Discussion and ID of the complicated Greek Hermes Head stamp issues

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Discussion and ID of the complicated Greek Hermes Head stamp issues

Post by vasia »

Below is a 1 lepton Large Hermes Head issue of Greece I am having a hard time identifying.

It bears the well-known plate variety "broken plate" (pos. 44 of the sheet) - note the uncolored blotch immediately below the fore part of the base of the neck, hiding four of the pearls in the circle and impinging on the spandrel.

Image

Here is the stamp from the back:

Image

And here is a slight retouch to better indicate the actual color (yellow-brown? red-brown?) of the stamp that is somewhat distorted by the scanner (please note that the coloration of the paper is not as intense as suggested by the retouch):

Image

Any help with the identification of the issue to which my stamp belongs would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Identification of Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Without having the stamp in hand, anything would be 'somewhat' guessing. The one lepton large Hermes heads are difficult at best. From the scans, I would call this a reddish-brown. The problem lies is how to assign these to a particular time period.

The Hellas catalogue lists the following:

1871-76 37c red-brown (Vlastos 51, Michel 38b, Scott 38)
1875-80 47c red-brown (Vlastos 61b, Michel 47b, Scott unlisted)
1880-86 53c red-brown (Vlastos 67c, Michel unlisted, Scott unlisted)

For me, I try to examine the paper closely, as well as the color. While all on 'more-or-less' cream-colored paper, the 1871-6 printings were a better grade paper, most likely left-over from before the Franco-Prussian war. By 1880 the paper was a much more coarse product.

To my eye, the paper 'seems' to fit the later. Once again trying to judge paper from a scan is difficult. However, on the side for the later printing is the over-all rather bad appearance of the medallion surrounding Hermes.

So, I might assign this to the probably the early middle 1880-86 printing of the one lepton on red-brown (more properly reddish-brown). :) maybe :P

Now, you have selected perhaps one of the most difficult stamps for most of use to identify properly. The large Hermes heads were essentially printed from the same plates from 1861-1886.

The 5 through 80 lepta at least have the control numbers on the back for assisting in identification. The one lepton lack these. Now, don't go bringing up the two lepta, they're nightmares. :lol:
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by Global Admin »

Helpful answer Mike .. I get a headache when I see these imperf Hermes heads!
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by europhil »

Would you mind posting a 600 dpi scan of just the upper
left spandrel?
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Thank you, Mike, for the detailed answer.

I realized from the beginning the difficulty of providing an opinion from a scan, particularly for the 1 lepton or 2 lepta stamps. :D But I thought there might be something distinctive about either the shade of the stamp, or its paper that might help to narrow down the choices.

I was originally leaning towards Hellas 37c (the 1871-1876 issue), but I can now see the possibility of it belonging to the 1880-1886 issue (either red-brown or yellowish brown).

Below is a 600 dpi scan of the upper left spandrel as Jay requested:

Image

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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by europhil »

Thanks. I thought there was a possibility that your stamp
might be a forgery. I always look for the break near the
bottom of the first wavy line, and I couldn't tell from the
original scan.

I do see the break in the larger scan, so it's probably OK.
I also see a lot of other things in there that I don't recognize.
Unfortunately I sold my entire accumulation of Large Hermes
Heads just two days ago, so I can no longer compare it with
my material.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Thank you for the opinion, Jay.

I am actually just beginning my "journey" into the Large Hermes Heads as a sideline to my main collecting field: Russia. I am not overtly ambitious, my long term goal being to collect nice-margined examples of the basic Hellas / Vlastos numbers, with the exception of course of some obvious high-value items that will probably always be beyond reach.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Vasia- Starting in on the Hermes heads is an exciting task. I got seriously interested in them about 20 years ago. Since then I have had some 3-4,000 pass through my hands - each a learning experience.

There are several books that you need to understand the stamps - Constantinides 1933 volume "Study on the Greek Stamps" (Volume I - large Hermes heads) is critical to understanding the stamps and variations. Coundouros 2000 "The control numbers and the classification of the stamps of the large Hermes heads" is also necessary for properly identifying the 5-80 lepta stamps by looking at paper, ink and control number.

