Amongst the latest novelties were some stamps
from nations that are separating from the former Sovjet Union, or
already have some form of autonomy, and a sheet from Somalia.
Together with some other members that were
present on the club meeting we were discussing the authenticity of
these stamps. Well, the approval for authenticity was not very
positive. Reason for me to have a better look at these issues.
First a review: which issues of the last period
qualify to doubt about their authenticity? First off course the
imprints on Russian stamps and the issued of the former Sovjet Union
republics. Further the imprints on the Yugoslavian stamp, and off
course the Somalian sheet that is already mentioned.
I myself divide the russian 'Provisionals', as
they are descirbed in the philatelic world, in 2 parts: the
overprints and the stamp-likes.
We all know the overprinted stamps. This are
stamps of low value that have been overprinted with various motifs,
both in whole sheets or parts. For us the motorcycle motifs are
interesting, but every motif can be found in these imprintings.
What could be the reason for such an overprint?
The transition of part of the country to an independent republic
could be a reason to issue own stamps.
First question is thus: have the republics
mentioned in the imprints become independent? No, they are still
under Russian rule and need to get approval of the Russian state for
everything. 32 of these states do have a large extent of
self-government, these are called autonomous. In some republics and
regions rebellions are in a violent struggle with the central
government. But would these rebellions use the old sheets of stamps
which carry the letters CCCP, that are so hated by them?
And secondly: would you print them over in your
own country's language, or put the English word 'Postage' on them?
Looking at an eventual scarcity I can imagine
that old stamps are re-used, but then would you use 4 stamps to make
1 new, and would you make 200 or more different images? Sumy even
uses a complete sheet of 100 stamps to make one that doesn't even
fit in a mailbox without folding. No, these are definitively
artificial items, meant to make us poor and somebody else rich.
Conclusion: some old mailman has bought all old
sheets of stamp, put them in his printer and sold them to us. Thank
And now the stamp-like items. I think that the folks that have
filled their pockets over the last years with the above mentioned
activities have shopped around and bought an old printing-press, and
are now making their fake-stamps in a more professional way.
However, most of the sheets are not even provided with gum, and
difficult perforations are just printed (see the sheet with Elvis
Also these stamps must be put under the heading
"fake". Writing this, I remember an item from the magazine
"Philatelie" no. 6 of this year. This was about some man
called Clinton and a certain Monica, who were depicted on a sheet
from Abchazia. This sheet was issued by an English firm, Stamp Tail
Ltd. Are they also responsible for the issues that we desire?
What's next? The Yugoslavian stamps with imprints of Kosovo, Bosnia
These seem a lot more reliable to me. One type of
print on a single stamp, from a region where there is a need for
stamps. Time to search the internet.
On this medium I found out that there are
official imprints, but not in the way we know them. Heimer's Stamp
pages speaks about imprints on Yugoslavian stamps, but in Cyryllic
and with a new value. Further the locals don't call the region
Bosnia but HRVATSKA and SRPSKA. Neither have I seen the imprinted
stamps on a used letter.
Sandzak appears to be a region in former
Yugoslavia that reaches from the hills of Montenegro till over the
Servian border, under Bosnia. These stamps are directly called
unofficial by Heimer. The Kosovo imprints are put under the same
The Somalian sheet and strip. It directly struck
me that the name differs from the earlier issued sports stamps. On
the issue of 1958 it is "Somalia", and on the new
aquisitions it is "Somaliland" A quick glance in the
Michel learned that Somalia uses Soomaaliyeed as the country's name
on the stamps of the last years. Time to go on the internet again.
On the pages of Linn's stamp reference I found
the answer. Somalia, one of the 3 countries that formerly made the
Italian East African colony, struggles with an internal war. A group
of Nomads clans fights for the northern part of Somalia, the former
British region. They call themselves "Republic of
Somaliland". The country is not recognized by the U.N. and the
stamps are also not acknowledged by the U.P.U.
(Detail of the sheet)
By the way, there are a few strange things
depicted on the sheet. Apart from Bruce Lee sitting on the wing of a
jet, we see Pamela naderson on a futuristic motorbike. The only film
where she rides a motorbike is Barb Wire, and there she is riding a
naked bike. On the other side we see Kurt Russel on some kind of
Harley with a very remarkable seat for such a motorbike.
Should we not collect the above metioned types of
stamps? That's a difficult question. Of some issues (read here:
Russian issues) it is directly clear that making money is the only
reason for issueing them, but of some others it is a lot harder. Who
would not pay quite an amount of money for a stamp from Burgos or,
from our own region, an Indonesian Viennise Print:
Both stamps of which everyone said at the time of
issue that it would never be worth a dime. But there is a chance
that for the few euros that they cost now, you will have a
valuable collectors item later.
Hans de Kloet
(Translation Paul Essens)
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