FFE Journal - Fakes Forgeries Experts

Articles from FFE #11

FFE #11

Balancing Probabilities

Class: TR

Christopher King

A previously unlisted postmark from Aarhus in Denmark is shown on a folded letter from the Three Years War of 1848-1851. In the absence of other evidence, the author considers how this might be authenticated by context, history, other material from the same war, the writer and the recipient.

FFE #11

Oneglia's fac-similés for the province of Canada

Class: TR

Richard Gratton

Erasmo Oneglia, a Torino printer, produced many engraved forgeries between 1897 and 1907. Those for the Province of Canada, being Scott numbers 1-20 are considered in detail with a technical description and large colour illustrations. Paper, printing technique, cancellations and rarity are considered, with current sale prices for each example. A table lists each facsimile with design, colour, paper, rarity and original cost in 1907, together with notes on the genuine stamps.

FFE #11

Madame Joseph and her forged cancellations

Class: TR

Brian Cartwright

The museum of the Royal Philatelic Society London includes a collection of postmarking implements acquired in 1993. 438 of these are postmarking devices in wood, copper, zinc, lead and rubber, together with other related materials dated from 1852 to 1967. The majority are from the 1885 to 1935. The history of these implements is recounted, including their use by Madame Joseph and other dealers to postmark stamps. Sheets bearing 120 postmarks (illustrated), including examples of those held by the RPSL, have been discovered in the Stanley Gibbons Reference collection, and these are considered together. Identification of the marks, their use on stamps with errors and varieties, substituted and suppressed dates are covered. The author advises care in purchasing stamps which are catalogued more highly used than mint.

FFE #11

Belgium, Forgeries of the Five Francs Leopold II 1878

Class: TR

James Van der Linden

The five francs Leopold II is the most forged Belgian stamp with 17 different forgeries listed. Usage of the genuine stamp is described, as are the 17 key points in distinguishing it, which are illustrated. The five most dangerous forgeries are illustrated and described in detail.

FFE #11

Holy Land and Israel Fakes and Forgeries - Examples from 1860-1948

Class: TR

Yacov Tsachor

The complex postal history of the Holy Land is sketched out and examples of forgeries are illustrated and described. These include forged postmarks and covers with examples from the Austrian Post, the French Post Jaffa 3768 and 5089 postmarks, the Turkish Post boxed Acre postmark, British Palestine 1918 overprint, Egyptian Expeditionary Force Jerusalem postmark, the Dead Sea postmark of 1941, the OVER LAND MAIL Haifa-Baghdad cachet, a 1948 transition period Ma'abarot registered cover, the 1948 1st coins issue including essays, first day cover and imperforate varieties, the 1948 provisional postage dues, the 1948 Israel first festivals and the use of the tête-bêche stamps on first day cover.

FFE #11

Great Britain Definitive Forgeries 1993-2004

Class: TR

Gavin Fryer

Forgeries of the Machin definitive 24p chestnut (10 September 1991), the 1989 second class blue in booklet panes, and 1997 gold first class adhesives are considered and illustrated. It is believed that first and second class self adhesive stamps are being produced in China in large quantities.

FFE #11

The Rare Rotary Press 2¢ Black Harding Stamp with Gauge 11 Perforations

Class: TR

Ken Lawrence

A unique strip of three rotary press 2 cents black Warren G Harding memorial stamps, perforation 11, was sold by Matthew Bennett Auctioneers in the United States for US$150,000 plus commission on 20 October 2007 after a protracted expertisation. The article gives an historical background to the stamp and its production, followed by a very detailed technical account of the lengthy expert examination. Expert opinion was divided and the owner finally identified the stamps as originating on the rotary press by matching plate flaws from the original plate proofs at the National Postal Museum. The resulting certificate from Philatelic Foundation noted that the stamps had been lightly cleaned. The new owner and auction house dispute this, and further expert opinion is to be sought.

