FFE Journal - Fakes Forgeries Experts

Articles from FFE #17

FFE #17

Afghanistan: Forgeries, Reprints and Proofs of Small Tiger Head Issues of Kingdom Kabul

Class: TR

Jaromir Petrik

The series of small tiger heads 1876-1878 (altogether 3 issues) were printed in several colours. The colour of the stamps was characteristic for each post office - for Kabul in shades of green, for Peshawar in grey, for Taschkurghan in purple and for Jallalabad in brown. The stamps in black were not allocated to any post office. The status of these stamps has been debated for more than 90 years. According to some catalogues and experts they are considered as forgeries, others take them as reprints or proofs. There was a famous dispute between British collector Colonel H. Appleton with experts of the Royal Philatelic Society of London between 1924 and 1925.

FFE #17

Canada: Collection of De Thuin Bisects of the Atlantic Provinces

Class: TR

Charles Verge

The Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation's Expert Committee (Greene Foundation) was asked to adjudicate on the authenticity of 25 covers all bearing bisects from the four provinces of Atlantic Canada: New Brunswick (NB), Newfoundland (NL), Nova Scotia (NS) and Prince Edward Island (PEI). The collection was the property of well-known and respected United States philatelic dealer, who likely knew what they were and never marketed them at any time in his long career. The collection was submitted by his estate, through an agent, to the Greene Foundation for expertisation in 2011. The study of the covers started with research in the literature particularly the American Philatelic Society's (APS) handbook The Yucatan Affair: The Work of Raoul Ch. de Thuin, Philatelic Counterfeiter, which was compiled by a specialist APS editorial staff and published in 1974. The author also consulted with Mercer Bristow, Director of the APS's Expert Committee. As a second step, each cover was examined and annotated. The results of this research and examination were submitted to the Expert Committee members on December 19, 2011. The Expert Committee agreed with the findings and issued certificates on December 28, 2011 for 24 of the 25 covers indicating that they were de Thuin forgeries. On the same day a certificate was issued for the 25th cover (NL 29b ), also a forgery, indicating it could not definitively be assigned to de Thuin . The wording on the certificates for the 24 de Thuin forgeries includes the words "a forgery created by de Thuin". The other does not mention de Thuin but clearly states it is a forgery.

FFE #17

Experts: Digital microscopes and UV-light

Class: TR

Paul Linde

With the technology development new possibilities for analysis and documentation opens up. What earlier only could be seen from the lens of the microscope is today possible to digitalize and enhance with the help of computers at a reasonable price. Bringing computers and large screen analysis into the investigation of stamps will ensure quality and enrich the business. Technology used in this article is from Dino-Lite at a total cost under 1.000 Euro. The process used in this article is a combined study using both cold white light and cold UV-light. The microsopes can magnify 250 times and projects a 5 megapixel image to the computer screen. The magnification range is about 1-70x and 180-250x. The computer is used to see the magnification and it is possible to record it and take pictures through the process while investigating the stamp.

FFE #17

Experts: Looking at Pre-Philatelic Ink

Class: PH

Dieter Bortfeld

For about 20 years I have dedicated my spare time and from 2001 onwards full time to investigations of Colombian philately. At first studying the stamp issues with all reprint and forgeries as well as identifications of them, printing techniques and stones and plates used, etc. About 15 years ago a large quantity of pre-philatelic covers and documents appeared on the market, which at a first glance seemed to be genuine as far as I was able to determine at the time. However I have to admit that I issued some certificates stating to be genuine and not Forgeries as we know now. This was the reason why I started to investigate Postal History and history as such in order to solve aspects of the letters in question and about use of postal markings, designs and colours and inks. In many ways my profession as graphic designer and graphic arts specialist helped a lot. There are 3 ways I have explored during the last years with results explained in the following: 1) Use of Photoshop; 2) Spectros; 3) Contra Test.

