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The revenue and assistance stamps with the "Gültig 9. Armee" overprint

Fig 1
      The subject of the present article - the stamps with the "Gültig 9. Armee" overprint in a frame - was not treated

Fig 2
to date in the Romanian specialized literature, and the catalogues (the international as well as the Romanian ones) make only summary reference or ignore them.
      Actually there are two issues, an assistance stamp type "weaver" (identical with those used starting with 1916 in the Kingdom) but with changed colors (figure 1) as well as a revenue stamp (figure 2).

Essays. The only known essays were catalogued by Cohen in his well known work on Romanian essays, illustrated currently under 166, 167 and 168 (figure 3).

Fig 3

Circulation issue dates. The catalogues which refer to these issues mention the year 1917 for the assistance stamps, respectively 1917 - 1918 for the revenues. In CMPR 1974 (K. Dragomir) the date 10th of March 1918 is specified for the stamp issue (the same date with the circulation issue date of the four postage stamps type "Germania" with the same overprint).. For both issues the earliest date for release into circulation and use is open for research, regarding appliance on complete documents.

Fig 4 - Sketch of the metal letter:
a - flower; b - line;
c - thickness;
d - signature; e - channel;
f - leg; g - height;
h - body; i - back
We underline the note from the German Michele catalogues (starting with the first edition for the German specialized catalogue in 1925, to the present), Senf 1944 and Lipsia 1961, that all these stamps had and exclusive revenue destination. Due to this, circulated pieces must be searched on taxed documents.

      Printing. For the assistance stamps, the overprint was applied for reprints in changed colors of the initial 1916 issue, executed on grey paper (the same as the one found on postal issues of the Moldova 1918 - 1919 issue). The print sheets of the initial issue had 200 clichés (10 rows x 20 columns), and it is possible this was kept. We have to mention that complete sheets are not known, even the National Philatelic Museum having none.(former treasury Conservatory of Post). For revenue stamps the format of the print sheets is unknown. The largest formation of the Ambruş collection is a bloc of 40 stamps of the 10 bani value.

Fig 5

      Overprint. The overprint was executed for all values through the high print procedure. All sources indicate that for the overprint two types were used: the thin frame (figure 1, left) and the thick frame (figure 1, center).Taking into consideration that we know no paired value having adjoined the two frame thicknesses, we draw the conclusion that the negative for the overprint are different for each frame thickness. The overprint for a stamp was done with letters and graphic elements, as well as an unknown number of typographical spaces. An individual letter or number is somewhat similar to the figure 4 sketch (Virgil Olteanu, From the book art and history lexicon, Ed. Enciclopedică, Bucureşti, 1992). This actually means that a "cliché" corresponding to a stamp is made of separate letters, numbers and typographical spaces (lines and blanks) individually attached, the entire ensemble fixing itself with a frame on the plane surface of the machine.
      Due to this procedure, theoretically all kind of errors and misplacements are possible. Not having a systematic study of this overprint and not knowing a complete sheet, we can only resume to the few formations we know.

      10 bani - Assistance stamp. It is certain that there were at least two panels of the overprint, one with a thin frame (more common) and one with a thick frame. On the second type we found the "fallen 9" variety, encountered "twice in the 50 sheet" (according to CMPR 1974 - K. Dragomir, page 539; the documentary source of the author regarding the 50 marks sheet unknown, in the former Post Conservatory not one sheet being kept, and the print sheets of the support stamp of 10 bani, violet-brown and the 2 lei, green, being most probably, of 200 clichés, similar to the 1916 support stamps of 10 bani, reddish-brown and 2 lei, sepia brown). The overprint with the thin frame has the following characteristics: width - 13.3 mm; height - 9.9 to10.1 mm; distance between two overprints: horizontally 8.8 to 10.2 mm, vertically - 17.7 to 20.8 mm; we cannot attribute a rule between the variation of the height of the overprint and the vertical distance between two overprints, until this is confirmed on a larger number of pieces. We present in figure 5 one of the studied pieces. The variation with the thick frame is rare, multiples (blocks and sheet fragments) being even rarer. The overprint has the width of 13.5 - 13.7 mm and the height of 10.5 - 10.7 mm. The distance between the two overprints is approximately the same as for the thin frame. The position on the sheet of the dropped "9" variety is unknown. We also don't know if it is constant.

