Belarus: Struve Geodetic Arc Souvenir Sheet


Russia, 1964 Struve Death Centenial

Here is an interesting souvenir sheet, shown below, issued by Belarus on December 16, 2007. The single stamp souvenir sheet commemorates the Struve Geodetic Arc, a project lasting from 1816-1855 by German-born Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve to determine the exact size and shape of the Earth. The original arc consisted of 258 triangulations with 265 station points. The arc passed through 10 countries and extended over 2800km, stretching from Norway to the Black Sea. Today, 34 of the original station points have been designated as a World Heritage Site. In 1964 Russia issued a stamp, shown on the right, marking the centenary of Struve’s death in 1894. [ while researching this sheet, a lot of interesting history and web sites are available. one such site is dedicated to World Cultural Heritage as shown on stamps. ]

Marginalia: December 2007, New Color Omission Error

Article Number 8:  Color Omission Error on Portugal sc#1115

New Submission December 2007,  Research, text and scans by Mark Honig

Our eighth Marginalia is in regards to a fascinating new color error that our member Mark Honig from The Netherlands has recently found.

Wanting to buy a mint copy of Portugal 1114 (4.50e Meteorological map) I saw a complete set being offered on eBay last year. I was the only bidder and I acquired the set for a few dollars.

Portugal, 1971, 25 Years Meteorological Service sc1115, mi1148, sg1434

Portugal, 1971, 25 Years Meteorological Service
sc1115, mi1148, sg1434

Color Variation Portugal, 1971, 25 Years Meteorological Service sc1115, mi1148, sg1434

Color Variation
Portugal, 1971, 25 Years Meteorological Service
sc1115, mi1148, sg1434

When I added both map stamps from that set to my collection  I discovered that I already had the other map stamp (sc1115), but in a different color. I already had a red colored 6.00e stamp, but on this newly acquired stamp the main background color is grey.

After checking various stamp catalogues at my disposal, it became clear that the stamp should have a red color. A grey variety is not mentioned in any of the catalogues, not even in the Portuguese Afinsa catalogue.

I also sent email messages to some Portuguese dealers however these messages remained unanswered.
In November 2005 I continued my research about this color variation and contacted the president of the International Society for Portuguese Philately (ISPP) in the US, Mr. Roy Texeira.  Judging the stamp from only a scan, Roy feels the stamp has probably been bleached by sunlight or chemicals.







Personally however, I think that this specific stamp is a genuine color variety based on the following reasons:

  • The set was offered as a normal set, not as a set with a variety.
  • The seller has sold many items to me, with great satisfaction.
  • The stamp is in perfect condition with a shiny surface like the red stamp.
  • The gum looks normal
  • The yellow and orange parts look the same as on the red stamp. When bleached these colors would probably have disappeared too.

The president of the Netherlands Society of Collectors of Spanish and Portuguese stamps “Iberia” also thinks the stamp is bleached, but he has offered to perform a test on the stamp, as he is an official expert with the Netherlands Museum for Communication (Prev. Netherlands Post Museum). The results of this test will be forthcoming.

One other item about this set…

During my continued research on this stamp, it became clear that there is also a cartographic design error on the 6.50e stamp. On the satellite image the coastline of Spain and Portugal has been overlaid, however during the design process the coastline of northwest Africa has been omitted. The 4.50e stamp does show coastlines for both the Iberian peninsula and northwest Africa.

Additional Notes:

If anyone knows more information about this fascinating color variation that Mark has found, please let us know. Regarding the missing coastline issue, I have made two checks to determine the map projection of this stamp and to also understand approximately how much of the African shoreline should be shown. One projection I checked was a Lambert Conformal Conic, the other was an Orthographic. I feel there is a significant amount of distortion with the map in question. We welcome any comments or suggestions. –web admin