Batum, a city in the Black Sea coast is the capital of Adzhar, a territory which became an autonomous republic of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1921. Batum and surrounding areas came under the administration of British forces between 12/1918 and 07/1920 following the Treaty of Versailles. Prior to World War I, the area was under Russian rule. Currently, Batum (Batumi) is the main port of Georgia and is considered Georgia’s second capital. It is located around 14 miles from the Turkish border and the setting is unbeatable with Black Sea on one side and mountains on the other. Tourism forms one of the main activities in the area – much of it is around the wonderful beaches although there are Roman ruins and castles one can explore.
Prior to 1918, Russian stamps were used in the area. The British occupation following WWI saw the British issuing Batum stamps, as the existing Russian stock started to ran out. The first stamps were a set of six imperforate stamps in single colors issued in 1919. The set (Scott #1 to #6) catalogs for around $50 Mint and around double that for Used. The design showed an aloe tree.
The period till 1920 saw the British reissuing the first set with the “British Occupation” overprints. Chief among them was a set of eight stamps (Scott #13 to #20) issued in 1919. The set catalogs for around $60 Mint and around $75 Used. There is an error variety of the 5r brown (Scott #19a - “CCUPATION” overprint) that is very rare and catalogs in the $500 range for Mint or Used.
The remainders from the Russian stock were also used with surcharge and “BRITISH OCCUPATION” overprints. These (Scott #7 to #12, #21 to#26, etc) are generally not that common and fetch a premium. Error varieties also exist and they catalog well into the 100s.
Forgeries of many of these issues are known to exist and so it is critical that any acquisition of these stamps be sourced from reputable dealers.
Last Updated: 12/2015.