Fig 7
thick frame
with a

      10 bani - Revenue stamps. This stamp was printed on white, chalked (thicker) paper or one yellowish - white paper, un-chalked (thinner). According to German literature (considered by us more credible), both varieties are known with a thin frame overprint, and on the chalked paper, also with a thick frame. On this later one we have the dropped "9" variety, the position on the sheet unknown (figure 7). The characteristics of the overprint are identical as for the 10 bani support stamp, less the distance between two adjoining overprints: 16.5 - 18 mm, abnormal 20.5 mm horizontally and 23.5 - 25 mm vertically (on the thin frame overprint). The thick frame overprint is rare, and large formations even rarer.

Fig 6

      30 bani - Revenue stamps. Catalogued by the German literature as existing only on chalked paper, with overprint in both variations, thick and thin frames. It is certain, that in comparison with the 10 bani, there were at least two different panels of the overprint used, due to the different size of the stamp. The dimensions of the thin frame overprint are similar. The distances between two adjoined overprints are of 13 - 14 mm horizontally and 39.5 - 40 mm vertically. On the variety with a thick frame, the lack of formations did not permit us to draw any conclusions. For this variety we have a dropped "9" overprint variety, the position on the sheet unknown.

      1 leu - Revenue stamp. Catalogued as existing with both thick and thin frame overprint. The dimensions of the overprint are similar to those of the 30 bani value. For the thick frame variety I encountered an un-catalogued variety of the overprint - the entire row dropped "9.Armee". The variety was identified in a bloc right on the left of the dropped "9" variety (figure 8). The "Bulgaria & Romania Revenues - J. Barefoot & V. Robu" catalogue signals a variety with dropped "9." (dropped nine and point). These varieties - in the situation in which the panel with the thick frame overprint is common - could be found also on the 30 bani and 5 lei.

Fig 8

      2 lei - Assistance stamp. This value was signaled and catalogued in the German literature as having only the thin frame overprint, with characteristics similar to the 10 bani value. We have no mention to date of a fiscal document with this stamp applied. It is a rare stamp, and blocks are even rarer.

      5 lei - Revenue stamp. This value was mentioned and catalogued in the German literature as having only the thin frame overprint, with characteristics similar to the 30 bani value. We have no mention to date of a fiscal document with this stamp applied. It is a rare stamp, and blocks are even rarer.

      Other varieties. We have no mention of other varieties for overprints (such s doubles, upside-down or oblique). We only know of overprints with abklatsch on the back and for the general 1 leu Carol I revenue stamp we know of an uncirculated dropped "9" pair (the mark on the right, the left one being normal). The perforations used are classical for the period (A - 13˝, B - 11˝, C - 11˝x13˝ and D - 13˝x11˝). Until know there is no conclusive research regarding the rarity of the rims fond on the marks of the two issues.

Fig 9 - Philatelic fake
      Circulation and stamp franking. In the postal circuit were used the support stamps and the "Germania Reich" stamps, overprinted, and in the fiscal circuit the four values of the Carol I 1918 issues (10 b, 30 b, 1 leu, 5 lei) and two values of the Carol I foreign chattels (50 b and 1 leu), most probably only during the German occupation period. The exact dates for each value should be determined with the help of documents stamped with these stamps. Circulation numbers are indicated only in CMPR 1974. We cannot argue if they are or not real. In comparison with the rest of the stamps of the German occupation in Romania , it is certain that stamps for the 9th Army area are rare. So far only 6 documents are known, bearing that revenue stamp tax, and in the postal circuit the number does not exceed a few tenths. In comparison, on the philatelic market there are many letters and post-cards with revenue stamps with the overprint "Gültig 9. Armee" canceled with a date postal stamp, the majority with the stamp BUKAREST (figures 9 and 10), and sometimes with a German military censor stamp. These are philatelic fakes, creating a disadvantage to collectors, revenue stamps with this overprint not being used in the postal circuit.