I would highly recommend examining every Karamitsos auction. They are the publishers of the Hellas catalogue and post excellent scans of every stamp that appears in their auctions.

Now, a final note - never get ride of a good copy of of something you are not sure of - they will come back to haunt you. Over the years I have organized and reorganized my collection. A great (albeit scary) exercise is to classify a bunch of stamps to you best ability, then thoroughly mix them and re-identify them.

I could go on and on here, because I dearly love these little gems. But I have to run. I'll try to scan some one lepta later to show you some of the range of variation.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Thank you, Mike. Really appreciated.

So far I have been using the Basel site (although I find some of the articles on plating somewhat heavy for a beginner on the subject) and the Karamitsos catalogues as reference points for navigating in this "minefield". I guess I should assume that they correctly identify the stamp issues?

I have heard about the books you mention and I will see if I can trace them here in Greece.

I would love to see those 1 lepton stamps when you have time. :D
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by jumet »

I would also love to see those scans, Mike. My interest has been aroused!! Perhaps a side collection?
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

OK, I'll work on some scans and try to get some posted later today. :D
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

So, here are some examples of the 1861-1862 printings, including Paris, 1st Athens provisionals and 2nd Athens provisionals.

Image

Here are some examples of the one lepton printings of 1863-67 best described as the "consecutive printings."

Image

Image
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Here's the 'ideal' way to collect the one lepton - used properly, as single franking on newspapers or periodicals. (If only I could afford more :( )

1863 - vertical lines in the medallion surrounding Hermes:

Image

1865 - without any lines in the medallion:

Image

1866 - with quadrilled lines in the medallion:

Image
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Various 1868-70 printings:

Image

1871-80 printings:

Image
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

1879 - periodical mailings showing the progressive buildup of ink in the stamps used. I think that the best way to see the degradation of the printing plates is to look at dated cancels from the largest offices that consumed the greatest number of stamps and were always provided with the latest printings:

Image
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

1880-83 brown shades:

Image

1880-83 deep brown shades

Image

1880-83 reddish-brown shades:

Image

Image
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by jumet »

Wow! Thanks for this wonderful showing of these stamps. I think perhaps I will not open this can of worms, I have enough with India States! They really are wonderful 'tho' and I can see this is a field where oe can really "specialize" to his (or her) hearts content!
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Excellent showing, Mike! There is a definitely a lot to learn in this field and I hope we can continue to share some of this information here on the Board.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Here is a small collection of the 1 lepton of the 1880-1886 issue I recently purchased. The stamps are identified by a previous owner as per the Vlastos numeration (basic #: Vlastos 67).

Image

Any thoughts, comments, observations?
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Here is a recent addition to my collection:

Image

I would tend to identify it as belonging to either the fine First Athens Print (Hellas 9II, Scott 8b) or the first (May 1862) Consecutive Printings (Hellas 15A), given the fine appearance of the spandrels and of the shading lines on the cheek.

Below is the back of the stamp, which is somewhat peculiar, giving the impression of a translucent / pelure paper, although the stamp might have been treated in some fashion (to remove cancel?):

Image

Any comments would be welcome / helpful!
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by COLIN »

This is really good and I am enjoying looking and learning.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Vasia - what a beautiful stamp. Without my collection at hand trying to judge the exact printing is difficult.

The careful Athens printings of 1862 and the earliest printings of the "consecutive Athens printings of 1862-67" can be quite difficult since the same paper and ink was used. A good starting point is that the earliest one lepton of the consecutive Athens printings show some lines in the background surrounding Hermes. These can be either vertical or quadrilled. I can see no lines in the background, but once again, I am looking at the scan, not the stamp.

Additionally, there appears to be a little flecking in the ink, not the wavy lines so I "might" put this into 1863. Again - this is a stamp that needs to be in-hand to properly identify.

