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The Hanukka mystery

For some reason most catalogue publishers including the Israeli PTT have thought that this stamp issue [1972 Hanukka 12, 25, 70] was printed in photogravure. Anyone who is a bit familiar with printing processes will tell that it's not photogravure but most likely offset-litho. As collectors of plate-blocks know what is characteristic of most stamps if not all printed in offset-litho by Lewin-Epstein is the asterisk preceding the cyclometer-number. The Hanukka stamp have been well described in S. Abraham's article in IPBJ p. 392-393 [January 1989]. The asterisk is present and if you study the lowest and highest numbers recorded you will see that numbering runs through the 3 values reckless of whatever probable ranges. All values have the same date 090872. All values within a series printed in offset-litho having the same date is very common if not standard. A fact I haven't seen described in the IPBJ [might have missed it of course]. Somehow I got the feeling that our idea of the "probable ranges" is com pletely wrong. I will return to that point later on. The Hanukka stamps are printed in 3 or 4 colours. Three colours are very easy to spot, the fourth colour is a background colour to the sepia colour of the lamps, and is much lighter and the angle of the offset-litho screen is different.

The question raised in IPBJ p. 395 as to why such a comb-perforator 13:14 [20 teeth horizontal/ 28 vertical] should exist at all and what was it's usage has been partially answered in my article De produktie van Israelische frankeerzegels 1948-1988 [The making of the Israeli definitives 1948-1988] in the "Nederlands Maandblad voor Philatelie" October 1988.

Apart from the Hanukka stamps the following stamps are known perforated by the same head:

1977  Sabbath
1980  The Soreq Cave
      50 IL Landscape
1986  Ben Gurion Airport
      Festival 5747
1987  Owls
      Haifa '87
      Festival 5748
1988  Memorial day
      Independence 40
      Anne Frank
      40th Anniversary Exhibition
      Festival 5749

S. Abraham and E. Rabinowitz have already stated that the 14 perforation of the Festival must be 13:14 [IPBJ p.398] but E. Rabinowitz in describing the 1987 New Year still mentions comb 14 most likely following the Israel Postal Authority bulletins that also mention comb-perforate 14 in the above cases. If you check up your stamps you will notice that the short sides measure 13 and not 14!

Copyright © Rein Bakhuizen van den Brink
Last updated on 15 mei 2010

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