1919 – 1920 Musavat Issues

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A complex series of stamps.
– A 1919 first issue
– Locally perforated 11.5 stamps
– Forgeries of the 1919 issue
– An “interim” issue on newsprint paper
– A 1920 issue in a variety of papers and shades
– Forgeries of the 1920 issue
– 2 other suspected forgeries possibly copies of the 1920 forgeries
Most catalogs only describe the 1920 issue and date it 1919 with perhaps a reference to a first series. The CV’s do not match the availability of the issues as the first series is scarcer.
The Azerbaijan Specialized Catalog below is more accurate in their respective values. Click on images for a larger view.
  
2007 Catalog, 1$ US = 60 Rubles

The designer was Zeynal bey Aliyev, born in Baku in 1895, in 1924 he emigrated to Italy and nothing further is known.
In all the drawings the inscription: “Azerbaijan republic ” is in Arabic graphics and French.
New tariffs were approved by the Minister of Posts and Telegraph Azerbaijan on 9 September and entered into force on October 10, 1919
Stamps went on sale in late October 1919.

The First Musavat Issue

It consisted of 10 stamps chrome-lithographed in 3 colors on white thin paper. Glue from white to gray-brown color. The application is even, striped or bubbly depending on the temperature of the glue when applied.
10 kop. Standard Bearer: green, blue, red and black – 417,340
20 kop. Standard Bearer: blue, green, red and black – 402,710
40 kop. Reaper: Olive, yellow and black – 397,200
60 kop. Reaper: Red, yellow and black – 392,720
1 Rub. Reaper: Blue, yellow and black – 404,880
2 Rub. Baku Citadel: Red, yellow and black – 241,920
5 Rub. Baku Citadel: Blue, yellow and black – 250,720
10 Rub. Baku Citadel: Olive, yellow and black – 484,240
25 Rub. Temple of Eternal Fire: Blue, red and black – 486,960
50 Rub. Temple of Eternal Fire: Olive, red and black – 416,860
Aside from the lowest 2 values that required a colored overlay, the quality is very good with very little misalignment.
The first issue was largely consumed as much of it ended up out of the country to dealers and collectors.. Those sold to the stamp trade were almost completely from the second issue.

The First Musavat Genuine Stamps

 

   

    

  

The Second Musavat Issue
Other stamps of Russia were substituted after the first issue ran out but this was an expensive proposition.
On December 1920 it was decided to re-issue previously issued Azerbaijani stamps
Lithography on grayish-yellow paper. Glue from white, gray or yellow-and-
brown color
By all accounts the initial printings by the Soviets were on newsprint type paper and account for most of what is in collections.
The color range is very large – from pale to very intense shades.
This issue due to the many printings has subtle changes in the design  and Arabic accents.
10 kop. Black, green, red and blue – 4 Million
20 kop. Black, blue, green and red – 4 Million
40 kop. Black, gray-green and yellow – 4 Million
60 kop. Black, brown, red and yellow – 4 Million
1 rub. Black, green, blue and yellow – 7 Million
2 rub. Black, brownish-red and yellow – 7 Million
5 rub. Black, blue and yellow , the left ornament is inverted – 7 Million
10 rub. Black, green and yellow, the left ornament is inverted – 6 Million
25 rubles. Black, blue and brownish-red – 6 Million
50 rubles. Black, green, orange and red – 7 Million
Of Note – plate errors
The 60kop at the bottom has a change of COP to  CPP.
The 40kop the СОР is changed to СОГ.


Most of the second issue has color shifts, generally a good way to identify them.

There are many other unusual varieties like this reversed printing and missing colors (taken from a catalog)

The Second Musavat Genuine Stamp
Showing some of the many color variations found in this series.

