Follow-Up…Maximum Cards Cannot Use Stamps Cut From Envelopes & Postcards
19 July 2014
The Ministry for Information Technology and Communications of Moldova Absolutely Confirms That it is Prohibited to Use Stamps Cut From Pre-Paid Envelopes and Postcards for Making Maximum Cards.
In our news article dated July 27, 2012, we published a letter issued by the Ministry for Information Technology and Communications which declared that it was not lawful to use stamps cut from items of prepaid postal stationery (envelopes and postcards) for any postal use. On the basis of this letter, MoldovaStamps.org declared that it was therefore not permitted to make maximum cards using such stamps.
However, the Ministry, at that time, did not explicitly mention “maximum cards” and subsequently there was debate about the applicability of the FIP rules on this topic, namely, item 3.1. of the Rules of the Commission for Maximaphily which states… “The postage stamps which are cut out from postal stationery are allowed only if the issuing postal service permits their use.” Since the Ministry had not explicitly prohibited the use of such stamps for the production of maximum cards, the regulation was open to interpretation.
Following a request for clarification, the Ministry issued a new letter dated July 16, 2014 which finally addresses this question. The Ministry declares… “The Postal Service of the Republic of Moldova prohibits the use of postage stamps cut from postal stationery, accordingly, their use in the manufacture of maximum cards, is prohibited.”.
Download the letter from the Ministry here (Russian).
1992 Overprints: «Glossy Paper» Varieties Officially Declared to be Forgeries
The 1992 overprints.
All varieties, printed on glossy paper,
06 September 2013
A 1994 Letter From the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications to the Publishers of the Michel Stamp Catalogue, Officially Declares That All the 1992 Overprints Printed on Glossy Paper Varieties of USSR Stamps are Forgeries.
In 1992, Posta Moldovei issued two series of stamps which were overprinted onto stamps of the former USSR. The original stamps of the USSR, existed in three distinct varieties: 1. plain paper/lithograph, 2. glossy paper/lithograph and 3. glossy paper/engraved. Posta Moldovei always stated that the only varieties that were valid, were those produced on stamps with plain paper.
We have known about the existence of the varieties, printed on glossy paper, for many years. We saw that some of this material was processed through the postal system. We have also observed first day covers which used these stamps. Without clear information to the contrary, MoldovaStamps.org assumed that there were inadequate quality controls during those turbulent times, which resulted in the accidental production of the «glossy paper» varieties. We therefore classified all such material «errors», yet philatelically valid.
However, yesterday we received a copy of a letter, dated 1994, sent by the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications, to the publishers of the Michel stamp catalogue. This letter officially declares that all varieties, with glossy paper, are forgeries. The letter states that two «actions» were being taken against the perpetrators. This indicates that deliberate counterfeiting was taking place and that there was no accidental production of the material with glossy paper.
On this basis, MoldovaStamps.org has now downgraded all varieties of these stamps, which use glossy paper, to the status of «forgeries», without any philatelic value. Philatelists are advised not to take this material into their collections and not to show such material at any exhibitions.
You can read the letter from the Ministry here. (French Language)
Illegal Imperforate Stamps of the Republic of Moldova
23 May 2013
MoldovaStamps.org has received reliable information about large quantities of imperforate postage stamps, stolen from the Moldovan State Printing Works, “Tipografia Centrala”, being offered for sale on the international market by a dealer from Chisinau.
MoldovaStamps.org has been given a reliable eyewitness account of the existence of at least one, unreleased, imperforate and ungummed copy of every postage stamp, issued by Posta Moldovei, from Michel catalogue number 495 (December 2004) to Michel catalogue number 728 (December 2010), and that they are being offered for private sale on the international market.
For legal reasons, the names of the eyewitness and the stamp dealer in question cannot be published at this time. MoldovaStamps.org awaits corroborating evidence before these names may be made public.
The stamp dealer had described these items as "proofs" and verbally confessed to the eyewitness that all of these stamps were smuggled out of the State printing company “Tipografia Centrala” by an unnamed accomplice whom, he said, was an employee of Tipografia Centrala.
The stamp dealer also verbally confessed to the eyewitness that such smuggling activities commenced in 2004 and that he stopped buying imperforate stamps at the end of 2010. However, the dealer made an additional offer to arrange the supply of all the stamps issued from January 2011 until July 2011, in imperforate form, if the eyewitness was interested in buying that material too.
The imperforate stamps were offered for sale at a price of 100 euro for each stamp (approximate total value of 20,000 euros).
Realizing the criminal nature of the offer, the eyewitness refused to purchase any of the material and after some serious contemplation, decided to inform MoldovaStamps.org about the details. MoldovaStamps.org, with the eyewitness’ full permission, immediately made a complete report to the Moldovan State anti-corruption office, the CNA, in March 2013.
