ELVA

Various Soviet stamps were overprinted with a twoline rubber handstamped OPT "Eesti Post". The overprinting was done by the Postmaster of Elva with the approval of the local Militia commander. The postal service in the area was at f irst quite limited and the issuing of stamps was mainly regarded as a political manifestation.

Overprint:The handstamp used was compiled of loose rubber-stamp letters and shows many variations. Most of these varieties: the length of OPT, damaged letters etc., were caused by wear and tear. However the handstamp was taken apart several times for cleaning purposes and re-assembled. As a result two distinct types of OPT can be distinguished: the letters "t" were interchanged. The exact date of this re-assembley is not known but the earliest cancellation with the type II dates from July 14, 1941.

One additional distinct re-assembley has been reported. The cancellations are known only from a time period, where the stamps of the Tartu Issue already had been distributed and there was no postal need for additional stamps. The so-called type III OPT must consequently be considered as entirely philatelic.
The color of the OPT is black and the OPT was applied horizontally. The reported OPT in lilac as well as the known OPT varieties inverted, diagonal and vertical OPT's, pairs with only one stamp overprinted - were produced at the request of philatelists. This was contrary to instructions and they should be considered as philatelic. The same applies to the OPT on the stamps of the Carrier Pigeon and Tartu issues. The handstamp was handed over to the German authorities on Octoberber 20, 1941 and was forwarded to Riga. In 1943 the handstamp was sent to the Postal Museum in Tallinn.

Print: It is important to observe that two procedures were used for the overprinting:

1) Most of the issued stamps stem from the stock of Soviet stamps held by the P.O. at Elva.
2) An additional part (minor) stems from the Soviet stamps submitted by the public and overprinted for payment of a cash fee equal to the face value.

The P.O. recorded the stamps by denomination only. This explains why the number of different stamps today cannot be verified by documentary evidence. When the Postmaster at a later date was requested by the GPO to provide a list of different stamps overprinted, he was unable to comply with the request.
With the help of local collectors (Mr. Poll was not a philatelist himself) the Postmaster put together a collection of 30 different stamps and declared this to be the overprinted issue. We know today that other Soviet stamps were on sale over the counter. How
ever, Mr. Poll's list is still the one and only documentary evidence in existence.
Org in his catalogue strictly follows the official list and has recorded 30 stamps only. Eichenthal (in 1944 and 1962) has recorded 35 different stamps, believed to be sold at the P.O. and additional 67 stamps, which were submitted foroverprint by the public. Michel has from time to time increased their listing finally to total 56 stamps (1985) without any attempt to differenciate between the two categories.
We are going to present the issue in four groups:

1) Stamps included in the official list.
2) Stamps which admittedly were sold in the P.O.
3) Stamps submitted for overprinting by the public and authenticated as genuine OPT's.
4) OPT varieties recorded but being considered as philatelic.

We know that from the stock of the P.O. 7.200 various Soviet stamps and 300 items of postal stationery were overprinted. There is no evidence about the number of stamps submitted by the public. There are indications that for some values the number may be of importance. We have therefore decided to omit the number of OPT's issued completely.

Valid: The stamps were placed on sale July 10, 1941 and were sold in the P.O. until August 12, 1941. Cancellations are known until the end of September and there are many with the August 14 cancellation. According to Org. the overprinting and sale of Elva stamps was continued until the first days of September. We consider this report to be trustworthy and believe that during this time period many OPT's, mostly to philatelists, were produced.
The stamps were cancelled with the ELVA EESTI, A, B (most) and C cancellers. A few cancellations are also known from a few neighboring P.O.'s such as Puka, Tartu etc.

Forgeries. Both crude and excellent forged overprints are in existence. More than 25 different forgeries have been recorded. Also cancellations have been forged. A detailed description of all known forgeries cannot be given within the scope of this catalogue. Expertizing by a knowledgeable Estonian expertizer is mandatory.

Literature:
Julius Bleyer: "Kohaliku ja ülemaalise tähtsusega ajutised postimaksu vahendid, mis 1941.a. postiliiklusel olid tarvitusel" (Local and official provisional postage stamps used in Estonia in 1941). Tallinn 1941/44. (In Estonian).

