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Gummed Imperforate Proofs of the City Views Issue of 1927 (Mi #63-67)

By H. Kuras

10 Mk proof - City Views Issue 1. Privately gummed proofs
In July 2002 the author bought a set of 5 gummed imperforate proofs from a stamp store in Tartu. The author had never seen gummed imperforate proofs of the City Views issue before. At the first glance it looked as if the stamp design was pressed into the gum.

At a subsequent examination under the microscope, Prof. Klein determined that traces of the printing ink ("micro offset", in German: "Mikroabklatsch") were found not on the gum as expected, but on the paper below the gum. In other words: the proofs were printed on ungummed paper and later gummed, in contrast to the final stamps, which were printed on pre-gummed paper (the micro-offset of the final stamps is on top of the gum). This is the first indication that these were privately gummed proofs.

The second suspicious indication was the clear and smooth gum on the 5 "gummed proofs", which contrasted with the yellowish gum with interspersed brown bubbles on the final stamps.

Furthermore the gummed proofs examined came from 2 different proof printings, not from a single one (the ungummed imperforate proofs of the City Views issue were printed in at least 3 different proof printings, to be expounded in a later article). To the author it seems likely that the regummer had just blocks from different proof printings.

The author speculates that the imperforate proofs were privately regummed in Sweden in the 1950's because they were part of an old Lembit Album, which the dealer in Tartu had just obtained from Sweden. In any case, these privately regummed proofs are just one example of tampering with Estonian proofs between 1945 and 1962. Further examples of tampering with Estonian proofs will be presented in later articles.

Gum - 10 Mk proof

Gum - 10 Mk stamp

Gum-side of 10 Mk privately gummed proof
(magnification 200x)
No gum breaker was used
The gum film is not fractured into tiny fragments
Gum-side of mint 10 Mk city views stamp
(magnification 200x)
A gum breaker, also called gum-fracturing machine, was used to counteract paper curl


2. Trimmed Perforations
Perforated City Views stamps, with the perforations cut off, exist. These gummed imperforate "proofs" have of course the same yellowish gum as the stamps. An advanced collector-friend of the author was misled and had them in his collection under "proofs".

Particularly dangerous is the trimmed 40 Mk stamp with wide margins. The 40 Mk stamp (Mi #67) exists, quite rare, as a wide stamp (listed as A:1 in the Estonia Handbook, p.117). One such trimmed 40 Mk stamp with wide margins had the sheet position number 31 and was from the left sheet margin, with the margin number being cut off.

3. What Do the Catalogues Say?
Eichenthal (Specialized Catalog of Estonia, p.101, 1962) does not assign different proof numbers to the gummed and ungummed proofs, but notes: "This [imperforate proof] issue comes with and without gum". Maybe Eichenthal expressed his doubt as to the authenticity of the gummed proofs by not assigning separate catalog numbers to them. Also, his footnote "with and without gum" may refer to both "privately" and "originally" gummed proofs; furthermore, the gum may easily be removed in water, without hardly any trace.

Hurt-Ojaste (Estonia Handbook, pp.114-117) list both gummed and ungummed imperforate proofs of the City Views issue. In contrast to Eichenthal, Hurt-Ojaste have taken a more definite position and have assigned altogether 10 separate catalogue numbers to the gummed imperforate proofs: 5 for horizontally and 5 for vertically ribbed paper.

4. 10 Proof Numbers in the Estonia Handbook Should be Deleted
While 2 types of fakes of the gummed imperforate City Views issue are known to exist, neither the author nor Valdo Nemvalz have seen any genuine ones before.

If the Estonian Govenment Printing Office had actually prepared one sheet of gummed imperforate proofs for each value, then the quantity of gummed proofs known to exist today would have to be much larger.

The author assumes that Eichenthal mistakenly included the privately gummed City Views proofs in his catalogue.

The following 10 Proof Numbers in the Estonia Handbook should be deleted:
5+5Mk Mi #63, G:1 and G:3
10+10Mk Mi #64, G:1 and G:3
12+12Mk Mi #65, G:1 and G:3
20+20Mk Mi #66, G:1 and G:3
40+40Mk Mi #67, G:1 and G:3

Bibliography on the topic "gum" (In the sequence of usefulness):

1. L.N. Williams, Fundamentals of Philately, Revised Edition 1990, pp.606-642
2. Trцndle, Briefmarkenkunde, 1982, pp. 115-122
3. Edwin Mьller, Grundbegriffe der Postwertzeichenkunde, 1938, pp.166-169
4. John Easton, Postage Stamps in the Making, 1949, pp.237-240
5. Fдlschungen, Der Junge Sammmler, 1984, pp.4-6
6. Jakucewicz, Koensler u.Szwemin, Eine Briefmarke entsteht, pp.25-29
Wiliams and Trцndle are essential for a good background on the topic "gum", the other books provide supplementary information.


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