The Samovar

1922 consular air mail issue

iceserpent - 1/11/2004 at 19:15

Does anybody know if there's any literature available on the subject? Especaially regarding determination of kosher/fake overprints?



oldteddy - 1/12/2004 at 08:42

I found that the best way for us non-experts to determine fakes is to compare suspects (and they all are) with genuine stamps. I happened to have three of those stamps expertised by Mikulsky (and it was REAL Mikulsky, I sent stamps to him myself) with OTHER ones.

I remember last year some dealer from NY state was selling on eBay tons of those stamps and even looking at the images on the screen and comparing them with MY stamps it was rather easy to see the difference in overprints.

MICHAEL MACKENZIE - 1/12/2004 at 10:05

That doesn't work when there are differences between authentic overprints.

Here's the suspect

iceserpent - 1/12/2004 at 19:54

Overprint is typographic, seems to be type I from Dr. Ceresa's handbook ("RSFSR" is 32.5 mm long, "C" with medium gap.

Any ideas?

Andrey - 1/12/2004 at 23:23

Looks like a forgery overprint to me...:D

GregMirsky - 1/12/2004 at 23:53

Looks like a fake to me too...

iceserpent - 1/13/2004 at 00:20

Can anybody post a scan of a known good one?

Here is one

oldteddy - 1/14/2004 at 06:03

Compare shape of characters in the overprint, dots in particular, and please note that ink is thicker and darker along the perimeter of each character (typo).

cons-24-III.jpg - 47kB

And another

oldteddy - 1/14/2004 at 06:04

cons-120-IIa.jpg - 51kB

iceserpent - 1/14/2004 at 19:40

Thanks for all the responses, although I'm still not entirely clear about the issue... :(
I understand that there is nothing in print on this particular subject?

GregMirsky - 1/15/2004 at 02:29

Actually there is a Bleckman's article in English translated by David Skipton in Rossica 96/97 from 1979 and also multiple articles published in Filatelia SSSR, Soviet Collectioner, etc., but all of them in Russian. It is a very popular subject.

GregMirsky - 1/15/2004 at 02:33

One more addition to the same subject:

Look how different color of the ink of the overprint?

Gary - 1/15/2004 at 03:59

Any material from this seller, especially overprints, should be considered dubious.

iceserpent - 1/15/2004 at 19:53

Material being in russian is not a problem, on the other hand hunting down appropriate magazines is...I was hoping for something like a book on the subject.

P.S. Gary, is it possible to order select articles from Rossica journal in electronic form (pdf)?

P.P.S. I wonder that people still buying from that seller at all...

Gary - 1/16/2004 at 04:20

Please send Ged an email with the question about the library.

MICHAEL MACKENZIE - 1/19/2004 at 09:56

Is this the correct general information concerning these stamps?
3 major types of those overprints and two sub-types:

Type I: Letters "S" in "R.S.F.S.R." line have medium gap, length of
"R.S.F.S.R." is 32.5 mm (positions 1, 2, 6, 7, 12, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24 in the

Sub-type I: Same as type I, but length of "R.S.F.S.R." is 33.5 mm (positions
9, and 14 in the pane).

Type II: Letters "S" in "R.S.F.S.R." line have very small gap, length of
"R.S.F.S.R." is 33.5 mm (positions 3, 4, 8, 11, 16, 18, 23 in the pane).

Sub-type II: Same as type II, but length of "R.S.F.S.R." is 33.0 mm
13 in the pane).

Type III: Letters "S" in "R.S.F.S.R." line have very large gap, length of
"R.S.F.S.R." is 29.0 mm (positions 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 in the pane).

The following varieties are known:

12 germ. m on 2r 25k stamp
inverted overprint, type I
just "germ" inverted, type ???
inverted overprint, sub-type I
inverted overprint, type II
inverted overprint, sub-type II
inverted overprint, type III
12 germ. m on 3r stamp
just "germ" inverted, type ???
24 germ. m on 3r stamp
inverted overprint, type I
just "germ" inverted, type ???
inverted overprint, sub-type I
just "24 germ. marok" inverted, type ???
inverted overprint, type II
inverted overprint, sub-type II
inverted overprint, type III
120 germ. m on 2r 25k stamp
600 germ m on 3r stamp
1200 germ m on 10k stamp
1200 germ m on 50k stamp
1200 germ m on 2r 25k stamp
just "germ" inverted, type ???
1200 germ m on 3r stamp

mvarfolo - 4/7/2007 at 17:44

Hope you don't mind me resurrecting this subject. Here's my dilemma - I have what I think might be a good Michel 1F (type V 29mm) variety - 12 marks on 3r instead of 2.25 which I don't really need and was thinking about auctioning off.
Obviously need a solid certificate to sell to anything that could be 9000 euros catalog.
The earlier post above refers to Philatelic foundation certificates being not very credible?? I was thinking about using their service.

Can anyone suggest some other really credible expert on consular stamps? Or just go through APS?

Any advice would be helpful.


Gary - 4/7/2007 at 17:47

And can we have a picture for evaluation?

"The post below refers to Philatelic foundation certificates being not very credible?? I was thinking about using their service. " ?????

mvarfolo - 4/7/2007 at 18:04

Originally posted by Chris Ceremuga
A few comments:

It is a very dangerous issue ...

The result is that many of the stamps on the market with positive certificates from experts or expert committees are not genuine - I have recently seen bad ones with certs from Diena & from the Philatelic Foundation.

I was referring to this opinion.
I'll try to make a decent scan.

