FOR THE EXPERTISING AREA OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR - FIELD POST STAMPS AND GENERAL FIELD POST
In addition to the expertising rules of the BPP the following rules apply:
1. General rules regarding quality
Regarding the production and distribution of the Field Post stamps, Michel Nos. 1-17, it must be considered that historically, these were issued under provisional conditions. Usually the Field Post permission stamps were obtained by the individual company leaders from the Field Post offices according to the perceived demand and then distributed in the units.
Regarding the overprinted stamps Michel Nos. 3, 6 to 12 and 17 there is also the fact that the overprinting of the stamps was usually done at a different time and place from the production of the original stamps. Any production- or storage-related features that existed at the time when the overprinting was done also partly depended on the original stamps.
The permission stamps Michel No. 5 (Tunis) and No. 12 (the "Inselpost" Christmas stamp) were produced on special papers using special perforation (line perforation). Items with production-related features due to this (irregular corner perforations, slightly blunt perforation teeth) are to be regarded as being of full value.
The same applies to stamps with rouletting that appears irregular due to the method of production (the original stamps Michel Nos. 1B and 2B, as well as the corresponding overprinted stamps) which is often due to damaged or missing rouletting pins.
a) Ordinary Field Post cancellations
Due to the variety of ordinary Field Post marks used during the Second World War, which are almost identical in structure and appearance, it is not possible in all cases to achieve a correct classification. The exceptions are the intensively researched areas, such as the Channel Islands, Atlantic fortifications, Courland, "Inselpost", Hela or the East Prussian Field Post.
b) German Reichspost cancellations:
In the case of used parcel admission stamps, Michel Nos. 2-4, which involve a high risk of forgeries, complete identification of the place and the date of use is a prerequisite for the verification of the postmark.
For certain Field Post issues, such as for example Michel Nos. 5b, 6, 7B, 8A, 10Aa, 10Ad, 14 and 15, regarding the genuineness of the stamp or overprint, even with a non-contemporary or backdated cancellation an appropriate attestation can be given. Additional "signing" is not done.
c) Other cancellations:
The above remarks apply by analogy to other cancellations found on Field Post stamps, such as rubber handstamps, "dumb" cancellations, foreign postmarks etc.
d) Cancelled by favour
Postmarks which were not applied for postal purposes, but were done with genuine postmarking devices at the correct time and place, receive in addition to the expertising mark a shaded circle mark. It should be noted that the shaded circle might be missing from old expertisations, as certain impressions of these postmarks have only been identified as being cancelled-by-favour since the 1970s.
Field Post stamps on covers which cannot be confirmed as having been correctly carried through the post are "signed" as pieces.
3. Mint and unused Field Post stamps
With mint Field Post stamps, the quality requirements that are normally used for modern stamp issues (such as Federal/Berlin) cannot always be applied. This is (as already stated under 1. above) partly due to the methods of production and distribution. Exceptions are Field Post stamps from remainder sheets, which were only separated and marketed after the war.
Calender folds, slight traces of ink on the gum (from stamps below in a pile of sheets), traces of the overprint ink on the front or back of stamps (with overprinted stamps), matt or streaky gum (Tunis parcel stamp) and paper inclusions among others fall under "production-related features"
The overprinted stamps Michel Nos. 3, 6 to 12 and 17 have storage-related features which can be attributed to the original stamps which were produced some years prior to the overprints being applied. These include small areas of ink that have lifted off, ink offsets on the back, traces of dirt as well as creases and traces of creases.
Issue-related features are whatever can affect Field Post stamps after their production and before they reach the user. The commonest of these are front and back features due to contact between sheets, creases and traces of creases.
All the above-mentioned features do not affect a stamp being regarded as being in mint condition, if it can be shown that they existed at the time of production (overprinted stamps). This proof will usually be possible only in exceptional cases.
In addition, the classification of a stamp as "mint" corresponds with the general expertisation rules of the BPP and the philatelic definitions.
With unused sheets of low value stamps (Michel Nos. 1-4) the so-called "sheet expertising" can be done, that is the respective corner marginal stamps, as well as the stamps with HAN are "signed". Otherwise, low-value stamps with the above-mentioned Michel numbers are not usually "signed".
If items sent for expertising cannot be expertised in the submitted state, they may be returned so that they can be returned with a request to put them in an expertisable condition and to resubmit them.
This applies especially to unused stamps that when presented adhere to a paper substrate, or pieces which have been cut so close around the stamp that a definite identification of the paper substrate as part of the original cover cannot be done.
Features that go beyond the MICHEL specialised catalogue, such as special cancellations, paper folding, misperforations or misplaced rouletting and, where relevant, the allocation of overprint errors to specific overprint plates or sheet positions may receive in addition to the "signing" a corresponding handwritten note, or this may be stated on an attestation. Such marking or written statement is at the discretion of the expertiser.
A supplement may be charged for all special requests, depending on the time spent. All kinds of special requests need the prior agreement of the expertiser.