FFE #11

From the Robson Lowe Reference Collection

Class: TR

Carl Walske

Two covers are illustrated, one from France with 20 centimes black Ceres from 6 January 1849, the other a 1847-48 large eagle 5 centimes from Geneva. Both have certificates from experts who were well thought of in their day, both are forgeries. The author urges humility on expertisers.

FFE #11

An Oneglia or Sperati New Zealand Forgery?

Class: TR

Robin Gwynne

The writer notes that there are few dangerous forgeries of New Zealand stamps where manipulation is a greater threat. The article considers a 1878 two shillings first side face design produced photographically from a genuine stamp on genuine NZ and star watermarked paper originating probably from a bleached out two penny stamp. It has a forged cancellation with the letters TU in a vertical barred oval. The question is, who produced it? Probably not Sperati, but perhaps Oneglia, although it is not listed in the 'Catalogue des Imitations'. Can anyone help?

FFE #11

Some Brazilian Fakes and Forgeries

Class: TR

Paulo Comelli

Four Brazilian covers and a number of individual stamps are illustrated, considered and described as fakes or forgeries. These include: a vertical strip of three 280 réis in red on a cover from Bahia to Marseilles - dated 12 July 1866, a folded letter from Rio de Janeiro to Bordeaux with a horizontal pair of 60 réis in black - arriving 4 November 1862, a folded letter from Rio de Janeiro to Bordeaux with a vertical strip of three 60 réis in black - arriving 18 January 1863, and a cover from Pernambuco to Le Havre with a 260 réis D. Pedro II. All were originally unstamped and the stamps have been added later. The reasons for these conclusions are explained. The individual stamps bear postmarks from IGUASSÚ, CACHOEIRA, C.G. da PARAHYBA DO NORTE 21 1 1847, SAO SEBASTIÃO DA PARAHYBA, CORREIO GERAL DA CORTE - 8 18EM62 11 - BRAZIL, RIO CLARO, and MAILED AT SEA - S.S. COLOMBIA - COLOMBIAN LINE. None of these stamps was ever on a cover, all are genuine and all of the postmarks are frauds.

FFE #11

A reappraisal of the status and usage on the surcharged Queen Victorian Postal Stationery - part one - The 1879 Provisional Postcards of Ceylon

Class: TR

Alan Huggins and Kurt E. Kimmel

The background and philatelic history of these 8 cents and 12 cents surcharges in 1879 on postal stationery cards is considered, beginning in 1881 when they were first reported. The authors have reviewed the early literature from 1881-1897 and consider all examples recorded to date, with a inventory of HG (Higgins and Gage) 2, 8c/2c with "Naples/Marseilles/or/Southampton" and HG3 12c/2c with "Via Brindisi". Eleven used cards are illustrated and described as are four unused cards. These are cards with "Ceylan" incorporated in the surcharge. The existence of cards as early as 1892 with "CEYLAN" or "CEYLON" in the overprint is also considered with five such cards illustrated together with three others with differing overprints. Their history in the literature is discussed and the description of these variously as varieties, errors and essays is considered. In commenting on these cards it is difficult to come to a definitive conclusion since the rationale for their production is unclear and the attribution of essay status needs to be treated with great caution.

FFE #11

Philatelic Conservation - Restoration

Class: TR

David R Beech

The article continues Carl-Aage Møller's piece on acceptable conservation and restoration within philately. He considers the differences between conservation, restoration and improvement emphasising that the prime motivation is what is good for the item in question with all other considerations being secondary. It is suggested that a certificate in the future might include an opinion as to genuineness, a record of provenance, a record of treatments used in conservation, photographs, and records of scientific analysis.

FFE #11

Qatar - The Political Officer's Datestamp

Class: TR

Greg Todd

The usage and forgery of the rare date stamp "OFFICE OF THE POLITICAL OFFICER - QATAR" is chronicled. Two cancelled by favour items are illustrated, two genuine covers and one forgery are shown, with the latter being explained.