Now, on to the myth of the May, 1862 printing...
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

The Kohl handbook created the myth of the May, 1862 printing of Hermes heads (sorry the specifics of the publication are slipping past me right now) and Constantinides (1933) reinforced the myth allowing the May, 1862 printing to enter the catalogues without evidence.

It was in the 1990s that this "printing myth" was finally put to rest. It doesn't exist! Note that the Hellas Catalogue calls the early printings of 1862-67 the "So-called May 1862 issue."

It takes a thorough understanding of the printing methods to realize why all of the values could not have been printed in May 1862.

While the plates used to print the Hermes heads remained in tact and constant for over twenty years, the "plate" for producing the control numbers was continuously reconstructed as needed to produce 5, 10, 20, 40 and 80 lepta sheets. Changes in these plates are referred to as "settings"

Thus between 1862 and 1867 there were five reorganizations of the plates used to print the control numbers (CNs). Here is how it went.

Printings of the one lepton and two lepta stamps did not required a second pass in the press since they did not have CNs. Therefore they were printed as needed when supplies fell and can only be dated with certainty by printing methods, quality of printing, paper, ink, etc.

But now, there was a need for more five lepta stamps. The plate for the face of the stamps was not an issue. But setting the plate for the CNs was.
The plate would be organized "most likely after the stamps were printed" and the sheets would be run through again putting the CNs on the back. Still a rather simple procedure.

Then comes the "two-digit" CNs...
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Following the initial printing of 5 lepta, most likely in May 1862, the plate for CNs had to be completely reconstructed for printing 80 lepta stamps.

All of the numbers in the CN plate were removable and were separated by spacers. Thus, the plate for the (May?) 1862 printing of 80 lepta was created. These are the 80 lepta that most catalogues place in the "Provisional Athens" printings of 1862 - which is incorrect.

Next there was a need for 20 lepta stamps. Instead of reconstructing the entire plate, just the "slugs" for the "8" were removed and replaced with "2s."

The same then happened with the next printing of 10 lepta stamps. This leads to problems. With each setting of the plates the "0s" are uniform, but the "1, 2, 4, and 8" are rearranged. Additionally, the "0s" were wearing faster than the other numbers.

By early 1863 the 5 lepta once again needed to be printed and the CN plate was complete reconstructed. The fives were now all rearranged. And when the next printing of the 40 lepta took place the entire plate was again reconstructed. All of the "0s" are now in different positions (but consistent until 1864) as well as the other digits.

Thus, with the exception of the 1 lepton and 2 lepta stamps you can place them into printing periods (as described by the catalogues) and settings with those periods.

All this said - it was impossible to accomplish all of this and print both sides of the stamps in May 1862.

Coundouros (2000) shows that in 1862 the order of printing was 5, 80, 20, 10 lepta followed by a printing of 5 lepta in 1863. The 40 lepta was not printed in 1862, and the other values were printed in the above sequence throughout the year.

Phew, and there it is - another myth busted!
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Mike - thank you for the great info, it is much appreciated!

I was aware of the fact that in the first ("May 1862") Consecutive Printings (Hellas 15A) of the 1 lepton value "there are plenty of stamps with vertically laid background or with spotted background", as per the Hellas catalogue. In fact I have a copy of this stamp in my collection:

Image

I presumed that the word "plenty" suggested that there were at least some stamps of this issue with no lines in the background. That is why (in combination with the fine shading lines on the cheek) I ventured to say that the 1 lepton in my previous post belonged to either the first ("May 1862") Consecutive Printings or to the fine First Athens Print (Hellas 9II, Scott 8b).

The "flecking" of the ink that you mention can be observed in the background of the medallion of my stamp?

Despite the "May 1862" saga, do you think that the Constantinides handbook is still a worthwhile reference?
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Constantinides is an absolute must for the serious Hermes collector. My comment on his treatment of the May 1862 issue is trivial when compared to the wealth of information on every aspect of the large Hermes heads. I'm just a bit "cranky" about the fact that none of the major catalogues get it correct despite the overwhelming evidence that it doesn't exist.

