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

November 7, 2012

Zemstvo Chronicle 2: Gadiach Shifted Center Varieties

The standard issues of Gadiach from 1892 till 1904 are some of the most fascinating issues from this district. About 20 different editions have been printed, with a wide range of color shades, plate and sheet compositions. It can take a lifetime to really explore deeply the various possibilities of study that enables those issues.

The regular stamps were printed in two colors (a few editions were unicolor), with two plates (one for the frame, one for the center), and the operation needed two manipulations: first   the frame was printed, then the sheet was placed under the second plate and the coat of arms was then applied. Some of the rarest stamps of these issues are the famous Shifted Centers varieties. For the Shifted Centers, simply put, the printer carelessly shifted the sheet too much on one side during the second operation.

Since the printer was rather careless (these stamps did not benefited from the professionalism and expertise of the postal department in St Petersburg), a number of regular stamps display a slight shifted of the coat of arms. Those are not to be considered as varieties (please see scan below); only the substancial shifts should qualify as Shifted Center varieties.

Gadiach 3 kopecks indigo blue & carmine rose (S35)
Top part of the 1895 sheet showing a slight upward misplacement of the Coat of Arms.
This stamp is often seen with a slight shift upward of the center. I would NOT qualify this as a Shifted Center variety. (Author's collection)

All those Shifted Center from 1892-1904 (Schmidt 28/44) are rarities. They remain unrecorded in both the Schmidt, Chuchin and GPS (2004) catalogues. Until now I have seen only three stamps: the indigo blue & carmine rose and dark lilac & carmine rose printing (1895 plates, S35-36) and the orange yellow & rose printing (1897 plates, S39). I have been able to gather three copies (don't ask me how I did it, I am still surprised at this feat), although there are probably a handful of other copies in other holdings. I would roughly estimate that there are about 3 to 10 copies maximum of each Shifted Center.

Gadiach 1897 Plates - 3 kopecks orange yellow & rose printing (S39)
Variety Center Shifted. Probably RRR (4 to 8 copies known) 
Ex. Baughman (Author's collection) 

Below is a copy of the dark lilac & carmine rose printing with Shifted Center. I have seen only two copies until now, both in my collection. The first copy (not illustrated here) was part of the Fabergé collection; the second copy, illustrated below, comes from the Baughman collection. 

Gadiach 1895 Plates - 3 kopecks dark lilac & carmine rose (S36)
Variety Center Shifted. Probably RRR (4 to 8 copies known)
Ex Baughman

Now the good news is that as I see no point of keeping two copies of that stamp, I am offering the Baughman stamp on Ebay. It is an exceptional opportunity to get a very rare stamp, with a low starting price (only 299$). You can follow the sale here.

Maxime Citerne

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