The Samovar

Bogus Latvian/Soviet mixed franking FDC

kiompie - 5/24/2003 at 20:02

I purchased the following philatelic cover as a souvenir from the early post-Soviet era and as an ode to early post-Soviet commercialism.
A savvy dealer from Estonia applied a Soviet 1964 green Olympic Games souvenir sheet, a Soviet 1984 5 ruble high value and three Latvian overprints to a registered cover addressed to himself and mailed in Latvia.

All in all an attractive cover, albeit useless in the postal history arena, made even more interesting by the cancellation date: 04.04.1992 - the first day of issue for the 5.00 rubles Latvian overprint in the lower left corner.
Wow! Surely a 'must have' item for the savvy/greedy collector!! Well, not quite. You know the expression 'there is one born every minute'? That is me. Why?

I asked a postal worker from Latvia to have a closer look at the cover. Surprisingly he did not mention any problems with the rate, the problem was the date 04.04.1992 (a Saturday) in combination with the Riga-16 PO cancel. According to him only the main PO's were open to distribute the Latvian overprints on that Saturday. Riga-16 was closed!!

The cover is therefore completely bogus (the arrival cancel on the back notwithstanding) and I am the not-so-proud owner of a nice-looking piece of paper with a ruined 1964 OG souvenir sheet.:(

I still hope the postal worker was wrong :D

fake64a.jpg - 61kB

Jeff - 6/28/2004 at 22:19


Was this an eBay purchase?

lam - 6/29/2004 at 04:26

I am very scepthic about a need for Air Mail from Riga to Estonia

kiompie - 8/3/2004 at 15:24

Jeff, yes this was an ebay purchase (beginner's mistake, a few years ago).
BTW, I am sorry it took me so long to answer your question, but I have been emigrating during the whole month of July.

Iam, the air mail was applied for philatelic reasons only.

look on the bright side

verny - 5/25/2006 at 14:28

Is the glass half full or half empty?

Look on the bright side:

1.You have a nice illustration of the registered mail and airmail cahets in use at the time.
2.You have a nice example of a late period soviet registration label for Estonia. have gained in knowledge
4.The cover can still be written up as the story is rather nice and the stamps, cachets etc are all genuine it is the useage that is not.

achlenov - 5/25/2006 at 15:58

This is a good question! What exactly was forged on this cover? Maybe for a bottle of vodka he was let in the postoffice on Saturday by a drunk director, did his dirty philatelic business, and left. This is postal history!!!:mad:

red1999 - 4/16/2007 at 16:30

i still don't understand, why you think this is a forgery - i am not an expert here though.

i think i bought stuff on ebay from the same person. my experience was a good one.

this cover is of course "created" by a philatelist.


kiompie - 6/25/2007 at 06:49

red1999, I do not think it was a "forgery", I do believe it is bogus since, according to the postal worker, Riga 16 was closed at the time. An item sent through a closed post office is not sent officially, hence... bogus mail. It does not matter if the cover was created by a philatelist, there are plenty of genuine philatelic covers.

I do agree with achlenov that this is "postal history", though. But, as I stated in my original post, I can still hope that the postal worker is wrong. After all, he is my only source.

Sijtze Reurich - 2/7/2009 at 03:51

Achlenov: "Maybe for a bottle of vodka he was let in the postoffice on Saturday by a drunk director, did his dirty philatelic business, and left."
I rather think for a bottle of wodka the postal clerk was willing to backdate his stamp on Monday the 6th. The Riga 16 cancel looks genuine to me.