Highly specialised collections of Russia and the Soviet Union are always a product of hard work and years of painstaking research. Such is the Ivanov Collection, actually the culmination of over 50 years of searching the world for rare and elusive items.
In recent years, Cherrystone has sold a number of genuinely great Russian stamp collections, including the Alexander collection of Imperial Russia almost exactly a year ago which saw a five stamp strip sell for $250,000.
The Ivanov collection has no interest in Imperial Russia, however. It is exclusively focussed on 20th century philately and only the first 20 lots of 817 are pre-Communist.
However, a substantial section of the collection is devoted to the few years of stamps from immediately after the near-bloodless coup which initially brought the Bolsheviks into power.
At this time Russia became the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, before the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was named and formed. Three key lots, starting with two from 1922 are:
Firstly, a surcharged 250r+250r on 70k brown, which was an unissued trial printing. The block of 10, yielding two horizontal strips of five is overprinted in red 'Obrazets' with a strong offset on the back.
Never hinged, the block is folded between stamps, with slight separations, but in very fine condition. Only one sheet of 100 was printed (hence 20 strips of five would be possible), and this is probably the only surviving block. It is catalogued at €15,000.
Then, a highlight from the star surcharges includes an extremely rare, very fine example of old stamps being co-opted for the new regime. This is a 15 kopek pair (of a style familiar from the Alexander collection and other recent auctions).
The imperforate horizontal pair is an unissued value which has never been hinged with a classic star containing a hammer and sickle with a thick 'P.10P.' underneath. This has a catalogue value of €14,000.
Last but not least is a 1923 4 rouble + 4 rouble vertical pair with the silver surcharge inverted (positions 20 and 25). The top stamp is of the variety with a spaced year date: "1 923" and has been lightly hinged whilst the bottom stamp is never hinged.
In very fine condition, this piece, which was once a part of the Liphschutz collection, is a great RSFSR rarity and whilst a catalogue value is not given, it carries an estimate of $25,000 in the sale which takes place on September 7-8 in New York and online.
Watch this space for more news of this exciting auction.