Office in Turkey 1863

1863 – Office in Turkey

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One of the most elaborate and sought after Russian stamps is the 1863 Sc1
These stamps were used on newspapers from Russia to Turkey and vise-versa.
They have dimensions 42.5 x 42.5 mm.
Specialists distinguish the 1st issue in light blue (printed in sheets of 4 stamps in one row vertically making 4 different types).
The 2nd issue in blue (printed in a square of 2×2 stamps with 4 different types).
The 3rd issue in dark blue on thick paper (printed in a square of 2×2 stamps, prepared, but never issued). Type 2 has some white spots in the outer lower right framelines.
Type 4 has an oblique scratch below the letters ‘OP’ of ‘KOP’.
Proofs exists in dark brown and red .

1a Light Blue on Thin Paper

1b Blue

1c Dark Blue

Red Proof – very rare

The forgeries are plentiful,  some quite good that can easily pass for the real thing

Possibly a Fournier first choice forgery
The cross is close to the circle frame line
The letters are thicker
The corner diagonal lines are not as fine
The top frame lines do not touch the circle

Fournier second choice
The crown touching the circle above it.
The posthorns are placed too low.
The stars are not well formed.
Many defects in the frames
Fournier in his album notes: “Epreuves des cliches dont les timbres n’existent plus au stock” (proofs of stamps for which stamps are no longer available).

A Senf forgery
These almost always appear with the word FACSIMILE. Some forgers have placed a heavy bar cancel over the word.
The frames and letters are very different from the original

Placido Torres Forgery – the right one is a cutout from his catalog
Frames are very irregular
Too many points in the stars
The cross touches the frame line
The tail is poorly formed

2 Spiro forgeries
Stars are small and the outside of the star elements facing the corners are flat not round.
Several letters are incline P & b & others
The outer double frame lines are too close to each other

Unclassified forgery – may be a Torres variant
Stars not well formed
Letters are thick and serifs tend to be chunky
The outer double frame lines are too close to each other