THE FLOWER DESIGN ISSUE

The first regular issue in 1918-19, in four denominations. A 2 kop. value was prepared but not issued. The printing of the stamps and the deliveries from the printer's to the GPO started November 22. 1918. Incorrectly this date has been presented as the date of issue. The actual over the counter sale commenced on November 24 or 25, 1918. The earliest known cancellation is from November 24, 1918.

Design by Rudolf Zero. The pattern of the German fiscal stamps ("Rohstoff-und Handelsabteilung - Reval - and "Hauptstelle fur Handel u. Gewerbe - Reval") was used for the design.

Paper: white, smooth paper of fairly good quality of Finnish origin. Sometimes the paper absorbs the gum and assumes a yellowish appearance. The thickness varies (0.05-0.07mm), within the same printing usually rather stable. A WM-Iine is seldom.

Gum: yellowish, dull, thin and even.

Print: One of the most urgent needs of the new postal organization was the production of stamps. The GPO contacted the typographic printers G. Mäns in Tallinn. An original plate was prepared with typographic material. The illustration No 1 shows the original plate impression of the 15 kop. value. The printers were not able to fulfil the GPO's request for an immediate delivery and the GPO decided to pass the printing order to the lithographic printers G.Bölau in Nômme.

ill. No 1

A random number of impressions of the original plate of the 5 and 15 kop. values was transferred to transfer paper and handed over to G. Bö1au. These impressions were arranged in 2 x 5 vertical groups (ill. No 2) attached to carton paper and transferred to auxiliary litho stones. The impressions of the auxiliary stones on the transfer paper were transferred as a unit to the printing stones.

ill. No 2

For preparing the printing stones of the 35 and 70 p. values the same procedure was used. Two groups of impressions of the auxiliary stone of the 5 kop. value was used. The values in the four corners of the stamp were excised and a new value tablet manually inserted in the middle of the lower ledge. The placing shows small shiffings and gives the stamps different appearance. (ill. No 6).For each printing of all values new printing stones were prepared. The only exceptions being the 2nd and 3rd printings of both 15 kop. and 35 p. values. The illustrations No 3-5 show the variations in the arrangement of panes.

    ill. No 3
          ill. No 4
        ill. No 5

The printing ink had to be mixed in small batches during the printing, causing a wide range of color shades. The ink was very sensitive to light and also chemically unstable. The colors have often faded during the years. As the color varieties can easily be produced by exposing the stamps to light, a systematic presentation of color shades is omitted. Only a few basically different shades of rare occurance are presented and priced.
Due to urgency of the printing the print itself sometime can be of inferior quality. This is specially the case with the 5th printing of the 15 kop. value. Because of the constant shortage of stamps, much of the printer's waste was distributed and sold over the counter.

ill. No 6

Perforation: imperforate.
A trial perforation (11 1/2 x 11 1/2) of the 15 kop. stamp was ordered by the GPO and made by the printers Joh. & Alma Paalmann in Tallinn in the beginning of 1919. For this purpose the sheets of printer's waste of the 1st and 2nd printings (the turquoise light blue and light greenish blue shades) were used. The perforation was mostly unclean and with bad centering and was not considered successful. The outsides of the marginal rows were not perforated.
The number of stamps offically perforated is unknown. Dr. Schönherr mentions the figure 6500. Eichenthal approx. 3000 and Weiner "a few thousands". According to Dr. Schönherr the total perforated issue was sold to collectors. However, there are indications that a certain number of these stamps were sold over the counter in Tallinn.
The officially perforated stamps are rare, especially on cover. The majority of the perforated 15 kop. stamps offered on the market today is privately perforated. They are mostly of later printings. Expertizing is mandatory.
Also other perforated denominations of the issue are private. Postmaster perforations (semi-official roulettes) are known of all values.

Proofs exist. They are mostly impressions of the master groups (auxiliary stones) printed on the front or back of cinema tickets. Full sheets (5 tickets each) are rare. Proofs of the unissued 2 kop. value exist on pink and white paper. The print on white paper also can be found on the front side. Price: 40 USD. (Please note that all prices are estimates in USD, based on the average retail market of 1985, when the original catalogue/handbook was written. The prices are considerably higher today.)

Forgeries are known of all denominations (also in sheets). Read more about the Flower Design forgeries.

Literature:
Dr. W. Shönherr, "Kohl-Briefmarken-Handbuch". 11. Auflage. 1927/28. Berlin. (In German)
Sigurd Roove, "Aufteilung der Marken der Blumenmusterausgabe nach den einzelnen Auflagen." Eichenthal Katalog 1961 (in English and German).

