The Szekula Family of Stamp Dealers

This website is dedicated to the Hungarian born stamp dealers Béla, Géza, Eugen and Frank Sekula. Each one of them ran his own stamp business with emphasis on international stamp trade, likely driven by their business acumen rather than a particular preference for philately. All four assumed Swiss nationality and were based in Lucerne side by side for years. Especially Béla’s business ideas provoked more than one scandal during his career. However, the history of philately would arguably be poorer without the Sekula brothers.

Béla Sekula

Animals and Rulers Issue of Ethiopia — 1931

The controversial 1931 reprints of the Ethiopian Animals and Rulers issue of 1919 (Scott #120–134; Michel #64–78) were printed from the original plates by the printing firm Aberegg-Steiner & Cie., founded 1923 in Bern, and with respect to the Ethiopian stamps legitimate successor to the liquidated Balmer & Schwitter AG (BUSAG) which had been responsible for the first printing. Of the total number of 120 original plates – 15 stamps × 2 colors (per stamp) × 4 plates (à 25 stamps) per printer’s sheet (of 100) – a small number had oxidised and had to be replaced with galvanos (electrotypes). The person in charge of both printings, William Ernst Aberegg, made every effort to make the second printing look the same as the first one. As a result, colors, paper and perforation are so similar that the only reliable distinguishing feature of mint stamps is the gum. The gum of both editions is glossy, but the first printing has completely smooth gum, while the gum of the reprints is cracked (to prevent the stamps from coiling up), also more yellowish and typically darker.
Please note that the 1919 copies of the ⅛ guerche, 1 guerche, and 2 guerches stamps shown below are atypical examples, most likely color changelings. The color differences between the two editions of these values are usually much less pronounced.

Original issue and reprint side by side:

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