OTEPÄÄ

A charity issue by the town council of Otepää in Values of 20 + 20 and 30 + 30 kop.
Design by August Valdmaa. A shield design with the national colors of Estonia (blue, black and white).

Paper: White, horizontally ribbed paper (0.06 - 0.07 mm). The paper had already been cut into small sheets (111 x 177.5 mm).

Gum: White, dull and even or brownish, sometimes shiny and uneven. The stamps w/o gum were never sold over the counter.

Print: Typographed by the Otepää Printing Works in sheets of 20. Each stamp was printed individually with the blue part first. This easily explains both the presence of many printing irregularities and also the unnatural pairs that are in existence.
Two cliches were needed - one for the blue of the shield and for the dotted blue background, the second one for the black print. The latter consisted of types, metal lines and a linoleum shield. The original shield was soon damaged and repaired. After a while it became completely unusable and was replaced by a metal shield with a round bottom. Based on the appearance of the shield, four different types can be distingushed with this issue:
Type I - with pointed symmetrical shield. Used for the 30 + 30 value only and issued perforated. Most of the imperforate stamps known of this printing never were sold over the counter. The existing items are either proofs or stem from the imperforate sheets (with or w/o gum) which were handed over to some participants as keepsakes, as an imperforate issue of these stamps was not scheduled.
There is one exception. In 30 of the imperforate sheets of type II one 30 + 30 denomination of type I was printed in the upper right corner of the sheet and thus reached the counter sale. These 30 can be distinguished by a break in the shield (at right).
Type II - with round shield. Used for both denominations and appears both perforated and imperforate. In a few sheets of the 30 + 30 value one stamp of the 20 + 20 clemination was printed in the upper left corner of the printed sheet. 7 such sheets reached the counter. Three imperforate or partly imperforate sheets of the 20 + 20 value are know as "direct sales" to collectors.
Type III - with unsymmetrical pointed shield. The shield has a distinct bulge at the right, which originates from the repair of the shield. Only imperforate stamps of this type reached the counter. In about 100 sheets of the imperforate 30 + 30 value of type II, three stamps of type III were printed in the upper left corner (vertically under each other). All type III stamps stem from these so called "Mixed sheets". Horizontal or vertical pairs (type II + type III) are known. A few perforated stamps and pairs of type III are known, but were never sold over the counter (produced and sold by the printers directly to collectors).
Type IV - round shield with heavy border. Used for both denominations. The date of this printing is not known but we can assume that it took place rather close to or even during the time when the stamps of the Tartu Issue had been distributed. This means that there was no postal need for an additional printing of Otepää stamps. Furthermore, at that time the additional printing had been prohibited by the German authorities. It has been confirmed that at least some of the perforated stamps of this printing actually were sold over the counter. The imperforate stamps of the same printing never reached the counter and were sold from the printing shop directly to collectors. Therefore one cannot accept the imperforate stamps of last printing as a bonafide part of the issue. Consequently the so called "printing errors" and incomplete stamps (blue or black print missing), with or w/o gum, which frequently are offered from this printing are considered to be printers waste. Items of this printing often can found with the so called "private perforation" of Mr. Hinno (11 1/2 x 11 1/2).
In this handbook the stamps of the Otepää Issue will be presented in two groups:

1) The stamps admittedly sold over the counter
2) The stamps (including varieties) which did not reach the counter but were sold to collectors directly from the printing shop. Only the group 1) will be priced.

Perforation: imperforate or comb perforation 10 3/4. It was the intention to issue all the stamps perforated. As a few sheets of the first printing unintentionally reached the counter, it was decided to continue with the issue of imperforate stamps also.
The known perforation varieties are discussed under various types ot this issue.

Cancellation: the "OTEPÄÄ EESTI", A and B cancellers were used for the cancellation of this issue. Cancellations from a few neighbouring P-O.s are known (Puka, Tartu).

Proofs are known.

Forgeries: Various forgeries are known, including as well the abovementioned genuine stamps privately perforated by Mr. Hinno in Rakvere, as the so called "reprint" by the Otepää Printing Works. Click here to read more about forgeries.

Valid: The first 30 + 30 stamp was issued July 22, 1941. The dates of issue of other stamps and printings are not known. The issue was invalidated from August 15, 1941.

