VIKING SHIP

A regular issue consisting of 1, 5, 15 and 25 Mk. values. A 3 Mk. value was prepared but not issued.
The 5 Mk. value was originally intended to cover postage for parcels, remittances etc., but the currency situation changed so rapidly that 15 and 25 Mk. values were necessary for these purposes. A couple of years later these high values were already needed for regular mail.

Design by Peet Aren.

Paper: The first printing of the 1 Mk. value was on a white paper with a smooth surface and with very faint traces of mesh pattern. The paperquality is good. The thickness varies. The second printing of the 1 Mk. was on cheaper and entirely different paper. Thin, hard and grey in color with slightly more marked mesh pattern and little variation in thickness.
For the first 5 Mk. printing a different white paper was used. It has a harder surface and a distinct silkiness. The thickness is more uniform.
For the second printing of the same value a much cheaper paper was obtained from the papermills at Räpina. This type of paper was previously used for the Invalid issue. It was soft, porous and dirty grey in color and was really marginally refined newsprint and has a clear vertical mesh pattern. The same paper was also used for the 15 and 25 Mk. values.
No watermarks exist on any of the Viking papers.

Gum: For the first issue of the 1 Mk. it is notably irregular. Sometimes smooth and shiny, sometimes streaky. Gum shades are from white to dirty brown. For the later printings of all values the gum was much more uniform.

Print: Lithographed by Edward Bergmann in Tartu.
It has previously been generally accepted that all Viking Ship stamps were printed by means of litographic stones. However, in their important research paper Messrs. McDonald and Purves challenge this. They were fully convinced that an early form of offset printing was introduced, whereby a flat relief plate (made by electrotyping) was used. The authors presently reserve their opinion.
The printer's sheet of 200 was arranged in two panes (10 x 10) placed in the press vertically one above the other so that the design in the upper one was inverse to the lower pane. The panes were separated by a horizontal gutter of 31 mm. (frame to frame). The printer's sheets were cut into two counter panes horizontally across the gutter. It is believed that all values were printed in the same manner. At the beginning a few complete sheets of 200 of the first printings of the 1 and 5 Mk. values came to counter sale. The téte-béche pairs are rare, especially of the 5 Mk. values. No gutter pairs are known from the following printings nor of the 15 and 25 Mk. values.
The printing is generally considered to be acceptable. Due to the great demand for stamps many defective copies of the 1 Mk. value of the first printing passed to the counter sale. The same applies to the 5 Mk. (1st printing) but to a lesser extent.
The ink was mixed in the printing shop while printing, thus causing a considerable variation of shades, especially noticeable on the 1 Mk. values of the first printing. Later issues have less variation. The background was printed first and the inscription and frame were applied in a second printing operation.

Perforation: The 1 and 5 Mk. values are imperforate. Only part of the 15 and 25 Mk. values were perforated. The perforation (14 x 13 1/2) was performed by the GPW by a newly constructed two-box comb-perforating machine, which could take the full printer's sheet. There was trouble with centring and precisely centred copies are scarce.
Private perforations (Postmaster perforations) are known from many postal offices.

Proofs: Schönherr only mentions three proofs. However, many proofs reached the market in an unauthorized way. These were mostly printer's waste but certainly did include color-trials and real experiments. Essays of the prepared but not issued 3 Mk. values are known:

black, frame only Price: 40 USD
black/yellow Price: 40 USD
black/orange Price: 40 USD
blue, frame only 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.

The famous variety of the 5 Mk. stamp with the inverted background seems to be printed with genuine parts. Probably by feeding a sheet provided with a background impression into a press with an inverted inscription plate already in position. Some of these stamps have gum and some have not. As far as it is known, this variety never was sold over the counter and thus will be accounted for as a proof.

Forgeries: A number of forgeries from different sources is known (France, USA, Latvia). The most numerous are the Simson-Kull and Lubi forgeries. They also include the 1 Mk. with inverted background, téte-béche of the 25 Mk. etc. Read more about forgeries.

Valid until June 30, 1926.

Litterature:
D. McDonald and I.R.W. Purves. The Viking Ship Stamps of Estonia, Eesti Filatelist No 26, 1980.
E. Sjögren. Distinguishing Features of Jaan Lubi Forgeries of Estonian Stamps. 11, Eesti Filatelist No 29, 1983.

