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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 by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Czechoslovakian 1918-1930 engraved varieties: A closer look

1925 Scott 98-101 "President Masaryk" First Engraving
The Masaryk's come in multiple perforations, multiple stamp sizes, unwmk/wmk horizontal/wmk vertical, short and long mustaches, and four engravings

As I was preparing the Czechoslovakian Big Blue checklist, it became apparent there was enough engraved varieties in the 1918-30 stamp era to merit a separate blog for a closer examination. Now I am not a philatelic "Czech" expert; far from it. :-)  But I had to review basic engraving differences in the Czech stamps in order to adequately finish the Big Blue checklist.

A couple of comments before getting on with this interesting task..

A) The analysis will be based on the information in the Scott Classic Specialized catalogue. Other catalogues (Michel?) might parse the differences more finely, but most collectors with Big Blue, a Scott inspired album, will also be using the Scott catalogue.

B) What I can add to the Scott information is a stamp image highlighting the engraving difference(s). A picture is worth a thousand words.

C) This analysis is clearly not the last word in engraving differences. You might want to consult other informational sources. In particular, Keijo and his Stamp Collecting Blog has wonderful information, using the Michel catalogue as a source I believe, on the Masaryk stamps of 1925-27.

So on with the interesting part....

1918-19 "Hardcany at Prague" issue
Two inscription varieties. As one inscription variety is found on denominations 40h and below, while the other inscription is found on higher denominations, should not be a problem.

 10h rose
The denominations up to 40h all have the "Posta Ceskoslovenska" as a white inscription on a colored background.

 200h ultramarine
The values above 40h have a colored inscription on a white background

1919 "Harcany at Prague" with "cesko-slovenska" inscription issue
The issue has three engraving types ( Type II,III,IV). There is actually little confusion, as only one engraving type is used on a particular denomination. Note: I assume "Type I" are the 1918-19 issues?

Type II  1h dark brown
Sun is peaking over the Cathedral
No color to foreground foliage

Type III  300h dark green
No Sun
Foreground foliage is shaded

Type IV 5h blue green
No Sun
Building background has changed
No foreground foliage

1920 "Czechoslovakia Breaking Chains to Freedom" issue
The 40h red brown stamp comes in two types.

The upper stamp has 9 leaves by the woman's hip (Type I), while the lower stamp has 10 leaves by the woman's hip (Type II)

1920-25 "Carrier Pigeon with Letter" issue
The 25h blue green stamp has two types. (FYI, the 20h deep orange also has two types, but no illustration here as I don't a copy of both examples. Type I for the 20h has a long base on the "2", while having an eliptical interior to the "0". Type II has a short base on the "2", while having a more oval interior to the "0".)

The left stamp has the top of the "2" curving up (Type I), while the right stamp has the top of the "2" curving down (Type II)

1923 "Agriculture & Science" issue
Type of 1920 issue redrawn
Very interesting issue. Consists of the 100h red/yellow, the 200h blue/yellow, and the 300h violet/yellow. Each stamp has different multiple perforations varieties, all with their own minor Scott number. But the challenge is identifying the three engraving varieties (Type I,II,III) for the 100 red/yellow, and the two engraving varieties (Type I,II)  for the 200h blue/yellow and 300h violet/yellow. I would recommend clicking on the image to enlarge it to study the stamp differences. 

Type I: The upper row 100h stamp has the Leaf below the "O" in "POSTA" with a straight rib to the end of the leaf; and a white triangle above the book is completely to the left of the branch. The "P" has a little stub.
Type II: The bottom row stamps have the Leaf rib crooked; and the triangle extends to the right of the branch. The "P" has the stub like Type I.
Type III: The upper row 200h  shows a broken rib in the top middle Leaf; the Leaf below the "O" is short; the triangle same as Type II; "P" has no stub.

1925-27 Masaryk issues
I will focus on the four denominations of the Masaryk issues consisting of the 1k carmine, the 2k deep blue, the 4k brown, and the 5k blue green. They can be found with the watermark (107-Linden Leaves) either horizontal (more usual) or vertical. One variety ( Scott 130), the 1927 1k carmine rose, is unwatermarked. They can come in different perforations. They can come in different stamp image sizes, usually linked to a specific engraving type. And most interesting, there are FOUR known engravings. (Note: I will refer to the first engraving as type I, second engraving as Type 2 etc.) The 1k carmine has the most (Type I,II,III,IV), followed by the 3k brown (Type I,II,IV), and then the 2k deep blue and the 5k green (Type I,II). 

As mentioned, most (except Scott 130) are watermarked-usually horizontally. Scott, though, gives major numbers (101A-101D) to the Type 1 stamps that happened to be watermarked vertically. So pay "watermark" attention to Type 1 stamps.

There are also Masaryk stamps that come in long mustache/short mustache varieties (1926 Scott 106 1k carmine rose, 1926-27 Scott 116 50h deep green, 1927 Scott 130 1k carmine rose). I will say no more about them here as I have no good examples. 