I still pull out my old worn copy every now and then just to remind me of some minor aspect of the issue. This is especially true when it comes to the various proof printings.

With regards to the one lepton that you posted. It's a beauty. The flecking I referred to was mostly in the medallion, which isn't necessarily an issue. Trying to place a large Hermes (one lepton or two lepta) into the appropriate printing using a scan is almost impossible - early and late printings are the exception. Personally, I would spend hours with one lepton batches and look for this stamp - because it's a tough one (at least for my older eyes).

Something that I completely ignored in your original post and photo was the possibility that a cancel might have been removed - which is the case. IF a cancel was removed (and I am not saying it was) it would have been a circular date cancel. These are rather uncommon to rare on the early one lepton stamps. Unless used as a postage due, the cancel should have been a grid of dots with number for canceling post office.

I don't know what to say about the "apparent" cancel from behind. Perhaps others will have a better opinion.

More later...
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Mike,

re-reading the analytical information that you provided earlier on the so-called "May 1862 issue" of the Large Hermes Heads, I decided to check the details provided about this "issue" in the "Hellas" 2010 catalogue.

The "Hellas" catalogue stresses the "exceedingly dangerous and misleading" attempt to classify the earliest printings of the 1862-1867 period as a separate issue, supposedly printed in May 1862. According to "Hellas", they should be classified as the "earliest impressions" of the Consecutive Printings and they can be differentiated by the "most pronounced relief of the white parts of the picture, due to a change of the method of printing". They are designated in the "Hellas" catalogue by the capital letter A.

So far so good. But here begins the problem!

As per the Koundouros study that you mention, the order of printing of these impressions was:

1862
5 lepta (Hellas 17A)
80 lepta (Hellas 21, with orange control number)
20 lepta (Hellas 19A)
10 lepta (Hellas 18A)

1863
5 lepta
40 lepta (Hellas 20IA) Hence no 40 lepta printed in 1862

However, the "Hellas" catalogue gives the following earliest known dates of use:

20 lepta (Hellas 19A) 9/5/1862
80 lepta (Hellas 21) 24/5/1862
40 lepta (Hellas 20IA) 30/5/1862
5 lepta (Hellas 17A) 6/1862
10 lepta (Hellas 18A) 4/1/1863

So at least 3 values, including the 40 lepta (!!), printed during May 1862. Does this make any sense? Is it largely outdated information?
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by billys »

Hi there,

This is a very interesting topic on the 1L Hermes Head.
I would like, if possible to have your advice on my copy of this stamp.

Image

Could it be the first issue of Paris ?

Sorry for my intervention and many thanks for your advice.

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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Billys,

"Intervention" is what this chat board is all about, so your question fits nicely in this thread. :D

Your very nice stamp definitely looks to me like a Paris print. The appearance of the shade lines on the cheek, the solid background of the medallion and the appearance of the spandrels seem to me as good signs.

I would of course feel more secure if Mike could confirm this.

If you have more Hermes Heads, please feel free to share!
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by billys »

Vasia,

Thank you for your reply, glad to have your confirmation for this stamp.

Yes I have some other Hermes Heads, I guess I have almost all issues (according to Yvert & Tellier) but I am not sure about their identification.
Scans are heavy, I try to give direct link to them, but not sure that it works :

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

These 5 links are the first part of scans from a part of my collection.

Thank you for your interest.

Regards

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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Nice looking stamp. The scan is a bit fuzzy on my screen.

The printing characteristics sure look like a Paris print, but the paper from the back looks "funny" can't quite put it right, almost looks wrong for a Paris print. But this could be the effect of the scan. The paper almost looks 'thick' and creamy.

All that said, I'm away from the collection and books right now, so cannot offer a better opinion.

I sure am glad to see some another Hermes collector out there. Welcome to this great area of classical collecting billys.

