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Supplement to the expertising rules

of the Federation of Philatelix Expertisers for the expertising area of the free city of Danzig

The following rules complement the currently valid version of the expertising rules of the BPP, in particular so as to take account of the special features of this expertising area in the period from 1920 to 1923. The existence of some types of stamps, which were rarely used in the ordinary mail service for a variety of reasons, as well as the sale of ordinary but no longer saleable remainder stocks of stamps (also previously produced values) at postal auctions partly during the period of validity are also to be considered. The production of some postage stamps was also done not for any postal requirements but for the financing of the state budget. The backdating of certain postmarks was partly done by postal officials during the period of validity.

The following rules supplement the currently valid version of the BPP expertising rules, especially…

1. Period and scope of expertisation

The following will be expertised:

a) all philatelic items (e.g. postage stamps, postal stationery, essays etc.) of the Free City of Danzig from 10 January 1920 to 19 July 1920.

b) the genuineness of cancellations on postage stamps of the German Reich that were used on the territory of the Free City of Danzig from 10 January 1920 to 19 July 1920, also forerunners and contemporary issues.

c) postmarked items from the inflation period 1920-1923 (postage stamps, official stamps, postage due stamps etc.) also Michel Nos. 181-192 according to special expertising criteria.

For items given under c) the expertising criteria were developed decades ago by the INFLA expertising inspectorate, which apply in addition to the expertising standards of the BPP. Therefore the rules of the expertising standards of the INFLA-Berlin e. V. also apply, in particular the use of the special expertising mark “Echt – INFLA-Berlin” for the marking of contemporary cancellations. In the past, expertisers not affiliated to the INFLA expertising inspectorate only assessed by “signing” the genuineness of overprints, not the postmarks. Currently all Federation expertisers of the BPP for the area of the Free City of Danzig also belong to the INFLA expertising inspectorate as members and it is in accordance with the Articles of Association of the BPP that this will assuredly be the case in future.

The scope of the expertisation conforms to Section 4 of the expertising rules of the BPP.

2. Quality

Mint expertised items with a slight production-related build-up of ink (offset) or calender folds are considered to be perfect if the stamp image is not affected.

Perforated expertised items which have complete, uniform perforation on all sides, including corner perforation teeth, are considered to be perfect. The perforation may have slight irregularities due to the use of issue-specific bad or unsuitable paper, or by the simultaneous perforation of several sheets, which are not considered faults. Rouletted expertised items with all sides evenly rouletted are regarded as perfect if they show small inaccuracies at the corners due to the production process. A small number of incomplete “tips” will not constitute a fault.

3. Postmark impressions and period of use

A postmark is regarded as “genuine” if it was struck during the period of use of the expertised item, at the time specified in the postmarking device, with a device that is proven to have been used by the postal service during the correct period (“contemporary cancellation”).

It is completely irrelevant whether this was done within the framework of the ordinary postal service or for collectors’ purposes, as it is not usually possible to establish whether a loose stamp or a piece is an example of postal usage during the correct period. For expertising, it is also technically irrelevant whether cancelled stamps still had a sufficient franking value at this time due to the ongoing inflation.

The exact classification of the cancellations is documented on the basis of the current state of research, as shown by reference material and records, and the agreed opinion of each Danzig expertiser together with his colleagues.

Surcharged stamps were often used in the ordinary postal service even after their official period of validity. Cancellations on Michel Nos. 90-92 for the period to 30 June 1922 and Michel Nos. 131-132 up to 30 June 1923, which also correspond to the definition in Paragraph 1 above, are regarded as “genuinely used”.

4. “Signing”

a) As an extension of the “signing” based on the expertising rules of the BPP, expertised items that are genuinely used receive in addition the circular “Echt – INFLA-Berlin” mark or the rectangular mark “Echt – im Block geprüft – INFLA-Berlin” mark to confirm genuine, contemporary cancellation. The circular INFLA mark “Echt – INFLA-Berlin” is applied only to expertised items with clearly legible and sufficiently identifiable postmark impressions. Expertised items with an incomplete postmark, which can be confirmed as genuine and contemporary by use of the documents available to the expertiser, will receive the rectangular INFLA stamp. These expertising marks identify the respective expertiser by specific code letters or characters. Both expertising marks give no indication of the quality of the expertised items, they are only authentication marks for postmarks and as such are equally valid, so that accidental interchanging of the marks does not indicate inadequate expertisation.

b) Cancellations made with forged postmarks (imitations of genuine postmarks or fantasy marks), painted or photo-mechanically applied cancellations receive the “Stempel falsch” (= forged postmark) expertising mark .

All cancellations that were made with original, but verifiably backdated postmarking devices by unauthorised third parties (so-called “improper use”) are faked.

c) Expertised items that have an impression of an original postmark whose date is not within the correct period of use, or which have a cancellation that cannot be shown to be forged may, if they show special features (such as plate varieties, overprint flaws etc.), be handled in accordance with the expertising rules of the BPP. They will be given an additional expertising mark in the form of a shaded circle. This may be missing from previous expertisations. Such items are to be regarded as not postmarked during the correct period. The often used phrase “cancelled by favour” is not correct if used as a specialised philatelic term.

Covers which can be proved to have been carried by post during the correct period, and franked with the correct rate, usually receive on the back at the lower right the decorative INFLA mark “Einwandfrei – INFLA-Berlin” (flawless – INFLA-Berlin) with the letter or character of the INFLA expertiser. Covers with obviously incorrect postage rates are “signed” as pieces.

For certain issues, the use of which during the correct period was hardly possible, such as Michel Nos. 47-49, A 124, 124 Z, 154 Y, Official 24 P and 32 X, may be given a corresponding attestation in regard to the genuineness of the stamp or overprint, also the backdated or incorrectly dated postmarks. An additional “signing” is not done.

d) The marking of colours, types and varieties is done using type marks.

5. Colours, types and varieties

The colour shades of many stamps in this expertising area can be arranged in colour series. Here the “cheap” shades (usually) include a very wide range in contrast to the “expensive” shades. In addition, with most of the others the colour does not directly correspond with the criteria for distinguishing colours as given in catalogues.

As in the case of “borderline” colours different assessments cannot be completely excluded with different expertisers, or with the same expertiser at different times under different conditions, the allocation to a corresponding colour is always subjective. An objective expert opinion in colour boundaries is not possible. Variations in expert opinions regarding “borderline” colours do not indicate a fault in the expertisation.

Stamps with missing underprinting are, in addition to the “signature”, also marked with the type-mark “F”. Stamps with only partially missing underprinting, or faded or discoloured stamps are not separately “signed”.

Further findings, such as for example non-catalogued sub-types and varieties, as well as sheet position characteristics, are dealt with only by separate agreement. In such cases it is optional whether the expertiser gives a “singing” or issues an attestation or findings. This does not mean, however, that such observations will be included in the MICHEL catalogue in future.

6. The following type marks used for “signing”

X and Y or Wz 2X, Wz 2Y, Wz 3X, Wz 3Y, Wz 4, Wz 5 for different watermarks/positions.

I, II etc. For plate errors and types of underprinting .

a to c, for colour shade differences.

F for stamps without underprinting.

x and y for types of paper.

D for coil perforation.

Also other “signings” with abbreviations conform to the indications given in the MICHEL catalogue.

7. Expertisation fees

Fees are calculated according to the BPP expertising rules. For stamps from the inflation period with a catalogue price under €10 a minimum charge of €0.60 per stamp, colour or type expertisation will be made. For especially time-consuming expertisation, a reasonable surcharge may be made.