RSFSR - 4/7/2007 at 19:19

Just a correction to Gary's response ...

Please contact Greg Mirsky ... he is the current Rossica Librarian. I (Ged) retired from this position ...

tedim2 - 4/7/2007 at 19:41

I can only think of Paul at Cherrystone who can give a good opinion and cert.

mvarfolo - 4/7/2007 at 20:18

Well, may be I can get the consensus here from wiser folks on Samovar forum.
Not being a specialist in these issues at all, I've seen enough variety to simply give up having any opinion on it. I sure love to read yours. Many thanks in advance.

tedim2 - 4/7/2007 at 20:36

Reference copy/scan.
Stamp is genuine from Cherrystone.

2300.jpg - 59kB

mvarfolo - 4/7/2007 at 20:50

Ted, thank you! Mi 6 , type III (or IV!?). Nice but... Oh well, I'm in NYC often, so stopping by their place on 57th St. isn't much of a problem.

GregMirsky - 4/7/2007 at 21:59

I suggest - if you interested to auction it - Cherrystone Auctions may be a good choice anyway. Show it to Paul Buchbayev and if he will take it on consignement - you will kill two birds with one stone...check stamp and auction it in very reputable place for Russian material. BTW - can you publish scan of the back of this stamp?

mvarfolo - 4/7/2007 at 22:31

here's the back:

img008.jpg - 79kB

Compare fonts

oldteddy - 4/7/2007 at 23:28

The fonts on the stamp in question and on three reference stamps are different. Compare "2", "o" in the bottom text and capital "C" in R.S.F.S.R. and especially "ch" in the top text. Font on the stamp in questions is much thinner, with rounded, uncertain endings, while reference stamps have thicker characters with clear square ends of letters. No indentation on back - THIS IS THE FIRST TEST.

Alep - 4/8/2007 at 10:11

Maybe, it is worth adding here the following. Indeed, the forgeries of this issue are not rarely found. It is known and interesting, however, that the famous dealer Stolow ordered to manufacture such fakes in a great quantity and sold them as such (faximile!) for low prices. Thus, these should be abundant particularly in the USA and probably that dealer mentioned in a previous message offered 'in tons' just these private 'reprints'. Of course, all forgeries differ from the originals by various details of the overprint.
On the other hand, however, some specialists suspect that unofficial reprints were made later even from the genuine plates. In such case, the shade and quality of ink should be the decisive factor. Remainders of the original printing were delivered from Berlin to Moscow and then distributed between the Popov postal museum and Soviet Philatelic Assosiation, the latter put the stamps in sale through the State trade.
It is interesting also that the Soviet catalog published in 1924 listed only the first five stamps (from 12 on 2r 25k to 1200 on 10k). The main rarities appeared later in the 1928 (Chuchin) catalog. Were they manufactured antedate especially for collectors to raise funds?

GregMirsky - 4/8/2007 at 11:04

All these stories and proven "disappearance" of the original font that was used to print stamps in Berlin and later was used to print "reprints", brings me back to question that bothered me for a long time: what is the definition of the forgery of this specific issue. I can see 4 groups of stamps here:

1. Stamps printed in Berlin (I am assuming that all used stamps with bar cancellations will have the same font and ink features). Those are definitely geniune...

2. Stamps "officially" reprinted later in Russia for philatelic purposes. (Should we call them "reprint" instead of forgery?)

3. Stamps printed by Stolow using "original font" (replica (?))

4. Stamps printed by forgers using different, but similar font with purpose to make money on inexperienced collectors (clear fakes).

Usially even certificates from reputable sources state "geniune in all respects" if stamp related to Group 1, and mark everything else as a "forgery" (Group 2,3,4).

It seems to me that Group 1 and 2 probably should be considered as "1st and 2nd printing", Group 3 - as replica, Group 4 as a forgery.

Did anybody had a certificate that specifies what it is, if it is not "geniune" (reprint, replica, etc.)?

P.S. One more thought... Everybody dealing with this issue historically considering double SFA mark on the back of the stamp as a prove that this stamp is "good" and "geniune". At least this is common perception..
At the same time it is so much easier to fake mark on the back of the stamp then spend time on forging overprint, trying to match exact font, ink, etc. Just an observation for those who thinks and believes that "double SFA mark" is a prove of geniune stamp...

tedim2 - 4/8/2007 at 18:43

Stolow did not have the original settings, he printed using a similar font not the original "clishe"/setting. There are two color variations I have seen, but because of the printing nothing definitive can be concluded, earlier seem darker red than the latter including the 1200 on 50K. Soviet era stamps are a mass production for sale to collectors, errors were manufactured strictly for sale to foreigners. Also these overprints are not in Popov or Goznak. So who, when, where, how, and why seems appropriate for half the issues of RSFSR and CCCP.

Gary - 4/9/2007 at 17:35

tedim2, what is the source of "Stolow did not have the original settings, he printed using a similar font not the original "clishe"/setting.?"


tedim2 - 4/10/2007 at 19:33

Hello Gary, after Stolow’s death, his stamp “Stolow” in red was used to authenticate the stock of consular forgeries and they were sold. If he had them printed or just amassed from years of stock? I don’t know, although most accept the first version. The original settings have never been found, further my hypothesis is that shortly after the Russian Civil War they were used to create some dramatic error and combinations then destroyed once significant profit was realized. Hypothetically if he did have the originals there would be no financial gain from mass production, on the contrary very limited printings would have produced more money. Only my opinion.