The Samovar

How to identify Russian postmarks

ruskystamps - 8/13/2019 at 06:56

In addition to my substantial 1858-1991 Russia collection - I've just started to separately collect Russian stamps with interesting postmarks - initially by trawling through all my duplicate stamps to spot anything attractive.

I have a copy of the Barefoot booklet on Russian Postmarks (Kiryushkin / Robinson) but as I'm not able to read Cyrillic Russian, its quite a task identifying postmarks albeit that this book helps a lot.

I was wondering if anyone has some tips on how to scan and Photoshop images to better reveal the postmark - with everything else left very feint. I only know my way around the basics with Photoshop but I'm sure by making selective colour adjustments, what I'm after must be easily possible.

Any suggestions...?

GregMirsky - 9/1/2019 at 01:25

Try to convert scan to grayscale image and try to invert image. Since postmark usually black, it can help. You may also play with brightness and contrast. Another trick if stamp is of certain color try to remove this color. Let's say - if stamp is green, try to remove green and look at remaining image. There is no single answer.

ruskystamps - 11/16/2019 at 04:44

Thanks Greg - that was very helpful. I've just tried this Photoshop technique with one early SG #7 Arms stamp example and have shown the results !!

Attachment: phpWD8KpW (83kB)
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#7_inverted.jpg - 240kB

David Jay - 11/16/2019 at 15:41

For imperial postmarks, the single most valuable tool is probably the pdf listing of Russian post offices up to 1916, based on a number of the periodic compilations (multiple "Spisok" volumes) put out by the Russian post in revolutionary times. I think this is available from Philip Robinson, but Greg may now better.