FFE #17

Experts: Retroreveal - A new tool

Class: TR

Robert P. Odenweller

Technology has, in recent years, offered many new ways to look at stamps and covers. Not that many years ago, all we had was a magnifying glass or two, probably 3x and 10x, a watermark tray, and a UV lamp. Photography using filters and other advanced techniques was an option, but took time and special equipment for the best results. Even UV and infrared inspection needed help when it came to "seeing" things that were outside of the range of normal eyesight. Then came some very sophisticated, but very expensive, options, such as X-ray fluorescence and Raman inspection that would show the actual inorganic components to inks and paper. Slightly less costly are machines such as the VSC-6000, which can analyze colors in various lighting conditions, among other things. These are becoming more affordable to the point that certain major philatelic organizations, such as the RPSL and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum can acquire them. Still, interpreting the significance of the results from these units usually requires someone highly skilled in their use.So it's refreshing to find a new tool that is free, and which can give results that may be far more useful than one could imagine. Faint postmarks or overprints can often be difficult to see under normal conditions. Using special techniques may help, but the average philatelist may not have the skill or the necessary program, let alone the knowledge of the steps that are needed to get the desired results.This new program is available at www.retroReveal.org, hosted by the J. Willard Marriott Library of Utah University. Disregard the technical aspects of how it works; just let it do its thing. That, simply, is to put a scan (preferably) or a digital photo on the website, press one button, and then examine all the possible outcomes. All are in black and white, and most will be of little use. Do not despair. One or more of the many images is likely to reveal hidden details that will make the effort worthwhile.

FFE #17

Experts: Technology in detecting of Fakes & Forgeries

Class: TR

John H. Barwis

Detection of spurious philatelic items is important not only for maintaining the integrity of our hobby, but for our continued enjoyment of it. No collector wants to suffer the disappointment, embarrassment or economic loss from having acquired an inauthentic stamp or cover. The purpose of this article is to review how analytical techniques might - in certain circumstances - help establish authenticity. "Technology" is not a piece of equipment or an analytical process per se. Rather, it is the application of scientific or engineering knowledge to solve a problem or to answer a question. Readers of this journal know that many suspect items can be adequately evaluated using a magnifying glass, watermark detector and an ultraviolet lamp, each used in conjunction with technical expertise about what is already known to be genuine. But sometimes our everyday examination methods are insufficient. For example, modern technology might well have detected Sperati's reproductions of the 10 shilling brown violet of Lagos, as related by Stoltz (1983). Sperati used the correct paper by chemically removing the images from the 1903 Crown Colony chalky paper issue, so paper thickness, watermark and perforations were all genuine. But in removing the original images from the paper the chalk was also removed, and the paper resized with gelatin and alum. These chemical differences could easily be detected today by nondestructive analyses. Sperati made his own inks, but today\'s non- destructive tests would enable comparison of the elemental and mineralogical content of inks on the forged vs. genuine stamps.

FFE #17

Experts: The digital revolution to philately

Class: TR

Jean-Francois Brun

Nobody can ignore the changes in daily life by the digital revolution. nitially used in scientific and military fields, computers have been introduced gradually in industrial or commercial enterprises. Costs were high, the manufacturers rented their equipment that requires regular maintenance, computer scientists, appropriate places, etc.This was in the seventies. The minicomputer gradually invaded the companies; more and more people were employed in the design, construction, maintenance and use of these machines. It is not unreasonable to equip yourself, and some philatelic firms start to take a closer look: description of lots, creating a catalogue, customer management - buyers or sellers - can be done with these new materials. But their price keeps most stamp dealers away from this equipment.The general public does not feel directly affected by what is completely strange for him, even if he sometimes looks at the impact of it. The real revolution comes in 1981 with the release of the "PC" (personal computer) by IBM. Somewhat against its will, IBM becomes interested in its concept a few years earlier. It is the advent of the microcomputer. In 1983 Apple sells its millionth Apple II.

FFE #17

Germany: Pre-War German "Essay Michel Nr. 784 P9"

Class: TR

Udo Gross

By mere chance I became familiar with the title subject of this contribution when reading a German stamp auction catalogue. Surprisingly, I found a 5 Pf dark-green Adolf Hitler definitive stamp of Deutsches Reich 1941 specially recommended. This piece should be remarkable due to an outstanding bismuth sulphide, Bi2S3, addition to the printing colour pigment. This bismuth- compound immediately found my interest as a scientist and stamp collector. After some time I was able to buy one exemplar with a certificate by the late German BPP Emil Ludin* in an internet shop for a moderate price, while by auction about 100. - Euro and more had to be paid.