1.
SI

5 Kop.
LL, DPC 1918-11 - 24-1918-12-31
LPM 1919-01-01 - 1919-12-31
SI rare

  SI     75:-
  MU     60:-
  MI     30:-
E:1 Stamp partly printed  +25:- -  
E:2 Paper fold  +4:- 4:-  
E:3 Set-off  +8:- 0.50  
E:4 Smudgy print  +0.50    
G:1 Rose, greyish white paper, w/o gum  +25:-    
G:2 Rose. lilac rose paper, printed on the back of cinema tickets  +30:-    
G:3
Black, greenish blue paper, on the back of cinema tickets
+30:-
 
 

First Printing (Nov. 22-28, 1918)
The print shows strongly through on the back. Letters are broad. Vertical VM-line can be found. Printed sheet 400 stamps. (ill. No 3)
Issued: 514.000

Carmine orange, shades from dark to light

 0.60:-  0.60  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
C:1 Vertical VM-line +4:- +4:-  
E:5 Q instead of (P)O. Pos. A 34 +0.75 +0.75  
E:6 Damaged upper right 5 Pos. A 47 +0.50 +0.50  
E:7 (E)E with hook Pos. D 20 +0.50 +0.50  
E:8 Damaged lower left 5 Pos. D 51 +0.50 +0.50  
E:9 White streak below lower left K Pos. D 61 +0.75 +0.75  
E:10 White stroke through upper right K Pos. C 1 +0.75 +0.75  
E:11

Damaged (E)S. Pos. C 25

+0.75 +0.75  


Second Printing (Dec. 11-17, 1918)
Panes arrangement as ill. No 4
Issued: 509.000

Yellow orange, shades from dark to light

0.70:- 0.70  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
E:12 White line through upper left K Pos. A 10 +0.50 +0.50  
E:13 Lower frame interrupted Pos. B 47 +0.75 +0.75  
E:14 E(E) crossed by white line Pos. C 25 +0.75 +0.75  
E:15 Dot between T/. Pos. C44+F4 +0.50 +0.50  
E:16 Lower left 5 with white line Pos. C 3 +0.75 +0.75  
E:17 White dash between ST and ST. Pos. D 11 +0.50 +0.50  
E:18 White dash before E(E). Pos. E 80 +0.75 +0.75  
E:19 Hairlines through the stamp Pos. E 56 +0.50 +0.50  
E:20

Ditto, elongated (T)l and (T) Pos. F 74

+0.75 +0.75  

Third Printing. (March 5-6, 1919)
In the panes C, E and F the bottom lines of the stamps in the 5th rows are markedly wavy.
Panes arrangement as ill. No 5
Issued: 304.500

Brownish vermilion orange, shades from dark to light

0.70:- 0.60  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
E:21 White spots after upper right 5 Pos. A 55 +1:- +1:-  
E:22 (OS)T damaged Pos. A 84 +0.75 +0.75  
E:23 Dot between E and lower P Pos. B 99 +0.50 +0.50  
E:24 (E)ST joined by white dot Pos. D 7 +0.75 +0.75  
E:25 Upper left K with white streak Pos. D 23 +0.75 +0.75  
E:26 Lower frame interrupted Pos. D 45 +0.50 +0.50  

Fourth Printing. (April 2-5, 1919)
Letters are often narrow. In the panes E and F the lowest rows are wavy.
Panes arranged as ill. No. 5
Issued: 614.500

Violet rose (so called Flesh color), shades

0.60:- 0.60  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
E:27 White streak through Pos. A 99 +0.75 +0.75  
E:28 White spot on P. Pos. B 9 +0.75 +0.75  
E:29 (E)S damaged. Pos C 88 +0.50 +0.50  
E:30 White streak through lower left 5K Pos. C7 +0.75 +0.75  
E:31 White arch through two stamps Pos. D 8-9 +0.50 +0.50  
E:32 White streak through TI. Pos. E 36 +0.50 +0.50  
E:33 O(S) with outcrop Pos F 4 +0.50 +0.50  
E:34 White spot Pos. F 20 +1:- +1:-  
E:35 Bottom line mutilated Pos. E 47 +0.50 +0.50  

2.
SI

15 Kop.
L 1918-11-30-1918-12-31
LL, DPC, DPM 1919-01-01-1919-12-31
MU scarce

  SI     40:-
  MU     50:-
  MI     20:-
E:1 Paper fold +4:- +4:-  
E:2 Set-off +2:- +2:-  
E:3 Smudgy print +0.50 +0.50  
G:1 Black, cigarette paper, montage of small pieces, different design 50:-    
G:2 Black, cigarette paper, final design 40:-    
G:3 Black, greenish blue paper, printed on the back of cinema tickets 30:-    
G:4
Ditto, print on the front side
30:-
 
 
G:5 Blue, lilac rose cinema tickets 25:-    

First Printing. (Nov. 30-Dec. 5, 1918)
Vertical VM-line can be found. Printing sheet 4 x 100 stamps.
Pane arrangement unknown.
Issued: 504.000

