«STAMPS IN BATTLEDRESS By JOACHIM HOSANG PRICE FIVE SHILLINGS A GERMAN PHILATELIC REVIEW P U B L I C A T ION Published at 152 Finchley Road, London, ...»
No. 4. One incomplete collection of approximately 10 sets was in the private documents of Major K. No sheets were amongst these, only a few strips of six. K. did not know anything about philately, presented some to his friends, exchanged others against food and his own collection hardly has any stamps at all to-day.
No. 5. A fair sized lot appeared some time ago on the German market and it is likely that these come from one of the four sections, charged with the distribution to foreign agents during the latter part of the war.
The quantity is small but several big units have been recorded in this lot.
One must conclude that the one or other official instead of forwarding the stamps to the foreign agents preferred to keep them for himself.
One can safely say that stocks of these stamps are non-existent in the U.S.A., that hardly anything is held in Germany and that most of what there is still about is to be found in England, as interest in them was considerable. Distribution of late appears to have also been through Switzerland, where small quantities are offered now and then. These usually are bought up by English dealers.
Something about Prices It is extremely difficult to put a fair valuation or market price on these issues, yet I do feel that in the interest of all collectors some indication ought to be given. Whilst most English forgeries are frequently found on the market and can be seen in auctions and dealers' price-lists, German forgeries are hardly ever offered. Prices for English forgeries are by now established whilst those quoted for German forgeries fluctuate tremendously. The valuation I propose to give is based on comparison.
Not on comparison with regular issues, as the circle of forgerycollectors is much smaller !and the prices will have to be adjusted accordingly. I propose to base my comparison-prices on those of the English forgeries. For neither of them are precise issue-figures known, which in itself does not matter as we are only concerned with the stamps which have been saved. One can estimate that there are more collectors for English and American forgeries than for German forgeries at present, but after appearance of this manuscript this discrepancy might level out. I am convinced that the German forgeries will not suffer a collapse in respect of prices though fluctuations might still occur. I consider principally that used copies are more valuable.
There exist two different propaganda cancellations, more about these in the section "Souvenir Sheets and Cancellations." As can be ascertained the metal canceller was only used in black ink on the two propaganda stamps and on the six un-over-printed values stuck on the souvenir sheets. Souvenir sheets being scarce, stamp emanating from these sheets should be rated higher. The other cancellation is of the same appearance but is made by a rubber instrument in violet ink. This is found on all the stamps. Most of the " Liquidation " sets and probably more than half the un over-printed King George VI values, as well as the two propaganda forgeries were thus cancelled. "Used" thus these stamps are relatively cheaper as more cancelled than uncancelled stamps are found. The three other over-print series are so scarce anyway the a valuation for cancelled and uncancelled appears unnecessary. Worth mentioning here for the un-over-printed six values is a third cancellation which can be that of any post-office in Great Britain Theoretically all these values are to found used normally an should be of higher value thus.
Larger units are few and far between and must automatically be of higher value. There appears to be no likelihood that further blocks will come on the market, on the contrary the higher price will tend to push them off the market more and more.
THE CATALOGUE BASISThe listing of these issues is bound to be complicated but that cannot be avoided. Each stamp can be found, in theory, with each over-print.
Hardly anybody will be able to collect all known issues as there is just not enough stock available. All the same, each stamp must be properly classified. I have therefore listed the six un-over-printed values and the two special stamps with Nos. 1 to 8 and given to the over-printed series the Roman Nos. I to V as I consider the Liquidation Set to fall into two separate series especially because of the over-print colours.
The individual over-prints are classified by small letters, in the four sets with 6 over-prints a-f, in the fifth set with 8 over-prints with a-h.
An over-printed stamp therefore will have a catalogue number combined of three indications such as, e.g. 4 II c or 8 IV d.
PRINTINGS Prior to listing, a few technical details regarding the print must be mentioned. All stamps were printed in offset and were perforated line 11½ The paper, as mentioned before, is of a rough quality, watermarked wavy lines. The stamps are ungummed.
Two different sizes of sheets have been used as the stamps are not of identical size. Precise details are not available and I have tentatively reconstructed a sheet based on marginal strips that I managed to obtain.
The sheet for the two special issues, Coronation and Silver Jubilee stamp, could not be reconstructed as the biggest unit available to me was a marginal block of four. A marginal copy of No. 2 shows a dot in the same colour as the stamp on the margin. All the same no definite conclusion can be drawn and one cannot say what margins in the sheet show these markings and what margins are left blank. I assume that the size of the sheet was six stamps vertical, but whether this was divided in the middle by gutters or not I cannot say. The width of the sheets was most likely 12 rows of stamps, each pair being divided by a gutter.
Quite a bit more is known in regard to the sheets of the King George VI set, where all six values were printed in the same sheet size. Here again marginal markings come to our help.
The markings vary in size and are of different type for each value. The ½d and 3d. value show a mark of a semi-circle open towards the stamp.
The 1d. red, 2d. orange and 2½d. blue have a dot instead of the semicircle and the 1d. value has no markings at all. All these marks are in the same colour as the stamps and are found on the top and bottom sheet margins on the right, thereafter on each third, fifth, etc., margin. As I have insufficient material coming from the left half of the sheet, I cannot give an authoritative statement for that half. These marks are also found on the top margins of the 1st, 3rd, etc., stamp. They have furthermore been noted on the gutters. The second type of marking found on all values is a registration cross, varying in length between 8 and 12 millimetres. I found these crosses on the right part of the sheet;
also on the upper and lower gutter margins between the 4th and 5th stamp from the right. I could not check whether the crosses also appear on the left margins. The cross is always in identical colour with the stamp. The third constant mark is a coloured line, 5 cm. long and 1 cm.
thick. This line is divided horizontally only once but frequently vertically. On the right of the line the letter E has been found inverted, followed by a number from 1-6 according to the value, No. 1 being the ½d value, No. 6 is the 3d value. These lines are only found on the bottom margins and irregularly start either under the 1st, 2nd stamp or the gutter between these two.
