was an governmental controlled organisation that sold stamps to the Western market. If not forged, those markings indicate stamps with genuine overprints. Sometimes overprints were made years after the stamps were valid with original devices and material from the archives. Leftover stocks from archives were also sold. The soviets were very strict to prevent private initiatives but had no problem with taking money from the capitalists as long as it was channeled through governmental agencies.

Soviet Philatelic Society


Often applied twice. One time for the stamp and one time for the overprint.