Saturday, October 27, 2012

How scarce this really is?


From The Estonian Philatelist site one can read about "Some of the rarities in Estonian philately"  (Summary of an article by Vambola Hurt in Eesti Filatelist #24-25, 1979)

Weaver Issue 2 1/2 Mk.
It is today practically impossible to find any item of this stamp printed on horizontally ribbed paper, specially in mint condition. It is known to exist only in very few collections.

Possible the date of publishing got something to do with the fact that the price does not reflect in the handbook issued later by Hurt and Ojaste.
Still the question remains for me - how scarce it is today, in mint and used condition?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Soviet 1969 Repin on fluorescent paper


I remembered seeing this stamp, 1969 Repin 10kop value with Hovest guarantee for sale on German eBay years ago. Michel 3653y, price -.- In regular Michel 2009, it's the only one I can see from the 1960s being listed.
 It would appear this is one of the UV paper stamps I have. Among many others I have now discovered, since I started to study them this month.

I've never really found a good explanation on how Soviet stamps were printed and reprinted during 1960s. I think I had read they were printed in different places but I'm curious if it applied for the same issue or did printing workshops just change over the years.

It's still interesting that one set can have some stamps on UV paper and others on normal paper.

Anyone know more about this subject? Anyone know if new Michel Spezial has more of papier fl. varieties listed?


Monday, October 8, 2012

Soviet Union stamps - UV paper

Something new to study after a summer - Soviet Union stamps on fluorescent paper.
 One might think these are not very uncommon considering the printing numbers and stamps issued.
But it doesn't appear to be so once you take a closer look.

What renewed my interested after a long time was recent auction of David Feldman. There, a pair of mint 6kop definitives, 1966 issue,  was realised for 130 Euros. I hadn't put much time in examining my stockbooks and thought this could be a worthwhile adventure. So with a UV lamp in one hand and tweezers in other, I dived into the albums in my darkened room ...

I did find 4kop of the same definitive series on UV paper but not 6kop. Unlike other stamps on UV paper, this one glowed quite green. Sadly, I know of now way to show my discovery.
 Today I took another look at this subject, after being reminded by a friend collector to check Zagorsky catalogue for reference. On a sidenote, Soloviev did list 4kop on UV paper but somewhy for nearly the same price as ordinary paper.

After examining catalogue and my stockbooks, I found atleast two early issues on UV paper.
Both from 1965. One is Antarctic ships, 4kop se-tenant (printed together in a pair). Since I got a set of these in quarter blocks from other source recently, I could confirm the stamps I have are not on ordinary paper.
Second one is Heroic City Odessa. Both are listed in Zagorsky. Unfortunately atleast in 2006, there are no prices for UV papers.
Third discovery is our own Estonian theme, song festival. It would appear all the stamps I have of this issue are on UV paper.

This seems quite interesting field to pursue. Downside is that it's real difficult to show your finds. You also need a portable UV lamp and a dark room. On upside, this subject has a lot of potential in the future in my honest opinion. Anyone can discover such stamps from their collection if they only bother (discovering them at collectors fair or via eBay isn't possible though, unless you buy them from a trustworthy source). They ain't too common I'd guess but there are more possible paper varieties of this kind out there than Zagorsky lists.
 And most UV papers ain't listed in any major catalogues at all. One could easily build a specialised collection of these far before any specialised catalogue with prices is published, making it a good investment as well as a fun subject in this interesting hobby.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pricing of modern Estonian stamps in catalogs

Recently I've had many trades and people keep asking from me for a modern used Estonia, of course what most miss from their collections are commemoratives. Especially recent few years when usage of mail and printing numbers have droped considerably.
I can imagine this is pretty much the same with all the tiny or small countries in Europe and elsewhere.
Somewhere in philatelic forum I saw a mention that there are dealers in existance who charge four figures per KG of certain small countries kiloware.

And now to the question - isn't pricing in Michel, SG, Scott quite off the reality? I can completely understand that there is NO way creators of these catalogs would know the philatelic situation of every or any small country. But in such case as pricing does not reflect the reality, should catalogs be used at all for modern stamps of small countries?
I can only speak for stamps of my country. Also don't have Y&T modern, only classic. So maybe situation it's different there.

Let me give you a couple of examples. 1997 issue, coin on stamp, 100kr (krooni/crowns) face value.
SG302 £8.50 mint £4.25 used.
Sc363 $17 for both
Michel 346, both €14
Face value of 100kr is a bit over 6 euros, 5 pounds, about 9 USD.
Printing number 51800.
Now, as for rates... you really couldn't use it much. Only for very heavy parcels send aboard. In my years I have used only
ONCE 100kr stamp. Because it couldn't be used for any inland rate I've never seen it on any parcel, naturally. As for mint - you can just order it at the face value from Post (unless they've sold out by now).

Perhaps such stamp is not very good example to reflect the general situation as it could be used so scarcely. Yet, 50kr value coin stamp, much more likely to be used is 10€ in Michel, £2.50 in SG, $8.50 in Scott as used. Quite absurd pricing in SG. Half of the face for such a high denomination?
Scott and Michel are a bit closer to realism. Both price used stamps at about double of face value.

I do not have catalogs for 2009-11 but I bet stamps there are still priced at the best on double of face value.
Yet in 2009 there was one issue, Alexander's Cathedral with printing number of only 30000. It was sold out extremely fast, from what I know most of it fell into the hands of philatelists. Estonian Post also sends quite a bit of any stamp issued aboard. Plus there are year packages. So many small Post Offices never got this stamp. I'm not sure if I've seen at all any commercially used covers. Even mint is scarce, as demand was so high. It sold easily for up to 6-7 times of face value and at the very least 2-3 of face. Yet, no doubt it will be priced at double of face value in catalogs. As would be any issues of recent years, which all have much lower printing amounts than before 2009. All commemoratives now get printed by 50000 compared to the earlier 100000 and higher.