FFE #11

The 'Jammu Seal Provisional', An Emergency Issue or a Postal Forgery

Class: TR

Wolfgang Hellrigl

The use of the provisional Jammu hand struck seal in red cancelled with an identical seal in black is considered by some experts and catalogues as genuine, while others have doubts. Fourteen copies are known on 13 covers and these are listed in a table, together with the three items known on piece. The philatelic history of this issue is set out beginning with David Masson in 1900, Sefi and Mortimer in their handbook of 1937, Dawson and Smythe of the same year, and others more recently. Doubts were raised in 1981, and more technically in 1983. A mixed franking is illustrated and explained, and a possible provisional described. In conclusion the author balances the argument between a postal fraud and genuine usage, leaning towards a theoretical support for the former.

FFE #11

The Stamps of the Special Detachment of the Belorussian National Republic

Class: TR

Andrew Cronin

Unlisted by Michel, the background to these stamps is reviewed including their printing by the Latvian State Printing offices in a million copies of each except for the 10 Kopek value which numbered 750,000. The origin, printing, postcards, the only day of usage, and forgeries for the packet trade are considered together with unauthorised postmarks. The author wonders why they were used only for a single day.

FFE #11

Railway Post Gulbene - Valka 1924?

Class: TR

Harry v. Hofmann

A superficially attractive, but clearly faked postcard is shown from Latvia. The postmark on the stamp is not aligned with that on the card, it is over franked, and two postmarks are added together to make a non-existent route.

FFE #11

The Swedish Faked Landstorm Covers

Class: TR

Helena Obermüller Wilén

The article reports and illustrates forgeries made by Gunnar Fellenius who was convicted of forgery in 1987 and who had been producing forgeries since the late 1970s. After the trial he continued to make forgeries until his death in 2001. From the beginning of 1980 he used the Landstorm stamps of 1916 and 1918 added to a correspondence between Thyra Gradin and her fiancée Gösta Drakenberg. He also bought the typewriter of Sven Åkerstedt, a well known philatelist and expert, who died in 1977, and used this to make long winded expert certificates. Other covers are signed by Strandell, the most famous philatelist in Sweden who died in 1963. Covers and stamps are illustrated and explained.

FFE #11

Some New Aspects of Studies on "Degron-Kun Covers" or Franco-Japanese Mixed Franked Covers

Class: TR

Jun Ichi Matsumoto

Following on from an earlier article in FFE8, the author reviews the evidence for the "special" nature of the postal arrangements between Japan and the wider world through the French postmaster M. Degron, at the French Post Office in Yokohama. The author concludes that this was a simple process of ordinary mail with Japanese postage prepaying the carriage to Yokohama and French postage prepaying the onward conveyance. The writer believes that these "Mr Degron Covers" are not the subject of official sanction for military personnel only but that the service was available to the general public. A domestic letter to Sweden is cited as an example demonstrating this. This system operated for five years from 1873-1878, 83 covers are known, six "Degron-Kun" handstamps are recorded which are illustrated together with statistical tables and covers.

FFE #11

Papal States - Faked and Problematic Postal-History Covers

Class: TR

Thomas Mathà

In considering covers from the Papal States knowledge of methods of noting rates on covers, and the postal conventions, routes and rates is essential. Forgers were often clumsy and simply added stamps to covers which an understanding of the postal history unmasks. Nineteen forged covers are illustrated and explained in detail.

FFE #11

A Sophisticated Forgery

Class: TR

Heinz Erwin Jungjohann

Forged cancellations on material from the early liberation period in Poland are compromised. Collectors should have a detailed knowledge of the state of individual cancellers over time especially LUBLIN 1 r.

