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Special rules and particular features

of the the expertising area of SBZ (soviet occupation zone) regional postmarks


In addition to the rules already applicable in the expertising rules of the BPP, these special rules and particular features are to be noted in regard to the expertisation of SBZ regional handstamps:

1. Expertisation of overprints:

1.1 Overprints and denomination values produced by the Post Office from 23 June to 2 July 1948 from remainder stocks, using original handstamps in the original colours on original stamps, are recognised as flawless.

1.2 The following criteria are essential for the expertising of overprints: the type of overprint, condition of the regional postmark (breaks, blotches), colour of the overprint, original stamp (issue, colour, gum, ribbing, paper texture, sometimes paper thickness, perforation and centring), visibility of the stamp design on the back (relief, blurred colours), overprint position, characteristics of overprint execution (overprints in the sheet with transferral to neighbouring stamp, overprints in vertical lines, single overprints, stencilling), composition of sets sold at post office counters according to value and type of overprint (in particular covers with complete sets, with unmounted mint sets only applicable if an original composition is available). If an item for expertising is lacking in one or more of the essential criteria identical with Post Office-type features, expertisation is to be declined, or if several of the known essential criteria match with forgeries, the item is to be marked as “forged” or “faked”. Forged overprints with regional postmarks that were not officially used, changed or copied are signed as “forged”. Forged overprints with original regional postmarks that are known to have been produced by misuse are to be marked as “faked”.

1.3 Numeral, mark and special values were issued at many post offices contrary to the instructions. In the case of overprints which have also been misused, only such numeral, mark and special value levels are expertisable as genuine that can be identified as correctly used (for places associated with philatelic mail, covers from two independent senders must be identifiable). Unused values must meet the criteria of section 1.2 regarding correct usage.

1.4 Certain custom-made values or settings that differ from the original counter printings according to the criteria mentioned under 1.2 were available at some post offices only for one particular dealer or collector who had “good relations” with the postal officials who prepared them, or against payment of additional “fees” to special order. Such special productions, which were not for general sale at post office counters but are found on contemporary covers sent by the originator, will be marked as “faked” if the original stamps came from private collections.

1.5 Forged overprints that were used to the detriment of the Post Office will be regarded as postal forgeries (expertising mark PFä) if the postal use of these overprints is proven and philatelic influence is excluded.

1.6 Overprints were done, partly at a later date, for the Postal Museum; these can be distinguished from the counter sets by certain criteria. They are official reprints (ND expertising mark placed in the middle of the lower edge).

1.7 Later overprints done for private purposes using the original equipment are marked as forgeries.

2. Expertisation of postmarks

2.1 The only recognised cancellations are those used officially by the Post Office from 24 June to 10 July 1948 (also the first emptying of letter boxes on 11 July 1948) for cancelling stamps or in connection with prepayment in cash (contemporary cancellation).

2.2 The following criteria are essential in expertising postmarks: identification of the postmark, condition of the postmark (breaks, blotches), ink colour, arrangement of date and time.

2.3 With the information contained in the overprint, original stamp and postmark it can often be established, by comparison with reference material, whether a loose stamp being examined came from a commercial cover, parcel card or postal money order, or from a philatelic cover sent by a particular collector. Hence fragments of postmarks can be identified and clearly verifiable. Determining the full date of the postmark is not necessarily a requirement for expertising a postmark, especially if the postmark in question is known not to have been backdated and the impression displays the characteristics of commercial usage.

2.4 Stamps submitted in multiples, as well as stamps on piece or detached from covers with complete sets can be “signed” with the additional mark “Echt im Block geprüft” (genuine expertised in a multiple) if the genuineness of the postmark is clear from the context of what is submitted.

2.5 Postmarks with dates that are incorrect by mistake will be regarded as genuine if correct usage is proven and philatelic influence is excluded.

2.6 Backdated postmarks, as well as private imitations of genuine postmarks are marked on the back with “Stempel falsch” or “falsch” (“postmark forged” or “forged”).

2.7 Postmarks for which backdated impressions are not distinguishable from contemporary impressions are not expertised on loose stamps.

3. Special features:

3.1 The known perfins, Schwarzenberg commemorative imprints and multiple imprints of different types will be doubly marked.

4. Covers:

4.1 Regional handstamp expertisers will also examine mixed frankings of regional handstamps with tenfold frankings and/or SBZ machine imprints, as well as partial frankings with “fee paid” cachets or senders’ meter marks within their expertising areas. Expertising marks will be positioned as with covers franked with regional handstamps. Higher-quality covers will usually be expertised with short findings, findings, or attestations.

4.2 Overfranked covers will usually be expertised with findings or short findings, or the stamps marked on the back as with pieces.

4.3 Covers with postage due applied after transportation are genuine postal items. Such covers are usually expertised with findings or short findings.

4.4 When genuine and forged, faked or questionable stamps are found together on covers, no cover marking can be done. However, findings or short findings can be given. Forged (or faked) stamps on such covers will be marked as forged (or faked), as pieces are signed in accordance with section 6.4 of the BPP expertising rules.

4.5 The expertisers for regional handstamps are also entitled to expertise tenfold frankings, prepayment in cash and covers with meter marks from the time of currency reform, if they were used in their respective expertising areas. The position of the marking for tenfold frankings is vertically from top to bottom, for prepayment in cash and covers with meter marks horizontally. Higher-quality documents will usually be expertised with short findings, findings or attestations.

5. Postal stationery:

5.1 The expertisers for regional handstamps will also expertise postal stationery of their expertising areas.

5.2 Positioning of expertising marks for postal stationery

5.2.1 Unused or genuinely used postal stationery items are signed on the back at the lower edge, the position of the mark being as for imperforate overprinted stamps (exception: Michel No. P21a as with perforated overprinted stamps, Michel No. P23 with rouletting at the upper edge as for rouletted overprinted stamps).

5.2.2 Postal stationery items that were demonstrably not carried through the post will be marked on the back of the indicium, the position of the mark being as under 5.2.1

5.2.3 Reprints for the Postal Museum are signed in the middle of the lower edge (ND mark).

6. Expertising fees:

6.1 Due to the large number of forgeries that exist, low-value stamps are also expertised and marked. A reduced expertisation fee applies to low-value stamps.

The expertisation fee for stamps with a Michel- + overprint value of under €15 will be €1 for unmounted mint or mounted mint stamps, €1.50 for postmarked stamps (overprint and postmark expertisation). A reduction in the expertising fee can be made for stamps submitted in sheets or part-sheets. For individually submitted forgeries the expertisation fee is €1; for questionable stamps a fee of up to €1.50 per stamp may be charged.

6.2 For stamps with a Michel + overprint value of over €15 , the charges laid down in the expertising rules of the BPP will apply. In addition, all the other fees for minimum charges per shipment, fees for attestations and findings etc. are established in the BPP expertising rules.

6.3 When sets are submitted, an individual examination of different overprints or cancellations is usually required, so that the set charge cannot be used to calculate the cost of expertisation.

6.4 The handbook number of the overprint type is usually given with findings or attestations. Determining the handbook number of the overprint type with cheap stamps is not the task of the expertiser. So far as the expertiser will agree to do this work at the request of the customer, he is entitled to charge an additional expertisation fee by prior agreement.