Albania 1914: Scott #49 Skanderbeg, Postmarked 1 day before release, Overprint Study

Recently, while going through my collection of 1914 surcharge overprints on the Albania Skanderbeg issue, I came across an oddity that I found interesting.  The stamp below, appears to have been postmarked 1 day PRIOR to their release.

Scott #49 - Underinked Overprint - Cancelled 1 Day Early
Scott #49 – Underinked Overprint – Cancelled 1 Day Early

According to both the Scott and Michel Catalogs, these overprints were first applied and released to the public on April 2nd, 1914.  The cancel on this specimen however, clearly shows a postmarked date of April 1st 1914 (1 – 4 – 1914 )   (See this discussion on StampBoards about this cancel )

Location of Durres Albania
Location of Durres Albania

The style of the postmark is common for the time, as is the color.  It was postmarked in “Durres”  Durres had recently become Albania’s second national capital city after the arrival of Prince William on March 7th.   I can find no reference yet as to where these overprints were applied, but Durres is a good bet.

What makes this item more interesting however, is that the surcharge is apparently overprinted on top of the postmark.

Examine the first close-up below.   In looking at the blue of the postmark, it does appear to be behind the black of the overprint:

Overprint Closeup
Overprint Closeup

And here is an even further closeup of the “- P” in Para:   Note that you can see the impression of the blue through the dash.  However, I believe this is the blue sneaking through the black (not the blue on top of the black).   You can also see the outline of the red lettering behind the black as well.

Overprint 2nd Closeup
Overprint 2nd Closeup


How could this occur?   More than likely, this stamp, once resided on a bogus cover created specifically for this purpose.   Whether or not the cancel is fake or not is tough to say, same with the overprint (as it may have been created even by a postal clerk looking to make something interesting).   We may never know until one shows up.

I will note however, that I have seen a few different Albani covers on eBay for sale, purported to be cancelled prior to the release of the stamp.   More than likely, all of these are philatelic creations.






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