Russland - Briefe 1858
Katalog Michel 3x
Russia Imperial Post, 1858, 20 kopek blue & orange, perforated 14 1/2 : 15, on thick watermarked paper, extremely fine example, tied by well-struck upright dotted numeral "1" and ideal strike of red boxed"S.P.BURG 20 FEB. 1858" alongside, on very fresh envelope to Wysokoje near Opotschka (Government Pskow). Certificate Mikulski. Michel 3x
According to the research of Mr. Mikulski only 15 genuine # 3 covers are known, this one is THE SECOND EARLIEST RECORDED DATE (the earliest recorded is the repaired cover from SPB to Charkov dated only one day earlier - 19.2.1858).
Reviewing all the major auction sales of classic Russian philately, including Fabergé, Goss, Adler, Baughman, Maklakoff, Stibbe, Epstein, Small, Polon, Denisenko, Liphschutz, Mehrtens, Mikulski and Bianchi, this cover is with no doubt THE FINEST OF ALL KNOWN: the perfect stamp has never been lifted from the cover (still adhering with its original gum!), the envelope is fresh without a crease and has never been cleaned and last but not least: the stamp and the postmarks are all upright and clear.
A less beautiful cover (with both postmarks inverted) from the Paolo Bianchi collection (lot 2140) was sold for 40.000 EUR (including auction fees) in june 2008.
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