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EASTERN ROUMELIA

Roumelie Orientale (now south Bulgaria)

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WARNING: many forged overprints exist for Eastern Roumelia. Not enough caution can be exerted with these stamps. The genuine stamps are very difficult to recognize. Probably most of the stamps shown here are forgeries.

Literature:

Reference A: 'Eastern Roumelia The RO overprints by Herbert P. Woodward, originally appeared in The Collectors Club Philatelist, Volume 39, Number 2; can also be found on: http://www.tughranet.f2s.com/stamps/collclub/woodward.htm
Reference B: 'Die Entstehung und Geschichte der Provisorien mit Lowenaufdruck von Sudbulgarien' by Thomas Hitzler

1881 Stamps of Turkey overprinted 'R O' in dark blue

  '1/2 Pre' on 20 Pa green
  20 Pa violet and green
  2 Pi black and brown
  5 Pi red and blue


(overprints, reduced size, both types, image obtained from reference A)

These stamps are rare, forged stamps are more numerous than genuine ones. Genuine overprints exist in two types, both about 11 1/2 mm high. There can be dots behind the letters, but they also exist without these dots (or only one dot). The horizontal parts of the letters are very thin and the 'inside' lines of the '0' should be vertical in both types. Type I differs from type II by the broadness of the 'R' and 'O'. The overprints are reasonably clear. Very clear or very smudged overprints are likely to be forgeries. There are some 15 different types of forged overprints known from forges of Sofia, Istanbul and Paris. A picture of a forged overprint can also be found in 'The Fournier Album of Philatelic Forgeries'.


(Forgeries, horizontal parts of the letters very thick)


(probably all forged overprints, images obtained from reference A, reduced sizes)


(A forged overprint from the Fournier album, image obtained thanks to Bill Claghorn's forgery site)

1881 Stamps of Turkey overprinted 'ROUMELIE ORIENTALE' in pale blue

(Sorry, no picture available yet)

  10 pa black and lilac
  10 pa black and lilac (with additional 'RO' overprint in blue)


(overprints, reduced size, type I and II, images obtained from reference A)

Two types of the overprint exist, always very clearly printed. Type I has the words written in an elliptic shape. There are several forgeries with the wrong position of the accent above the first 'E' of 'ROUMELIE'. Type II has the inscription written in a circle (more or less). Many forgeries exist. A picture of a forged overprint can also be found in 'The Fournier Album of Philatelic Forgeries' or in reference A.


(forged overprints, reduced size, images obtained from reference A)


(A forged overprint from the Fournier album, image obtained thanks to Bill Claghorn's forgery site)

1881 As stamps of Turkey, but with inscription 'eastern roumelia' in four languages


(Reduced size)

  5 pa black and olive
  5 pa lilac (1884)
  10 pa black and green
  10 pa green (1884)
  20 pa black and red
  1 Pi black and blue
  5 Pi red and blue

For the specialist: these stamps have perforation 13 1/2 (all values) or 11 1/2 (5 pa lilac and olive and 10 pa green). Remainders of all values with perforation 11 1/2 were sold by the government (also with cancels). A forgery of the 1 pi se-tenant with a 1 pi stamp of Turkey is a forgery. I know that Fournier sold forgeries of these stamps, I have no further information.

1885 Previous stamps overprinted with a lion, provisional issue

5 Pi red and blue


(Reduced sizes)

First overprint, 'only lion', in black or blue
  5 p black and yellow 
  5 p lilac 
  10 p black and green 
  10 p green 
  20 p black and red 
  20 p red
  1 Pi black and blue 
  5 Pi red and blue 

Second overprint, 'lion with text and frameline', in black


(Certified genuine, type 3)

5 Pi red and blue 5 Pi red and blue
(Reduced sizes, could be forgeries)

  5 p black and yellow
  5 p lilac
  10 p black and green
  10 p green
  20 p black and red
  20 p red
  1 Pi black and blue
  5 Pi red and blue

The first overprint exists in two types (called type 1 and 2) and was intended to be used for inland mail. The second overprint also exist in two types (called type 3 and 4) and was intended to be used for mail abroad. However, all 4 types of overprint were used for inland mail as well as mail abroad. These stamps are very rare; only a few thousand of the 5 p, 10 p, 20 p and 1 Pi were sold, and only about 400 of the 5 Pi. In these numbers all four 4 types are represented. The remainders were send back to the general post office in Sofia and auctioned in 1918. This gives an additional few thousand stamps of each value, for the most common ones, the 10 p and 20 p, we then have a total of about 10.000 stamps issued. Type 4 is very rare and almost never used.

The different types


(Images obtained from Reference B)

Type 1:
This type has four nails at the leg which is most in front, all other legs have three nails. Colour of the overprint: blue or black (a red essay overprint should exist, but not satisfactory, this was again overprinted with blue or black). Firstly a blue overprint was used on the 5 pa lilac and 10 pa green (and occasionally the 1 Pi), with ink that made a very blur impression. A new ink was ordered with a clearer print, all values were overprinted with this new ink in black or blue.

Type 2:
All legs have three nails. There should be a small dot to the right of the right (from our point of view) foot of the lion. Note the small dot to the left of the left foot (from our point of view). A few rare 5 pa lilac exist with the blurry ink mentioned in type 1. All others stamps were overprinted with clear impression in blue or black. Many forgeries exist.

Type 3:
This type has the 'o' alike character in the top left corner almost circular. The hair of the lion is going down in its neck. Only black ink was used for this type. Many forgeries exist.

Type 4:
This type has the 'o' alike character in the top left corner almost elliptic. The hair of the lion is combed towards the front legs. As in type 3, only black ink was used.

Some stamps also exist with the 'beetle' overprint of Turkey, they are all very rare (sorry, no picture available yet).

Forgeries:

Forgeries exist; about 75 % of all stamps are forgeries.

Forgeries in blue ink:


(Forged overprints in the wrong colour: blue)

The second overprint was never used in blue ink. The above overprints are all forged.

The above forged overprint has the tail of the lion in one thick black line.


(Forged overprints from the Fournier album, images obtained thanks to Bill Claghorn's forgery site)

Phantasy forgeries, 'RO' and lion overprint together on stamps of Turkey. Examples:

Forgery!
(Reduced sizes)


Postal Stationery

In 1880 a postcard was issued with two posthorns in a double circle, between the circles the inscription: 'HCTOYHO PYMeLNUCRL POWTA'. The value was 10 para and the colour blue. This postcard exists with overprint 'FRANCO' (in two types) and without this overprint. I have never seen this envelope and unfortunately have no picture available.


Copyright by Evert Klaseboer

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