FFE Journal - Fakes Forgeries Experts

Articles from FFE #18

FFE #18

The World's Most Forensically Tested Philatelic Gem:"The Iconic Victor Hugo Plate 77 Cover"

Class: TR

Abed Najjar

With only eight examples known to still exist, the Great Britain 1858‐79 1d rose‐red showing a plate number 77 must be one of the world’s greatest philatelic rarities. A cover addressed in the hand of the famous author Victor Hugo franked with three newly discovered used examples of this stamp can only be regarded as a "World‐Class Philatelic Gem" (Figure 1). The Victor Hugo cover which was mailed from Guernsey to Brussels on Monday 27th November 1865 was franked at the correct 3d rate for mail from the United Kingdom to Belgium by using 3x 1d values from the 1858‐79 issue. The cover was carried by Steam Ship `Brittany´ under its Captain Goodridge which sailed from Guernsey to Southampton. It was then carried by rail to London, then by rail to Dover and then by steam ship to Ostend. The cover made its final destination to Brussels by train. It carries all the correct transit and arrival markings.

FFE #18

The Use of X-Ray Microfluorescence to Detect Faking Using Paints

Class: TR

Abed Najjar

The application of paints in order to fake, strengthen or restore missing or worn features on stamps is a procedure that has been widely adopted for decades. Expertly applied this procedure can be so good that it can easily deceive even the expert eyes. It is therefore perfectly understandable how such a procedure can be used in order to alter stamps of little value in order to produce valuable fakes and forgeries of rare stamps with a view to deceive a buyer. The applied faking ink in the vast majority of cases, although identical in colour, will not be the same ink as that which printed the stamps themselves and while in the past it would have been practically impossible to be definitive that there were two different paints on a single stamp, we can now be more certain of our conclusions by using state of the art analytical equipment which can detect both the atomic and the molecular constituents of the compounds in a paint/ink that has been used to print or fake a stamp.

FFE #18

Using Perforation Fingerprints to Classify Stamps as Having "Non-Compliant" Perforations

Class: TR

David B. Escott

Stamp collectors, stamp dealers and stamp expertisers classify the perforations on a stamp as being either "genuine" or "fake". This article is a critique of the process of this decision‐making, highlighting the repercussions that can ensue from the current practice and proposes an improvement to it. Firstly, consider the following three points:
__ A. In many cases, the determination of which term should be used is based on the belief that sufficient factors exist (by general observation), indicating that perforations are either genuine or fake. In some cases this decision appears to be borderline.
__ B. In other cases, the determination can stem from the basic assumption that if the perforations on a stamp cannot be proven to be fake then they must be considered to be genuine.
__C. However, if one regards the method of assessment described in B above as sufficiently scientific for acceptable decision‐making, then the reverse argument must also apply, i.e. if the perforations on a stamp cannot be proven to be genuine, then they must be considered fake.

FFE #18

Stop Associating `Conservation´ with `Restoration´

Class: TR

Daisy Todd

It´s glaringly obvious through general conversation with philatelists, and through reading philatelic articles, that there is much confusion about the use of the terms `conservation´ and `restoration.´ It follows that as a professionally trained ‘conservator´, that I am customarily regarded as a `restorer.´ It is true, that when I meet people and they ask what I do for a living, I say `art restoration´ because the gist of this term will be far better understood than if I say `I am a conservator specialising in the conservation of paper-based artifacts´. This colloquial and interchangeable use of the two terms however, is altering the perception and acceptance of conservation in the philatelic arena, to the detriment of philatelic collections all over the world. In order to stop this misguided association of conservation with `restoration´, and thus `alteration´, `manipulation´ and `forgery´, this article will clarify the terms of conservation and restoration, and explain exactly how they each relate to philately.

FFE #18

North-Ingria II Series Stamps: Separating Forged from Genuine by the Properties of Fibre Structure

Class: TR

Jouni Takalo

Traditionally forgeries have been recognized e.g. from paper colour, printing type and colours, printing accuracy as different colours are printed separately on the sheets of stamps, and differences in the stamp layout etc. However, even the colours of genuine stamps are varying sometimes quite strikingly (figure 1) where we depict three genuine and one forged North‐Ingria (also North-Ingermanland, later N-I) series II 5 mark stamps. Our aim is to give one more precise method to distinguish genuine and forged by the properties of the underlying paper i.e. by studying the fibre structure of the paper.

