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Expertising rules

for "Inflas-Berlin, Verein der Deutschland­sammler e.V."

The INFLA expertisers examine postage stamps, also their origin, production and use on covers. The scope of the expertisation covers the authenticity of the item being expertised in all its aspects (such as types of separation, gum, overprint, cancellation) and its condition (quality). Defects, repairs, embellishments and other changes are detected. The expertisation also extends to the classification of the item being expertised according to the method of printing, type, watermark, type of separation, perforation and paper. In addition, the colour as in the catalogue is determined. Further findings, such as non-catalogued sub-types, varieties or constant flaws are only given by separate arrangement.

Expertisation encompasses items from the inflation period of the German Reich, Danzig 1920 to 1923, Bavaria 1914 to 1920, Württemberg officials and related items (such as for example postage fee labels of the inflation period).

The basic principles for all expertisations by INFLA expertisers are the expertising rules (Prüfordnung) of the “Bund Philatelistischer Prüfer e. V.” (BPP – Federation of Philatelic Expertisers). To meet the particular circumstances of the “Inflation” expertising area, the following additions apply.

1. 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 can have slight irregularities due to the use of issue-specific bad or unsuitable paper, which are not considered faults. Rouletted expertised items with all sides evenly rouletted, but which show small inaccuracies at the corners due to the production process, are regarded as perfect. A small number of incomplete “tips” will not constitute a fault.

2. Postmark impressions

There are all kinds of postmarks for cancelling expertised items that are classified as genuine, which were used during the period of use of the stamps in the relevant place and time. The precise postmark classification is based upon the reference material and the records, as well as the relevant specifications of the INFLA expertiser.

3. Marking

As an extension to the “signing” based on the expertising rules of the BPP, expertised items that are genuinely used in all respects also 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. These “signing” marks identify the respective expertiser by the code letter or character that is included.

Only expertised items with clearly legible and sufficiently identifiable postmarks will receive the circular INFLA mark. 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. Both expertising marks tell you nothing about the quality of the expertised items, they are only authentication marks for the cancellation and as such are equally valid, so that accidental interchanging of the marks does not constitute inadequate expertisation. OPD stamps with an upper or lower margin can additionally be given (as far as detectable) the mark of the place of manufacture. This also applies to loose postmarked stamps without an upper or lower margin.

Covers whose postal usage during the correct period can be proven usually receive on the back at the lower right the decorative INFLA mark ” Einwandfrei (= flawless) – INFLA-Berlin” with the code-letter or character of the INFLA expertiser.

Covers that were not carried through the post, as well those with incorrect frankings may also be “signed” as pieces, see under Section 6.4 of the expertising rules of the BPP.

The marking of colours, types and varieties is done using type marks. Inflation issues of the German Reich with a MICHEL catalogue value of more than approximately €5 receive the single-line mark “INFLA-Berlin” with the code letter of the respective expertiser. Those with a MICHEL catalogue value over about €25 are not considered to be of low value as defined by the expertising rules and receive the respective BPP expertising mark.

4. 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 minimal differences in “borderline” colours cannot be completely excluded among expertisers, and also with the same expertiser at different times under different conditions, the allocation to a corresponding colour is always subjective. An objective expert opinion of borderline colours is not possible. Variations in expert opinions regarding “borderline” colours do not indicate a fault in the expertisation.

Mint or unused stamps in sheets with a MICHEL catalogue value of from €10 per stamp will basically also be marked individually in the sheet. In addition, a “signing” can be done on the front of the sheet in the lower right corner. For low-value sheets a so-called “sheet indication” is made. In such cases the corner stamps and the serial number or gutter pairs are signed. The sheet may be given a supplementary marking in the lower right corner of the front. The expertiser can at his discretion “sign” all top and bottom edge stamps. This usually occurs when the upper and lower marginal stamps have a much higher value.

Further findings, non-catalogued sub-types and varieties, as well as sheet position characteristics are dealt with only by separate agreement. These are only signed or certified if they are listed in the MICHEL catalogue. In exceptional cases the expertiser may depart from this, if an important reason for this is identified. This does not mean, however, that such observations will be included in the MICHEL catalogue in future.

5. Type marks used for “signing”

P and W for plate and cylinder printing (technical specification sheet-fed and roll-fed printing)

X and Y for different watermarks

I, II etc. for varieties according to the MICHEL catalogue

a to fF for colour shade differences according to the MICHEL catalogue

HT, KT, ST for “main types”, “correction types”, “special types” of the Rosetten issues

PE for “parallel appearance I” of the Rosetten issues

z for card according to the MICHEL catalogue

Further “signings” with abbreviations according to information in the MICHEL catalogue.

6. Charges for expertising

Charges will be calculated according to the expertising rules of the BPP. For stamps whose catalogue value is less than €20 a minimum charge of €0.60 per postmark expertisation or colour- or type identification will be made. For stamps whose catalogue value is between €20 and €70 a minimum charge of €1 per postmark expertisation or colour- or type identification will be made.

For additional OPD specifications a minimum charge of €2.50 applies.