Read more about the Viking Ship issue.

27 Ei - 13
Mi - 12x
Zu - 21x
SG - 11
YT - 13
Sc - 34
 
Day of Issue:
1919-07-28
Perforation:
Imperforate
Issued:
986.800
SI R-IL 1919-07-28 - 1919-12-31
DPC, LL 1920-07-01 - 1921-04-09

1 Mk. Blackbrown-blue, white paper

1:- 0.30  
SI
MU
MI
    30:-
25:-
10:-
  Block of four 5x 10x  
  Téte-Béche with gutter  35:- 35:-  
B:1  Blackbrown-dark blue +0.30 +0.30  
B:2   Blackbrown-light blue +1:- +1:-  
B:3   Blackbrown-grey blue +1:- +1:-  
B:4   Blackbrown-greenish blue +1:50 +1:50  
E:1 Paper fold +4:- +4:-  
E:2 Setoff of centre +6:- +6:-  
E:3 Setoff of frame +7:- +7:-  
E:4  Shifted centre piece (2-3 mm) +6:- +6:-  
E:5 Shifted centre piece (5 mm) +15:- +15:-  
E:6 Oval frame broken left. Pos. A 91 +0.50 +0.50  
E:7 Frame damaged at left. Pos. B 4 +0.50 +0.50  
E:8 (E)E connected with frame. Pos. B 71 +0.50 +0.50  
E:9 Closed R(K). Pos. B 86 +0.50 +0.50  
E:10 White spot between frame and ornament. Pos. A 59 +1:- +1:-  
E:11 Colored spot in Ornament. Pos. B 44 +1:- +1:-  
E:12 Colored spot in sail +1:50 +1:50  
G:1 Black, frame only 40:-    
G:2 Black, grey paper, frame only 40:-    
G:3 Black, silk paper, frame only 40:-    
G:4 Orange yellow, grey paper, without frame 40:-    
G:5 Blue, w/o frame 40:-    
G:6 Black, w/o frame 35:-    
G:7 Red-blue 35:-    
G:8 Blue-red 35:-    
G:9 Brown-yellow, white paper 35:-    
G:9a Centre doubleprinted 35:-    
G:9b Ditto, strongly, shifted 35:-    
G:10 Darkbrown-yellow, grey paper 35:-    
G:10a Centre strongly shifted vertically 35:-    
G:11 Brown-greyish blue, chalky paper 35:-    
G:12 Black-orange yellow, grey paper 35:-    
G:12a Frame strongly shifted vertically 35:-    
G:13 Black, different design 40:-    
G:14 Gold-blue, white paper 35:-    
G:15 Bronze-blue, white paper 35:-    
G:16 Brown orange-black, double frame 35:-    
G:17 Blue, frame only, white thin paper, single print 40:-    
G:18 Orange yellow on newsprint, w/o frame, single print 40:-    
G:19 Black-oranqe yellow, on newsprint, single print 40:-    

27 I Ei - 14
Mi - 12y
Zu - 21
SG - 11a
YT - 13
Sc - 34a
 
Day of Issue:
1920-03-08
Perforation:
Imperforate
Issued:
2.050.000
SI DPC, LL 1920-07-01 - 1921-04-09
PM possible

1 Mk. Blackbrown-blue, grey paper

0.50 0.20  
SI
MU
MI
    12:-
8:-
6:-
  Block of four 6x 8x  
B:1  Blackbrown-grey blue  +0.25  +0.25    
B:2   Blackbrown-greenish blue +0.50   +0.50     
B:3   Blackbrown-light blue  +1:- +1:-  
B:4   Blackbrown-dark blue  +2:- +2:-  
B:5 Light and dark stamp in pair +1:- +1:-  
E:1 Paper fold  +4:- +4:-  
E:2 Setoff of centre  +6:- +6:-  
E:3 Setoff of frame  +5:- +5:-  
E:4  Shifted centrepiece 1 mm  +1.50 +1.50   
E:5 Ditto, 2 mm  +5:- +5:-  
E:6 Damaged letters  +0.50    +0.50     
E:7 Damaged value tablet  +0.50    +0.50     
E:8 4 or 6 oars instead of 5  +0.75    +0.75     
E:9 Stamp corner and left value omitted  +70:-  +70:-   
E:10 White line in sail retouched  +0.50  +0.50   
E:11 White spot in ornament  +0.75  +0.75   
E:12 White spot over left 1  +2:- +2:-  
E:13 Colored spot above left 1 +2:- +2:-  
E:14 Ditto, between dragon head and sail +1.50 +1.50  
E:15 Ditto, in sail  +2:- +2:-  
E:16 Sail partly without white line  +1:- +1:-  

