Provisionals

1964, 21 January

Printer: Helio Electronic Press
Designer: Dikran Minassian
Sheet Size: 5 x 10
Perf.: 12

This set of two surcharged Red Cross stamps is the sleeper of the country's issues, whatever their true status. This stems from the small quantity surcharged and that most collectors are not aware of them. As in the case with several other issues, there are several unanswered questions about their usage, quantity and purpose. In his list of emissions and quantities printed (Apendix A) under the Baroody contract, Mr. Stephan had the following notation under the Red Cross listing: "Also, 2 and 3np values were locally surcharged 20 and 30np respectively, due to shortage of those denominations and late arrival of the following issue, quantities surcharged were 10,000 each." In subsequent correspondence he said the figure should be 1,000 of each value. This seems more realistic in view of their scarcity. They are virtually never seen on the stamp market. Mr. Archam Tcheterian designed the surcharge and it was applied at the J. Saikali Press in Beirut, Lebanon, where Mr. Stephan and Mr. Lorenzo lived. The surcharge was done in a grid of five across by five down. Since the sheets of stamps were five across by ten down, the grid had to be applied twice to each sheet to completely print it. While setting up the surcharge, the printer allegedly had only 24 similar fonts of the 2 and 24 similar of the 3. This necessitated using a different font for one position. That was position 25 on the grid, the last position. As a result, each sheet had these varieties in two positions on each sheet, once printed - position 25 and 50. Since the upper 25 stamps were overprinted separately from the bottom 25, the odd font would show up twice on each sheet.

Since he claimed only 1,000 stamps were overprinted and each sheet consisted of 50 stamps, that means there were 20 full sheets used for the stamps. With the odd font appearing twice on each sheet, that would mean only 40 copies exist of each of the two values. Allegedly, Mr. Stephan discovered these varieties in the Dubai Post Office when he returned from Europe with a delayed new issue. He claimed there were only about six sheets remaining when he discovered them. While the above makes an interesting story, it is highly unlikely that this really happened. There is a problem in justifying this issue for several reasons. First, the Scout issue was to have been released the previous day and that set consisted of 160,000 20np and 100,000 30np values. This must have been the "delayed" new issued to which he was referring. However, he said he was returning from Europe with a delayed new issue. All of the stamps were printed in Beirut, where he was living. There is however, the possibility that he was in Europe on business and picked them up in Beirut on the way to Dubai. On 30 December, 1963, twenty-two days prior to their issue, the Freedom From Hunger set was released, which had 60,000 30np stamps and the 20 December, 1963 Malaria set had 60,000 30np values. The next set to have either a 20np or 30np value, after the release of the Provisionals, was the 10 May, 1964 pictoral issued, nearly four months later. It is probably that there was a shortage of both the 20 and 30np values and that these were prepared until the arrival of the Scout stamps. With both values existing in the Scout set, the two denominations would hold until the release of the pictorial issue in May. One must bear in mind that hugh quantities of stamps were sold to the philatelic market through the Dubai Philatelic Agency and a constant comment regarding the Dubai issues was that they were seldom available in the Dubai Post Office. On the other hand two "scarce" provisionals are another two stamps to sell to collectors.


At least one First Day Cover is known for this issue and others undoubtedly exist. It is not on a specially printed envelope provided by the Baroody Stamp Company. That would be highly unlikely since it was not a planned issue. The stamps are on a generic Red Cross cacheted envelope that could be used for the issues of any country, and undoubtedly was.

Mr. Stephan claims no First Day Covers existed but Mr. Mosden had it listed on one of his price lists. Common sense dictates that it was made some time after the appearance of the two stamps.

Mr. Mosden stated that Mr. Stephan prepared this issue and controlled it, meaning that it was not made available for him to purchase from the Post Office. He had to purchase the copies he had from Mr. Stephan's stock. This certainly negates Mr. Stephan's comment that he discovered it in the Dubai Post Office when he returned from Europe. Being a stamp dealer, as well as the Agent for Dubai, Mr. Stephan knew what collectors wanted and valued. He had pairs of the varieties saved, one stamp was the normal surcharge and the other the variety.

Set of 2

SS: None
CTO: None
Plate Numbers: None
FDC: At least one known on a generic Red Cross cacheted envelope with a non-commemorative Dubai cancellation.
Cost:

25 January - Honoring Astronauts

20 January - Boy Scouts - Athens

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