Light blue, shades

1.25:- 0.60  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
C:1 Vertical VM-Line +5:- +5:-  
E:4 White streak through Pos. X1 2 +0.50 +0.50  
E:5 Lower left 1 joined to frame Pos. X1 83 +0.50 +0.50  
E:6 White streak through lower left 5K Pos. C7 +0.75 +0.75  
E:7 Short dash before Pos. X2 53 +0.50 +0.50  
E:8 White spot before lower left 1 Pos. X2 97 +0.75 +0.75  
E:9 Damaged frame above upper left 1 Pos. X3 36 +0.50 +0.50  

Second Printing. (Dec. 10-23, 1918)
The print is even, the letters narrow.
Panes arranged as ill. No 3
Issued: 508.500

Light greenish blue, shades

0.70 0.60  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
E:10 Hairline running downwards from E(E) Pos. A 4 +0.50 +0.50  
E:11 Hairline running downwards from upper right 15 Pos. B 20 +0.50 +0.50  
E:12 Hairline through upper design Pos. D 76 +0.50 +0.50  
E:13 P(O) with hook Pos. C 91 +0.75 +0.75  
E:14 Damaged value tablet Pos. C 53 +0.75 +0.75  
E:15 Upper frame damaged Pos. D 1 +0.50 +0.50  

Third Printing. (March 10-14, 1919)
The printing stone of the second printing was used also for this printing. The print is porous and uneven. The color seems to lie thickly. The letters appear to be larger than these of 2nd printing.
The pane arrangements and printing varieties are the same as in 2nd printing.
Issued: 509.000

Grey greenish blue, shades

0.70 0.60  
  Block of four 6x 8x  

Fourth Printing. (April 10- 17, 1919)
In all panes the bottom lines of the 5th and 10th rows of stamps are wavy.
Panes arranged as ill. No 5
Issued: 1.025.500

Vivid greenish blue, shades

0.60 0.60  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
E:16 Value tablet mutilated Pos. A 50 +0.50 +0.50  
E:17 (E)E with white spot Pos. A 27 +0.75 +0.75  
E:18 White spot between (P)OS. Pos. B 41 +0.75 +0.75  
E:19 Large P Pos. B 91 +15:- +15:-  
E:20 White dash between EE Pos. C 67 +0.75 +0.75  
E:21 White spot in lower right 5 Pos. D 5 +0.75 +0.75  
E:22 White spot in front of P, hairline Pos. E 40 +0.50 +0.50  

Fifth Printing. (June 21-July 3, 1919)
The print is transparent. Sometimes striking through.
Inking can be defective. Panes arranged as ill. No 5
Issued: 1.052.500

Grey blue - slate blue, shades

0.60 0.60  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
  Horizontal gutter pair 20:- --  
  Ditto, set-off 25:- --  
  Vertical gutter pair 25:- --  
  Ditto, set-off 30:- --  
  Centre star of printed sheet 60:- --  
  Ditto, set-off 70:- --  
B:1 Slate blue +7.50 +7.50  
  Block of four 8x 8x  
E:23 E(E) with outcrop Pos. A 7 +0.50 +0.50  
E:24 White spot before Pos. B 10 +0.50 +0.50  
E:25 (P)O shaved off Pos. C 37 +0.50 +0.50  
E:26 White dash before P Pos. D 10 +0.75 +0.75  
E:27 (E)S disfigured, vertical hairline Pos. D 20 +0.75 +0.75  
E:28 Damaged (E)S. Pos. F 26 +0.50 +0.50  

2A

15 Kop. Perforated, turquoise light blue

50:- 50:-  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
B:1 Greenish blue (2nd printing) +5:- +5:-  
  Block of four 6x 6x  
A:1 One side imperforate +10:- +10:-  
A:2 Two sides imperforate +15:- +15:-  

 

3.
SI

35 P.
DL 1919-01-18 - 1919-12-31
LL DPC 1920-01-01 - 1920-06-30

  SI     30:-
  MU     50:-
  MI     20:-
E:1 Printed on both sides +125:-    
E:2 Ditto, strongly shifted +130:-    
E:3 Paper fold +4:- +4:-  
E:4 Set-off +7:-  +7:-  
E:5 Smudgy print +0.50  +0.50  
G:1 Black, greenish blue paper printed on the back of cinema tickets 35:-    

First Printing. (Jan. 18-22, 1919)
The print is often porous and seems to be dry. Panes arranged as ill. No. 5
Issued: 605.000

