Recently I got a hold off quite a rare stamp. But let us zoom in from the outside, starting with the Dashnak overprints. During the first Republic, when the Dashnak government ruled the newly independent country, the overprinting process started – with the exception of the 30 and 60 Kopeck overprints – with the so called HP overprints monograms with no face value. They served two purposes:
- Make a stamp an Armenian stamp so it could be distinguished from other Zsarist stamps – this was necessary to prevent loss of revenue when stamps from outside were brought into the country (same like with the Ukraine tridents)
- Change the value of the stamp. A 1 Kopeck stamp now as a 1 Ruble stamp, a 50 Kopeck stamp a 50 Ruble stamp etc. – this was necessary to cope with the high inflation
A bit later the inflation asked for even higher values and the answer were the Ruble overprints – also called HH overprints. The new thing was the added value to the Monogram. Now a 3.5 Ruble stamp could be a 100 Ruble stamp.
The process of the development of these overprints was quite fast and went through several iterations. “T and A” and Ceresa describe seven different “sub-issues” of the HH overprints. One of the iterations is the so called “Emergency 10 Ruble Surcharges” issue – also the Fourth Issue.
The historical background is given through the invasion of Armenia by the Turks. Kars had fallen and the inflation accelerated again. The inland letter rate doubled from 5 to 10 Rubles in October 1920. In comparison, Georgia and Azerbaijan waited with this step til February 1921. Suddenly a lot of 10 Ruble stamps were needed. In order to address this need the Postal Administration did two things:
- use additional values (15, 20 and 70 Kopeck stamps) for surcharging with 10r
(the lower values were mostly used up at this point)
- use a new second 10 Ruble handstamp (type 2) to speed up the overprinting process.
In a first stage the 10r overprint was added to stamps which already had a HP monogram – framed of unframed Z. A second stage followed where in a “two stage process” on fresh unoverprinted stamps (remains from other post offices that arrived in Erivan) were used. In the second stage only the new type 2 handstamp was used.
In stage one the following Kopeck values were used: 15, 20, 25, 35, 50, 70 and the 4 Kopeck Romanov stamp. In stage two the same stamps and also some quantities of 4, 5 and 20/14 Kopeck stamps came into use. All stamps only the perforated type.
The interesting fact here is that just one type of the Romanov stamps was used. The Emergency issue is most likely not philatelic inspired and this proofs that the 4 Kopeck Romanov stamp was part of the stock of the Armenian post offices.
All the stamps of the Emergency issue are quite rare. The two stage (stage two) 10r type 2 overprint on the 4 Kopeck Romanov stamps is one of the rarest stamps of them.
The overprint is a combination of the large monogram from the 1r HH handstamp and the 10 (r) type 2 (HH) handstamp.
A question still unsolved is which of the overprints in the two stage process was applied first.