FFE #17

Great Britain: Forgeries of the £5 Orange

Class: TR

John Horsey

The Five Pound Orange is the pride and joy of many a Great Britain collection and a sadly unfilled gap in countless more. It is the most iconic Victorian stamp of Great Britain, second only to the Penny Black. The £5 Orange is not scarce - most major UK auctions tend to have one or more in each sale. There is never a problem finding one: it is merely a question of price and, being expensive, it has attracted the attention of many forgers. It is a popular item, missing from most collections, and most GB collectors would wish to own one. There is a strong temptation to buy a £5 Orange especially if it appears a bargain - however there may be a reason it is cheaper than normal. Caveat emptor! This article is based on the Author's recent book 'The £5 Orange' which devotes nearly 30 pages to its forgeries and the methods of detecting them. While naturally orientated towards the £5 Orange, many aspects of the book are equally applicable to other stamps. Of general interest are the methods for detecting regummed, reperforated and repaired stamps and the use of modern technology in comparing stamp images to search for plate varieties or compare cancels, to analyse colours, to reveal erased cancels or to detect forgeries.

FFE #17

India: Forgeries Princely State Revenues

Class: TR

Jiri Cerny

So far, forgers have not concentrated on the Indian Princely State Revenues to a large extent, contrary to the postage stamps. Most of the known forgeries are very crude and the forgeries are thusly not dangerous. As the most encountered forgeries from this area of revenue philately is an inverted centre of Bhor small Revenue stamp. This forgery often appears even at major auction houses, unrecognized as a forgery.

FFE #17

Iraq: Forgeries and Fakes of the Baghdad Provisionals

Class: TR

Akthem Al-Manaseer

The Baghdad Provisional stamps were issued on September 1, 1917, in Mesopotamia/Iraq shortly after the British forces occupied the city of Baghdad. They found very limited quantities of Turkish stamps to be overprinted "Baghdad In British occupation." With respect to the process of over- printing these stamps, Sir Percy Cox the Civil Commissioner writes a note on 15th September 1917 stating: "it must be explained that owing to the varied types and dimensions of the stamps with which we had to deal it was not possible to make any one hand of machine stamp which would suffice for over-printing all sizes and we had therefore to have recourse to the laborious expedient of stamping each stamp separately by hand in four separate operations."Although the over-printing work was done in four separate operations, it is not known if single or multiple stamps were overprinted in each operation. When the Baghdad stamps were issued, British residences were allowed to make only one purchase of these stamps. Individuals were asked to sign in a book at the post office after obtaining the stamps. Due to the limited quantities only 8 Annas worth of stamps were sold in matchboxes to these individuals. Figure 1 illustrates stamps obtained from one of these matchboxes that were placed on an envelope.

FFE #17

Iraq: Analyzing the Mystery of the "Red Star" on the Baghdad In British Occupation Provisionals

Class: TR

Akthem Al-Manaseer & Abed Najjar

The issue of overprinted enemy stamps was a very desirable propaganda action after the British Indian forces Occupied Baghdad. After the fall of Baghdad on 11th March 1917 stocks of Turkish stamps captured through the quantity was insufficient for overprinting. Since any remaining stocks had probably been looted by the local inhabitants, the Chief Political Officer made it known that he was prepared to receive and pay for any remaining stamps. By August of that year limited quantities were available from different Turkish stamps to be overprinted "BAGHDADIN BRITISH OCCUPATION" and with values in Indian currency. Some of the Baghdad stamps with similar designs exist with and without a red star.

