A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar


A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Italian States- a classical minefield

Sicily 1859 Scott 13 2g blue "Ferdinand II"
Quick History
Just as the German Empire was made up of former smaller independent States, so Italy, initiated by Sardinia, began unification in 1860 from various Italian States. This post will cover the stamp issues and States of Modena (1852-1859), Parma (1852-1859), Romagna (1859), Roman States (1852-1868), Sardinia (1851-1863), Tuscany (1851-1864), and Two Sicilies (Naples, Sicily, Neapolitan Provinces) (1858-1861).

The '41/'43/'47 edition Big Blue have, scattered through the album under the name of the various States, coverage for Modena (5 spaces), Parma (2 spaces), Romagna (3 spaces), Roman States (6 spaces), Sardinia (7 spaces), Tuscany (2 spaces), and Two Sicilies (6 spaces).

The '69/'97 edition reduced the coverage to Roman States (Papal States), and Sardinia.

1843 Map of Italian States
Romagna (not shown) is around Ravenna
Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia stamps were issued under the Austrian Empire
Modena - Duchy-population 450,000- Capital Modena-annexed to Sardinia 1859

Parma- Duchy- population 500,000- Capital Parma- annexed to Sardinia 1860

Romagna- A Roman State- population 1,300,000- Capital Ravenna- annexed to Sardinia 1860

Roman States- Under the See of Rome- population 3,100,000- Capital Rome- with formation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, the territory was greatly reduced, and ended in 1870.

Sardinia- Kingdom- population growing as Sardinia was the dominant force behind the unification.  The other States were annexed, and Sardinia eventually became the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Sardinia includes Genoa, Turin, and Nice.

Tuscany- Grand Duchy- population 2,900,000- Capital Florence- annexed to Sardinia in 1860.

Two Sicilies- Kingdom- Capital Naples- annexed to Sardinia in 1860.

(Lombardy-Venetia -Kingdom (Part of Austrian Empire)- Principal cities Milan and Venice - Lombardy annexed by Sardinia in 1859, and Venetia by Italy in 1866.)

Sardinia, with Victor Emmanuel II as King, and the help of France (Napoleon II) against the Austrian Empire, obtained Lombardy in 1859.

Parma, Tuscany, Modena, and Romagna all voted to join Sardinia in 1860.

Giuseppe Garibaldi conquered the Kingdom of Two Sicilies in the name of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1860.

The Kingdom of Italy was then proclaimed on March 17, 1861.Turin was the Capital until 1865, when the Capital was moved to Florence.
Kingdom of Italy in 1861
Venetia (blue) was annexed in 1866
Roman (Papal) States (red), territory reduced, was absorbed by 1870
As one can imagine, the early stamps issued by the various Kingdoms prior to annexation are interesting, and generally expensive for the general WW classical collector.

They are also rife with reprints, reprint forgeries, and forgeries. One needs specialist philatelic knowledge to  feel comfortable with these issues. Needless to say, most general WW classical collectors do not have this.

So tread lightly, and assume all issues/stamps in one's possession are reprints or forgeries, until proven otherwise. ;-)

For this area, I have used the following resources...
The Serrane Guide (Invaluable for most Italian States)
Information in the Scott Classic Specialized catalogue
Focus on Forgeries -2nd edition- Varro Tyler (For Sardinia)
Vatican Philatelic Society for information on the Roman States

Sardinia 1863 Scott 13 40c red , Imperforate
"King Victor Emmanuel II"
Note: If this stamp is perforated, then a Kingdom of Italy issue
Into the Deep Blue
The Scott Classical Specialized catalogue has:

Modena (1852-1859): 19 stamp descriptions ( 6  <$20, most with no gum)
Parma (1852-1859): 18 stamp descriptions ( 2 >$30 for no gum)
Romagna (1859): 9 stamp descriptions ( 5 <$20 for no gum)
Roman States (1852-1868): 25 stamp descriptions ( 8 < $20, some with no gum)
Sardinia (1851-1863): 16 stamp descriptions ( 6 <$20, some with no gum)
Tuscany (1851-1860): 23 stamp descriptions (1 >$80)
Two Sicilies (1858-1861): 26 stamp descriptions ( 2 <$20)

