Recently I was able to get hold on an original page of the Ashford collection. Peter T. Ashford together with S. D. Tchilinghirian created back in 1953 one of the most important works regarding the stamps of Armenia.
Page four of the handbook features an overview of the genuine and doubtful types of the so-called “framed Z” overprints.
While this is extremely useful for identifying the genuine overprints, it is still not an easy task. One of the problems is that at the time of the creation of this handbook, a lot of modern tools like scanners were not available. That means, all the drawings were made by hand. While the authors did this very accurate still there are differences to the “real thing”. Reproducing photographs were not easy and the results not very clear and lacking resolution and detail. You can imagine how useful it is to have the stamps in my hand that were used for these drawings.
This is a scan of the page right out of the collection of Mr. Ashford.
To demonstrate the differences and the painstaking effort to produce exact drawings I separated the drawing, a scan of the original stamp (section) and a computed extract of the overprint of the D7 type.
There are a lot of things that were hit on spot:
- the arc of the tail is very typical
- the gaps in the frame are all present
- the “forward slash” of the Z is almost identical
There are also thing that got lost through the handwork:
- the arc is still a bit different on the real overprint
- the indent on the right side of the frame is not correct
- the left handle of the Z is not correct
- the horizontal bar at the top of the Z is not correct
The small details are really important because it is always a decision: what is different because of human factor or material used (ink, rubber etc.) and what is different because it is a forgery.
A small addition: while checking the page I stumbled upon this section in the handbook:
It seems Mr. Ashford only got a single stamp with this type of overprint. And it got its own type and listing nevertheless. Now I own this unique? item.
Is this overprint really unique? Who got other stamps with this overprint? Please let me know!