Saturday, September 1, 2018

A strange trade

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the international market has been virtually flooded by bogus stamps from various non-existent “independent states” in the ex-Soviet area. Most of them, apparently, are really printed in Britain. Often, the bogus issue is easy to spot, with the name of the “independent republic” spelled out in Latin letters, rather than Cyrillic. The motives on the stamps are often unrelated to the places they are supposedly from. Thus, the small Russian-Mongolian border region of Tuva has supposedly issued stamps showing African giraffes, Bart Simpson or Sylvester Stallone!

In order to give the bogus stamps an air of authenticity, they are often shipped to the region of their supposed origin, where underpaid post clerks wanting to earn some extra money applies the correct postmarks to the product, and sometimes even envelopes with fictitious addresses. I wouldn't be too surprised if the stamp shown on this product page is also of that character.

Do I mind? Well, maybe a little bit, but not awfully much. As a kid, I was actually actively looking for bogus stamps, usually Clive Feigenbaum's Nagaland sets. Not to mention Staffa! But sure, if you are a collector (or the Tuvan official responsible for the authenticated gift shops), you might find this strange trade somewhat irritating…

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