1874 Zemstvo 3 kopek black up 26% on estimate at Raritan Stamps

An 1874 Zemstvo 3 kopek black made $60,000 at Raritan Stamps' December 6-7 online auction - up 26.3% on a $47,500 estimate.

The lot headlined a sale of historic stamps from Russia, Asia, Europe and the British Commonwealth.

Zemstvo 3 kopek black
Only one other example of the 3 kopek black is known to exist

The zemstvo (rural) stamps were first issued in remote areas of Russia in 1865 by local government organisations in order to make postage more widely available in the country's hinterlands.

At the time, rural areas were not covered by the imperial post - which existed primarily to serve large towns and cities.

The service operated unofficially until 1870, when it was formalised with the stipulation that a clear distinction was drawn between the zemstvo and imperial post - including the design of postage stamps, insignia and uniforms.

Over 3,000 different stamps are thought to have been issued, with a large degree of variation between different regions. The first is believed to have originated in the town of Schlissberg in 1865.

They remained in use until the revolution in 1917, when many zemstvo representatives were elected to the newly formed communist government.

The 3 kopek black is extremely rare, with the only other known example appearing on a cover. Printed on lilac rose narrow laid paper, it features superb margins along with 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 to own today.

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