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Europe/Russia : Russia - World War II Era.

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1938324
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06 May 2018
02:48:04pm

Auctions - Approvals
Dumb question on a rainy Sun. afternoon. Actually, I have "dumb questions" every day of the week, but I just don't have the courage to ask them. I seem to have almost all of the World War II era stamps from Russia, but mine ARE ALL CTOs that I bought at a Stamp Store in Oakland, CA, many years ago. Ebay shows hundreds of World War II era stamps from Russia, but NONE are CTOs. Is there some sort of an explanation for this? I think all are going to go into an Approval Book. Thank you.
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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
06 May 2018
04:31:22pm
re: Russia - World War II Era.

don't have an answer for your specific, and anything but dumb, question, but can say that, in general, used are more valuable than CTO

AND

in general, countries from the East bloc started issuing CTOs like GIs did chocolate bars right after the war, and really didn't stop until, well, there wasn't an east bloc any more.

can't say why lots are full of used.

i wouldn't toss those CTOs until they are replaced, AND I'd probably not spend enormous capital replacing them unless I were specializing in CCCP

David

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Bobstamp
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06 May 2018
09:17:52pm
re: Russia - World War II Era.

I certainly wouldn’t sell those CTOs. My understanding is that there are CTOs, and then there are CTOs. From page 1113 of my 2014 Scott catalogue (the Russia section):

Quote:

"Cancelled sets of new issues have long been sold by the government. Values in the second (“used”) column are for th we cancelled-to-order stamps. Postally used stamps are worth more."



The catalogue values of your Russian CTOs is nothing to sneeze at!

Scott notes as well that values for unused stamps issued after 1945 are for unhinged stamps. That tells me that never-hinged mint stamps from before 1946 are not common, and, by extension, that postally used stamps are also uncommon. Most of my Russia stamps are CTOs, and I have no intention of giving them up. Not with catalogue values as high as U.S. $40.

Bob

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michael78651
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06 May 2018
09:46:29pm
re: Russia - World War II Era.

Robert, ask your questions. None are stupid. Many newer members here who are new to the hobby (and even others) stand to learn and understand more about it.

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Bobstamp
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06 May 2018
11:34:53pm
re: Russia - World War II Era.

Further to Robert's question: I just took a look at ebay, searching for "Russia 1940". I found a great many stamps described as "used" that are obviously CTOs. That's rather deceiving for novice collectors!

For the record, circle-datestamp (CDS) cancellations placed on one corner of a single stamp so that just a quarter of the cancellation is visible are nearly always CTOs, but they can also be favour cancelled, which means that collectors asked postal clerks to cancel stamps; many collectors (I'm one of them) like to have mint and used copies of the same stamp, although most collectors would agree that postally used stamps are far more collectible than CTOs or favour-cancelled stamps.

It's worth looking with a jaundiced eye on any stamp offering from any dealer that you don't know. One of the eBay offerings I saw was for a small batch of stamps that were "used, with original gum". They were all CTOs; original gum on a stamp with any cancellation is a sure sign that it's a CTO or was favour cancelled.

While I always look for postally used copies of stamps that I want to add to my collection, I am willing to accept CTOs if postally used copies are hard to come by. For me, the important thing is the ostensible reason the stamps were issued in the first place. Russia's wartime stamp issues amount to a short course in Russian military technology whether they are mint, postally used, or CTOs.

I'll echo both Michael and David by repeating their advice to ask all the questions you want to ask. Philately is such a huge subject that no one person could possibly have thorough knowledge of anything more than a few narrow topics. As long as you retain your vision and your ability to manipulate stamp tongs, philately can keep you happily occupied to the end of your days.

Bob


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08 May 2018
04:37:03am
re: Russia - World War II Era.

I agree with Bob. One of my main collections is Russian Empire and USSR. There are some nice postal used in my collection but the overall CV including the CTOs which I would never collect if I can avoid it, put a pretty number on the collection as a whole.

The Scott catalogue indeed lists "used" as CTOs after a certain time period with postal used at a premium. Considering some of the numbers I've come across for the CTOs, I imagine my postal used issues of the same stamp would bring a nice number if I were to sell them.

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malcolm197
09 May 2018
05:36:20am
re: Russia - World War II Era.

My attitude to stamps from Eastern Europe in general (post 1945) and Russia in particular ( since the revolution) is that all are CTO, unless it can be proved otherwise.

I have had thousands of such stamps pass through my hands, and less than 1% have been postally used. The only ones I can remember in quantity are the 5-year plan and contemporary official ( non-reprint) and Ulbricht definitives of East Germany. Even the apparently postally used Commemoratives appear to be mainly ex-FDC soak-offs.

