3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

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3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by cere-sear-seer-sere »

Three potentially high-CV German stamps on cover -- any chance someone was having fun with this?

I'm a novice and I'm diving right into the deep waters of Weimar-era varieties with a newly-acquired copy of Michel Germany Specialized 2016 (in English) to guide me. I have this cover sent on 19 December 1921:


Three German stamps on cover
Three German stamps on cover


I've noticed that there is at least one high-CV variant of each of these stamps:

MiNr 111 b
MiNr 154 I b and 154 II b
MiNr 159b (black-olive) [and not MiNr 178, which was issued 10 days after this postmark]

I don't have the confidence or experience yet to determine which variants I have -- although in the case of 159, I have a number of other examples, on cover and loose, that I can hopefully use for color comparison.

My question is fairly speculative, but "NO question is too basic or silly," so here goes: is it likely just a coincidence that these three stamps appear on this cover (and not an unusual coincidence, since many stamps of this period have rare variants)?

Or, rather, could the sender (who was, I believe, a stamp dealer) be having a little fun by either using rare variants to mail this envelope or by using three examples of a common variant associated with a well-known rarer stamp, i.e., a little wink? The placement of the stamps does seem mildly...playful?


For the latter scenario to be true, I suppose it would have to be known already by December 1921 that there were rare/valuable varieties of each of these stamps...


Any thoughts?

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Re: Three potentially high-CV German stamps on cover -- any chance someone was having fun with this?

Post by cere-sear-seer-sere »

Here are closer views of the three stamps:

Germany 10 pf stamp
Germany 10 pf stamp


Germany 1.6 mark stamp
Germany 1.6 mark stamp


Germany airmail stamp
Germany airmail stamp


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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by Global Administrator »

.
You have not bothered to tell us the catalogue values of these on cover and off cover - (or indeed what the varieties are supposed to be) and if a large difference, of course the cover itself might be fake - you have not shown us the reverse for backstamps etc.

On the face of it, it looks pretty normal. Michel and others have charts for the ever-changing Inflation period and that is your first stop - to see if 1.80 Marks covered Registered for a large letter, you have a starting point.

Using 2 different 10Pf stamps most certainly points to it being philatelic in origin
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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by asmodeus »

Postal fee seems to be correct:

1.4.1921 - 1.1.1922

Letter from 20 g up to 100 g are 80 Pfennigs

Registered fee is 100 Pfg.

So 1,80 Marks is correct.
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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by asmodeus »

Colours: You have to send these to an expertiser!

These are expertiser for your issues:

https://www.bpp.de/briefmarken-pruefgebiete/deutsches-reich- ... nr-98-337/
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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by gavin-h »

Global Administrator wrote:
05 Aug 2021 13:44
.
You have not bothered to tell us the catalogue values of these on cover and off cover - (or indeed what the varieties are supposed to be) and if a large difference, of course the cover itself might be fake - you have not shown us the reverse for backstamps etc.

On the face of it, it looks pretty normal. Michel and others have charts for the ever-changing Inflation period and that is your first stop - to see if 1.80 Marks covered Registered for a large letter, you have a starting point.

Using 2 different 10Pf stamps most certainly points to it being philatelic in origin
Yes, a lot of material from this period is catalogued waaaaaay higher used that mint, because inflation was just taking off in post-war Germany, a few months later rates were in the 10s of Marks, then 100s, then millions and billions.

So, the common situation is for postmarks to be faked. I can't say whether that's the case here, as others say you'd need them to be expertised for that, but I'd certainly manage your expectations of this being a genuine rarity. :idea:

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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by johnrcrow »

Hi. Interesting questions.

I am afraid that shade differentiation, as has often been discussed here, is not easy with actual stamps and virtually impossible from scans.

The Mi 159 10Pf green looks too light to me.
The 1,60M´s are a nightmare in terms of not only shade but the glossiness of overprint.
The Airmail maybe Ok as the brownish- orange.

Is it common to have an airmail and normal mix of stamps...?

Was this sent by air?

I am sure there good answers to this.


John

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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by cere-sear-seer-sere »

Thank you all for your thoughts and insights.

Yes, the inclusion of an airmail stamp on a letter from Hamburg to Gotha in 1921 seems… unnecessary? Someone with more knowledge than I have of German airmail routes in late 1921 might instantly know that this letter never saw the inside of an airplane.