Of the 136 major stamp descriptions, only 27 are CV <$20. On the other end, the Tuscany 1852 Scott 9 60cr red is valued @ $33,000 used, $120,000 unused, $30,000 no gum. Overall, many of the values are @ hundreds to thousands of dollars. A very pricey stamp playground. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues

Modena
Modena 1952 Scott 3 15c black/yellow "Coat of Arms"
The 1852-57 issue (eight stamps) features the coat of arms, as shown above. CV is a relatively modest $9-$18 for four no gum specimens. There are three spaces for this issue in the 1940's Big Blues.

Note: There seems to be lots of "no gum" CV quotes for the stamps in the Italian States. The CV for these specimens are often 25% or less of gummed specimens. As is my habit, I give the least expensive CV cost:: Here with no gum.

I checked this particular stamp against the Forgery illustration in the Serrane, and it came out with a clean bill of health.
Modena "Provisional Government" 1859 Scott 12 20c lilac
"Coat of Arms": A Geneva Forgery
On the other hand, I was not so lucky with this specimen. This represents the 1859 "Provisional Government" five stamp issue. If genuine, the 20c lilac above is the least expensive of the set @ CV $18 (no gum). Unfortunately, the Serrane clearly identifies the above as a "Geneva Forgery".

Parma
1852 Scott 3 15c black/pink
"Crown And Fleur-de-lis": Other (Later) Forgery
The Forgeries continued with the Parma issues. This represents the five stamp 1852 issue. (The illustration is cut off because the bottom is torn, but I wanted to show this for "teaching purposes" ;-)  The Serrane calls this an "Other Forgery" with the cross hatching , and the Fleur-de-lis pushed up against the circle frame ,signs not seen with the genuine.

Well, what about the nice stamp I received from the American Philatelic Society on-line stamp store?
Let's take a look...
1854-55 Scott 7 15c red "Crown and Fleur-de-lis"
Serrane: "Early Forged Set"
I was "expecting" this stamp to be genuine, as generally the APS store, which sells stamps from APS members to APS members, has a good reputation. But alas, reviewing the Serrane, this specimen is an example of the "Early Forged Set", with the mottled background around the crown, and the 41 horizontal lines (should be 57 lines).

What are the lessons from this?
• I honestly don't believe there was an intention to defraud, just ignorance. But ignorance is not an excuse. I'm only a classical generalist, but it took just minutes to determine this was a forgery (Albeit with the help of the Serrane ;-).

• The APS will only know it is a forgery if the selling member labels it as such, or it is recognized by another member. Caveat Emptor. 

• The APS store has good mechanisms in place for returns: 30 days for any reason. Also they offer a certification service for ~ $25 before the stamp is shipped. It clearly is a good idea to use this service for more expensive purchases.

I'm not really unhappy with the results, as I enjoy forgeries. And I did not pay much for this specimen. So I will keep it.  ;-)

Romagna
Romagna 1859 Scott 3 2b black/buff
Romagna, actually an area of the Roman States, produced a nine stamp issue with the design as shown in 1859. Five specimens can be had for <$20 (no gum).

But, as one would expect from the primitive design, finding an original may prove to be tough. Sure enough, noticed the closed middle circle among the five circle grouping on the upper right corner? The Serrane shows the original with the circle partially open. C'est la vie.

1859 Scott 9 20c black/gray green
If the shown stamp above is genuine, the CV is >$60. But Scott states there are reprints, often with the Y shaped ornaments between the small circles broken or blurred. Compare to the preceding stamp. Clearly, this is not an original.

Three spaces are found in the 1940's Big Blue for this series, with CV $9-$13 for no gum stamps.

Roman States 
I was not looking forward to this section, as I was aware that the Roman State stamps were full of forgery reprints. Sure enough- they are. ;-) But with the help of a few simple rules, at least 90% of them can be characterized. More about that in a bit.