Postally used stamps obviously do exist, but they will all come from specific sources of supply, and do not filter down to the run-of-the-mill collector. If you have sush a source guard it with your life!

Malcolm

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Guthrum
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09 May 2018
12:10:46pm
re: Russia - World War II Era.

When I was young and easy under the apple boughs I used to think that the cause of so many Russian issues was the great size of that country, and how literate its population had become under the glorious communist movement, to write so many letters requiring so many different stamps.

'CTO' was gently explained to me not very much later as a curious collecting fad beloved of the Soviets and their satellites, though the reasons for this were never made clear, and still strike me as bizarre in the extreme. What is going on here? Are we to suppose that a habit grew up among collectors which hardened into standard practice within the various stamp-issuing entities? Or did the flood of CTOs come first, and collectors have to come to terms with it? Why (if Malcolm is correct) are genuinely postally used stamps from these places the prerogative of "specific sources of supply" (whatever that implies)?

While I plead guilty to despair of finding any authoritative writer on philately who may once have revealed these mysteries to us - I do not have the years left to trawl through the archive of the Journal of the Rossica Society or similar - it is nevertheless frustrating to be constantly asking "why?" and having to fall back on speculation.

Or possibly on the knowledge of SOR members? I'd be glad of any reference to any discussion on the matter from whatever source that would throw light on this, or indeed any evidence to refute the growing feeling that I am the sole remaining human strange enough to persist in my need to know why so many stamps were issued CTO, or indeed at all.


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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
09 May 2018
07:34:12pm
re: Russia - World War II Era.

Quote:

"I think all are going to go into an Approval Book."



By the way, they did go into an approval book that sold out (well 98% with only 2 stamps remaining) in less than 24 hours. I think that's a record.
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ikeyPikey
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12 May 2018
12:07:43am
re: Russia - World War II Era.

The roots of CTOs are pretty simple: many collectors wanted one mint and one used, so the dealers selling new issues by subscription approached the postal authorities ... in many cases, they just added one more plate to a multi-plate press to add those picture-perfect one-on-four-corner cancels.

Remember that, for many series, you are 'never' going to find GPU (Genuinely Postally Used) examples of the denominations that did not correspond to any existing postal rate.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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malcolm197
15 Jun 2018
06:19:47pm
re: Russia - World War II Era.

Many Eastern European countries sold CTO stamps at "knockdown prices" to get foreign currency, as their own currencies were virtually useless for foreign exchange. Polish,Bulgarian, Romanian and Hungarian thematics particularly.

I can't think that the rather clumsy obvious political message of the more propagandist USSR issues fall into that category however, as those outside the Soviet block would have been distinctly underwhelmed by their merit ( or lack of it).

While there is little or no evidence for genuine postal use of the latter, I cannot believe that there was not at least the intention of promulgating the party message to the home country faithful via the postal system. It is of course, possible that CTO stamps of the USSR were widely sold within the Communist block in order to further "persuade" their inhabitants of how marvellous the Soviet system was.

I just wonder too how much "non-government" mail there was -it would not surprise me if,under Stalin, Beria et al, private correspondence was routinely examined for subversive material, and it is not impossible that even the posting of a letter from one private individual to another might be a cause for suspicion, such was the level of state paranoia.

I think that knowledge in the West of life in the USSR from the 30s to the early 60s must be limited- as access to anyone from these countries to information or the Russian members of the public was extremely selective.

Malcolm

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CF1957
18 Jun 2018
12:52:58pm
re: Russia - World War II Era.

Perhaps the problem of getting CTO's from Russia lies with dealers who buy them at substantial discounts and a government (or officials) that liked foreign currency.

If you purchase from those who specialize in Russian stamps - CTO's are not on the menu

A few of my favorites

https://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ssn=ru-marki-stamps&rt=nc

https://stamps.ru/catalog/rsfsr-1917-1923

http://stores.ebay.ph/akstamps/Imperial-Russia-1858-1917-/_i.html?_fsub=2&_sid=106103668&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322

http://www.stamprussia.com/

As for genuinely used stamps, they are not plentiful at all as singles but covers are readily available and command good values. Stamp collecting as a hobby was not a healthy pursuit in early soviet eras much like communist China.

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Dianaaa
30 Jun 2019
02:22:39pm
re: Russia - World War II Era.

Could you please recommend any web-sites for purchasing and selling stamps

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Harvey
30 Jun 2019
03:30:35pm
re: Russia - World War II Era.

I collect Russia and Poland and prefer not to have CTO's, but they are sometimes impossible to avoid. I've always assumed they are worth about half of a used stamp. Is that even close or are they worth less than half? Just curious, they still look OK in an album!

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