I’m still new here and don’t quite have a handle on the level of detail to provide in an initial query. So let me add some more context to my original question.

First—yes, the CV on cover for two of these stamps is much higher than for an unused stamp (the nature of the cancels on the envelope is such that I don’t think one readily could have used an already used stamp). For example, take the 1.6M stamp. While MiNr 154 I a is of minimal value, if it is MiNr 154 I b, CV is €80 unused and €650 on cover; MiNr 154 II a is €2 unused, €25 on cover; MiNr 154 II b is €350 unused, €3200 on cover.

However, despite the reservations raised by other posters, I’m not terribly concerned about this being a fake, whether or not these stamps prove to be the rarer variants. This cover is among dozens and dozens of covers that I have addressed to Herr Linder from exactly this time period. I don’t have a good reason to think that this was not posted at the same time.

I don’t know much about the recipient, Julius Linder yet (and my lack of German is no help) but I did a quick bit of Googling this morning and found this book of German philatelic history; Julius Linder is listed on page 194 as (if I’m using Google translate correctly) a judge or expertizer living in Thuringia with no particular specialty (i.e., a philatelic generalist?).

https://philahistorica.de/Dokumente/PhilaHistorica_2019_04.pdf


The other side of the envelope is not stamped, but it does have two pretty cheeky business calling card stickers:
reverse of Germany 1921 cover - with stickers!
reverse of Germany 1921 cover - with stickers!



Someone else did a little digging for me and found that this is the sender's advertisement in the Dec. 1922 issue of Simplicissimus:


Dec. 1922 issue of Simplicissimus:
Dec. 1922 issue of Simplicissimus:


The more I think about it, it seems perfectly plausible that a stamp dealer would have added variety by using two different 10 pf stamps (one being an airmail stamp) in a letter or small package sent to a stamp enthusiast or expert. Might he have gone a step further and used rarer variants? In December of 1921 would anyone have known just how rare / valuable certain variants of the 1.6M stamp on cover would prove to be?

I am sure that shade differentiation is very hard with scans! As I hope I conveyed in my initial post, I don’t have the experience to make these determinations with the actual stamps, and I'll add that I wouldn’t expect anyone to be able to do so from a scanned image -– particularly with the 1.6M, which, as JOHNRCROW points out, has to do with the glossiness or dullness of the overprint! (Argh!)

I don’t pretend to know which 1.6M variant I have! I do have another airmail stamp on cover and it looks less brown than this one, and I have another cover with two 10 pf definitives on cover with a postmark just two months earlier, and they looked lighter green. Still, I realize the likeliest scenario is that this are not high-CV stamps.

But the placement and choice of stamps seemed somewhat playful, and this, coupled with the fact that the sender was a stamp dealer with a touch of flair (see his repurposing of the 5M stamp design for his personal business), made me wonder if this cover could possibly have been a more dramatic gesture: the deliberate choice of unusual variants to do the yeoman's work of sending a large envelope from a stamp dealer to a stamp enthusiast / expert 235 miles away (in the still-early days of hyperinflation).
Last edited by BigSaint on 06 Aug 2021 08:03, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by cere-sear-seer-sere »

Thanks, asmodeus, for the link to expertisers. I've never sent anything to one! Perhaps I should wait until I've finished organizing this entire collection (inherited from grandfather who [EDIT] we were told either found it or took it from a home or business in Germany as an infantryman in WWII, and kept it unorganized in a box in an attic). If there's any benefit to doing so, I can pull out any stamps that have at least a decent chance of being rare variants, and send them all at once...
-- c-s-s-s

[EDIT because I don't actually know the full story, and no one in our family does; my grandfather is long-deceased at this point; his own collection is to some degree merged with this collection.]
Last edited by cere-sear-seer-sere on 06 Aug 2021 07:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by norvic »

And then, of course, you'll track down the legitimate owners, or descendants, for this looted treasure?
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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by cere-sear-seer-sere »

norvic wrote:
06 Aug 2021 07:09
And then, of course, you'll track down the legitimate owners, or descendants, for this looted treasure?

That's an interesting question that I haven't fully thought through. But thank you for bringing it up (mostly in good faith, I hope? I tend to detect sarcasm in little asides like "of course" where perhaps it was not intended).

