Forgery? Reprint? Other? The Bosnian Oddity

I have been going through and cataloguing my Bosnia-Herzegovina material lately. This mostly isn’t material that I’ve gone out of my way to get, but rather stuff that would be in the back of other Austria collections that I’ve broken down. I think there’s a single series — the 1906 series (29–44 in the Bosnia-Herzegovina section of the ANK) — that I actually sought out at a club auction (with some beautiful examples in it — but that’s not the subject of this post). But for the most part, I’ve sort of accidentally built up a collection of Bosnia-Herzegovina during Austrian rule.

I first sorted them out by series, which isn’t that hard — then I put the glassines of each series in roughly the same order as the catalog. I skipped the first series — I knew it would take a little more digging, between the plate types and paper types…an amount of effort that would warrant its own day. I just wanted to get the bulk of the stamps catalogued. So I started with the second series, numbers 10–20, from 1900.

This set isn’t nearly as specialized as the first set, based on what I can tell from the catalog. The currency of the area was changed to the Heller/Krone, necessitating a new issue of stamps. Each stamp was issued perforated at 12 1/2 or 10 1/2. The catalog divides these two perforations into A and B. A and B can also be divided into regular paper and ribbed paper. I only found one ribbed example, and I almost missed it because the ribs are very fine. (I haven’t dealt much with ribbed paper, I can only compare it to an Austrian newspaper stamp I have that is also on ribbed paper — the ribbing is not as fine.) So, if number 10 is perforated 12 1/2 and ribbed, it would be number 12 A y. If number 13 is perforate 10 1/2, and on regular paper, it would be 13 B x, and so on. The catalog also references cardboard paper and thin paper in the same table, but it is unclear to me where it falls in the categorization, because it is outside of the A/B and x/y delineations.

Then I found this stamp:

This stamp is perforated 11. I used several different gauges to double check — no matter what I come up with 11. The printing is different as well, it’s almost somewhat…muddled. The perforations are fuzzier and more fibrous than the rest of the stamps. My first thought was that perhaps I found a forgery! How exciting! But then I looked at the value of the stamp. If it’s not on ribbed paper, it’s worth very little. Certainly nothing worth forging. Here’s an image of the reverse — you can see it is not on ribbed paper:

One additional clue is the catalog references unissued “test” perforations — my translation skills aren’t the best, I mainly use Google Translate (on account of my non-fluency in German) so I could be misunderstanding. But the note references “perforations from 6 1/2 to 12 1/2 or compound perforations” in the test set, for numbers 10–15, 17 and 20–28. (The 2 Heller is number 11, so it falls within that listing.) 

I also consulted this article on Big Blue, a source that I have found great info on many times. It does not reference other perforations.

I’d love to hear from any of you with additional information or experience on this series, because as of now I’m leaning toward this being a set perforation — but I’m not particularly confident in it. Does the translation really mean 6 1/2 to 12 1/2, meaning any number in between is fair game? If perforations were tested at different scales, would they not use the same or similar equipment as the prior perforations? If so, that doesn’t explain the relative crudeness of these perforations. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and learning something new from an expert.

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