Literature:
Julius Bleyer: "Kohaliku ja ülemaalise tahtsusega ajutised postimaksuvahendid, mis 1941.a. postiliikluses olid tarvitusel". (Local and official provisional postage stamps used in Estonia in 1941). Tallinn 1941/44. (In Estonian).
Votele Org: "Frimärksutgivningen i det ockuperade Estland under Andra Världskriget" (The issues of Postage Stamps in the Occupied Estonia during the Second World War). Frimärks-Bladet No 3, Stockholm 1948. (ln Swedish).
"Eesti Post ja Postmargid 1940-42" (Estonian post and postage Stamps in 1940-42). Stockholm 1959 (In Estonian).
Eo Vaher: "The Otepää Puzzle", Eesti Filatelist No 18/19, 1976. (In English).

20 + 20 kop.
Issued:
Type II perforated - 1.982
Type II imperforate - 60
Type IV perforated
- unknown
 

Type II: Round metal shield, perforated

70:- 80:- 150:-
  Block of four 5x 5x  
A:1 Imperforate 800:- 900:- 1.500:-
A:1a Horiz. pair 20 + 30 -- --  
A:1b Vert. pair 20 + 30 -- --  
A:2 One side imperforate +25:- +25:-  
A:3 Horiz. double perforation +20:- +20:-  
A:4 Displaced perforation +15:- +15:-  
E:1 Crossbar of (OS)T missing at right +10:- +10:-  
E:2 Shifted blue print +15:- +15:-  
Type IV: Round metal shield with heavy border, perforated 70:- 80:- 150:-
  Block of four 5x 5x  

 

30 + 30 kop.
Issued:
Type I perforated - 2.101
Type I imperforate - 40
Type II perforated - 1.240
Type II imperforate - 1.444
Type III imperforate - 240
Type IV perforated
- unknown
 

Type I: Symmetric pointed linoleum shield, perforated

70:- 80:- 175:-
  Block of four 5x 5x  
A:2 One side imperforate +25:- +25:-  
A:5 Three sides imperforate +30:- +30:-  
E:2 Shifted blue print +15:- +15:-  
Type I: Imperforate 900:- 900:- 1.000:-
A:4 Horiz. pair, Type II + Type I -- --  
E:1 Vert. pair, Type I + Type II -- --  
E:2 Shifted blue print +15:- +15:-  
Type II: Round metal shield, perforated 110:- 125:- 300:-
  Block of four 5x 5x  
A:2 One side imperforate +25:- +25:-  
A:5 Three sides imperforate +30:- +30:-  
E:2 Shifted blue print +15:- +15:-  
E:4 Blue bar through value tablet +10:- +10:-  
Type II: Imperforate 90:- 140:- 200:-
  Block of four 5x 5x  
  Horiz. pair, 20 + 30 -- --  
  Vert. pair, 20 + 30 -- --  
E:2 Shifted blue print +15:- +15:-  
Type III: Unsymmetric pointed linoleum shield, imperforate 300:- 400:- 500:-
  Horiz. pair, Type III + Type II -- --  
  Vert. pair, Type III + Type II -- --  
Type IV: Round metal shield with heavy border, perforated 110:- 125:- 300:-
  Block of four 5x 5x  

“Varieties” recorded, not sold over the counter:

      

20+20
Type II perforated

Pair 20 + 30
Pair 30 + 20

Type II imperforate
Pair 30 + 20
W/o blue print

Type IV perforated
Black double printed
W/o blue print
Ditto, imperforate at left
Stamp imperforate
Ditto, black double printed
Ditto, w/o blue print
Pair 20 + 30
Pair 30 + 20

 

30+30
Type I
Imperforate stamp
Black double printed
Wlo blue print
Horiz. pair with gutter
Blue print only together with normal stamp

Type II perforated
Horiz. pair, together with 20 + 20
Horiz. pair, Type III + Type II
Vert. pair, Type III + Type II
30 + 30 printed on 20 + 20 stamp (double print)
W/o blue print

Type II imperforate
W/o blue print
Ditto, together with normal stamp of type I
Blue print only
Black double printed
Blue double printed

Type III imperforate
Perforated stamp

Type IV perforated
W/o blue print
Ditto, imperf. at left

Type IV
Imperforate stamp
W/o blue print
Ditto, together with normal stamp
Black double printed
Blue double printed

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.