I have a love-hate relationship with the one lepton and two lepta stamps. They are rather tough little buggers. If it is indeed a Paris print the cancel is interesting it appears to be "84" or Skiathoos (sorry I don't have a handy Greek keyboard setting right now). But it's a bit blurry.

Anyway, keep the scans coming.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Billys,

nice showing of Hermes Heads! Of course it is difficult to discuss identification of particular stamps with small scans (even larger scans are not sufficient in some cases, as Mike pointed out), so maybe we can concentrate on specific values in this or other threads.

Mike,

I would definitely appreciate your opinion on the conflicting information between Koundouros and the Hellas catalogue regarding the so-called "May 1862" issue (see my post of July 23rd). :D
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by billys »

Hi,

Thank you Mike for your advice.

I agree with you to keep this thread concentrated on the 1L Hermes Heads.
So I will upload later all my copies of the 1L in high resolution.

Thank you very much for your help and so sorry for the perturbations.

Regards.

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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Vasia - sorry I forgot to respond to the May 1862 issue.

I hate when two respected entities have conflicting opinions on an issue. I believe the debate lies in whether an individual stamp can be correctly plated and when exactly did the five lepta get printed.

Coundouros work is rather meticulous. Here's when he lists as early dates:

Second Provisional Printings
5L - XII-20-1861
10L - XII-22-1861
20L - I-23-1862
40L - I-31-1862
5L - VI-1862 (Consecutive printing re-setting of the CNs)

So, there's no problem with a 40L in the 2nd Provisionals, but there is with the 80L. Coundouros states: "It is also accepted that the first Athens 80 lepta with orange (26a, June 5, 1862) or carmine (26b, June 4, 1862) control numbers were printed after the 5 lepta no. 22..."

This brings to question either the date of the re-setting of the 5L plate or the 80 L canceled 24/5/1862.

Since the setting of the plates is inferred from "earliest known cancels" it is possible that the Karamitsos information is more accurate. We are talking about one week here.

An additional situation to deal with is how to distinguish when the stamps were actually printed versus arriving at the post offices for use. All of the earliest known cancel dates are clearly after the stamps were printed. (That might have been a silly thing to say, but sometimes stating the obvious helps)

From the earliest known cancels, I believe that it is clear that by May, 1862 the 5 through 40 lepta were already printed and in use. And IF Coundouros is correct then the only value with CN that could have been printed in May, 1862 is the 40L. If the date in Kamamitsos is correct for the 80L, then the re-setting of the plate for the 5L occurred late in May 1862, with some 80L being printed then.

On the surface this seems to contradict Coundouros, but does it? He places the printing of the 80L immediately following the re-setting of the plate for the 5L which he state ambiguously as June, 1862.

What we are talking about here is a one or two week window of time, from inferred dates, from surviving material from 150 years ago.

I believe that Coundouros sequence is probably correct, but the dates for the setting of the 5L are rather sloppy, unlike the dates for so many other printings. I also believe that Karamitsos has handled a tremendous number of LHH and is also meticulous in recording data and important information.

In the spirit of compromise (unlike the US House and President) I believe that they are both partially correct. (Damn, I tell my students that half-right is entirely wrong) Coundouros sequence is correct, but might be a few days off per Karamitsos stated earliest-know use.

Phew. All this with only one cup of coffee.

Thanks for pulling me back into the LHHs - I love this thread!
Mike
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Mike,

thank you for the detailed answer and I greatly appreciate the additional information from Koundouros' study (I need to get that book).

I would tend to agree with your reasoning. One problem still seems to persist, however, regarding the early impressions of the Consecutive Printings, i.e the so-called "May 1862" issue. From the Coundouros rundown that you provided in an earlier post, it would seem that no Consecutive Printings 40 lepta (i.e Hellas 20IA) was printed in 1862. The 40 lepta stamps in use during 1862 would be, therefore, from the Provisional printings.

