Scott #187 proof – how to identify it.

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    • #98793

      Is there any other way to tell #187 (and #187a) issued stamp from its proof other than color? And could anybody show TWO stamps – issued one and a proof – next to each other here?

    • #103609

      I have attached images of the proof and the normal stamps – the left block is the proof, the right is the normal stamp. As you can see, there is an obvious color difference.

      As far as I can tell, the paper is exactly the same for the proof and for the normal bloc. The gum on the proof is shiny but the gum on the normal stamp varies anyway, so I would suspect that the gum cannot be used to differentiate.

      I hope this helps.

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Jeff.
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    • #103610

      Are these “proof” stamps fairly common or scarce or ?????

    • #103611


      Can I ask naive question? How do you know that left one is indeed a proof? It is so close for my eyes. May be actual stamps have more obvious difference, than scans…

    • #103612


      I assumed that it was a proof because of the color. It is certainly possible that the color was caused by chemicals?

      Is there any information in the library on this particular proof and how to identify it?


    • #103613

      What are the dimensions of the stamps in the scan and does the proof have gum?

      Liapin says that the 23.5 mm x 37.5 mm stamp has the solid arrowhead of the watermark either pointing up or down; the grey-lilac proof has the solid arrowhead pointing right and is without gum.

      He also says that the 23.0 mm x 38.5 mm stamp has the solid arrowhead either pointing left or right; the grey-lilac proof has the solid arrowhead pointing left and is without gum.

      Therefore, if I am reading Liapin correctly:
      23.5 x 37.5 up or down is a regular stamp
      23.5 x 37.5 right is a proof
      23.0 x 38.5 right is a regular stamp
      23.0 x 38.5 left can be either a regular stamp or a proof

      Of course I am assuming that the color I am seeing is grey-lilac.

    • #103614

      My error. You did say the “proof” is gummed.

      Liapin also mentions proofs that are black on pink paper (with gum) and black (watermarked, no gum).

      Zagorski mentions proofs that are black (with gum) and black on pink paper (with gum).

      Contradictory information.

    • #103615

      I need to verify this but my understanding (from memory) was that the stamps had a variation in size based on the paper (which would shrink either vertically or horizontally depending on which way the ‘arrows’ were pointing.) This seems to imply that the original impressions were 23.5 x 38.5 which would then decrease in one direction or the other depending upon the paper.

      If the arrows were vertical, the paper shrank horizontally (thus the 37.5 versus 38.5), and if the arrows were horizontal, the paper shrank vertically (thus the 23.5 versus 23.0).

      This would appear to infer that Liapin is incorrect?

      A very interesting post! I hope that this can be resolved. I look forward to responses from those more knowledgeable than me.

    • #103616

      My Zagorsky catalog confirms Liapin as to the direction of the arrows on the regular stamps. He does not mention arrow directions on the proofs.

      Filateliya SSSR also confirms Liapin as to the direction of the arrows on the regular stamps. Reference the English summary translation in Rossica Journal 100/101. Maybe the proofs are covered in the original articles.:

      I agree, this is an interesting post. I have enjoyed searching through the catalogs.

    • #103617


      I can assure you that the stamps on the right in my image are the ‘normal’ color of the 40R. On my monitor, the color is close to the actual stamps that I scanned.

      Regarding your statistics;

      Of the 9 sheets I have of this issue:

      Triangle pointing down – 3
      Triangle pointing up – 2
      Triangle pointing right – 4
      Triangle pointing left – 0

      The singles/blocks (several hundred) I have are roughly found in the following %:

      Triangle pointing down – 25%
      Triangle pointing up – 15%
      Triangle pointing right – 25%
      Triangle pointing left – 35%

      The above statistics include both the normal stamp and the ones that have been overprinted in black or red.

      Not at all scientific, but I would conclude that all four directions occur in approximately equal numbers.


    • #103618


      MY stamps also look very close to their actual color on MY monitor. Are they all proofs?

    • #103620

      May be (and I hope) it is only me, BUT after many years of collecting this area I still don’t have clear criteria how to distinguish proof of this issue from regular stamp.

      I’ve seen stamps with slightly different (lighter for example) color that were called proofs and sold at premium price and in other cases I’ve seen stamps with exactly the same color that were called regular stamps and sold for cents a piece (opposite is true too).

      It is getting worse when you got stamp without gum. Soaking in water or exposing to sun or mosture can cause changes in color. We all know that.

      So, unfortunately – with all due respect – all examples above with light gray/gray color are not convincing for me. There is no clear criteria for me for this 40 rub stamp. Untill I see something different, in my collection all these proofs will stay with “????” note next to “proof”. .

      The only exception will be a stamp with clear four margins wider then margin distance between regular stamps (like on presentation sheet). If somebody has example of stamp like that I would love to see a scan here.

      As a reference – this type of proof shown in RSFSR Standard Collection (Zagorsky) catalog Vol.4, 2nd Edition, page 82.
      This catalog shows also this stamp in light red as another example of the proof.

    • #103625

      Information on how and why so many “proofs” exist would go a long way towards establishing whether these gray shades are proofs. The gray shades seem to be relatively abundant based on their catalog values in Zagorsky and Liapin.

      And why do they some proofs exist complete with gum? Were they “philatelic” in nature or maybe special “souvenirs”?

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