FFE #18

Iceland - The 1897 3 Þrir Surcharge

Class: TR

Claes Arnrup

In Iceland late 1897, the 3 aur stamps were sold out and due to the long delivery time from Copenhagen a provisional issue was made by surcharging green 5 aur stamps. At first a total of 86 sheets of 100 were surcharged with a red figure "3". As this was not found satisfactory, all of these sheets and another 50 without the red "3" were surcharged in black with "Þrír" (=three), usually written "Prir" when the Icelandic character "Þ" is not available, although it would be more correct to write and pronounce it thrir (English "th" sound). Most of the 86 sheets with the red "3" were in perforation 12¾. However, a small but unknown number of sheets came from the early issue of 5 aur in perforation 14 x 13½. These are the ones I am going to focus on. In the top six rows of the sheets (60 stamps) the word Þrir was set with small letters and in the four bottom rows with somewhat larger letters, resulting in two different types

FFE #18

The Kingdom of Prussia Number #1 stamp of 1851: An X-Ray Spectroscopic Study of Colour and Ink

Class: TR

Udo Gross

The first printing of Prussian stamps took place in 1850 on watermarked handmade paper. The stamp of this study, the orange‐red Freimarke of ½ Silbergroschen/6 Pfennige was issued at 5/1/1851 printed by the Deckersche Ho􀆟uchdruckerei in Berlin. It shows the portrait of the Prussian Emperor King Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1795‐1861). Although this stamp is not rare and non‐expensive it is widely known because of its tendency to strong colour degradation and darkening. The first description of this fact came from Paul Ohrt in 1896, explaining the colour change by the conjected use of lead chromate, PbCrO4, as ink. All later publications took over this plausible assumption without having chemical‐physical evidence by an investigation. This article describes for the first time an X‐ray spectroscopic study which characterizes ink, paper and cancel.

FFE #18

Overprint Fakes on the Stamp Series of Yugoslavia - "Tourism" and "Postal Service"

Class: TR

Vladimir Milic

This article represents in one way an extension of the article by Jovan Velickovic, "Dangerous Overprint Forgeries On The Postage Stamps of Yugoslavia From Recent Years", published in FFE #2 (1999). The author was the late professor Jovan Velickovic, philatelic expert of SF Serbia, BPP proofer and member of the FIP Commission for the fight against forgeries. In fact that article provided an overview of previously registered fakes on definitive stamps of Yugoslavia, created in the period from 1990. In this analysis will be presented all so far identified faked overprints on definitive stamps of Yugoslavia with the topic of "Tourism" and "Postal Service" – but, as it will be seen, only in form of errors specialties: shifted, double or inverted overprints. All presented overprint fakes were made with the intention to fraud collectors, not the postal administration.

FFE #18

Forged Belgian Railway Cancel on Forged Medaillon Cover

Class: PH

Paul Wijnants

Forging stamps and/or covers is as ancient as philately itself. A few of them turn forging into an art with a never seen perfection and for many experts very hard to detect. Regretfully, and lucky enough for the experts, many "want to be forgers" are working careless and above all are having a very poor philatelic knowledge. With the sale of the "Karpov" collection (one of the biggest collections ever of Belgium) at David Feldman in Geneva, a lot of classic Belgium material was offered for sale. The achieved results were never seen before and that’s what attracts forgers. See what’s on the market and try to create a fantastic item by using bogus stamps and/or cancels.

