(DORPAT) LOCAL PROVISIONALS 1918
Russian stamps of 1909 with a single line black OPT of the new value
in German currency. The 20 Pfg. value was issued for postcards and
the 40 Pfg. value for letters.
Issued by the newly opened Imperial German Civil Post Office in Tartu
by order of the local German commander. Typographed by Carl Mattiesen
OPT is clear and glossy. Vertically strongly shifted OPT's can be
found. There are horizontal and vertical gutter pairs and center stars
in existence. 5-6 sheets of the 20 Pfg. value were overprinted on
the blue (instead of dark blue) stamps.
The issue was valid within the Tartu district only. Mail to Germany
or to the rest of the occupied Baltic area was forwarded to Riga by
the German Field Post (the local commander being the official sender)
and there free of charge provided with the current Ob.Ost stamps and
cancelled with "Riga e" canceller.
In Tartu the stamps were cancelled with a single line "DORPAT"
(29 x 7 mm) cancel. Several other cancellations are known, but appear
only on covers or on stamps cancelled to order.
All mail was censored in Tartu. Genuine covers carry the red "geprüft"
(=passed) and the initials of the censor in manuscript. Mail via Riga
carried also the marking of the censorship of Riga and/or Königsberg.
Over the counter sale was from March 4-14, 1918. Officially valid
until March 16, but later cancellations are known.
On March 22 the Ob.Ost stamps arrived in Tartu and during the next
few days mail leaving Tartu was provided with the additional Ob.Ost
stamps there, cancelled with a former Russian bridge canceller (the
name Jurjew being eliminated).
Remainders of the issue were sold to the public.
Most covers and cancelled stamps are of philatelic origin.
Forgeries of OPT's and cancellations (incl. the Riga
markings) are known.
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.