MALTA QV 1/2d GREEN "VARIETY" MYSTERY

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MALTA QV 1/2d GREEN "VARIETY" MYSTERY

Post by MALTASTAMP001 »

ImageImage

I would be grateful if someone with a knowledge or access to Australian postal markings can help out with unravelling a bit of a mystery about a Maltese stamp. This particular stamp is mentioned in the Malta Study Circle Study (UK) Paper "Malta 1885 - 1902 Victorian Adhesives"; where on page 10 under the heading Other Varieties one reads:

b) "PAUL BUGEJA" advertisement which appears on the reverse of a stamp bearing a "MALTA" c.d.s. of 1896. It is thought that it was applied to the stamp after it was used. (Illustration B on pg8).

Recently I have been fortunate enough to acquire such an elusive QV Green 1/2d stamp bearing an A25 (MALTA) "killer" obliteration over which there is also a partial foreign c.d.s cancel, (scans attached). The only telltales that can be made out of this latter cancel are the letters OURNE which may be found around the edge curve line, with 14 H in a straight line and an undecipherable date, also in a straight line, underneath that.

My hunch is that the partial cancel may be part of an Australian postal cancellation used in MELBOURNE in the late 1890 - early 1900 period. If this is actually the case, then it is very likely that the stamp bearing the advertisement was used in Malta to frank mail etc sent to Australia where the postal item received this additional cancel before being delivered to its final Australian destination.

To me it looks that this cancelled stamp may hold the key to unlock the mystery as to whether these stamps were overprinted with the advertisement before or after they were used, as it would clearly prove that the advertisement was printed on unused stamps. The reason for this being that it is obvious that there would have been no point in having an Australian cancel used to further obliterate a used Maltese stamp unless it happened to be franking a postal item and somehow received the cancel in the mail process!

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Re: MALTA QV 1/2d GREEN "VARIETY" MYSTERY

Post by doug2222usa »

If the advertisement was printed before the stamp was used, i.e., on top of the gum (I assume), wouldn't it wash off when the stamp was soaked??

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Re: MALTA QV 1/2d GREEN "VARIETY" MYSTERY

Post by HalfpennyYellow »

Bongu (Hello),

I think this is what happened:

The stamp was sent from Valletta where it was cancelled by the "A25" obliterator.

When it arrived in Melbourne, the envelope was backstamped, but the Australian cancellation caught the Malta stamps on the cover as well.

To prove it, here is a similar case. I have this Italian stamp:

Image

which has an Italian cancellation, but also has a Maltese Cross, which formed part of this cancellation (or a similar one):

Image

The 1/2d stamp eventually made its way back to Malta, where it was acquired by Paul Bugeja. For advertising, he applied the underprint to the stamp.

Appearantly this was a common practise in the late 19th or early 20th centuries on low value stamps. I have these two stamps - an Indian 1a revenue and a Western Australia 1d swan:

Image

Both have an underprint of a London dealer Errington & Martin:

Image

These were definitely applied after the stamp was cancelled.

I don't think it has any great value, but it does have some value as a curio. How much did you pay for it?

PS. You should do your introductory post here:
https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10277
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Re: MALTA QV 1/2d GREEN "VARIETY" MYSTERY

Post by Princestamps »

HalfpennyYellow wrote:Bongu (Hello),

I think this is what happened:

The stamp was sent from Valletta where it was cancelled by the "A25" obliterator.

When it arrived in Melbourne, the envelope was backstamped, but the Australian cancellation caught the Malta stamps on the cover as well.

To prove it, here is a similar case. I have this Italian stamp:

Image

which has an Italian cancellation, but also has a Maltese Cross, which formed part of this cancellation (or a similar one):

Image

The 1/2d stamp eventually made its way back to Malta, where it was acquired by Paul Bugeja. For advertising, he applied the underprint to the stamp.

Appearantly this was a common practise in the late 19th or early 20th centuries on low value stamps. I have these two stamps - an Indian 1a revenue and a Western Australia 1d swan:

Image

Both have an underprint of a London dealer Errington & Martin:

Image

These were definitely applied after the stamp was cancelled.

I don't think it has any great value, but it does have some value as a curio. How much did you pay for it?

PS. You should do your introductory post here:
https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10277

I agree, I have a few New Zealand second sidefaces with Melbourne and Sydney cancels on them. As for the advertisement, could be stamped on later after stamp was made. I have an FDC from the 1960s addressed to Paul Bugeja, but I also know Bugeja is as common as Spiteri, Borg or Camilleri in Malta.

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Re: MALTA QV 1/2d GREEN "VARIETY" MYSTERY

Post by MALTASTAMP001 »

Hello Doug2222usa & Halfpenny Yellow. Thanks for submitting your views on the subject.

Before posting this thread, I too considered both the possibilities you mentioned and these are my comments.

It is widely known that normally the ink used at the time was still very acidic in content and for this reason it might have well seeped in through the gum and into the paper. If this was the case then what is left on the stamp might be only the "stain" left by the ink on the paper, the remainder having been washed away with the gum once the stamp was removed from the backing paper to which it was applied.