Roman States 1852 Scott 6 5b black/rose
"Papal Arms"
An 11 stamp series was issued by the Roman (Papal) States in 1852, and was used for 15 years. Four stamps have a CV <$20.

Refreshingly, the above is not a Geneva counterfeit, according to the Serrane.  ;-)

Let's now look at the 1867 (Imperforate) and 1868 (Perforate) issues.

1867 Imperforate and 1868 Perforate issue on glazed paper
"Papal Arms"
Here's the situation.

Notice I have a full set of the imperforate issue? Yet this issue was only available for one year, and has a CV for no gum stamps from $29-$325. The perforated set is complete also, and appears to have, in some cases, markedly different colors.

Seems too good to be true.  ;-)

The problem is forgery reprints. The stamps were reprinted in 1878-79 (Usigli), 1889 (Moens), 1890 (Cohn), and 1890 (Gelli). They can differ by shades, paper, and perforations.  The reprints have a more blurred appearance. The frame lines can be broken.

A review of Scott, the Serrane, and the Vatican Philatelic Society website, however, provided a road map.

• The originals and some reprint forgeries are perforation 13-13.25. All other perforations (often 11.5) are reprint forgeries.

• The horizontal frame lines in the originals (+ Usigli)  are dominant over the vertical frame lines, while many forgery reprint stamps show the opposite: vertical frame line dominance over the horizontal frame lines.

Let's take a look at how genuine, and most reprint stamp frame lines would look...
(Drawing based on those of the Vatican Philatelic Society: Note- link for www.vaticanphilately.org/ doesn't work as of date of post publication. ? unsure why)

Figure 1
Left: Genuine (+ Usigli) - the horizontal frame lines are intact, 
while the vertical frame lines are interrupted.
Right: Other Reprints- the vertical lines are intact, 
while the horizontal frame lines are interrupted
Left: Mostly Original
Right: Most Reprints

Be aware that the edge of the sheet of a possible genuine copy may have a horizontal frame line end at a vertical frame line.

But, in the interest of maximizing the probabilities of an original, I will be looking for stamps with horizontal frame limes dominant throughout as the left portion of Figure 1. 

Now. let's look at some examples....

1867 Scott 15 10c black/vermilion, imperforate
Look at the frame lines. Note the horizontal lines both above and below are interrupted by the vertical frame lines on either end. This is clearly a forgery reprint! (Vertical frame line dominance)

1868 Scott 25 80c black/rose lilac, perforated 11 1/2
This 80c black/rose lilac has two strikes against it. First, the perforations are 11 1/2, a perforation never seen with the originals (13-13.25). Second, the vertical line is dominant. True, that could be seen at the end of a sheet, but no doubt this specimen is a forgery reprint.

1867 Scott 12 2c black/green, imperforate
1868 Scott 19 2c black/green, perforate 11 1/2
1868 Scott 19 2c black/green perforate 13
Observations...
• The imperforate 2c (left) has vertical line dominance on the right edge- probably a forgery reprint.
• The perforate 2c (center), besides showing vertical frame dominance, and broken frame lines -(characteristic of reprints)- also has 11 1/2 perforations: Definitely a forgery reprint.
• The perforate 2c (right) has a perforation 13, so an original is not ruled out by that measure. But it appears to have vertical frame line dominance, so more likely a forgery reprint.

Let's look at another....
1867 Scott 13 3c black/gray, imperforate
1868 Scott 20 3c black/gray, perforate 11 1/2
1868 Scott 20 3c black/gray, perforate 13
•First the left imperforate 3c black/gray has a CV $325 no gum. So what are the chances an original would show up in a general collection? ;-)  Look at the horrible broken frame lines. The vertical frame line appears dominant in the lower left corner. A forgery reprint.
• The perforated (center) stamp is 11 1/2. The vertical line appears dominant. A forgery reprint.
• The perforated (right) stamp is 13, so a genuine is not ruled out by that measure. But the left edge vertical frame line appears dominant. Probable forgery reprint.

