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Author: Subject: The Greens take Sochi!
nik
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[*] posted on 2/17/2014 at 22:22
The Greens take Sochi!


These days the Russian Black Sea resort Sochi is, in more ways than one, warmly welcoming athletes competing in the Winter Olympics. It's in the news. So, today, while perusing the first installment of Emile Markovitch's "Notes of an Old Philatelists" in Rossica #44, the word "Sochi" caught my eye. Markovitch wrote that in 1918 that city was occupied by the "Greens". They were mostly self-organized armed peasant units who fought against all governments in the Russian Civil War in an effort to protect their communities from outsiders. The Greens, according to Markovitch, issued their own postal and revenue stamps "which are not listed in any of the catalogs." Well, sixty years later - they are. My specialized Solovyov (Moscow, 2004) indicates that there exist 60 kopeck overprints on Russian Imperial type regular perforated 1 k. and 3 k. stamps and on the imperforate 3 k. stamps. They must be quite rare because Solovyov does not price them, nor provide an image of the overprint. The catalog also lists five official stamps (for official service correspondence packets) lithographed on yellowish paper: 5, 10, 50 kopecks and 1 and 5 rubles. The 5, 10 kopeck and 5 ruble stamps exist overprinted with a purple "3", and some of the stamps were overprinted in purple "for packages" ("для пакетов"). These vertical format stamps must be quite lovely, showing a palm tree and sun in a round frame and the words "Sochi City Council" ("городская коллегия") in a ribbon above it. Solovyev does not say, as Markovitch did, that these stamps were issued under the brief "Green" administration, an interesting detail. In any case, if colleagues who read this post during the Sochi Olympics have any of these stamps, would you please be kind enough to post scans of them? I for one, and I'm sure others as well, would love to see what they look like!
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nik
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[*] posted on 2/18/2014 at 23:02


The plot thickens. Emil Markovitch, one of Rossica's greatest specialists on revenue and non-postal stamps (cinderellas) was correct when he called the Sochi stamps for what they were - revenues. Solovyov's recent inclusion of them into his specialized stamp catalog, and representation of them as stamps for official correspondence is simply wrong, and here is why. After the Greens were defeated and driven out of Sochi (1919 ?) there was a large stock of printed but unused sheets of Sochi revenue stamps remaining. At some point in time the glue backing was soaked off those stamps (as it was done to the Batum revenues as well, perhaps because of the humid climate) and almost all of the remaining stamps were annulled with a round "for packages" cancel. That imprint was placed in such a way as to cover four stamps at once. That is why a quarter of the cancelation is always found neatly placed in one of the corners of the stamps. Approximately 20-25 years ago there was a fellow at the Moscow stamp club who somehow obtained a large supply of the annulled Sochi revenues. Since at that time there were almost no collectors of revenues to be found, and the revenue stamps that managed to get sold fetched kopecks, this dealer realized that he has to devise a way to make his stash marketable. One way to do that was to pass them off as postal stamps, albeit for official municipal government use. Since this story would be a hard sell if the stamps showed up in neatly cancelled blocks or even worse - whole sheets, he proceeded to separate them and sell them individually. One of the collectors whom he managed to convince of this fabricated story was Yuliy Turchinskiy, who, at the time, was Russia's foremost authority on Russian philately's oddities, and especially cinderellas, including revenues, membership, charity and many other non postal types of stamps. Somehow he "bought" the story of the Sochi revenues having had postal usage. It can happen to the best of us.
At the time, the Filatelia journal was publishing a definitive catalog of Russian stamps in many installments stretching over a number of years. Since Turchinsky truly was one of the foremost authorities providing expertise and stories to the Filatelia journal, and his word was taken there as gospel, he was able to enter the Sochi stamps into the postal stamp catalog listings. A few years later Solovyov simply copied what had already been recorded earlier in the Filatelia catalog. Thus the fiction of local Sochi official postage stamps was born and spread throughout the philatelic community.
I have received the information described above from arguably the top specialist in Russia today on the subject of Russian revenues - Mihail Petukhov. He is well known among the philatelists who frequent the Moscow stamp club bourses and meetings and has been a witness to the events described above. Mihail has my full trust regarding this and other stories of fraud being perpetrated against the philatelic community. It is his hope, that the information presented here will set the record straight. The Sochi revenue stamps of 1918 were just as Markovitch described them 60 years ago - exclusively revenue stamps.
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[*] posted on 2/19/2014 at 22:46


Ah a teaching point I cannot let go! This article Nik refers to in the first post is available here: http://www.rossica.org/pdf/Notes%20of%20an%20old%20philateli...

You can find it by typing in "Notes of an Old Philatelists" in the search bar at the top right of every Rossica web page. Imagine what else you might find if you conduct a search this way?!?
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