My feelings about WWII and Germany and my grandfather's role in it (and in my family) and what remains of my ancestors and their descendants (or in this case, their inability to leave descendants) across Germany and German-occupied territories are rather complicated.

I also recognize that looting, if that's what this was, is not a noble act. I also don't know the full circumstances under which these stamps and covers came into his possession -- I was perhaps too flip in my previous remark.

There is more detail to this story but I don't know you and I don't find this necessarily to be the forum in which I want to explore the moral calculus of the situation. But it's a legitimate point to bring up, and it's something I will think about.
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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by norvic »

You're right, there was a touch of sarcasm there that wasn't strictly necessary because it does raise an interesting point.

I thought immediately of European Art looted by the Nazis and slowly being returned to the families. If you had not included the (now edited) "(nherited from grandfather who [EDIT] we were told either found it or took it from a home or business in Germany as an infantryman in WWII" the thought would not have occurred to me.

It's a bit like finding a priceless antique in a charity shop / thrift shop and selling it for 5 figures when you paid less than a dollar. Are you thankful for your good luck (and maybe knowledge) or do you share your fortune with the organisation to whom the item was donated and help others. (And then in the US I believe there is the question of tax, which would not apply in other countries.)

All questions of a moral nature - a dilemma to some, an obvious answer to others - and also dependent on your own circumstances.

I'm sorry I diverted the thread, maybe somebody should start another, in the Water Cooler section.
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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by Global Administrator »

norvic wrote:
06 Aug 2021 08:06

I thought immediately of European Art looted by the Nazis and slowly being returned to the families.

Looted/Stolen goodies from WW2 by Allied soldiers (there were of millions of cases - including 100,000s of returning BRITISH soldiers) fall under the tried and proven 10,000 year old, International Law section - ''Winners Are Grinners.''
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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by Global Administrator »

Image



Dealers generally have excellent 'noses' for stamp or covers.

Which is why I asked for a scan of the reverse

Seeing that, there is no doubt in my mind, that the entire cover is genuine. No idea what the Catalogue number of the stamps are, but they have all been there for ~100 years. :mrgreen:

The advertising Cinderella dealer labels are knocked about a bit, as is the entire reverse, creased and crumpled and knocked about, and that heavily over inked GOTHA backstamp handily is offset on face, from the previous cover in the stack. Something no forger would want to do, or think to do. :!:

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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by norvic »

Global Administrator wrote:
06 Aug 2021 15:22
Image



Dealers generally have excellent 'noses' for stamp or covers.

Which is why I asked for a scan of the reverse

Seeing that, there is no doubt in my mind, that the entire cover is genuine. No idea what the Catalogue number of the stamps are, but they have all been there for ~100 years. :mrgreen:

The advertising Cinderella dealer labels are knocked about a bit, as is the entire reverse, creased and crumpled and knocked about, and that heavily over inked GOTHA backstamp handily is offset on face, from the previous cover in the stack. Something no forger would want to do, or think to do. :!:

Glen
And as this is from a dealer it is quite likely he prepared a stack of these to send to different customers; likely very few remain intact.
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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by Global Administrator »

.
My main query was this rate covered to 100 grams, which is pretty tiny.

I'd have guessed this carried a lot more weight - indeed I cannot see WHERE it was opened? Likely a razor slit on 1 side to preserve the Cinderellas, but has the battered look of 250g-500g or so contents
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Re: 3 potentially high-CV German stamps on 1921 cover - Genuine?

Post by gavin-h »

Global Administrator wrote:
06 Aug 2021 20:01
.
My main query was this rate covered to 100 grams, which is pretty tiny.

I'd have guessed this carried a lot more weight - indeed I cannot see WHERE it was opened? Likely a razor slit on 1 side to preserve the Cinderellas, but has the battered look of 250g-500g or so contents
Or the battered look of something "looted" / "liberated" in the aftermath of WW2 and stuffed in a haversack to be brought back home (I believe my dad acquired an Iron Cross and a Luger parabellum by similar means at a similar time) :idea:

If that was the case, and it was a dealer-to-dealer letter sent "per favour" I wouldn't get too hung up over things like weight steps. Just as likely to have been an empty envelope or a single-sheet "stuffer" created to get used copies of those particular stamps.

Like you, seeing the reverse and the full story gives enough provenance to feel that it's more likely to be a genuine item - but with those tricky colours, I'd still want it experti(s/z)ed to be sure.

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