Summary
Of the thirty one 1867 and 1868 issue stamp in my collection, I did not find one that was likely an original.  True some may be edge stamps, but I am looking for more certainty.

Sardinia
Sardinia  1862-63 Scott 10 5c green, Imperforate
"King Victor Emmanuel II"
The 1855-63 series (6 stamps) had an embossed portrait of King Emmanuel II. Sardinia, being the dominant Italian State, then provided in 1862 the same stamp images (and king!), now perforated, for the newly formed Kingdom of Italy. Remember- Imperforate- Sardinia; Perforate- Italy, (except 15c blue, a new denomination, which is imperforate). ;-)

The CV is $5+-$20+ for 4 stamps. No gum specimens are cheaper.

I checked against Serrane, and the 5c green above and the 40c red elsewhere on the blog appear to be genuine.
Sardinia 1861 Scott P1 1c black
Newspaper Stamp
This embossed newspaper stamp was issued in 1861, part of a two stamp set. CV here is a modest $5+.

I should mention that a number of the Italian States issued Newspaper or Newspaper tax stamps.

Tuscany
Parma 1851-52 Scott 5a 2cr greenish blue
"Lion of Tuscany"
In my opinion, some of the most truly classic stamps ever issued came from Tuscany. Look at that design! Forgers must have agreed, as the Serrane mentions there have been over 100 forgeries of Tuscan stamps- remarkable.  Fortunately, this stamp appears to be genuine.

For this 9 stamp issue, 5 are CV $150+-$350+. The others are higher. In fact, the prior post shows Big Blue, for the earlier editions (Before Tuscany was thrown out in the '69 edition), having the stamp cut for the 1852 Scott 1 1quatrinni black with catalogue value (used) of $2,500!

60 Quatrinni = 20 Soldi = 12 Crazie = 1 Lira

The above stamp really is a two crazie.  ;-)

Parma 1860 Scott 19 10c deep brown
"Coat of Arms": "Provisional Government"
In 1860, seven stamps  for the new provisional government were issued. CV is $80+-$400+ for 4 stamps. Again the earlier Big Blue had the stamp cut for the Scott 17 1c brown lilac, a $1,400  (used), $1,000 (no gum mint) stamp. I wonder if this was the reason- cost- that tossed all the Italian States except the Roman States and Sardinia out of the '69 Big Blue? (Although, I believe it was also a space saving measure.)

Two Sicilies
This Kingdom consisted of the island of Sicily and the lower portion of the Apennine area. Stamps (with different designs) were issued from Naples, Sicily, and the Neapolitan Provinces.

Let's take a look at a few examples...

Naples 1858 Scott 3 2g pale lake "Coat of Arms"
This 7 stamp 1858 issue, with probably the most interesting and unusual "Coat of Arms" design ever found on stamps, has a CV of $15+-$60+ for 3 stamps.

Sicily 1859 Scott 13 2g blue "Ferdinand II"
Beloved by specialists, as this issue has been touched up many times and can be plated, the stamp shows the portrait of Ferdinand II and his odd looking beard. The 9 stamp set has a CV of $100+-$800 for 7 stamps.
A bit out of the range of most BB collectors, but the earlier BB's had the CV $200 no gum Scott 10 1/2g orange in the album!

Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 13 pages for all the Italian States, and follows the major number Scott sequence exactly. Unless one specializes, or has the budget of Bill Gross, most of the spaces will remain empty. ;-)

Tuscany in the 1940s edition BB 
CV $2,500 & $1,000 stamp spaces
Big Blue

It goes without saying that many of the Italian States stamps with spaces in BB have been reprinted or counterfeited. Caveat Emptor.

Modena
Modena in earlier edition BB
Modena has five stamp spaces, three for the 1852 issue, and two for the 1853-57 Newspaper stamps. Four stamps are CV $9-$18 (Mostly because of the low cost no gum varieties), while the Newspaper 1852 Scott PR2 9c black/violet (Type II) is $80.