    

  

  

 

Forgeries
Both the forgeries of the 1st and 2nd issue have very similar characteristics, so I am mainly showing a generic forgery


The Arabic 10 has a round top and the dot is not a diamond shape
The star has little or no points
The face is lacking in details
The butt of the rifle is completely shaded with no white spaces like the genuine
The letters are poorly defines
The C has curls


This is a Type II forgery clearly identified by the small protrusion between the two top right frames
The Arabic 20 has a pronounced curved top
The dot is not diamond shape but round
The star is close to the moon’s left point and the star point angles are obtuse (greater than 90o
The face lacks details
The uniform lacks details
The barrel of the rifle is very thin
There is a protrusion in the rifle
The handle of the flag is thin
The AZ and DJ are joined and overall the letters are shorter
The COP is much shorter


This is a type I forgery
The colors are deeper
The star is more centralized
The rifle has a unique flaw
The uniform has more detail
Other traits are similar to the Type II


This is a type I forgery
The outside frame line is thin as in the original
The star has short obtuse points
The Arabic 40 top is sharply cut off and slanted
The dot is not diamond shaped
The last ray dash near the face is missing as are 2 lower dashes in front and back of the neck
The nose points up instead of down and facial features are lacking
The last letters JAN are slightly lower
The letters are not as well formed and are taller and thinner than the original


The outside frame line and that of the sun is thicker than the Type I
The star has short obtuse points
The Arabic 40 top is sharply cut off and slanted
The dot is not diamond shaped
The last ray dash near the face is missing but the 2 lower dashes in front and back of the neck are present
Facial features are lacking
The letters are not as well formed and are taller and thinner than the original


This is a Type I forgery with thick frame and letters
The features of the 60k are similar to the 40k above
Note that the ray near the nose is present but very faint


This is a Type II with the frame and letters thinner than the Type I
The color is also very different and is perhaps a later print of the Type I


Short points on the star with obtuse angles
The Arabic 1 is tilted more to the left
The face has less details and the nose points down
The last dash in the ray near the face is very faint
The top of the 1 has a sharp oblique cut
The letters are much taller


The Arabic 2 is taller and the top is more curved
The star has few obtuse points that are shorter
The minarets are more shaded
The ZE and BA are joined
The color is red instead of brownish orange


This is a Type I forgery
The outside frame is thicker than the original
A key feature is the break in the bottom left of the top right corner block
Another key feature is the left and right side ornaments point in the same direction unlike the original
The star has few obtuse points that are shorter and it is closer to the left point of the moon
The shading in the minarets is darker
The letters are uneven


This is a Type II forgery
The key traits is the star which is attached to the moon’s point unlike the Type I
The letters and the outer frame are thicker than the type I
The lines in the minarets are more consistent than the Type I
The other traits are similar to the Type I forgery


The top of the Arabic 10 is narrow and more rounded
A key feature is the left and right side ornaments point in the same direction unlike the original
The star has few obtuse points that are shorter
The entrance is completely shaded
The 10 is thinner
The letters are uneven


The blue is lighter
The star has few obtuse points that are shorter
Two of the oil rigs have breaks on the left side
The letters are uneven


A key feature is the break in the top border
The star has short obtuse angle points
Two of the oil rigs have breaks on the left side
The letters are uneven

Overprints
In July 1923 there was another increase in postal tariffs and the post office put into circulation overprinted 1919 & 1920 stamps
Most of the overprints were on the Musavat stamps of the second issue (gray paper, without glue). But a number of overprints are also found on the remains of the first release (stamps on white paper, more often with glue).
These overprints come in a variety of type faces, inverts, doubles and of course many forgeries.
The forgeries of overprints are well beyond the scope of this article and I would defer to the articles written by Dr Ceresa.

   
This decent forgery of a scarce overprint was on an auction. Careful comparison to the genuine overprint on the right shows discrepancies. Note the shape of the b, the y, the large dot, the 7.
As might be expected, the base stamp is a forgery, the first thing to check for.

References
Postage Stamps of Azerbaijan 1919-1923 – E.S.Voikhansky
The Postage Stamps of Russia volume 4 – Dr.R.J.Ceresa
Postage Stamps of Azerbaijan 1919-1923 A.Bova
Comparative Stamp Forgery – Claghorn
Forgery cd 2 – Evert Klaseboer
Focus on Forgeries – V. Tyler
Postage Stamps of Azerbaijan (Russian) – E.C. Voichansky
British Journal of Russian Philately 1963 – P.T. Ashford
Forgery & Reprint Guide, #11 Azerbaijan – J . Barefoot
Rossica Journal articles