 

28 Ei - 15
Mi - 13x
Zu - 22x
SG - 12
YT - 14
Sc - 35
 
Day of Issue:
1919-09-01
Perforation:
Imperforate
Issued:
525.000
SI RAL, IL30g 1920-07-01 - 1921-04-09
IPC, DL 1921-04-10 - 1922-10-31

5 Mk. Black-orangeyellow, white paper

1:- 1.50  
SI
MU
MI
    25:-
20:-
15:-
  Block of four 5x 7x  
  Téte-Béhe with gutter 85:- 85:-  
  Ditto, with shifted centrepiece 85:- 85:-  
B:1  Black-dark chrome +0.50 +0.50  
E:1 Paper fold +4:- +4:-  
E:2 Setoff of frame +6:- +6:-  
E:3 Double print of frame +17:- +17:-  
E:4  Ditto of centrepiece +20:- +20:-  
E:5 Shifted centrepiece 1 mm +1:- +1:-  
E:6 Ditto, 7 mm +30:- +30:-  
E:7 Broken oval frame +0.75 +0.75  
E:8 Broken frame +0.50 +0.50  
E:9 Deformed P(O) +1.50 +1.50  
E:10 White spot in sail +1.50 +1.50  
G:1 Black-yellow, double frame 35:- 35:-  
G:2 Black-yellow, inverted centrepiece 400:- 400:-  
G:3 Gold-yellow 35:-    
G:4 Bronze-yellow 35:-    
G:5 Bronze-light yellow 35:-    
G:6 Bronze-orange strongly shifted frame 35:-    
G:7 Bronze-copper 35:-    
G:8 Black-orange / Schwarz-orange, yellowish paper 35:-    
G:9 Black-gold 35:-    

 

28 I Ei - 16
Mi - 13y
Zu - 22
SG - 12a
YT - 14
Sc - 35a
 
Day of Issue:
1920-08-02
Perforation:
Imperforate
Issued:
5.063.670
SI R-IL, I L30g 1920-08-02 - 1921-04-09
IPC, DL 1921-04-10 - 1922-10-31

5 Mk. Black-orange, grey paper

2.50 0.20  
SI
MU
MI
    8:-
10:-
6:-
  Block of four 6x 10x  
B:1  Black-yellowish orange +0.50 +0.50  
B:2 Black-dark orange +1:- +1:-  
C:1 Thin paper +60:- +60:-  
C:2 Grey blue paper +40:- +40:-  
E:1 Paper fold +4:- +4:-  
E:2  Setoff of centre +6:- +6:-  
E:3 Setoff of frame +10:- +10:-  
E:4 Shifted centrepiece 2 mm +15:- +15:-  
E:5 Damaged or joined letters or numerals +1:- +1:-  
E:6 (M)A or (RK)A filled in +0.50 +0.50  
E:7 Closed R(K) +0.75 +0.75  
E:8 Damaged left frame +0.75 +0.75  
E:9 Double print of frame +15:- +15:-  

 

40 Ei - 17
Mi - 23B
Zu - 23A
SG - 13
YT - 15
Sc - 16
 
Day of Issue:
1920-09-02
Perforation:
Imperforate
Issued:
634.550
SI IL40g 1921-04-10 - 1922-10-31
IL, 1922-11-01 - 1923-12-31
R-DL 1924-01-01 - 1925-01-31
DL40g, R-DPC 1925-02-01 - 1926-06-30