FFE #17

Netherlands: Forged Hang Blocks in value 0,44 and 0,88

Class: TR

Henk W. van der Vlist

In the beginning of 2009 somebody tried to sell on the stamp market in Amsterdam, and in the "stamp café", "The Netherland 'hang blocks'" in denomination values € 0,44 and € 0,88. We call them 'hang blocks' because they are hanging on special boards, therefore the 'blocks' do have the special 'hang eye' perforation. The 'hang blocks' were offered for less than half the price of the nominal postage value. Potential buyers who were offered them thought these 'hang blocks' came from a theft, and only a few were willing to buy them and the seller decided to quit selling in Amsterdam. One of the offered buyers didn't trust these 'hang blocks' and he asked me to examine them. After a very quick examination I found out that they were not printed in rotogravure as the original ones, but printed by using a special copier (a kind of pseudo offset).

FFE #17

New Brunswick: Discovery of a printing plate used for the forgeries of the first issues

Class: TR

Richard Gratton

Ten years ago, I received an email from Mr. Daniel Marchand in Belgium (1) who wanted information on a copper printing plate of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia One shilling he had found in a Brussels junk shop about twenty years ago. The photographic image he had sent did not make it possible for me to evaluate his discovery properly. Last year, he contacted me again and wanted to have some kind of evaluation on the value of such a plate. This time, he sent much better pictures that enabled me to confirm that this plate had been produced by the so-called "Forger A" described in Nicholas Argenti, The Postage Stamps of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, issued in 1962. After numerous email exchanges, I was finally able to convince him to donate the cooper plate to the Canadian Museum of Civilization, located in Gatineau, Québec, also responsible of the Canadian Postal Museum artifacts.

FFE #17

Nicaragua: The Forgeries of Nicaragua

Class: TR

Alan Derek Pockock

Coming then to the "unofficial" items for Nicaragua the almost standard activities of those hoping to make money from the collector, there are the well recognised first issues. Because Nicaragua was so prolific in its stamp producing ways with plentiful reproductions made from the original plates when the stamps had been replaced by later issues, it is surprising that anyone bothered to create copies whose identification from the genuine was so obvious. Yet there were individuals who saw a profit from making false images of the first issue in spite of the relative ease with which the "Genuine" - albeit created after the stamp was obsolete- was so easily available.

FFE #17

Nova Scotia: The Fake Stamps of the cents series made by Oneglia

Class: TR

Richard Gratton

Erasmo Oneglia faked all the stamps of the Cents series (1860-1863) of the province of Nova Scotia. His forgeries are listed in his own catalogs issued in 1897, 1899, 1900 and 1906. Reverend Robert Brisco Earée described all the values of these forgeries produced by Oneglia in the third edition of his book Album Weeds published in 1906. Oneglia used the technique of engraving on copper plate thus producing stamps that are now considered amongst the finest fakes of this Eastern Canadian province. Oneglia made and perforated all his forgeries one by one so no pairs or blocks can exist.

FFE #17

Prekins & Bacon: The Star Watermarked Paper

Class: TR

Chris Harman

To the best of my knowledge, since the analysis in The Stamps of Barbados by E. D. Bacon and F. H. Napier, published by Stanley Gibbons Ltd, 1896, nothing much has been written about the star watermarked papers used for the many stamps printed by Perkins, Bacon for the British Colonies. Recently I was shown what could have been a new variety of the first Britannia design stamp of Barbados with Large Star watermark sideways; a stamp which, until that time, had only been recorded with watermark upright. This led me to study the star watermarked papers more closely since I have for many years owned complete sheets of both the Small Star paper and the Broad Pointed Star paper. I have heard that a complete sheet of the Large Star watermarked paper exists but have not been able to ascertain whether this is true. In their book on Barbados, Bacon and Napier use a block of an issued stamp in order to illustrate the Large Star paper since they did not have access to an unprinted sheet. Nevertheless the Broad Star watermark has the same overall dimensions as the Large Star and is thus useful in studying the printing. It is only the width of the points of the star that are different.

FFE #17

Sweden: Forged Stamps 2003-2013

Class: TR

Gunnar Dahlstrand

Referring to an earlier article in this journal #12 of May 2009 "Forged Swedish Stamps 2004-2008" by Ingvar Larsson, the time has come for a more comprehensive cataloguing of industrially produced forgeries of Swedish stamps. The cataloguing is ordered chronologically in the order stamps were issued from the Post Office printing works. In some cases the same stamp has appeared in more than one forged edition. Up to the autumn of 2013, 86 stamp topics have been forged. Counting all 32 editions we get a total of 114 forgeries!