Fig 10 - Philatelic fake
There is only one known letter circulated with a military currier, the 10 bani revenue stamps being canceled with the military postal office stamp, in this case K.U.K. ETAPPEN POSTAMT 346 (fig. 11).

      Fiscal Administration. The passionate researcher of the Romanian German occupation stamps, George Morărel, offers us some extremely important information regarding the laws that governed their use:

       "To the German researcher Paul Kluberg we owe the knowledge regarding the "ANOUNCEMENT" through which the German occupation authority announces its new fiscal tax regulations. Another German researcher, Franz Josef Mutter, estimates that the Announcement was published in mid January of 1917, approximately at the same time with the release in circulation of the new lei banknotes. Because this announcement covers all the fiscal taxes, of great use for the researcher of cancellations (hand documents and institution stamps), we present its translation from German:

Fig 11 - German military
post circulation


      In the territory under the German Administration we order that revenue stamps are to be paid according to the Romanian Laws of the 4th of February 1906 and the 24th of December 1914. The lack of use of these stamps, as well as the forgery or reuse, and the unauthorized trade in this material shall be punished.
      The sale of these revenue stamps shall be done through retailers or other authorized persons, who shall acquire them from the Stamp Depository. Valid shall be only stamps with the M.V.i.R (Military Administration in Romania) overprint, and later, in 1918 those with the "Gültig 9. Armee" overprints.
      A novelty is that the Support Stamps, which were distributed until now only through postal offices can be purchased from now on from retailers and financial agents.

      We present the use of the revenue stamps:

            A) The 10 Bani value shall be used for:
                  1) for the account registers of traders, manufacturers, hotels, pharmacists, intermediaries, etc;
                  2) for cheques, promissory notes and receipts;
                  3) for dreceival confirmations of any kind;
                  4) for accounts acts, invoices, etc, when the value of the object does not exceed 200 lei;
                  5) for letters and letter of carriage;
                  6) for citations and reclamations;
                  7) for documents which grant the sale of cattle.

            B) The 30 bani value shall be used for:
                  a) for all requests forwarded to authorities;
                  b) for legalization, attestation, of various acts, diplomas, documents, forwarded to the authorities;
                  c) for receipts in bank transactions;
                  d) for passports and identification papers;
                  e) for accounting documents, invoices, etc, whose value exceeds 200 lei.

      Article 23 of the Law from the 23rd of December 1914 requested that beside these taxes a stamp of 10 bani shall be applied and on bank transaction documents a 20 bani stamp.
      The above mentioned amounts are increased by the new dispositions to 20, respectively 40 bani, so that for points 1 - 7 the tax is of 30 bani and for a) - e) it is 50 bani. Regarding bank transaction documents, the tax is of 50 or70 bani, according to the value of the object.
      In the situation in which the postal activity shall be restarted, besides the postal stamp a 10 bani revenue stamp shall be added; telegrams (inside the territory under German military administration) shall have a 20 bani revenue stamp added.
      Also new is the disposition regarding requests addressed to the occupation forces autorities. If these requests are not tax exempted, a 1 leu revenue stamp shall be applied to them.
      Article 43 refers to tax exemptions, besides those mentioned are, the following are also tax exempted:
      Acts submitted at the request of authorities;
      Requests for assistance;
      Acts and documents of banks which perform operations with the occupation forces.
      Information regarding fiscal taxes can be found in the provinces at the Fiscal Administration."

      In closing.
I reopened this chapter with the hope that you will come to our aid with observations in solving the enigmatic overprints of the German army occupation on our territory. We thank you and await you in the pages of our magazine with new finds.
Marian Jianu and Francisc Ambruş, FILATELIA revue, Nr.9/2008