Ukrainian Philatelist No. 117 (2017)
FURTHER INFORMATION RELATED TO PARTS 1 AND 2 OF ‘KLC AND CHERNIVTSI OVERPRINTS.’
PART A: THE PRELIMINARY PROCESS OF PROVISIONALS’ OVERPRINTING
Read part B of the article here and part C here.
This is a follow-up to the Chernivtsi and KLC articles published in Ukrainian Philatelist No. 115  because of information that I have received that fulfills a stated goal within these earlier articles to eventually illustrate and discuss ‘mother plates’ used in the presses to complete overprinting, with two examples here having been used for Chernivtsi.
The author is pleasantly obliged to alter his articles routine, because of having received important feedback. Given our recent provisionals articles, and two audiovisual presentations that became available on the internet last year; one that addresses the 1990s provisionals and another about Borys Wrzesnewskyj’s 1991 import of printing machinery into Ukraine , further information began to come forward, including some relevant analyses and visuals, much of it new.
This article highlights some of the most interesting of these details specific to Borysfen’s 1990s provisionals overprinting process and its ‘marketing’, coming from a collector in the United Kingdom. Included are eye-opening visuals and related details from a source that has demonstrated to the author a depth of experience and knowledge in this provisionals genre, through the acquisition of material and related study, that lends credibility to his insight,
observations, and conclusions, and from which the following is specific.
On the 1st of April 1992, Borysfen was located on the outskirts of Kyiv in a ‘business park’. It
becomes apparent that Borysfen printworks also acted as ‘brokers’ for print orders, since many of the illustrations which we shall see within this and further articles will show material, for example some pre-production material, that seems to have originally been in the hands of Borysfen’s then director, namely D.K. Mirosnichenko, and through details as outlined a bit later under a subtitle that discusses print orders.
‘Reprographics’, Pre-Print Production, and
Articles documenting matters such as reprographics, pre-print production, and printing have been somewhat skeletal, for example use as relates to the specific press(es). The on-line availability of the video featuring the machines that printed pro-independence- related leaflets, and which soon after became Borysfen property ultimately used to complete the
Ukrainianization-overprinting of soviet panes for various oblasts, has lent some greater understanding toward this matter. This captivating video has been carefully studied, with particular attention to the printing process, and the following information seems fairly clear.
Two machines appear to have been involved, including a ‘Rotaprint R30/90’ which takes A3+ paper size (11.7-by-16.5 inches) and a smaller print-press being either a Rotaprint AB Dick or a Rotaprint/ Gestetner 1250. If the smaller of the two would take a plate size which is half the width of the larger machine plate size (11.7-by-8¼ inches), then one could logically assume that the plates used for the printing of the Trident overprints-and-revalues were as the result of plates cut down from the larger press to fit the small press. (It was fairly common practice in many countries for printers to cut down metal plates from R30/90 plate size to 1250 plate size.)
The Overprinting Method
Insofar as the actual overprinting process is concerned, earlier texts are a bit ambiguous on this (flat plate, typography, or no method mentioned), lending confusion to a collector that is not skilled in the field of printing. The most recent genre text  describes “offset printing”. This is a method where ink is transferred from the plate to a uniform rubber surface, and from there to the surface of the platform plane, a method also known as offset lithography. Thus, given the visual evidence of the Wrzesnewsky video and the printers shown therein, it is safe to assume that all Borysfen philatelic overprinting was completed by offset printing.
Commentary on the “Mother Plates”
How is the imagery on these plates completed? The aluminum plate has light-sensitive, ‘multi-positive pre-coated plastic film’ on one side. The plate is positioned onto a ‘printing down’ frame, with the film on the surface in the upright position, and exposed to an ultra-violet light source after which the plate is developed out. Looking at the plates, it can be seen that they were positive plates and not negative plates. When using positive plates, the film image appears as a positive multi-image complete film with all the relevant images and revalues in place, in other words clear film with black images. This is evident on all the KLC and Chernivtsi overprinted sheets. 
Why do the two plates in Figures 1 and 2 look so worn out?After use, the plates would normally have been cleaned with ‘white spirit’ and inked up by hand with black ink in order to show the image on the plate before being given a coat of ‘gum Arabic’ to preserve the printing surface, should they be again required at a later date. If the plates are not preserved as so stated, then oxidation takes place and the overprinting plates are rendered useless and cannot be further used for overprinting. This is also known as the plate having ‘gone blind’ through oxidation. This is what was allowed to happen to these two plates, since they were never going to be used again. That’s why they look so worn out. These plates still have traces of the original ink used during the overprinting, as they were quickly removed from the printing press, after which another plate was put on the press for further overprinting, and so on.
Normally, positive plates should last for a print run of 40,000 sheets or more, depending on the skill of the printer and quality control. However, in this case, the printer simply took the plates off the machine after meeting the requirements for each Trident-revalue run and probably discarded them in a pile since these examples would never be used again.
The Completion of Overprint Orders
A. Oliinyk, Lviv’s postmaster in 1992, stated the following to our UK source: On the 1st of April 1992, Borysfen Director Miroshnichenko visited him (Oliinyk) with several completed ‘essays/proofs’, after which a contract was signed for a print order. In total, thirty-three sheets of essays/proofs were shown to Oliinyk, from which seven were initially selected for Trident overprinting based upon colour and design type. A while later, more were added to this initial order based upon further required revalues, resulting in a total of ten revalues. Another sheet was included at some later point , quite odd since this was not at the direction of Oliinyk. After his visit with Oliinyk, Miroshnichenko travelled to Chernivtsi to try and secure from them a print order for a series of overprints, which he successfully did.