However, the Hellas catalogue mentions an earliest date of 30/5/1862 for Hellas 20IA! This date would appear to be far too early and in contradiction to Koundouros' assertion. I would tend to believe Koundouros in this case, but do you have any thoughts?
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Koundouros does list a 40L, sorry if somehow I omitted this from an earlier post, but the earliest know copy is 31 January 1862, so it was a very early printing.

I am at my office right now, so I cannot check his book.

Perhaps I will try to summarize the printings from start (1861) to finish (1883). It is extremely interesting.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

To put a picture behing our "thousand words" and give a chance to others to follow what we are talking about:

The earliest impressions of the Consecutive Printings (1862-1867) of the Large Hermes Heads (mistakenly characterized in the past as "May 1862" issue) exhibit the following characteristics:

1. A pronounced relief of the white parts of the picture, often visible from the back of the stamp as well.
2. The picture and the control figures at the back resemble, in terms of colour and general appearance, the corresponding values of the previous issue.

It is clear from the above that there can be a lot of subjectivity in judging. For example, I have an identification problem with the following stamp:

Image

Image

The relief of the head seems to be there (even from the back), the appearance looks comparable to the previous issue, but is it an early impression?
Here comes the importance of the issue dates. If there was no 40 lepta "Consecutive Printings" stamp printed during 1862, then it highly likely that this stamp, cancelled in March 1863 in Athens, belongs to the early impressions of the Consecutive Printings (Hellas 20IA). Needless to say that the early impressions are scarcer!
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by billys »

Hi,

Have a look at this site, it may give further delailed informations:

http://hermesheads.home.comcast.net/~hermesheads/

A link for specialists.
Hope it helps!!!

Regards.

Billys
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Vasia - Those early impressions are spectacular - especially so with the one lepton.

Billys - Thanks for the link
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by billys »

Hi Mike & Vasia,

May I ask for your help in identifying these copies of 1 L hermes Heads ?
I tried first to classify them chronologically, but I am not sure if I'm right.
Many have Yvert & Tellier catalog numbers on back (not written by me).
First issue Paris 1861 is OK:
Image

Issue 1861 2 shades:
Number1-
Image
Number2-
Image

Issue 1863 :
Number3-
Image

Issue 1868 :
Number4-
Image

Issue 1870 :
Number5-
Image

Issue 1872 shades:
Number6-
Image
Number7-
Image

Issue 1876 shades :
Number8-
Image
Number9-
Image
Number10-
Image

As you can notice there are many hesitations on classification numbers!!!

Do I have the right combination of issues? Probably not.

Many thanks for your help.
Regards.

Billys.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Billys,

nice showing of 1 lepta stamps. I think it would be helpful to everyone following this thread if you would give the issues of the various stamps with their (more or less) standard nomenclature. For example, by "issue 1863" (your stamp #3) I presume you mean the 1862-1867 "Consecutive Printings". But it is not clear to me what you mean by "issue 1872" or "issue 1876".

Well, to start off the opinions on your batch, I would say that your stamp #1 belongs to the first impressions of the Consecutive Printings (what used to be called - erroneously - "May 1862" issue). Note the vertically laid background of the medallion, characteristic of these early impressions.

It is Hellas 15A, Yvert 17b, Scott 8. Printed sometime in early 1862.

P.S I will be off the internet for a few days. Hope others will keep this thread going.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by billys »

Hi Vasia,

Many thanks for this identification.
It's not easy for non experts to give the right catalogue number for these Hermes Heads.

With the "tip" :
"Note the vertically laid background of the medallion, characteristic of these early impressions." this becomes almost easy.

Thanks again.

Regards.

Billys.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Hi Billys,

I was refering to the standard classification scheme of the Large Hermes Heads:

Paris Print
First Athens Printings
Consecutive Athens Printings
Cleaned Plates
1870 "special" printing
1871-1872 printings ("inferior paper")
1871-1876 printings ("meshed paper")
1876 Paris printing
1876-1877 Athens new values
1875-1880 Cream paper
1880-1886 Cream paper with no control number.

Within each of these issues there were usually multiple printings (impressions) of the various values.

