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The 6th, 7th and 8th issues are perhaps among the most confusing and ambiguous in modern philately.
They seem entirely philatelic to me.
We don't even know when they first appeared. Kronenberg [2000, scan V7_P41] says they were issued some time before the end of the Przedbórz local delivery period and possibly some time after its termination.
- I have always thought they were created after the Austrian Military authorities had stopped allowing the use of Przedbórz local delivery stamps.
- They are not listed in catalogs, and I know of NO writer who believes they were validly used on mail.
How are they identified? These issues look very much like tiny variations of the 3rd, 4th and 5th issues: The 8th issue has crosses or plus signs instead of dots in certain places; certain rays in the 5th and 6th issues are continuous instead of broken, the lettering on sheaf stamps is different.
They are classified as type 3 forgeries ("F3's") of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th issues in the identifier part of this website, although other characterizations are provided below. The summary table below provides links to more detail.
In addition, the 6th issue stamps all have a "short-top Z" in Grosze.
Kronenberg  has a different way of identifying these stamps, which I have not yet investigated.
What are these stamps?
There are several possibilities:
I personally think it will turn out that these stamps cannot be found on any documents which can now be verified as authentic. (I.e., that the document is genuine and the stamp was affixed and canceled contemporaneously.) So that the most likely explanations are a) they're forgeries, or b) they are unissued but authorized "reprints," as Mikulski  believes.
- Are they charity or propaganda labels or decorative items (a subset of "cinderella" stamps)? Quite possibly, because the original approval from the Austrian K.u.K. Kreiskommandatur in Konsk was for the sale of charity labels. Sales of C.T.O. sheets at the post office are also consistent with this hypothesis.
- Are they stamps issued by a postal authority for postal uses? Probably not. None of the catalogs have an issue date for these items, and their printing date is apparently unknown. For example, the 1935 & 1966 Polish catalogs (PZP) list these stamps with no issue dates, whereas Issues I-V have dates. There seems to be no record of approval by the Austrian postal authorities, although I believe Postmaster Franczak claimed to have received it.
- Are they revenue stamps, such as court fee stamps? Possibly:
- The Fischer  catalog says these are "unknown on postal uses, but are known on revenue uses."
- Barefoot [1999, page 28] says that PZP "suggests that these were supplied as summons fee stamps" to the local court, but none have been seen on judicial documents.
- Stan Kronenberg  makes a plausible, if indirect, case for such usage.
- Apparently, for many years the generally-accepted Polish and German view has been this revenue-usage one. The problem for the rest of us is that:
- we don't know the origins of this opinion, and
- so much Przedbórz usage is either philatelic or forged, that any documents which come to light may have been "constructed" rather than legitimately used.
- Are they simply fraudulent stamps? Penn  & Blunt  thought so, and I believe John Barefoot  followed Blunt's lead, as did I. That's why this website lists them as type 3 forgeries. The argument for this is:
While PZP and other catalogs say they have been seen on revenue stamps, I can find no articles which say that, and there don't seem to be any authenticated documents. For example, Mikulski  devoted 7½ pages to these issues, and nowhere claims they were validly used on any documents whatsoever.
- Are they stamps which were prepared for postal use, but were never actually issued? Quite possibly:
One problem with this view is that the groszy-denominated stamps had to be prepared before the change of currency on about March 26, 1918. If so, why are there sheets with groszy-denominated stamps se-tenant with halerzy-denominated stamps?
(See printing and layout, below.)
- The entire enterprise was mostly philatelic, although there were legitimate postal uses. One can certainly imagine the people in charge deciding to start work on the next issue(s), and then being caught by surprise when the Austrians halted the postal local delivery program.
- Kronenberg  did not consider these to be forgeries, but also considered them to have been produced "for profit." His later notes (Kronenberg ,
scan V7_P41) are adamant that the 6th - 8th Issues were not forgeries, nor were they reprints or reissues because they were too easily distinguished from the regular issue stamps. He thought they were prepared for the collector, so that one would have more sets to collect.
- Mikulski  considered them to be unissued, but prepared for postal use.
- Kronenberg [1987, 2000, same scan] also said that some were sold C.T.O. at the post office. Apparently Dudziński [1935a] says he bought some 8th Issue CTOs at the post office, and Kronenberg heard that a well-known Vienna dealer named Friedl had also bought some 8th Issue stamps at the post office, which sounds like they were somehow "authorized." (But all kinds of strange things happen in war time.)
These post office sales also fit the above charity label discussion.
Another problem is that preparing these particular stamps for postal use seems odd. If you were going to prepare some new stamps for postal use, you would probably want to make the new ones easily distinguished from the old, in order to increase their collectible appeal. For example, if the 5 Hal. were purple, the 10 Hal. blue, the 15 Hal. red, and the 20 Hal. green, then the set would be clearly different than any of the earlier sets, and therefore people would know to collect them. Making one line solid rather than broken seems hardly worth doing on purpose.
See some additional arguments against this view.
Printing & Layout:
- These issues are watermarked: some writers say some sheets are watermarked, but the watermark appears on only half the stamps. Mikulski says all sheets are watermarked, and that the watermark is spaced 235 mm vertically, and 175 mm horizontally, from the center of one star to the center of the next one.
Kronenberg says the "gray paper" stamps are watermarked; the "white paper" stamps are NOT watermarked.
- Mikulski  says the sheets are laid out as follows: Each sheet has 4 panes of 30 stamps.
- Issue VI: upper left pane is all 2 gr. stamps; upper right pane is 6 gr., lower left pane is 4 gr., and lower right pane is 10 gr.
- Issues VII: upper left pane is all 5 hal. stamps; upper right pane is 10 hal., lower left pane is 15 hal., and lower right pane is 20 hal.
- Issue VIII: a separate sheet for each value, 120 stamps (12 rows X 10 columns), 1 value per sheet.
- Mikulski says these can be partially plated, but doesn't describe how.
Several writers have noted that at least one "proof" sheet exists with all the values of all the the three issues, proving that they were all printed at the same time and place. Mikulski , page 6, says he had four such sheets, laid out in 3 columns X 4 rows as follows (his fig. 1, or Petriuk [1985, page 106]):
These sheets seem more like "souvenir sheets" than "proof sheets": As noted above, the actual print sheets are laid out completely differently.
- The first column had issue VI, in reverse denomination order (highest in row 1, lowest in row 4),
- The second column had issue VII in the same order,
- and the third column had issue VIII in the same order.
This is a very strange item, since it shows stamps in an obsolete currency (groszy-denominated) se-tenant with halerzy-denominated stamps.
Back to the identifier main page.
1. It would be interesting to read Dudziński [1935a] to see when he bought these stamps at the post office.
Was is shortly after Issue V was withdrawn from sale, or was it several years later?
© 2008-13 Sam Ginsburg
Last modified 24 Feb. 2013