During the mid-1990s, there were several Tridents overprint sheets bearing the Borysfen company hand-stamp, supposedly being of ‘proof status’, which suddenly appeared on the philatelic market after their original completion in 1992, and further, that 120+ different ‘setting-and-denomination’ combinations appeared on the philatelic market in the late 1990’s. It would have been quite a chore to generate so many ‘proof status essays’ in such a small time scale.
Essay Overprints: Trial Overprinting of New
Figure 3 shows what is referred to as a ‘make ready’ sheet. Included within this pattern of ‘Hetmanate- Coats-of-Arms-Insignia-of-Ukraine’ are what would amount to sixteen block-of-four 10Krb stamps of varying designs, and thirty-six peripheral singles stamps occupied by thirty-four ‘labels’ of five different designs. This pattern is known by being shown on both the Chernivtsi 13 and Lviv 40 trials. With the overprint ink noted as ‘pantone reflex blue’, the paper overprinted upon was previously used as a make∙ready sheet for commercial printing of ‘Kyiv National Bank’ letter heading.
For those interested, there is more detailed information about the printing presses in  as well as about the positive print plates in . While a little meat has now been added onto our skeleton, the job Figure 3: Lviv-40 and Chernivtsi-13 trials essay overprint pattern on 85gsm cream/buff uncoated paper Ukrainian Philatelist 44 No. 117 (2017) is not finished. This article has two ‘take-aways’. First, the author has seen other related visuals, at least some of which are likely to be published in upcoming articles, which include full exhibit pages
on ‘European-size’ paper (8.3-by-11.7 inches), compared to ‘North American’ (8.5-by-11 inches), with some items secured by hinges as may be seen from Figure 3. It is splendid for the author to realize that there is at least one other person who has exhibited this genre in addition to him, and that there is another collector who has substantial material specific to this genre, in this case highly significant material (some of which may be unique or close to this), that he has studied in great detail. Second, this is just the beginning, as there will indeed be upcoming articles including yet further information from this UK source, much of which may well be new to many of us.
Sources and End Notes:
- Stelmacovich, Mark.:”Ukraine’s Early-Mid 1990s Provisionals, Part 1: Kyiv, Lviv, and Chernihiv (KLCs)” and “Part 2- Chernivtsi Errors, Freaks, and Oddities” Ukrainian Philatelist, No. 115, 2016 pages 36 , 53,
2. available through links in our society website ‘www.upns.org’;
3. Stelmacovich, Mark. “Ukraine’s Early-Mid 1990s Provisionals, Part 1: Kyiv, Lviv, and Chernihiv (KLCs)”
Ukrainian Philatelist No. 115, 2016,, page 38 column 2 last paragraph: This ‘new’ location was obviously after earlier having been within barred and gated catacombs when pro-independence flyers were being completed in 1991; the new location was ‘Борисфен 252125, г. Київ - 125, ул. Старосельская ‘Borysfen, 125 Staroselska Street Unit 2, Kyiv, Ukraine, 252125’, noted on the contract agreement between Lviv Post and Borysfen;
4. The research by our UK ‘contact” began several years ago, when he had to extrapolate as best he could
from the items that were in his possession; the plate size was a pin bar plate (where the pins are located
to fit into the printing machine) that had been cut down to a 264 mm (+/- 2 mm) width with the length
remaining at 458 mm. The size of the plates can be made to fit a number of different machines so long
as the length remains at 458 mm and the width is cut down as necessary. The Rotaprint AB Dick first
came to mind becauser of the lesser quality of the overprinting, and also the state of printing machinery
in the Ukraine at the time. However, upon further reflection, after watching the Wrzesnewskyj video,
he has begun t to consider a Rotaprint/Gestetner as well. Perhaps the only way to be certain about the
printing machinery is if the purchase invoice is still available.
5. Mulyk, Yaroslav. “Local issues: Kyiv, Lviv, Chernihiv” Catalogue of Ukrainian Postage Stamps, 1918-2014 Drohobych, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine. 2015. pages 106-108.
6. The Concise Oxford Dictionary, ninth edition. page 946, column 1.
7. This can be identified by the printed film edges showing after exposure of the film to metal, the film
edges not being removed by an acid based solution (used by the ‘plate maker’) to delete foreign bodies
which were present between the film and the plate during exposure; With respect to KLC ‘mother plates’: all of the Lviv and Chernihiv Trident-revalue overprint plates were initially used to complete Kyiv’s overprinting. However prior to then being used for Lviv and Chernihiv, some had the overprint selvage imprint dates (23·March·1992, 24·March·1992, 30·March·1992, or 02·April·1992) spliced out from the top and repositioned to the side. Such a given overprinted sheet visually shows this spliced (or cut) selvage as an ‘additional overprint ink-line’ of sorts in the areas of the altered imprint, and then re-positioned and held in place with tape, prior to UV exposure;
8. Bylen, Peter and Kuzych, Ingert. “The Kyiv, Lviv, and Chernihiv Trident Overprints of 1992” Ukrainian
Philatelist No. 69/70 page 144 column 2; page 46 column 2 last paragraph, and page 47 figure 18. Could this sentence be referring to the Lviv ‘second edition’ 5Krb-on-3k that was never ‘official’?
9. ‘gsm’, or grams/per square meter; specifies weight in grams; this tells how dense the paper is, generally indicating its quality; in the USA , this is measured in pounds per ream (500 sheets). Read part B of the article here and part C here.