I have had the opportunity of viewing a similar stamp in a collegues collection and on close inspection noticed that both stamps have a blurred and faded (sort of stained) advert print. I would imagine that if the print was applied on used stamps it would be much clearer and sharper than on these examples. Another debatable point is how did the dealer manage to apply a handstamp precisely on such a small stamp such that the whole advert fits in exactly on both stamps seen? The Errington & Martin examples below highlight the difficulty I pose perfectly. Unless the handstamp was just a bit smaller than the stamp itself and the dealer was extra careful in applying it, I would think that such a result could only be achieved by having the stamps printed (not handstamped) when still in blocks.

As for the stamp's rarity, I would like to point out that so far only a handful have been recorded with the advert. It is also good to note that in the nine years I have been closely watching Malta stamps that are offered for sale on e-bay and other sites daily, this was the only time I saw such a stamp being offered. As for the price, I ended up paying just over £25 - which seems to be quite a reasonable price for such an elusive stamp. This is in the region one should expect to pay for a common GB used in Malta stamp in good condition.

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Re: MALTA QV 1/2d GREEN "VARIETY" MYSTERY

Post by HalfpennyYellow »

I don't know - it might have been printed before or after the stamp was used. Could you possibly post a scan of your colleague's stamp? If the underprint is exactly in the same position, it is likely to have been printed.

However what strikes me is that if the underprint was done before the stamp was used, there should be some documentation of it somewhere.

Did you ask Joseph Buttigieg or Said about it? Maybe they know something about it?

Princestamps, could you post a pic of the FDC?
Is it addressed to 298, St. Paul Street (or Strada San Paulo), Valletta?

I had a quick look through my earlier FDCs and none are addressed to Paul Bugeja.
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Re: MALTA QV 1/2d GREEN "VARIETY" MYSTERY

Post by MALTASTAMP001 »

Unfortunately I am unable to provide a scan of my friend's copy at the moment since at present he is working overseas and comes to Malta only occasionally. However, after reading your comment I consulted the illustration of the stamp in a copy of the MSC paper I referred to (which may be found on page 9) and the position of the underprint is exactly as the one in my scan. Regretfully I cannot upload the illustration since it is copyrighted material, but anybody who owns a copy of this work may verify this.

Yes, I have asked both stamp dealers you mention and also a number of other philatelists, both Maltese and foreign, who specialise in Malta Victorian stamps about this "variety"; but nobody has any clues or information.

With regards to records, it should not come as a surprise that none have been traced since this was a private printing and not something issued by the Post Office. One should also bear in mind that even the Post Office archives are incomplete, due to the records which were lost forever when the GPO got a direct hit during the second world war!

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Re: MALTA QV 1/2d GREEN "VARIETY" MYSTERY

Post by MALTASTAMP001 »

Further to yesterday's post regarding records, I might add that in my research to try and trace the dealer, for what it's worth, I managed to find 3 persons with the name Paul (Paolo) Bugeja in the Voter's List of 1900, namely:
BUGEJA, Paolo, Strada Vescovo 105, Valletta.
BUGEJA, Paolo, Strada San Antonio 17/71, Lija.
BUGEJA, Paolo, Strada Lunga 6, Mdina.
while in the Voter's List of 1920, the following 3 appear:
BUGEJA, Paolo, Strada Ridolfo 140, Sliema.
BUGEJA, Paolo, Strada San Antonio 71, Lija.
BUGEJA, Paolo, Strada Oratorio 11A, Senglea.
I am recording these just in case somebody has some postal item addressed to one of these persons which might somehow indirectly shed light on the dealer. Personally I think the Bugeja Paolo living at 105, Strada Vescovo (present day Archbishop Street), Valletta looks as being a good candidate of being the dealer in question. The reason for this is that the location is just a few hundred yards away from the address given on the stamp which presumably was that of the shop. All the other addresses are outside the City of Valletta.

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Re: MALTA QV 1/2d GREEN "VARIETY" MYSTERY

Post by HalfpennyYellow »

I finally managed to acquire a copy of the Paul Bugeja advert on the ½d green. The colour is not as good as the one in the OP (I think it's a bit oxidised):

Paul Bugeja front.jpg
Paul Bugeja back.jpg

The stamp is cancelled with a Valletta (C.O.) cds which seems to be dated 1893 (or possibly 1898, but I think it's the former).

What's interesting about this is that there seems to be some paper adhesion, presumably from the envelope that this stamp was once affixed to. The Paul Bugeja advert seems to overlap onto this adhesion, suggesting that the backprint was applied after the stamp was used and soaked off.

I see that this backprint is also mentioned on page 103 of Malta – The Postal History & Postage Stamps – 1576–1960 by R. E. Martin, but there the dealer's name is misspelt as "PAUL BUGIZA".

While searching for more information about Paul Bugeja, I came across this 1921 cover from a stamp dealer by that name with an address at 140, Strada Ridolfo, Sliema - this is one of the people mentioned in the Voter's List of 1920 as indicated above by MALTASTAMP001. Maybe this is the same person who produced the backprint? The cover is currently available on eBay - I am including the link below the images.

Paul Bugeja cover front.jpg
Paul Bugeja cover back.jpg
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/362771453871
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