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

September 15, 2012

Zemstvo Chronicle 1: The Rarest Stamp of Gadiach

Gadiach is a small locality in (today's) Ukraine. From 1884 till 1912, this Zemstvo district issued about 50 stamps, that were to be used in the city proper and some 18 villages ('volost') of the area. I wrote 1912 and not 1913, as it is incorrectly stated in Artuchov' s 'The Zemstvo Postage Stamps of Imperial Russia' (Vol. 2: 67).

Those issues from Gadiach are particularly fascinating. They are colorful, often bicolors, extremely diversifed in their design and they had legitimate postal use. All stamps, except the last one, display the district's historical coat of arms: St Michel Subduing A Devil. 

Selection of Gadiach stamps - A delightful variety of designs and colors

As for most of the Zemstvo stamps of Russia, there are two main categories of rarities; the first category is that of rare stamps recorded in the Carl Schmidt catalogue. The second category is that of unrecorded stamps that have never been mentionned anywhere, and usually unheard of most collectors. I will probably blog about this last category in the near feature, but for now let's go back to the first category, and have a look at the stamps illustrated below. 

In May 1894, Gadiach issued a set of four imperforate stamps, in four different color combinations. Those stamps are numbered 30 to 33 by Schmidt. Please pay attention to the last stamp on the right (scan below): it is the 3 kopecks olive yellow & brownish red (Schmidt #33)

This is quite a common stamp, easily found in single mint copies in collections, but much harder to find cancelled or in multiples. Below are three scarce items from my collection: on the left a very scarce block of six (Ex. Baughman), on the right a single copy with the rare plate flaw 'Crack Through Left Value & Large Dot in Shield' (which occurs only once per sheet, at the position 25), and finally a rare pair cancelled by the district's handstamp (this pair made up a 6 kopecks rate for the registered letters):

A second birth: the perforated issue - In January 1904, 10 years after the initial imperforate printing, the few remaining sheets still in possession of the Zemstvo Pravlenie (administration) have been perforated 11.5. This perforated edition is known as the 1904 issue, although it should be noted that Carl Schmidt decided to attribute the same catalogue number as for the imperforate edition (probably for convenience). 

Because of the great scarcity of the perforated copies that have survived until today, it is most likely that only a handful of imperforate sheets (all four values put together, i.e #30-33) have been submitted for perforation in 1904. They are missing from most collections, including major ones. As for myself, being an avid collector of Gadiach, I own only one copy of each perforated value (in comparison to a hundred of imperforate ones). 

Below is the pièce de résistance: the ONLY copy known until today from the 1904 perforated 3 kopecks olive yellow & brownish red. This is the rarest regular stamp of Gadiach, and a Zemstvo rarity. It has a 2010 Terry Page certificate.

Schmidt rates it only 'R', which is obviously wrong, as NO copy was in neither the Ferrari, Fabergé (both Agathon & Oleg) or Baughman collections. I am currently investigating for information regarding the G.H Kaestlin collection that was shed to light in 2010, curious to know whether that last great holding contains -or not- those perforated issues. 

Actually the perforated stamp was unknown to Oleg Fabergé himself!

Gadiach - 1904 Issue (perforated 11.5) 
Olive yellow & brownish red printing (Schmidt 33)
RRRR - Only one copy recorded (author's collection)

Maxime Citerne

September 7, 2012

Filarossia's September Auction

I am selling for the next 10 days a selection of choice items on Ebay, including some scarce ones.

You can just have a look at Filarossia's Ebay store, to see if something might be of interest for you. Below is a short selection of the items I offer. Enjoy!

- Russia #1, 1857, Very Fine copy with OFFSET OF CENTER. Very scarce variety.

- Romanov, EARLIEST USE RECORDED of the Ruble value, 4th January 1913. An impressive exhibition item!   SOLD!

- Russia #6, October 1858 issue, 20 kopecks on enveloppe from Tiflis to Leipzig. Scarce.