We usually don't pay that much attention to the size of a stamp. But, for the most part, one can actually separate out the four different engravings simply by measuring the size. The sizes Scott gives are 19 3/4 X 22 1/2 mm for Type 1-wmk horizontal; 19 1/4 X 23 mm for Type 1-wmk vertical; 19 X 21 1/2mm for Type II; 19-19 1/2 X 21 1/2-22mm for Type III; 19 X 22mm for Type IV. I measured my stamps after determining  the engraving type, and it was spot on! So, if one doesn't want to look at the stamps, then measure them. ;-)

Here, for the engraving differences, we will look at the stamp images. For a closer look, click on the images and enlarge them.

The 1k Masaryk's: Observe where the "T"in POSTA hovers over the "V" below?
"T" over ctr of "V": Type I; "T" toward right arm of "V": Type II or III;
 "T" over left arm of "V": Type IV
Top row: Type I & Type II or III; Bottom row: Type IV & 1927 Scott 130 (different sides)

First (Type I) engraving
"T" over ctr of "V"
Crossed shaded diagonal lines on right shoulder
Horizontal lines in top and bottom tablets
If Type I, confirm by measuring the stamp, and look at watermark

"T" over right of "V": either Type II or III
One short line in "A"(Type II), or blank space in lower part of "A" (Type III)
Crossed shaded diagonal lines on right shoulder (Type II) or shading of single lines only (Type III)
Measures 19 X 22mm; 13 3/4 perf; watermarked
What do you think?

"T" over left arm of  "V": Type IV
Crossed shaded diagonal lines on right shoulder
Crossed horizontal & vertical lines in top and bottom tablets
Perforation 10, watermarked

Getting tired of 1k carmine? Here's a 2k deep blue
Only comes in either Type I or Type II
"T" over right of  "V": Type II
One short line in "A":Type II
Crossed shaded diagonal lines on right shoulder: compatible with Type II
To confirm: measure the size

1930 50h myrtle green "President Masayrk"
The 1930 50h comes in two types. Click on the image below to enlarge it  and examine the space between the bottom of vignette and the "HALERU" frame panel.

1930 50h myrtle green: Top: Type 1; Bottom: Type II
Top stamp : white space between the coat shirt and tie, and the top of the "HALERU" frame panel.
Bottom Stamp: white space not so much:

That was fun!  :-) With Big Blue, the collector can get as detailed -or not -as she or he wants. Big Blue makes very little demands in regards to measuring perforations, checking watermarks, differentiating between engravings etc. But if one wants to do that for certain issues or countries, the option is there.

If you enjoyed this post, or have some information to share, or have some constructive criticism, please share your thoughts and reactions in the "comment" section. I've recently changed the settings, so any reader should be able to post. Thanks!

Jim Jackson


  1. Thanks... This was highly useful (as I've got a mountain of 1920 and 1923 series stamps waiting to get sorted).

  2. Keijo-
    Every time I read your blog, I learn something.

  3. Jim Hi.
    Can you help please? I have a 50 Haleru in what appears to be myrtle green but it bears the 1925-7 text and image (facing left}. Can you explaing?

  4. 1926 Scott 166 50h deep green "Masaryk" -wmk 107 "Linden Leaves) or
    1927 Scott 128 50h deep green -umwmked or
    1925 Scott 96 50h olive green (Different Masaryk design)-Wmk 107???

  5. Hi Jim and thanks for taking the trouble to come back to me.
    The fact is I'm a 'postcard man' so I'm in a bit deep as far as the question you're asking. But what I can say is
    - I can't tell anything about the watremark or absence of
    - is there a site somewhere where I can compare colours
    - the leaves on the border are like the leaves on the border of the red stamp at the bottom right of the block of 4 on this page, ie 4 little pairs each side.
    Apologies for being so helpless. I'll fully understand if my input is so poor that you con't help any further. And it's probably nothing out of the ordinary anway. It's just that I like to find out as much about my PCs as possible. Thanks. Sandy

  6. The way you describe it, perhaps 1925 Scott 96 50h olive green. If the little boxes enclosing the "50" number script are not colored in, than this is your stamp.

    If the little boxes around the "50" script are colored in, then it is the other two stamps mentioned above, and you would need to determine watermark. ;-)

    Determining color is the least secure way without a comparative stamp example.

    1. Jim You're a star. The boxes aren't coloured in so now I know that my postcard dates from about 1925. It might seem a little silly to you, but it has made my day. Thank you so much. Sandy

  7. No genuine stamp question is too silly. Glad I could contribute!

  8. znalazłem na carboot selu znaczek ultramaryna 200h 1918/19 "Hardcany w Pradze" i zamierzam go sprzedać. wiecie może ile jest wart?


    1. Translation from Polish : I found on carboot Selu stamp ultramarine 200h 1918-1919 " HardCano in Prague ," and I'm going to sell it . You can know how much it is worth?

    2. It's a common stamp- Catalogue value 25 cents used, $2.25 unused. Rather, why don't you begin a collection?

  9. Great explanation Jim. Please confirm one more thing: Scott 106 is watermarked; Scott 130 is not…