Despite the stamp dealer’s description of the stolen stamps as "proofs", it should be noted that Moldovan postage stamps are usually printed in sheets of 10 or more units, before being processed in the perforation and gumming machines. Therefore it would be very difficult to cut only a single stamp from a complete sheet, without anyone noticing. On this basis, MoldovaStamps.org believes that it was likely that complete sheets would have been stolen. Evidence for this could be found of the web site of a well-known international stamp dealer in the USA, where complete imperforate minisheets of 10 stamps for the 2005 and 2006 "Chess" issues were available for sale at a price of US$1,400 for each sheet. The report to the CNA included the information about this material.
On April 18, MoldovaStamps.org received a letter from the CNA Head of Division, Mihaila Viorel, stating that they were closing the case for the following reasons:
1. "The issues raised by you in the petition were not confirmed, and results of data verification obtained were not sufficient to trigger an investigation into criminal aspects."
2. "As for the manufacture postage stamps, it is noted that this process requires special equipment for printing and perforating, thus making it impossible to manufacture by anyone, without having such equipment. However, it can not justify the idea that stamps are forged as equipment for their manufacture is quite expensive, but the stamps that are claimed to have been forged are very insignificant amount."
3. "Additionally, we must bring to your attention the fact that the stamp shops of Moldova are open to freely to trade stamps of each edition, not set any obstacles or limitations in this regard. Typically, stamps are purchased or exchanged by members of the Union of Philatelists of the Republic of Moldova, of which, the (accused) citizen… is a member."
MoldovaStamps.org responds to point 1: The CNA has not specified what "data verification" activities they undertook. It is known that the eyewitness was never contacted by them. Also, the dealer in the USA was not contacted, even though to have done so would have easily established him as a corroborating witness. Indeed, the only person that is known to have been contacted by the CNA was the accused stamp dealer himself.
MoldovaStamps.org responds to point 2: At no time were allegations of forgery made. The allegations were about theft and the trade in stolen, imperforate materials. The CNA’s mention of "special equipment" and especially of "perforating" equipment, is therefore invalid.
MoldovaStamps.org responds to point 3: The Union of Philatelists does not automatically confer any special legitimacy on the business activities of its members. Mention of the Union’s name, in the context of this matter, is irrelevant.
The contents of the April 18 letter from the CNA clearly indicates their failure to comprehend the details of the complaint and that their investigation was cursory and was ended prematurely.
MoldovaStamps.org sent a reply to the CNA on May 8, in which all of these points were stated. There has been no reaction from them to date.
MoldovaStamps.org has now contacted the dealer in the USA, directly. He was unaware of the nature of the imperforate material and had never been contacted by the CNA. Upon hearing the news, the dealer immediately removed all the imperforate material from his database and told MoldovaStamps.org, "I stopped buying these issues in 2006 as I had a queasy feeling about them..".
Whilst the American dealer will not confirm the name of the seller directly to MoldovaStamps.org, he does state that he is willing to co-operate fully with any official, government investigation.
MoldovaStamps.org had been aware of the existence of small quantities of imperforate stamps and sheets for several years, but until now, it was understood that this material had been released into circulation in error. Therefore, MoldovaStamps.org was happy to include such material in the catalogue, since it would be of great interest to collectors. Now that the truth is known, MoldovaStamps.org is making a public declaration that all imperforate material (stamps and sheets), relating to issues from Michel catalogue number 495 (December 2004) to Michel catalogue number 775 (October 2011) is illegal and has no value either in philatelic or in monetary terms.
Other questions remain to be answered:
1. The identity of the employee of Tipografia Centrala who was responsible for the theft of the material has yet to be discovered.
2. The exact quantities and the formats of any other philatelic material that may have been stolen has yet to be discovered.
3. The extent to which stolen imperforate materials have already been sold on the international market needs to be discovered.
4. The current location of and quantities of still unsold imperforate material needs to be discovered.
MoldovaStamps.org has now provided full details of this matter to the Union of Philatelists of the Republic of Moldova (UFRM). In a reply, the President of the Union, Mr Serghei Cusnir, says that he is “shocked" by the information and states that he will be taking the matter directly to Posta Moldovei and to the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications.
MoldovaStamps.org appeals to all collectors and dealers who have any information about this subject, to send the details to us by email at email@example.com. All information will be treated in total confidence.
Maximum Cards Cannot Use Stamps Cut From Envelopes & Postcards
27 July 2012
The Moldovan Government Confirms That is is Unlawful to Use Stamps Cut From Pre-Paid Envelopes and Postcards.
In response to a direct enquiry to Mr Pavel Filip, the Minister for Information Technology and Communications, Deputy Minister Jakob Michaela has confirmed this is is unlawful to use postage stamps cut from prepaid postal stationery items (envelopes and postcards) for any postal use.
Accordingly, MoldovaStamps.org warns all collectors who are involved in the production of private Maximum Cards that they should discontinue the use of such stamps right away. Additionally, the FIP Maximaphilately regulations are very clear on this matter. Maximum cards that bear stamps cut from postal stationery are only admissible at exhibition provided that the issuing postal authorities permit this.
