Russian stamps 10 kopecks imperforate, strip of five, largest multiple known. Ex Fabergé

Russian stamps 10 kopecks imperforate, strip of five, largest multiple known. Ex Fabergé

October 14, 2011

Tiflis 1857, Russia number 1 and uneducated philatelists

A few months ago on Ebay a dealer offered a photocopy reprint of the famous 1857 Tiflis stamp and, believe it or not, the bogus item was finally sold for more than 310$.

310$ for a photocopy, clearly sold as such... I am wondering: what can be in the mind of this philatelist to buy a simple photocopy for hundreds of bucks? Probably nothing. A pure void of philatelist knowledge.

Unfortunately, this happens more often than not. Let's take another example.

Washed pen cancelled copies of Russia number 1 are often offered on the market. Some dealers are expert in 'tricking' the collector with twisted description, like '10 kop. imperf looks unused'. No mention of washing, so I smile at the 'looks unused', here a perfectly unethical way of pushing the emotions of the bidders. Nice try. And the worse is that some collectors are paying 500$ to 1000$ (!) for a washed copy.

Is that avoidable? Yes, easily. With a minimum of philatelic knowledge. Unused (i.e without gum) copies of Russia 1 are very rare, washed copies very common, and some seller's descriptions like above are only playing with the emotions (doubts) of a few uneducated collectors, who will end up with an empty wallet.

Type I - Sheet margin copy - Additional Plate Flaw 'Open Zero' -
Sold for 610$ with correct description including 'pen washed'

On the other hand, I sold this year a beautiful sheet margin copy of Russia 1, from the scarce first  type, with an additional recorded plate flaw 'open zero' in SW corner, for only 610$ (see picture above). In my opinion, a real bargain. The stamp was pen washed, which I clearly indicated in the description. Maybe I should have written 'looks unused', I would have make an extra 400$ out of it!

Or simply make a photocopy, keep the original and sell the scan to an idiot for 310$ like the  Ebay dealer did with the Tiflis photocopy!

Honestly, I congratulate the educated collector who bought me this stamp. He was delighted in receiving the item (which is now in Finland). As always, knowledge is precious, because with it you can leave away the trash and grab the real opportunities.

Now you get my point. We can choose either to be educated philatelists, and carry on the tradition like the great names of Fabergé, Liphschutz or Baughman ... or idiot philatelists with no taste for the really precious, and no brain for investment.

The choice is yours.

October 3, 2011

Russian Post in China 1: Very Rare Fulya-Erdi CER station

1917 (July) postcard from Mukden (stamp missing) adressed to Fulya- Erdi. Purple transit cds from Chan Chun imperial Japenese post office. Very rare postmark "Fulya-Erdi 28.07.1917" applied on arrival.

The history of the Russian presence in China/Mandchuria is a fascinating subject in itself, from which the famous Chinese Eastern Railway (CER) plays an important role.  Built between 1897 and 1901 with Russian investments, the CER was a smart diplomatic way of increasing and securing the Russian presence in China, extending its influence far beyond Vladivostok. Finally opened in Autumn 1901, around 100 different Russian post offices have been officially recorded to operate along its lines.; by 'officially recorded', I mean that their names have been written down in official Russian documents. 

In reality,  since the majority of these stations were  only small halts handling a negligeable quantity of mail --with the obvious exception of some important centers like Kharbin or Tsitsikar--, only a handful of postal material (loose postmarked stamps or covers) have survived through  the chaos of the XXth century: out of a hundred POs recorded 'in the book', more than 70 are nowadays still unknown to collectors (no material discovered yet)!

As a matter of fact, the great scarcity of any survived loose stamps or covers from these SMALL Russian post offices along the CER lines is bringing them to the rank of rarities. There is usually less than 10 items recorded for each small station 'philatecally' recorded.

Fulya-Erdi was such a small station on the Chinese Eastern Railway (CER) between Khurkura (another small station, no material known to date) and Tsitsikar. A post office from the Russian Imperial Administration operated there since 1913 (first date recorded), handling only ordinary mail. 

 A close up from the Fulya-Erdi postmark
(Tchilinghirian and Stephen Vol. 5, page 419, rated RRR)

When Tschilinghirian and Stephen published their famous opus in 1957, only one item was recorded from this station -- a strike of the Fulya-Erdi postmark dated 21.01.1914 on a loose Romanov stamp (collection Tracks). Collectors had to wait another 20 years (!) before a second item -- a complete postcard dated 03.11.1913 -- was discovered (British Journal of Russian Philately N°56, 1978). A few years ago I have seen a third item located in the USA -- another loose Romanov stamp -- bearing this postmark. 

To the best of my knowledge (your educated updates are welcome), the postcard illustrated above is one of about ten items recorded to date, excluding a small number of scarce pieces and loose stamps.

As a resume, cards/covers known with the Fulya-Erdi postmark are:

- Two registered covers (collections Dr Casey)
- A third registered cover (whereabouts unknown) 
- A postcard from Fulya-Erdi dated 03.11.1913
- A postcard to Fulya-Erdi dated 28.07.1917 (illustrated above)
- Four or five other covers and cards in miscellaneous collections

October 2, 2011

Welcome to the Classic Russia Philately website !


This website is dedicated to the study and presentation of classic Russian philately, from the 18th century till the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917.

In addition to some articles as well as some items discussions, I have decided to include a STORE category which will offer from time to time some nice stamps and covers to enhance your own collections. Please note that I am NOT a professional stamp dealer, but an educated philatelist who buys lots of material ... and therefore  needs sometimes to sell various stuff that doesn't fit into my own specialized collections.

Being aware of the limitations of my own knowledge and being always eager to learn, I will gladly welcome your (constructive) comments and, in case of any mistakes or inaccuracy in the content of this website, your updates or corrections. You are most welcome to contact me for any request or remarks!
Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to all my fellow collectors who share here and there their passion for Russian philately, and who are for the most of them members of the active philatelic societies such as Rossica, BSRP, Arge Russland and Cercle Philatélique France Russie.

Yours Truly, 

Maxime Citerne