The Samovar

Deceptive forgery?

Gary - 4/8/2008 at 16:56

This lovely cover was purchased some time ago for a record breaking price of $1.50, which included postage. However, what I thought I had bought was not exactly what I had in my hand.

From: Moscow
Posted: IX Town-Post-Office, Serial 2, 6 March 1904.
Info: This particular postmark was in use from approximately 1894-1904. Serial 2 is the only recorded one, but serial "1" should exist?
Registered: Z label No. 293 with printed 9th Town (PO), L(itva-letter) "A"

To: Moscow guberniya, Mozhaisk uezd, Kukarinsk Volost Starshina (someone else can get the name and address for us)

Arrived in Mozhaisk: 7 March 1904, Serial letter "B"

A quick look at the back (OK a bit non-pristine) confirms the pair of 7-kop. stamps is correct for a registered internal Russia letter.

OK. Into the stack to catalog and mount. Next cover!

Wait a minute! Those stamps look funny. I'll let this one run for a bit and them provide why I think they are a problem. In the meantime, please add comments, observations, etc.

9GPO-front.jpg - 80kB

back of cover

Gary - 4/8/2008 at 16:56

9GPO-back.jpg - 65kB

jlechtanski - 4/8/2008 at 18:34

Looks like there are (or were) stamps under the two 7k stamps.

The two postmarks on the stamps don't seem to line up with the two Moscow postmarks on the envelope.

David Jay - 4/9/2008 at 11:37

Looks like there was either two or three stamps removed, then replaced with these two. Can't
tell whether maybe some letters were partially drawn on the two new stamps to assist in the matter.

Gary - 4/9/2008 at 12:20

Te stamps were indeed removed and replaced with two different ones. Equally deceptive at first quick glance is that the stamps used to replace the original ones are also postmarked with a Moscow Town Post Office mark, but from a different time - only the month is really visible and it is October (X). Attached is an enhanced picture of the items with arrows pointing to obvious differences.

I have been seeing more and more items in the last year or so with stamp replacement or addition after the fact. Sadly, they add nothing to the items and I wonder why someone would think they would, unless they have little knowledge on the subject. The last "large" number I saw was in a small auction by a dealer in Arizona a few years back.

9GPO-GS-4web.jpg - 77kB

David Jay - 4/9/2008 at 12:28

Gary - was the original cancel perhaps light enough that postal re-use was the motive? The 7k is quite dark,
so would hide a light cancel well.
Alternatively, one frequently sees cards where stamps were removed, I assume to put
in collections, before the time when postal history was valued. Perhaps this letter suffered the same

Gary - 4/9/2008 at 12:37

Possible, but I would think it is dark enough that a postal clerk who is awake would have noticed it. My guess is that they were some stamp collector abused the cover for his/her collection. Then along came an energetic young lad trying to improve his financial status and added stamps from another source.;) But that is just a guess.

stamps.jpg - 51kB

Gary - 4/9/2008 at 13:30

And for the inquiring minds among us, the Kukarinsk Volost Starshina in 1904 was Vasilii Vasil'evich Filatov.

Lacplesis - 4/9/2008 at 17:17

I think the humidity that caused the foxing also soaked of the original stamps. Later someone with knowledge about postage rates replaced the missing stamps.

Gary - 4/9/2008 at 17:32

Why is there no foxing on the front?

Lacplesis - 4/9/2008 at 20:46

Most probably the cover still had it's content when it got wet from the downside.

Unhinged - 4/9/2008 at 21:39


I've never heard this term before. What is it?

jlechtanski - 4/9/2008 at 23:31