Download the letter from the Deputy Minister here (Russian)
Copyright on Moldovan Stamps
23 November 2011
Moldovan Stamps Are Protected by Copyright... but No Problems in Displaying the Images.
Yesterday, we received a letter from Posta Moldovei which confirms that Moldovan postage stamps are protected by copyright but that it is perfectly permissible to publish images of them on websites and in printed materials, in their original form. The copyright protection simply exists to prevent forgeries, alterations and other unauthorized reproduction of the stamps.
This is certainly a big relief for us and for all other publishers of Moldovan stamp images. This also firmly closes any debates on Wikipedia/Wikimedia regarding the right to publish images of the stamps. Thanks to Posta Moldovei for clarifying this matter.
Update - Fake «Official» First Day Covers
Fake reproduction of the official FDC cachet.
23 November 2011
Posta Moldovei has confirmed that it is illegal to make private First Day Covers which reproduce the cachet designs of the officially-emitted First Day envelopes.
A letter received yesterday from Posta Moldovei has confirmed that it is illegal to make private First Day Covers which reproduce the cachet designs of the officially-emitted First Day envelopes. Posta Moldovei have also confirmed that they will take actions against any person who is found to be producing or selling such material.
If MoldovaStamps.org becomes aware of the existence of such material, their images will be published on this website but they will be classified as "Fake Official FDCs" with no philatelic value. This will be done in an effort to discourage the manufacture and sale of such material and to warn collectors not to take these into their collections.
Many thanks to Posta Moldovei for their co-operation in this matter.
MoldovaStamps.org has now performed a complete review of all its listings with a view to identifying any examples of the material described above and has clearly indicated the true nature of such material.
Finally, MoldovaStamps.org encourages all stamp dealers to prepare their own private FDCs. The practice enriches the field of Moldovan Philately by introducing new and creative materials. However, MoldovaStamps.org will only consider such material to be legitimate provided that the envelope designs are not unauthorized, fake reproductions of the official FDC cachets, which mislead collectors into believing that the items are official emissions of the Moldova Post Office.
Fake «Official» First Day Covers
Fake reproduction of the official FDC envelope.
28 October 2011
Complaints About Reproduction Official FDCs Lead to a Change in the Website's Listing Policy.
In Moldova, it is permitted to bring an envelope or postcard, bearing genuine postage stamps, to the Post Office and have the envelope or postcard cancelled with the official First Day cancellation. This permits the local stamp dealers to create "private" but perfectly legitimate First Day Covers and Maximum Cards. The website catalogue will attempt to list all known examples of these items. The "private" FDCs and MCs are clearly indicated and are categorized separately from the "official" emissions of the Moldovan Post Office.
However, it has been brought to our attention that some dealers are making fake reproductions of the official FDC envelopes and then having them cancelled with the official First Day postmark by unwitting workers at the Post Office. The dealers are then selling these items as if they were official emissions of the Post Office, whereas in truth, they are privately made.
MoldovaStamps.org wishes to discourage and denounce this practice for two main reasons: 1. Collectors are being misled into believing that the material was officially emitted by the Moldovan Post Office, which devalues and degrades the field of Moldovan Philately and 2. Whereas the postage stamps and cancellations emitted by the Moldovan Post Office may be copyright-free and in the public domain, the First Day Cover envelopes are protected by copyright under Moldovan and international law. Any unauthorized reproduction of those envelopes is in violation of those laws and is illegal.
MoldovaStamps.org admits that we have erroneously included some of the material described above in our listings as "private" First Day Covers (with legitimacy implied). MoldovaStamps.org now commits to perform a complete review of all its listings with a view to identifying any examples of the material described above and to clearly indicate the true nature of such material.
Unlike other stamp catalogue publishers, MoldovaStamps.org has a policy of listing all philatelic materials, even if that material is bogus, forged, fake or otherwise and to clearly indicate the nature of the items. This is done in the hope that collectors will be properly informed. On this basis, MoldovaStamps.org will continue to list the fake official FDCs mentioned above, but will reclassify them to indicate their true nature.
It has also been known for stamp dealers in Moldova to acquire surplus, officially emitted FDC envelopes which have not had any stamps or cancellations applied to them, and then to make private FDCs from these. This is a grey area. The envelopes are official, the stamps and cancellations are genuine but the Moldovan Post Office never emitted the cover officially. In these rare cases, special notes will be provided.
Finally, MoldovaStamps.org encourages all stamp dealers to prepare their own private FDCs. The practice enriches the field of Moldovan Philately by introducing new and creative materials. However, MoldovaStamps.org will only consider such material to be legitimate provided that the following three conditions are met:
1. The envelope has genuine Moldovan postage stamp(s) affixed
2. The stamps(s) are cancelled using the official First Day postmark as designed by Moldovan Post Office
3. The envelope is not a fake reproduction of the official FDC envelope designed by the Moldovan Post Office and does not have the word "Official" printed thereon (in any language)