Of interest, BB does not include the 1855-57 Scott PR3 for $3+. !

Modena is found after Mexico in the '47 edition.

Modena did not survive in the '69 edition.

Parma
Parma in early BB
Parma has two stamp spaces for 1852- BB mistakenly has the date as 1862. With no gum stamps, it will cost >$30 to fill the two spaces.

In the '47, Parma can be found following Paraguay. Parma is not found in the '69 edition.

Romagna
Romagna in early BB with three spaces
Romagna has 3 spaces for the 1859 issue, two blank. With Scott 1, (2), (3) as choices for no gum varieties, only Scott 3 is over CV $10.

Romagna is found after Portuguese India, and was chopped in the '69 edition.

Roman States
Roman States are found in all BB editions
The Roman States spaces either admit the 1867 imperforate or 1868 perforate issue, but the perforate issues are much less expensive in every case. With the no gum varieties, only the blank space choice 3c black/gray is >$10.

The real problem is finding genuine copies among all the reprint forgeries! See discussion above.

The Roman States were retained in the '69 edition. In the '47 edition, Roman States is placed before Romania.

Sardinia
Sardinia, the alpha State, is in all BB editions
Sardinia has 5 regular spaces for the 1855-63 stamps, and two spaces for the 1861 newspaper stamps.
Partially because of no gum varieties, only two stamps are expensive (Scott 12- >$20, P2 -$42+).

Remember that the perforated versions are Italy stamps.

Of interest, BB descriptions are out of date. 10c yellow brown color no longer can be found in the catalogue, despite 10 color catalogue choices listed! Same with the 20c dark blue, despite 7 color choices. The 80c yellow color is now a minor number. I just put in the major Scott number from today's catalogue and left it at that.

Sardinia can be found after Sarawak in the '47 catalogue.

Tuscany
Tuscany in earlier BB's-It's going to cost you!
These are the facts:
1852 Scott 1 1q black ($2,500 used) ! Most expensive stamp ever in BB?
1860 Scott 17 1c brown lilac ($1,000 no gum)

Hope the stock market has been kind to you lately. ;-)

Actually, because of the 1851 date, BB might be referring to the 1851 Scott 1a black/bluish @ $2,750. But I went with the major number.

Of course there are less expensive alternatives in the 1851-52 issue- the Scott 5 2cr blue is CV $190.
And the 1860 issue has the Scott 19 10c deep brown @ >$80. Both are illustrated elsewhere in this post.

If one has a '69 or later edition, then no worries, as the Tuscany coverage was dropped.

Both Tuscany and Two Sicilies can be found after Turkey in the '47 edition.

Two Sicilies
Two Sicilies -6 stamp spaces in earlier BB's
Two Sicilies also is pricey with the Naples blank space choice Scott 2 1g pale lake @ $50, the Sicily 1859 Scott 10 1/2g orange @ $200 no gum, and the Neapolitan Provinces blank space choice 1861 1g black with >$30.
Coverage was dropped in the '69 edition.

Checklist

Modena ('41/'47)
1852
6,3,(4),

Newspaper
1853-57
PR2,PR4,

Parma ('41/'47)
1862 (Actually 1852)
1,(2),

Romagna ('41/'47)
1859
1,(2),(3),

Roman States (all editions)
1862-68*
12 or 19, 14 or 21,15 or 22,16 or 23,17 or 24,(13 or 20),

Sardinia (all editions)
1855-61
10,11,12,13,14,

Newspaper stamps
1861
PR1,PR2,

Tuscany ('41/'47)
1851 
1,

1860
17,

Two Sicilies ('41/'47)
1858 (Naples)
3,(2),

1859-61 (Sicily)
10,

(1859-61) (Neapolitan provinces)
19,22,(21),

Comments
Note for Italian States: The "Expensive stamps ($10 threshold) is for no gum varieties if they are the least expensive. Many stamps are much more expensive with gum.
Note: (  ) around a space is for a blank space choice.