Votele Org: "Frimärkesutgivningen i det ockuperade EstJand under Andra Världskriget" (The Issues of Postage Stamps in the Occupied Estonia during the Second World War). Frimärksbladet No 3, Stockholm 1948 (In Swedish).
"Eesti Post ja Postmargid 1940-42" (Estonian Post and Postage Stamps in 1940-42). Stockholm 1959 (in Estonian).

Dr H. Meyerholz: "Hannoversche National Postwertzeichen Ausstellung 1966 Katalog". 1966. (In German.)

Vello Mtindvere: "Elva Local Issue 1941 ". Eesti Filatelist No 16/17 and 18/19. Stockholm 1975-76.

A. OPT's included in the official list sent to the GPO
  Ei No Mi No
1 kop. Worker 1 1 40:- 50:- 
1a 1 kop. WM 1a - 500:- 500:-
2 2 kop. Woman 2 2 40:- 50:-
3 3 kop. Farmer 3 3 165:- 200:-
4 4 kop. Farm girl 4 4 200:- 300:-
5 5 kop. Miner 5 5 40:- 50:-
6 10 kop. Woman worker 6 6 70:- 90:-
7 10 kop. Fair 24 24 200:- 300:-
8 15 kop. Soldier 7 7 70:- 90:-
9 20 kop. Farm girl 8 8 70:- 90:-
10 30 kop. Aviator 9 9 70:- 90:-
11 30 kop. Timiryazev 14 14 500:- 500:-
12 30 kop. Fair, Georgia 29 29 240:- 320:-
13 30 kop. Fair, Karelen 33 35 240:- 320:-
14 30 kop. Fair, North East 26 A25 500:- 500:-
15 30 kop. Fair, Turkmenia 30 32 240:- 320:-
16 30 kop. Fair, Ukraine 27 26 200:- 300:-
17 50 kop. Farm girl 10 10 200:- 300:-
18 50 kop. Perekop 15 16 200:- 300:-
18a 50 kop. Perekop, one side imperforate 15A - 230:- 350:-
19 50 kop. Fair 34 37 240:- 320:-
20 60 kop. Coat of Arms 11 11 200:- 300:-
21 60 kop. Mayakovsky 18 17 300:- 400:-
22 60 kop. Sports 17 18 200:- 300:-
22a 60 kop. Sports, one side imperforate 17A - 230:- 350:-
23 60 kop. Fair 35 36 300:- 400:-
24 80 kop. North Pole 19 19 200:- 300:-
25 1 Rbl. Chapaev 20 20 200:- 300:-
26 1 Rbl. Perekop 21 21 200:- 300:-
27 1 Rbl. Industry 22 22 300:- 400:-
28 1 Rbl. Suvorov 23 23 300:- 400:-
29 3 Rbl. Lenin 12 12 300:- 400:-
30 5 Rbl. Lenin 13 13 300:- 400:-
B. The stamps admittedly on sale in the P.O.
31 15 kop. Fair 25 25 400:- 500:-
32 15 kop. Tchaikovsky B31 - 500:- 500:-
33 30 kop. Fair, White Russia 28 27 400:- 500:-
34 30 kop. Fair, Kirghiz 31 28 500:- 500:-
35 30 kop. Fair, Azerbaijan B34 30 500:- 500:-
36 30 kop. Fair, Armenia B35 31 500:- 500:-
37 30 kop. Fair, Tadzhik B36 33 500:- 500:-
38 30 kop. Fair, Kazakh 32 36 500:- 500:-
39 50 kop. Sports 16 47 400:- 500:-
40 60 kop. Perekop B41 - 500:- 500:-
41 1 Rbl. Kremlin B66 A11 500:- 500:-
42 2 Rbl. Kremlin B67 B11 500:- 500:-
C. The stamps submitted by the public and overprinted
43 5 kop. Red Army B48 -    
44 10 kop. North Pole B2 -    
45 10 kop. USA Flight I B5 -    
46 10 kop. USA Flight II B9 -    
47 10 kop. Chekhov B18 -    
48 10 kop. Western Ukraine B22 -    
49 10 kop. Perekop B38 A38    
50 10 kop. Industry B42 -    
51 10 kop. Red Army B49 -    
52 10 kop. Suvorov B61 39    
53 15 kop. Far East Flight B15 -    
54 15 kop. Chekhov B19 -    
55 15 kop. Mayakovsky B27 -    
56 15 kop. Sports B30 -    
57 15 kop. Perekop B39 -    
58 15 kop. Industry B43 -    
59 15 kop. Red Army B50 -    
60 15 kop. Zhukovsky B56 40    
61 15 kop. Kirghiz B59 41    
62 15 kop. Suvorov B62 42    
63 20 kop. North Pole B3 -    