Given that you have already placed your stamps in specific issues (as per your tentative identification), I was wondering what those mean. For example, does the "1876 issue" (your stamps 8-10) refer to the 1875-1880 "cream paper" issue?

One more point: please take a closer look at your stamps 3 and 4. I think I can detect a horizontally laid background in the medallion. Is my observation correct under higher magnification? If true, these might very well be Hellas 15b / Yvert 17? which are known with such a background (i.e they would belong to the Consecutive Printings). Here is an example of Hellas 15b to compare it with yours (different shades of that stamp exist, so do not let that mislead you):

Image

It would be nice if everything was as easy as that Hellas 15A :D
(By the way, I would not consider myself an expert by far. There is still so much important information to digest).
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by billys »

Yes Vasia, you are right.

Stamps 3 & 4 have horizontal laid background.
Even stamp 3 has the "1" of Lepta as "doubled", is it a variety?

Your classification is surely clear and complete.
In Yvert there is no details for identifications, they just give a list of stamps fitted between dates.
Even no photos to be able to refer at them (only a simili engraved Hermes Head).

For example, does the "1876 issue" (your stamps 8-10) refer to the 1875-1880 "cream paper" issue?
Yes absolutely, I put the first date shown in Yvert it's "1876-82", too bad, nothing to have with your classification!!!

Another question about Yvert number 10 - First Athens Printing, is there any "tip" to identify it ?

Many thanks for your help.

All the best from France.

Billys.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

Billys,

Maybe the following site would provide some basic help with the Large Hermes Heads (despite the somewhat tortuous English):

http://www.elemisthegreek.com/new/pages_uk/lhh_uk/issues_uk.php

You can find in it information about the First (Provisional) Athens Printings (Yvert 10 would be under the fine provisional - Hellas 9II). I will be looking through an older work on these First Athens Printings in the coming days and I hope that after a week or so I will have more to add on the topic.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by billys »

Vasia,

Many thanks for this link :
http://www.elemisthegreek.com/new/pages_uk/lhh_uk/issues_uk.php

Here is the kind of informations newbies need to know.
Quick concise and very well illustraded.
I recommand this link for starters in Hermes Head's collecting.

Merci beaucoup "Grand Guru" :D !!!

Regards.

Billys.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by Spartacus »

A very interesting topic indeed. Wonderful pieces to collect. You guys are real
"pros" at this... keep it up!! That's what we need in here.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by makielb »

Hello Spartacus - glad to see another Hermes collector aboard. No "pros" here, only a bunch of guys that enjoy a truly "classical" stamp!
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by Spartacus »

Thanks makielb, will definitely appreciate all the information on these truly classic items.
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Re: Identification of 1 Lepton Greek Hermes Head issue

Post by vasia »

To return to billys' selection of 1 lepta (from July 29th), I will dare to give below an opinion on the classification of his stamps, despite the difficulty of doing so on the basis of scans (as Mike has indicated):

Number1- first impressions of the Consecutive Printings (what used to be called - erroneously - "May 1862" issue). Hellas 15A, Yvert 17b, Scott 8.

Number2- Consecutive Printings. Hellas 15, Yvert 17, Scott 16.

Numbers 3 and 4 - Consecutive Printings (with horizontally laid background in the medallion). Hellas 15b, Yvert 17?, Scott 16 variety.

Number5- "Cleaned Plates" Printings (1868-9). Hellas 23, Yvert 24, Scott 23.

Numbers 6-10 all appear to be on cream paper, i.e they would belong to the last 2 issues of the Large Hermes Heads (1875-1880 or 1880-1886 Printings). Most of them are probably shade varieties of Hellas 53, Yvert 46, Scott 43. The only worthy exception is Number10 which appears to be Hellas 47b, Yvert 46a (of the 1875-1880 issue).

Any opinions or comments on this attempt at classification would be greatly appreciated.

Spartacus, welcome to this thread. We would be glad to share information about the Large Hermes Heads.
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