Modena
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1852-57 Scott 3 15c black/yellow ($10+)
1852-57 (Scott 4) 25c black/buff ($10+)
1852 Scott PR2 9c black/violet (Type II) ($80)
1857 Scott PR4 10c black/gray violet (>$10)

Parma
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1852 Scott 1 5c black/yellow ($30+)
1852 (Scott 2) 10c black/white ($30+)

Romagna
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1859 (Scott 3) 2b black/buff ($10+)

Roman States
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1868 (Scott 20) 3c black/gray ($10+)
B) *1862-68 -choices are 1867 Imperforate or 1868 Perforate

Sardinia
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1862 Scott 12 20c indigo (>$20)
1861 Scott P2 2c black ($42+)

Tuscany
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1852 Scott 1 1q black ($2,500 used) ! Most expensive stamp ever in BB?
1860 Scott 17 1c brown lilac ($1,000 no gum)

Two Sicilies
A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1858 Scott 3 2g pale lake ($10+)
1858 (Scott 2) 1g pale lake ($50 used)
1859 Scott 10 1/2g orange ($200 no gum)
1861 Scott 22 2g blue ($10+)
1861 (Scott 21) 1g black ($30+)

Tuscany 1851-52 Scott 6 4cr green "Lion of Tuscany"
Out of the Blue
Doesn't  that "Lion of Tuscany" stamp have a classic beauty?

But the Italian States are a minefield of reprints and forgeries, to say nothing about expense.

This area, admittedly, may be best left to the specialists,and those with deep pockets.

Map pic appears to be in the public domain.

The Pic drawing I made of the genuine/reprint  Roman States Frame border drawings is based on those of the Vatican Philatelic Society.
http://www.vaticanphilately.org
(Note: Link doesn't work as of the date of publication of this post ?)

Have a comment? Would like to hear from you!

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful Blog! I collect italian states stamps among other areas. I agree that perfect looking italian states stamps are very expensive but nowadays on ebay you can find real deals for stamps with minor "faults"(I wouldn't even call them faults sometimes) and sometimes you can find even better deals if the auction is done when everybody is sleeping...ehhe.... In many cases if you are not experienced or "study" well the scans & the stamps, you are in for a "reprint, forgery" disappointment. but with a bit of knowledge , caution you're in for very nice and inexpensive surprises. I find the easiest stamps to recognize as genuine are the tuscany area ones while the most difficult are the papal states to some degree

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks lucatoscani for your insightful comments about the Italian States- and how to buy on ebay. You are clearly experienced in this area. Of course knowledge helps- but for the WW general classical collector,(where knowledge is often in short supply) it is still a minefield. ;-) Good luck with your finds. :-)

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  3. the real experienced about stamps in general and italian states is you, after looking at your article. I'm still learning, maybe with time I'll become more and more experienced. But i find italian states stamps are really interesting

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well thanks. :-) I think we are all in this together, and we are learning from each other.

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  5. I have 3 full sheets of papal arms red orange and yellow im sure they are forgeries I will look at the borders and,see but ive never seen full sheets sold or anyone that has seen them any one else got sheets? Or anyway to know value even if forgeries?

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  6. Hello MrTobsta

    I'm not enough of an expert to answer your questions. ;-)

    I would think sheets of Papal Arms would no doubt be forgeries.

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  7. Italian States are really great examples of "early' classics of philately and extremely interesting to study and work with even if fraught with pitfalls! To my way of collecting, that makes them all the more enjoyable. I noticed that you had made no mention of the "Antiqui Stati" catalog by Bolaffi. It's a very detailed work/catalog and I highly recommend it. Another source of
    reference material are the Zanaria Auction catalogs . They deal mainly in Italian States and Colonies, offering a wide array of rarities, all of which are photographed individualy in enlarged full color photos. I keep all their
    catalogs and through their offerings, have a near complete "collection" of Italy,states & colonies. Hope this was helpful , Cheers!

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  8. Thanks Bexadine for the catalogue recommendations- a very good idea indeed if one wishes to get serious about the Italian States.

    ReplyDelete