15 Mk. Violet-green

2.50 0.50  
SI
MU
MI
    8:-
10:-
6:-
  Block of four 6x 10x  
B:1  Violet-light green +0.50 +0.10  
E:1 Shifted centrepiece l mm +4:- +4:-  
E:2  Setoff of frame +8:- +8:-  
E:3 Neck of dragon mutilated +3:- +3:-  
E:4 Two white spots +3:- +3:-  
E:5 White spot in oval frame between KA +2:- +2:-  
E:6 Left in sail white spot +2:- +2:-  
E:7 White spot in sail +3:- +3:-  
E:8 Colored spot in oval frame +1:- +1:-  
E:9 Colored line through stamp +2:- +2:-  
E:10 (K)A filled in +1:- +1:-  
G:1 Violet-green, yellowish paper, w/o gum 35:- 35:-  
G:2 Orange, frame only 40:- 40:-  
G:3

Green, frame only
3a Ditto, double frame

40:-
40:-
40:-
40:-
 
G:4 Green-orange 35:- 35:-  
G:5 Green-orange, ship headed to left 35:- 35:-  

61 Ei - 18
Mi - 23A
Zu - 23B
SG - 33
YT - 15a
Sc - 77
 
Day of Issue:
1922-06-08
Perforation:
14 x 13 1/2
Issued:
2.394.050
SI IL40g 1922-06-08 - 1922-10-31
IL 1922-11-01 - 1923-12-31
R-DL 1924-01-01 - 1925-01-31
DL40g, R-DPC 1925-02-01 - 1926-06-30

15 Mk. Violet-green

3:- 0.50  
SI
MU
MI
    12:-
10:-
8:-
  Block of four 5x 15x  
A:1  Shifted perforation (cutting the design) +2:- +2:-  
A:2 Wide stamp +5:- +5:-  
B:1  Violet-lightgreen +0.50 +0.10  
E:1 Shifted centrepiece 1 mm +4:- +4:-  
E:2 Setoff of frame +6:- +6:-  
E:3 Neck of dragon mutilated +3:- +3:-  
E:4 Two white spots +3:- +3:-  
E:5 White spot in oval frame between KA +2:- +2:-  
E:6 Left in sail white spot +2:- +2:-  
E:7 White spot in sail +3:- +3:-  
E:8 Colored spot in oval frame +1:- +1:-  
E:9 Colored line through stamp +2:- +2:-  
E:10 (K)A filled in +1:- +1:-  

 

41 Ei - 19
Mi - 24B
Zu - 24A
SG - 14
YT - 16
Sc - 37
 
Day of Issue:
1920-09-09
Perforation:
Imperforate
Issued:
401.850
SI IL80g, R-IL40g 1921-04-10 - 1922-10-31
DL80g, R-DL40g 1925-02-01 - 1926-06-30
All commercial covers are scarce

25 Mk. Blackbrown-ultramarin

4.50 2:-  
SI
MU
MI
    75:-
-
60:-
  Block of four 5x 8x  
B:1  Black brown-grey ultramarin +2.50 +1:-  
E:3 Neck of dragon mutilated +3:- +3:-  
E:4 Two white spots +3:- +3:-  
E:5 White spot in oval frame between KA +2:- +2:-  
E:6 Left in sail white spot +2:- +2:-  
E:7 White spot in sail +3:- +3:-  
E:11 Colored spot in neck of dragon +2:- +2:-  
F:12 Damaged letters +1:- +1:-  

 

62 Ei - 20
Mi - 24A
Zu - 24B
SG - 34
YT - 16a
Sc - 78
 
Day of Issue:
1922-06-08
Perforation:
14 x 13 1/2
Issued:
627.150
SI IL80g. R-IL40g 1922-06-08 - 1922-10-31
DL80g, R-DL40g 1925-02-01 - 1926-06-30
All commercial covers are scarce

25 Mk. Blackbrown-ultramarin

5.50 1.50  
SI
MU
MI
    80:-
-
65:-
  Block of four 5x 8x  
A:1  Shifted perforation (cutting the design) +2:- +2:-  
B:1 Black brown-grey ultramarine +0.50 +0.50  
E:2 Setoff of frame +7:- +7:-  
E:3 Neck of dragon mutilated +3:- +3:-  
E:4 Two white spots +3:- +3:-  
E:5 White spot in oval frame between KA +2:- +2:-  
E:6 Left in sail white spot +2:- +2:-  
E:7 White spot in sail +3:- +3:-  
E:11 Colored spot in neck of dragon +2:- +2:-  
E:12 Damaged letters +1:- +1:-  

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.