FFE #17

Sweden: Genuine and Forged Surcharges on the Swedish Airmail Stamps of 1920

Class: TR

Peter Lorentzon

From an international point of view Swedish stamps have been relatively exempted from forgers. Yet a number of classic issues and a few surcharge stamps have been subject to the treatment of a number of swindlers. A recent example is the Swedish airmail stamps from 1920. During the making a small number of surcharges turned upside down were created by mistake. Even a few sheets with unusual watermarks were surcharged. These are rare attributes that are very sought after by collectors. Unfortunately these attributes have also caught the eye of the swindler.

FFE #17

Sweden: Shades on the Early Swedish stamps

Class: TR

Helena Obermüller-Wilén

There are few countries in the world whose earliest stamps having such an abundance of shades that the first Swedish. During most of the 1800's the printing colours were mineral dyes, which were grated to powder and mixed with linseed oil and a drying agent to a suitable printing colour. This was done on many occasions during the printing of a stamp. The recipes were approximate and lack of knowledge about the nature of different colours and colour blends contributed to the amount of colour shades. Mineral colours used were lightproof and time-resistant. The shades are therefore the same now as they were in the mid-1800's. This large number of shades of the same denomination has led to that Swedish philatelists early began to collect and study the shades of the classic stamps. In a handbook of Swedish stamps printed in 1915, the authors wrote that they have paid much attention to the different shades. Of 4 skilling banco five different shades were described. In the next handbook, published in 1936, a whole chapter is attended to the shades of the stamps. The handbook now describes 12 different shades of 4 skilling banco. In the Swedish stamp catalogue FACIT Special 2013, 21 different shades are described. In order to classify the shades of the earliest stamps you must pay attention to: The Colour; The Paper; The Printing; The Perforation; The Postmark; Date of delivery from the storage room at the General Post Office to the local post offices.

FFE #17

USA: The 13c JFK 1967 Counterfeits

Class: TR

John Hotchner

In this The Information Age there remain many questions in modern philately for which there are no definite answers. Sometimes this is caused by lack of information released to the public. Other times what is reported and interpreted is spotty and contradictory. The field of U.S. postal counterfeits is one such area; and the Kennedy counterfeits is an example of both causes at work. U.S. postal counterfeits is a field of study with two distinct time periods. The first is what I will call the classic period from 1894 to 2002. If that seems like a long time for "classic", it is the period where counterfeiting seems to have been a cottage industry, limited to production in the United States, and with relatively few U.S. stamps being counterfeited.

FFE #17

Zululand: The £5 Forgery

Class: TR

Peter Whitmore & Clive Sergay

I was alerted in 2003 to a mint copy of the £5 duty in a London based auction catalogue which, although had good provenance, did not look genuine, particularly in comparison with the 3 further copies illustrated alongside. Following this the authors embarked on a search for similar copies and to date we can report that we have located two further mint examples, but more surprisingly a larger number have been found genuinely cancelled in Zululand. The oddity of the existence of the used examples caused the authors to embark on a quest to find an explanation for their existence. The £5 key plate value was ordered along with other values to form the second set of stamps, which was to have values sufficient enough to cover the needs of the territory replacing both the overprinted GB stamps intended for postage and the set of overprinted Natal revenue values to be used for fiscal purposes. Accordingly the £1 and £5 values were included in the set. Several used copies of the £20 Natal overprinted revenue value can today be found reflecting that this value was occasionally used on documents so it would be possible to use 4 of the £5 duty to cover this requirement and no higher value would be needed. Further looking at the postal rates particularity for parcels, the maximum weight of a parcel would be exceeded long before the postal rate would reach the need to utilise this value for postage. Accordingly the used copies of the £5 duty will have been used for fiscal purposes notwithstanding the number that exist that may have been cancelled to order or kind favour at the request of collectors and/or dealers to complete a used set.