And let's not forget how much stamps get commercial usage. Most clerks and business workers will gladly put on peel-and-stick definitives. Besides atleast in Estonia, billing has moved more and more into the web. Not to mention that common folk only send letter or postcard once per year, during Christmas, using... you got it, Christmast stamps!

Indeed quite many issues are priced seemingly unfairly. 1991-1993 inflation period stamps... everybody bought sheets of them, perhaps fearing Estonia will not last very long as independent country and hoping these will become scarce. Collectors aboard also thought the same and paid high prices for the first definitive set. Yet most of these stamps can be now very valuable on letters and hard to find as used. I do not see this in catalogs pricing though.

Perhaps more realistic would be localy produced catalog. Hopefuly this year a new catalog by Mart Aru will be published here. This time much more complex, with colored photos and up to date pricing.

And as for pre-war Estonia, it can also be said only in recent years Michel has started to give a proper pricing to certain issues. But Scott and especially SG do not list certain important types or have them significantly undervalued. For example 1940 issues, scarcely used before Estonia was incoroprated into the USSR and started to use Soviet stamps.
I hope that one day they will ask from Estonian collectors for some input.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Estonia Inflation 1991-93 Part II

Inland rate was raised again already on 15th of January 1992. Regular letter raised from 20 kopecks to 60 and registered from 70 kopecks to 420 kopecks (4 roubles 20 kopecks, 6x raise). A lot of stamps were required on envelope to get together correct rates.

As a sidenote, at the worst period Estonia had 300% hyperinflation!

Another new rate came in 16th of March 1992. Inland regular letter 1 roubles (100 kopecks), registered to 10 roubles (1000 kopecks). But rates for foreign destionations were raised considerably more. Regular letter more than 20 times, from 90 kopecks to 2000 kopecks! In addition, registering fee was raised. New zones were introduced, A and B zone, with a double difference in rates.

New stamps were introduced on the same day rates were raised. These stamps were with letter nominations - PPE, PPR, PPI, PPA.
1 rouble, 10R, 20R, 40R. These were mainly meant for foreign shippements. But even here unless letter was regular 20gr weight, additional stamps were required.

In 20th of June 1992 there was a currency reform. I still remember the suprise and confusion - in the end, since only a certain amount of soviet currency was allowed to be exchanged per person, our family was starting at the pile of roubles left over on a table in awe and shock.
Soviet currency became invalid and a new currency was kroon. Rate was 1/10 in favor of kroon. Which meant all nominations of previous rouble-value stamps fell 10 times. New nominations came in usage - 0.5, 1, 1.5, 3 senti (cents) etc.
Considering rates of regular letter, 10s and registered letter 1KR, these stamps became insignificant with their franking ability.
Another set of letter stamps were introducted on the same day with a currency reform.

Two days later, on 22nd of June, a set of three semi-postal stamps of Barcelona Olympics were issued.

These stamps had no currency indicator. In addition to charity value, lack of this created confusion in people. Green, 3.00+1.50 value was printed in smaller quantity, became deficit and was speculated with.

In the end of 1992 summer more letter-stamps were issued. Three PPX (franking 10s) and three PPZ (franking 30s).
In 15th of November 1992 inland rates were raised again, especially concerning regular letter rate which tripled, from 10s to 30s.
But already on 1st of January 1993, inland regular letter rate was raised even more.
All of these stamps shown and mentioned became invalid in 1st of July 1993.

Estonia 1991-93: Inflation, rates and franking

On 1st of January, 1991 new postal rates were implemented in Estonian Soviet Republic. Postal rates went higher considerably, cost of inland regular letter rose from previous 5 kopecks to 15 kopecks (3x raise) and inland registered letter from 10 kopecks to 65 (6,5x raise). With this new price list Estonian SSR separated from a large Soviet postal service and a new, independent postal area was created, which was administrated by government office Eesti Post.

But the use of Soviet stamps and stationery was continued because own stamps and other postal items (for example stationery) were lacking. Larger rates soon created a deficite of stamps. Envelopes, Soviet produced stationery were in satisfactory quantities
at first but their franking was only 5 kopecks. Many older stationery were used with 4 kopecks nominal and also new Soviet stationery with 7 kopecks rates. Cut outs (squares) of additional stationery were used to get together proper rates.
Also handmade envelopes were used.

Next raise of rates came in 1st of July, 1991. Inland regular and registered letter rates were raised each by another 5 kopecks.
Estonia became independent in 20th of August 1991 and from this period onwards, cooperation with USSR, meaning no additional stamps of stationery of USSR were received.
In 1st of October 1991 first set of Estonian stamps were issued, with two additional stamps to this set issued in 1st of November.

In total, eleven stamps with different nominations were issued in 1991. But they were not available enough in Post Offices, although large printing numbers were large (26 440 000 total). Larger nominations were deficite.

Before new year, in 15th of December 1991 rates to foreign destinations were raised. And another change in addition - from the 1st January of 1992, all Soviet stamps and stationery became INVALID. All of this created problems and confusion.

To be continued ...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Russian stamp designs, essays

I'm looking for any information regarding Russian stamp essays. I can rarely find any in catalogues, usually these are unadopted designs.
I'm curious as some essays by famous Russian stamp designer Anatoly Kalashnikov have turned up here. Anatoly Kalashnikov designed dosens of postage stamps and hundreds of envelope designs. If anyone knows anything (numbers of designs in existance, their rarity etc) please contact me.