FFE #18

Forged Stamps, Overprints, Perforations and Cancellations from Former Netherlands Territory Surinam

Class: TR

Hendrik W. van der Vlist

In October 2013 the second part of the book "Posthistorie van het Rijksdeel Suriname 1650‐1975", written by W.K. Erfmann and E.B. Stuut, was published by the ‘Nederlandse Vereniging van Poststukken‐ en Poststempelverzamelaars ©’. In the book is not only written about the postal history of Surinam, but also about forgeries of Surinam. In two chapters all kind of different types of forged stamps, overprints on stamps, perforations and cancellations on stamps, on cover and on post cards are discussed in more than 90 pages, including references, and illustrated by more than 400 figures. All forged stamps and overprints are compared with genuine stamps and overprints. Most of them illustrated with enlarged parts of stamps and overprints. To better study differences between genuine and counterfeit items, the figures are manipulated by using colour changing. These both chapters are the most comprehensive descriptions of the forgeries, overprints, perforations and cancellations from the period of the former Netherlands territory of Surinam. It is not possible to show all the figures, including descriptions of all these forgeries in this article.

FFE #18

Anatomy of a Balloon

Class: TR

Michele Chauvet

The Franco‐Prussian War of 1870‐1871 is certainly the most popular French period of postal history enthusiasts. It must be recognized that it offers collectors the jewels of a rich and original philately that can not be found in the history of any other country: ballons montés (= balloon mail), boules de Moulins, pigeongrams have become true legends of French philately. Of course, when the letters are very popular because particularly scarce, we all know it is wise to use the expertise. But to some documents, the first step is mere a matter of historical knowledge and logical reasoning rather than the expertise that will intervene only later to confirm the verdict.

FFE #18

The 1847 US Number One Stamp Franklin 5c an Experimental Colour and Ink Study

Class: TR

Udo Gross

Originally I started the "bluish paper" project of Scott US #357‐369 of 1909. Actually, the bluish shade is greyish due to a 30% admixture of cotton rag to the wood pulp in the paper making process. By vibrational analysis, FT‐IR ATR, it should be possible to verify genuine spectroscopic differences of the celluloses' provenience and its processing. Unfortunately, possessing only a Scott # 369 (2c Lincoln red) and Scott 361 (believed to be one!), I was unsatisfied and quitted not having certified stamps of the row. Nevertheless, I stayed with US classic, when I refreshed my memory by reading the philatelic articles of the late Calvet M. Hahn* of his colour re‐examination of US number #1 in 1986 [1] and the contributions of Carroll Chase in the 1916 Philatelic Gazette [2]. The black 10c Washington number #2 is indeed more expensive, but uninteresting to chemists because of a boring carbon black as ink.

FFE #18

The U.S. 2c 3rd Bureau Issue Assaulted by Counterfeiters

Class: TR

John M. Hotchner

It is a matter of some amazement that 24 years passed between the first and second successful sets of efforts to get counterfeit U.S. stamps into circulation for use as postage. The first attempts had been in 1895 and 1896, replicating the 2c of the ”First Bureau Issue” of 1894 (see FFE #14, page 157‐160).

FFE #18

New Discovery of Engraved Forgeries of Newfoundland First Issues

Class: TR

Richard Gratton

Extremely dangerous new engraved forgeries of the first issues of Newfoundland have been found on the philatelic market recently. Newfoundland first issues have been forged quite often by famous forgers such as: Spiro, Senf, Oneglia and Sperati. The Newfoundland forgeries were easy to detect up to now. The printing techniques used by the forgers were quite different from that of the genuine stamps (except for Oneglia who also used intaglio). The papers were different and the different shades were quite easy to recognize.

FFE #18

Réunion

Class: TR

Benoît Chandanson

Small island of 2,500 km² located in the Indian Ocean. Réunion (previously île Bourbon) is part of the Mascarenes, near the Tropic of Capricorn. The island was a stop on the route to India and was settled in the 17th century. The vegetation is lush ‐ coffee culture, cloves and nutmeg developed here. Industrialization and the population continued to increase. Quickly, a postal service was established. Little brothers of the Post Office, the first postage stamps were issued in 1852. In 1860 and as in all former colonies, Reunion received stamps of Eagle issue. Opened in New Caledonia in 1881, overprints on stamps of general emissions of the colonies were blooming the following years. End of 1885, there seemed to be a lack of 5c stamps, 10c and 25c on Réunion. December 19, 1885 an order of the Governor therefore required overprinting 300,000 remaining unused stamps: 30c Napoleon, 40c Eagle, 40c Ceres and 40c Sage. Another decree of 20 May 1886 enabled the production of 80,000 stamps to 5c and 20c from 30c Sage stocks.

