1874 Zemstvo 3 kopek black to lead Raritan Stamps auction

An 1874 Zemstvo 3 kopek black is valued at $47,500 ahead of an online auction held by Raritan Stamps on December 6-7.

The stamp will lead the Russian civil war and Soviet republics section of the world stamps and postal history auction.

Zemstvo 3 kopek black
The 3 kopek black was issued in the town of Bobrov in Western Russia

The first Zemstvo, or local government, stamps were issued in rural areas of Russia in 1865, by the local government organisations set up in the wake of the reforms led by Alexander II.

At the time, rural areas were badly served by the Imperial Post, which was predominantly based in large towns.

The postal service operated unofficially until 1870, when it was formalised with the proviso that a clear distinction be drawn between the Zemstvo and Imperial postal services - including the design of postage stamps.

Around 3,000 different designs for Zemstvo stamps are thought to have been issued across the country - with the first appearing in the town of Schlissberg in 1865.

They were used up until the Russian revolution in 1917, when the Zemstvo system was replaced by a series of worker's councils.

The 3 kopek black dates to 1874 and is extremely rare, with only one other known example, which appears on a cover.

Printed on lilac rose narrow laid paper, the stamp features excellent margins and a pen crossed cancellation. It was issued in Bobrov, a town in the province of Voronezh Oblast in western Russia.

We have a range of rare stamps available.

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