FFE #11

Austria: Allied Censorship 1945-1953 - Misuse of a Soviet Censor Stamp 1946

Class: TR

Helmut Seebald

Offered items of post war mail censored in Wiener Neustadt with an oval handstamp, the author noted that the items were earlier than they ought to be. The seller, a former post office worker had found the handstamp in the 1960s, and had taken it home. The handstamp is now in the possession of the author. Examples of the genuine mark are shown as is its use 35 years later, and a recent imprint from 2007. Genuine and misused items are illustrated. The article further considers Allied and Soviet censorship in Vienna especially the use of an oval handstamp OESTERREICHISCHE ZENSURSTELL W.N. and the same with W.N. removed. It concludes with six points of advice on how to decide whether a censored item is genuine or a fake.

FFE #11

Romania: 150 Year Anniversary of the Bulls Heads of Moldavia

Class: TR

Fritz Heimbüchler

The history of the Bulls Heads is told and the number of stamps known of each of the values is recorded. A forgery of the 27 Parale is demonstrated, the 1891 reprints in original colours is discussed as is the need for up to date certificates. The article follows on from an earlier piece in FFE3. The Importance of Historical Geography in the Expertisation of Postal History Charles J. G. Verge FRPSC, FRPSL In the author's opinion historical, economic, political and geographical context are import factors in philatelic expertising. Two covers from Nova Scotia with bisected two cent stamps are considered, both not properly tied to the cover and one lacking a backstamp. Without researching the history of the post offices and their date of operation, together with the use of contemporary maps, allows the destinations to be identified. Consideration is also given to the use and changing shape of cork cancellers. Both covers have been given certificates of authenticity by the Greene Foundation.

FFE #11

Three Ways

Class: TR

Jean-François Brun

The writer divides expertising into three periods; the nineteenth century for the most part graphic design was sufficient to distinguish forged from genuine; the early part of the twentieth century when distinguishing between printing methods became essential; and between the wars when printing became more sophisticated with lithographic reproductions by Sperati and Paul. Nowadays with specialist auction catalogues in colour, with specialised studies of rates and issues, more material than ever is available to the forger, faker and repairer. While it is still necessary to study older printing techniques for printing classic stamps, it is necessary also to be familiar with the modern techniques used to forge them.

FFE #11

The Importance of Historical Geography in the Expertisation of Postal History

Class: TR

Charles J. G. Verge

In the author's opinion historical, economic, political and geographical context are import factors in philatelic expertising. Two covers from Nova Scotia with bisected two cent stamps are considered, both not properly tied to the cover and one lacking a backstamp. Without researching the history of the post offices and their date of operation, together with the use of contemporary maps, allows the destinations to be identified. Consideration is also given to the use and changing shape of cork cancellers. Both covers have been given certificates of authenticity by the Greene Foundation.

FFE #11

The Perkins-Bacon "Proofs" of the 1906 Olympic Issue of Greece: A Clarification

Class: TR

Michalis E. Tsironis

The question of the timing of the delivery of the 1906 proofs is addressed, especially if they predated or post-dated the delivery of the actual stamps. Are these proofs or reprints? See also FFE9.

FFE #11

Colombia: The "AR" Provisionals of 1902-03

Class: TR

Dieter Bortfeldt and Alan D. Anyon

Colombian stamps overprinted AR are offered on the Internet with high prices. The authors give the historical background to these stamps which are listed in detail in the Temprano catalogue and mentioned in Scott and Yvert. Stamps used on documents are scarce, and the writers conclude that only types used on documents serve to identify genuine AR stamps. Four such are illustrated. Using overlays derived from copies on forms it is possible to determine that only one type is genuine, and this is also known forged. Genuine, forged and bogus items are illustrated. All AR SCADTA and telegraph stamps are bogus. All mint stamps must be considered doubtful.

FFE #11

An Incoming Small Dragon Postcard: A Chinese Forgery

Class: TR

Michael Ho

The article concerns a French postcard sent to Naumburg in Germany, and redirected to Shanghai, China. On receipt in Shanghai a three Candarins stamp was affixed, cancelled with a customs canceller, marked "T" and handstamped "To Pay" in red. With reference to genuine material the customs cancellation is shown to be forged, and the stamp deliberately added.