FFE #18

Fakes of The Mosul Provisionals

Class: TR

Akthem Al-Manaseer

Two issues were made by the Indian Expeditionary Forces (I.E.F.´D`) in Mesopotamia during 1917 and 1919 to serve first the area controlled by Anglo‐Indian Expeditionary Forces towards the end of the first Great War and in the Mosul Vilayet following the armistice of 1918. The first issue for Baghdad was of a very limited quantity and rapidly increased in value. Many fakes and forgeries were made on the issue and were discussed in two previous articles. [Forgeries and Fakes of the Baghdad Provisionals by A.A. Al‐Manaseer in FFE #17 and Analyzing the Mystery of the ‘Red Star, on the Baghdad in British Occupation Provisionals by A.A. Al‐Manaseer & A.H.Najjar in FFE #17.]. The second issue for the Mosul Vilayet (district) located north of Iraq was of much larger quantities. However it was initially thought that the print numbers were similar to the Baghdad issue and speculators bought quantities in the hope of making a quick profit. There are few genuinely known overprint varieties on the Mosul provisionals that are faked. This will be the subject of this article.

FFE #18

A Dangerous Chalon Forgery

Class: TR

Robert P. Odenweller

Collectors of classic New Zealand have been lucky. The skilful forgers of the past, such as Fournier and Sperati chose to use their talents making forgeries of the classics of other countries. Even the best of the forgeries of the New Zealand Chalons was crude and easily detected. Until now.

FFE #18

Reference Marks - The Use of Reference Marks for the Identification and Authentication of Postage Stamps

Class: TR

Jean-François Brun

Without a general definition acceptable for Philately, I propose the following: Reference marks: graphic details of a stamp to differentiate it from another stamp, or to locate it in a sheet. The following examples were chosen to show the advantages and problems of systematic use of "reference marks".

FFE #18

Forgeries and Falsifications of Philatelic Literature - A First Look Back

Class: Other

Wolfgang Maassen

When the editor of the FFE Journal first asked me in August 2014 if I was willing to write an article on forgeries in philatelic literature ("Would it be possible to write something about fakes and forgeries in the philatelic literature field?"), I first misunderstood the question, namely in a traditional context. Accordingly my answer was: So much has already been written about forgeries, I had myself treated the topic recently in my book "Milestones of the Philatelic Literature of the 19th century". A complete chapter was dedicated there to the subject of fakes and forgeries. Hällström became more precise – I had almost expected as much – that he did not mean that, but that indeed he wished me to write an article on falsifications of philatelic literature instead of a study about fakes and forgeries in philatelic literature. Well, that I understood now – and hesitated, because except for one case no falsification of philatelic literature was known to me off‐hand. But the more I got my teeth into the matter, the more certain questions rose to my mind which showed that forgeries of philatelic literature could very well be a subject that needed to be treated, even if up to now – to the best on the author’s knowledge – nobody had ever attended to the matter. In the end the subject boils down to a matter of definition of forgery and/or falsification. Our present times make a large array of modern appliances available for duplication, copying and printing which allow the making of products that – from a classical point of view and unless identified as such – represent forgeries in the traditional sense. Leaving plagiarism from the earliest times aside, reprints of all kinds and origins are problematic today more than ever, and not the least for the simple reason that the boundaries between the original and the remake become more and more fluid. Besides "forgeries" there are also falsifications of philatelic literature, because – similar to the restoration and repair of stamps – quite a few old and rare volumes of philatelic literature come in antique, noble looking and wonderfully crafted bindings which however are not timely and do not bear an indication that they have been repaired and embellished post hoc. Original works with privately ordered older or recent new bindings are quite problematic as such, because most buyers lack the possibility of comparison. In that way the author slowly understood that Jonas Hällström had touched upon an important subject in full conscience of the fact that by doing so he had opened some kind of "Pandora’s Box".