We have been able to prove definitely that the gutter between the 6th and 7th stamp horizontal, which is nearly as wide as the actual stamp, divides the sheet into two parts. On this gutter, however, the first mentioned markings always appear twice, one belonging to the left, the other to the right hand stamp.
The illustration shows clearly where the various markings are found.
Shown is a hypothetical sheet having twelve vertical rows but only six horizontal ones. This was obviously not a complete sheet, but as the arrangement is the same with 6, 12 or 18 horizontal lines, this was the easiest way out. Neither the crosses nor the coloured lines are indicated on the left part of the sheet.
I have already explained the reasons for the gutters between all stamps.
Mention should still be made that the enormous outer margin which is vertically 4.5 cm. and horizontally up to 6 cm. and shows frequent but irregular additional perforations.
I have also reconstructed the plate used for applying the overprints. This plate consisted of six over-prints horizontal and 12 or 18 vertical, so that one half of a sheet was over-printed in one go. For the sake of order I should mention that the left part was always the first to be over-printed.
These six overprints were normally different and only if this is not the case will special mention be made in the catalogue. The same plate was used for over-printing all values with the result that each of the six values of the King George VI set exist with each over-print.
I must mention that the setting of the over-print type cannot have been constant, as had this been the one case, over-print would always be marginal at the end of the sheet. This is not the case as practically every over-printed stamp could be traced as a marginal copy. The conclusion might therefore be drawn that in the individual horizontal rows the overprint type was inserted without any preconceived scheme. The best proof of this would naturally be a vertical strip, but unfortunately no one has found one up to date.
The over-print on the l, 1½ and 2 penny values is always black whilst the other three values are known with black and red overprints. The material I have seen has brought very constant colours to light, one set showing only the ½d value in red, another only the 1d. and 2½d. This is indicated with each set in the catalogue. None the less it is quite possible that other colours will turn up, considering my material having practically all come from one source. I therefore would be pleased to hear more about them from readers.
THE CATALOGUEA. Special Issues Propaganda forgery of King George V, 1935, Silver Jubilee Issue.
Picture of Stalin instead of the King, altered inscription.
No. 1½d green A. Inscription " Jewish War " Unused Cancel 1 Cancel 2
1. White paper... 15,- 50,- 12,50 II. Greenish paper... 20,- 60,- 15,B. Inscription "Jewish” -,- -,- -,Large units: 1 A 10-20% increase.
Total remainder: 1 A approximately 800 copies.
No. 1 B is the correction of 1 A. This was only made after the material destined for abroad had been despatched. These newly inscribed stamps were probably all burned at Jena, no copy yet having been recorded.
1 A 11 is scarcer than 1 A 1. Large units are known and not uncommon.
I have mentioned in the introduction the souvenir sheets and propaganda cancellations. Two types of sheets exist, one was intended for two special stamps. It shows two double-line frames intended for the stamps, whilst the other one, intended for the six un-over-printed stamps shows six small single-line framed spaces. The top of both sheets is identical, the English inscription explains itself, the Russian inscription reads in translation: "Special stamps in memory of the first day of invasion." It will be noted that whilst the English inscription talks of Stamp, the Russian inscription is given in the plural, Stamps.
Some of the sheets are numbered in the right bottom corner, other sheets are unnumbered. Souvenir sheet No. 1 has only been found in dark violet-brown, whilst sheet No. 2 for the six values has been recorded both in black and blue. Both sheets are 185 x 272 mm, The only stamps originally affixed on these sheets are Nos. 1-8. The stamps were glued on and were either cancelled with a black steel instrument or were left unused. No copies were cancelled with a rubber cancellation. Someone manipulated these sheets, especially the second one, by removing the un-over-printed stamps and replacing the overprinted values of IV or V in their place. In such cases a different valuation must be made and I suggest the stamps at catalogue value plus DM 20,- for the blank souvenir sheet. The genuine souvenir shots are worth DM 100, each.
The propaganda cancellation is in shape an imitation of the Normal London postmark, but with the Inscription LONDON AAAO
SPECIAL STAMPThe diameter of this strike is 23 mm. We differentiate between two different types.
(1) - A metal instrument, showing consistent clean and clear impressions, always in black. So far only recorded on the souvenir sheets and therefore only possible on Nos, 1 to 8 in the catalogue.
(2) - Identical type but a rubber instrument, always producing smudgy and irregular impressions. So far only recorded in violet. Never recorded on the souvenir sheets, but exists on all stamps as listed in the catalogue.
Blocks have been noted with this cancellation.
Based on the information of a former member of VI/F/4, I must state that the second type was supposed never to have been used. I therefore wrote in the first edition of this book that this impression too should be considered as a forgery. Since then this theory has been proved wrong, as I received information, especially from Switzerland, that in letters, containing these stamps and sent there during the war stamps with this second cancellation have been recorded. I must therefore consider both cancellations to be genuine. All the same I must record that all stamps received by Swedish collectors during the war were uncancelled copies.
My theory is that this instrument was not at all handled by section VI/F/4 but by section VI/B, the department responsible for distribution to Switzerland. This would, however, be an exception as this department normally had nothing at all to do with stamps and it appears strange that they prepared just for this purpose, a special instrument. The other theory which perhaps is the simplest and most reasonable one, is that my informant did not know that both instruments were available to VI/F/4.
This is only one of the points where the information available is not absolutely complete and it is again my sincere request that all readers