Grey brown, shades from dark to light or pale

1:- 1:-  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
E:6 White dashes through Pos. A 62 +0.50 +0.50  
E:7 White dot before E. Pos. B 53 +0.75 +0.75  
E:8 Dash between TI. Pos. C 70 +0.75 +0.75  
E:9 White dot in in 5. Pos. D 12 +15:- +15:-  
E:10 White spot after (T)I. Pos. D 28 +0.75 +0.75  
E:11 (O)S with serif Pos. E 6 +0.75 +0.75  
E:12 (E)E crossed through Pos. F 28 +0.50 +0.50  


Second Printing. (March 18-21, 1919)
The print is even and covers well. The letters are narrow compared to the two other printings.
The panes are arranged as ill. No 5
Issued: 510.000

Yellowish grey, brownish, reddish. Shades from dark to light 1:50 1:-  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
B:1 Brownish grey +4:- +3:-  
B:1 Grey +25:- +3:-  
B:1 Olive grey +15:- +3:-  
B:1 Olive +60:- +45:-  
E:13 While dots after OS)T Pos. B 5 +0.50 +0.50  
E:14 White spot after (T). Pos. B 51 +1:- +1:-  
E:15 Hairline under EESTI. Pos. B 54 +0.50 +0.50  
E:16 Damaged E(E). Pos. D 9 +4:- +4:-  
E:17 P with hook Pos. D 46 +0.75 +0.75  
E:18 Dash after (OS)T. Pos. D 74 +0.50 +0.50  
E:19 (O)S with outcrop Pos. A 88 +0.50 +0.50  
E:20 T(l) with outcrop Pos. A 97 +0.50 +0.50  
E:21 (3)5 joined to frame Pos. C 62 +5:- +5:-  
E:22 Vertical hairline through the stamp Pos. C 94 +0.75 +0.75  


Third Printing. (April 25-May 2, 1919)
The printing stone of the second printing used also for this printing. Horiz. VM-line can be found.
Pane arrangement and varieties are the same as in the second printing.
Issued: 1.032.000

Vivid reddish brown. Mostly darker shades

1:- 1:-  
  Block of four 6x 8x  
C:1 Horiz. WM-line +10:- +10:-  

 

4.
SI

70 P.
DL30g 1919-01-23 - 1919-12-31
SI rare

  SI     75:-
  MU     --
  MI     60:-

Printed Jan. 23-27, 1919
Hairlines can frequently be found in many positions. Pane arrangement as ill. No 5.
Issued: 503.000

Olive green, from dark to light

1.50:- 1.50:-  
  Block of four 5x 8x  
B:1 Green +14:- +14:-  
C:1 Horiz. WM-Line +8:- +8:-  
E:1 Paper fold +4:- +4:-  
E:2 Smudgy print +0.50 +0.50  
E:3 Broken bottom line Pos. A 97 +6:- +6:-  
E:4 Crossing hairlines Pos. B 31 +0.50 +0.50  
E:5 Dots and hairlines Pos. C 81 +0.50 +0.50  
E:6 White dash after (T)I. Pos. D 20 +0.75 +0.75  
G:1 Black. greenish blue paper, printed on the back of cinema tickets 35:-    

General flaws of auxiliary printing stones.
Besides the varieties mentioned above which are characteristic for individual panes, there are quite a few recurrent die-flaws which occur in all printings. They originate from the auxiliary stones.

     
1. Break left in frame, approx. at the level
of the bottom line of EESTI.
5 Kop., 35 & 70 P. In the first and sixth
rows of all panes, 5 times each.
+0.50 +0.50             
2. Bulge in frame above left upper 5. In the
third and eight row, 5 times each.
+0.50 +0.50
3. Bulge in the centre field above ES.
5 Kop., 35 & 70 P., in the fourth and ninth
rows, 5 times each.
+0.50 +0.50
4. Dented top of T(I).
15 Kop., 5 times in every row III and VIII.
+0.50 +0.50
5. Distorted K.
15 Kop. Rows I and VI.
+0.50 +0.50
6. Dot within K.
15 Kop. Rows II and VII.
+0.50 +0.50
7. Short left lower 1(5), as No 3. +0.50 +0.50
8. Comma in the left upper square.
35 P., 2-3 times in every row III and VIII.
+0.50 +0.50
9. Damaged T(I). Ill E:6 (70 P).
2 to 3 times in every row II and VII.
+0.50 +0.50
10. Dot in the broken right frameline, close above
the bottom line.
70 P., 2 to 3 times in every row IV and IX.
+0.50 +0.50
11. Value tablet shifted to right or left.
35 & 70 P., occurs irregularly within the
group of 2 x 2 x 5 stamps of the
auxiliary stone.
+0.50 +0.50
12. Upper right rectangle damaged +0.50 +0.50

Please note that all prices are estimates in USD, based on the average retail market of 1985, when the original catalogue/handbook was written. The prices are considerably higher today.