Sunday, 28 February 2016


If one cannot make head nor tail of a stamp generally you know what country it originated from. Not in this case for it is hidden under a deep black stripe.  I found this amongst a mixed bag of stamps, so no clues there. Being a bit nerdish I can't mount a stamp in an album if I can't put it in a context so had to look for another clue, otherwise it would have to continue to languish in the bag, but at least it used the Latin alphabet so maybe that would be a starting point, plus the date of the overprint, 1941 (the coat of arms meant nothing to me).  The first clue was the bottom line which of course I typed into the search engine and it told me that this was a painting by Velasquez 'Vulcan's Forge' so we may be in Spain.  A bit of Google translate and the other line came up 'Home and School for Orphans'.  Hey ho that didn't help much but to cut a very long search story short it turned out this was a stamp issued in 1938 during the Spanish Republic (Popular Socialist) as a charity stamp (hence the School for Orphans) but after the end of the Spanish Civil War, and later in 1941, the remainder were overprinted with the black bar to delete the inscription 'Republic Español' by Franco's government but were never issued.

The next stamps I show did not have the benefit of a Latin alphabet but
that hammer and sickle may be a clue although they came out of an old stock book which consisted of countries starting with the letter A, well that rules Russia out, or does it?  These are stamps of Armenia which mark the start of a  brief period of calm after the turbulent years  of conflict and genocide under the Ottoman Empire when in 1922 they became the Soviet Republic of Armenia, and part of Russia (things would deteriorate after the death of Lenin).  These stamps of 1922 were in fact not officially issued without having surcharges of gold kopeks in figures so are a bit of a Cinderella stamp.  On the left is a mythical beast on a wall sculpture from the ruined medieval city of Ani and of course the other is the Soviet Symbol on a design of an old Armenian manuscript.
The other stamps of the set I have are less mysterious, an Armenian Red Soldier and a Fisherman on the River Aracs.

But enough of conflicts, I'll finish with a more modern Swiss stamp but won't leave you puzzling
c1995: "A" (1st class) Mail
An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Oddities (the unknown, unusual or strange) - more randomness here at See It On A Postcard         


FinnBadger said...

These stamps are fascinating - sounds you had fun doing your detective work.

viridian said...

Thank you for sharing your puzzlers - interesting!

Ana said...

I love your so-called mysterious stamps for today! Such cool stories behind them! Thumbs up for the research done :)

VioletSky said...

Oh, I can only imagine the headache you must have had from all this research!! Good for you.
I discovered not too long ago (through my cemetery visits) that Armenia has its own alphabet and scrolling back to my gravestone photo, I can definitely see a resemblance to the letters on the stamps.

I have a section at the back of one of my albums for such stamps that are nearly unidentifiable, or unknown so that they don't languish.

Bob Scotney said...

I'll bet you enjoyed your detective work in identifying them, I just wonder how ling it took you, The mythical beast is my favourite.