64 20 kop. USA Flight I B6 -    
65 20 kop. USA Flight II B10 -    
66 20 kop. Chelkhov B20 -    
67 20 kop. Industry B44 -    
68 20 kop. Red Army B51 -    
69 30 kop. Far East Flight B13 -    
70 30 kop. New York Fair B15 -    
71 30 kop. Ditto, imperforate B16 43    
72 30 kop. Chelkhov B21 -    
73 30 kop. Western Ukraine B23 44    
74 30 kop. Mayakovsky B28 -    
75 30 kop. Sports - A14    
76 30 kop. Fair, Rjazan-Tula B33 B25    
77 30 kop. Fair, Uzbekistan B37 34    
78 30 kop. Perekop B40 -    
79 30 kop. Industry B45 46    
80 30 kop. Red Army B52 -    
81 30 kop. Zhukovsky B57 -    
82 30 kop. Kirghiz B60 -    
83 30 kop. Suvorov B63 45    
84 30 kop. Karelian Finland B64 -    
85 40 kop. North Pole B4 -    
86 40 kop. USA Flight I B7 -    
87 45 kop. Red Army B53 -    
88 45 kop. Karelian Finland B65 15    
89 50 kop. USA Flight I B8 -    
90 50 kop. USA Flight II B11 -    
91 50 kop. New York Fair B17 -    
92 50 kop. Western Ukraine B24 -    
93 50 kop. Tchaikovsky B32 -    
94 50 kop. Industry B46 -    
95 50 kop. Red Army B54 -    
96 50 kop. Zhukovsky B58 A47    
97 60 kop. Far East Flight B14 -    
98 60 kop. Western Ukraine B25 -    
99 60 kop. Industry B47 48    
100 80 kop. Mayakovsky B29 -    
101 1 Rbl. Western Ukraine B26 -    
102 1 Rbl. Red Army B55 -    
103 10 Rbl. Lenin B1 -    
Price: 300 USD each, mint or used
It should be noticed that the OPT's on 3s. and 15s. of the Carrier Pigeon and
on the Tartu issue owe their existence to a missuse of the handstamp
D. The OPT varieties recorded but considered to be philatelic
1 E:1 Diagonal OPT
  E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:3 Téte-béche
  E:4 Pair with and Mo OPT
2 E:1 Diagonal OPT
  E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:7 Pair with and w/o OPT, OPT inverted
3 E:1 Diagonal OPT
  E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:3 Téte-béche
  E:4 Pair with and w/o OPT
5 E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:4 Pair with and w/o OPT
6 E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:3 Téte-béche
  E:4 Pair with and w/o OPT
  E:6 Lilac OPT
8 E:1 Diagonal OPT
  E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:3 Téte-béche
  E:4 Pair with and w/o OPT
9 E:1 Diagonal OPT
  E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:3 Téte-béche
  E:4 Pair with and w/o OPT
10 E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:6 Lilac OPT
11 E:4 Pair with and w/o OPT
12 E:1 Diagonal OPT
  E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:5 Double OPT
15 E:2 Inverted OPT
16 E:2 Inverted OPT
17 E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:3 Téte-béche
  E:4 Pair with and w/o OPT
18 E:2 Inverted OPT
19 E:3 Téte-béche
20 E:1 Diagonal OPT
  E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:4 Pair with and w/o OPT
23 E:4 Pair with and w/o OPT
25 E:1 Diagonal OPT
  E:2 Téte-béche
  E:4 Vertical OPT
26 E:3 Téte-béche
27 E:5 Double OPT
  E:6 Lilac OPT
29 E:1 Diagonal OPT
  E:2 Inverted OPT
30 E:2 Inverted OPT
  E:5 Double OPT
41 E:2 Inverted OPT

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.