This stamp engraved by Czeslaw Slania for the Polish Printing Works and never issued, features the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. It was engraved at the beginning of the 1950s. The exact time is unknown. It is a splendid example of Slania’s great talent for portraying that was later developed to perfection. Note the white empty field in the top left corner, that was reserved for inserting face value. Exist in different colours and combinations.
Paintings by Guercino. Observe the white square on each label, where the face value should have been printed.
The following article by Mr. Jerzy Krysiak (Sweden) appeared in the Polish philatelic magazine «FILATELISTYKA», October 1998. It was originally printed in Polish, and is translated into English by Mr. Richard Wegrzyn, Australia.
(source: Ann Mette Heindorff webpage).
Slania won second prize and 100,000 lire (1967). The stamp was never officially issued and is the only one of his un-issued San Marino stamps to bear a face value — 200 lire.
Who did it ?
In 1954, when Slania was working for PWPW (Polish Security Works) a souvenir sheet was issued honoring the Polish Philatelic Federation. This stamp was engraved by B. Brandt and his name appears in the bottom right margin. Of this stamp were printed 75.562 sheets in gray-green and perforated (Scott # C-34) and other 11.900 sheets were printed in dark blue and left imperforated as souvenirs in the philatelic congress, without postal validity.
But in 1955 appeared a very good copy of this stamp, fake, printed in a near colour and paper as official issue. It was speculated that was Slania who did it, maybe with intention of show to his superiors, but other persons think that he was disliked because his engraving was better than the accepted. Some copies of this fake stamp was used for postage in regular mail, a fraud for the government funds. Further rumours said that this was what drove to Slania out of Poland, to seek asylum in Sweden, other says that due to a pulmonary disease.
– Some letters in the inscription III ZJAZD POLSKIEGO ZWIAZKU FILATELISTOW WARSZAWA 1954 (take a look for example in Ws of WARSZAWA).
– Sheets have a difference of 1 mm.
– Rear wheel on the coach is angled in the official, straightened in the fake.
– Coachman´s footrest.
– Window in the fake is smaller.
– Mouth of white horse is more opened in the fake.
(source: Close-Up 4-2006 and own investigation.)