The first postage rubber stamp was authorize in great Britain in 1840, and it didn’t take long for the very first fake postage rubber stamp to appear as well. Counterfeiting the stamps automatically became a lucrative enterprise because that those daring enough to try it. In ~ first, forgers were simply trying to do money off selling the counterfeit postage.

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It was no until lot later, once stamps ended up being a collector’s item and people started to pay large sums of money because that them, that counterfeiters started concentrating on reproducing rarely and beneficial stamps to bilk investors. The large number the fakes has prompted postal services to implement more stringent steps to guard against forgeries, lot like national mints have actually done for currency. A couple of of these measures include:

Using one-of-a-kind paperAdding watermarksLining stamps through silk threadsEmploying special engraving techniquesReissuing different series of stamps

These techniques have actually helped to cut down ~ above counterfeiting, but it has actually not been entirely eliminated. Interestingly, this practice has actually actually been embraced by part nation’s governments, who have actually used counterfeit stamps together a form of warfare, trying to hurt your enemies.

History may judge these nations harshly for those actions. But many civilization have additionally risen come fame, or probably infamy, for their bold counterfeiting schemes. Rubber stamp counterfeiting is littered through these interesting tales. It’s essential to learn them, and also learn native them, come ensure collectors don’t obtain duped. It’s likewise smart come learn just how to spot a fake come make certain you don’t come to be a component of this unseemly philatelic history.

The an initial Fake Stamps

The an initial valid postal stamp, the coin Black, gotten in into business on may 6, 1840. The british citizenry embraced it. In ~ the following year, they mailed more than 70 million letters, and by 1843, more than 210 million letters were sent.


Criminals quickly saw chance in this new form of communication. Through the at an early stage 1860s, rubber stamp forgery had end up being so rampant that several publications had been written about it, consisting of one by Edward Loines Pemberton, an early member of the London’s royal Philatelic Society. Pemberton’s guide consisted of tips on how to identifiy forgeries and also descriptions the fake stamps that had actually been found in circulation.

Two different species of counterfeit stamps became common:

Fakes were actual stamps adjusted in some way. Periodically this expected trying to eliminate the postmark rubber stamp in bespeak to usage them again. Together collecting became much more popular, it frequently meant transforming the rubber stamp to resemble another, an ext valuable one.Forgeries were outright imposters. These were modeled after actual stamps and made to look as lot like them together possible. In the early days of rubber stamp counterfeiting, the forged stamps weren’t an extremely impressive, but write-up offices often found it difficult to determine them. Forgeries became an ext sophisticated together the years went on.

Europe was particularly fertile ground for forgers in the beforehand 20th century. Plenty of of these guys — the was mainly a male sector — thought about themselves not crooks but artists. They evaluate the information that got in the ideal stamps and also tried to complement the an approach and the artistic detail. The Italian and also German forgers became an especially well-known during the first half of the 20th century. Italian forgers often worked in groups

More recently, in the 1990s and also 2000s, there’s been boost in Nigerian forgers engaging in stamp counterfeiting, though Germany is likewise still fairly active.

Fake Stamps in the unified States

The United claims didn’t concern its an initial national stamp until 1847, seven years after the British. Within a decade, the write-up office obtained worried people were reusing stamps come send letters. However after the country ended up being embroiled in a bloody polite War, those concerns fell by the wayside because that a few decades.

The an initial serious circumstances of counterfeiting that U.S. Stamps popped increase in the 1890s, as soon as crooks in Chicago started forging stamps in an attempt to make money. These operations were mostly small scale, with locals who had actually experience through printing and also forgery developing fraudulent stamps.

In the early on 20th century, however, stamp counterfeiting in the U.S. Go from small-time to arranged crime. The mob experienced a opportunity to benefit and, by 1940, to be heavily involved in forging stamps. Forgeries have ongoing on both a huge and little scale since then.

The development of the Internet, the course, opened up up an entirely new realm of opportunity for rubber stamp counterfeiters. Suddenly, they could peddle your wares come anyone anywhere, and also their efforts went mainly unchecked. Though sites such together eBay operate on a “buyer beware” policy, it’s become much easier for rubber stamp counterfeiters to with a wide audience.

The Most notorious Forger

No conversation of the history of stamp counterfeiting would certainly be finish without touching on the most notorious forgers, and the best of every was Jean de Sperati. Sperati, a native of France who was born not too long after the first stamp to be issued in Britain, had actually a background in printing and also photography. What do Sperati’s stamps so convincing was he produced them much like the short article office did.


He made sculpture plates the looked favor the stamps he wanted to reproduce. Then he bleached various other stamps therefore they shed their engraving and color. He used his plates to reprint end these stamps, which he felt provided them more of the look and feel the the originals. Collectors evidently agreed. Numerous bought Sperati’s stamps thinking they were the real thing, and also to this day, not every one of his forgeries have been unearthed.

Sperati was the world’s premier forger the stamps native 1910 to the beforehand 1940s, when he was arrested because that trying to ship fakes to Portugal. After ~ being recorded by the government, Sperati spent years fighting the French legal system but was at some point convicted — no for fraud, however rather because that upsetting the delicate French custom-mades system.

Oddly, Sperati made among his greatest sales in 1954, when the brothers Philatelic Association payment what was then a vast sum the money, $40,000, because that his repertoire of rubber stamp forgeries in order to acquire his tools off the market. Sperati walk a lot of damage up till then. Experts believe he forged an ext than 560 styles of stamps, reaching throughout 100 countries and totaling 70,000 separation, personal, instance stamps.

Other popular Stamp Forgers

There have actually been other stamp forgers, that course, despite none quite so prolific or knowledgeable as Sperati. 4 others who figured prominently in rubber stamp counterfeiting history are:

François Fournier: more than likely the best-known forger as well as Sperati, Fournier made a proper business the end of his gift because that reproducing stamps. That openly marketed his fakes, admitting lock were simply imitations the the real thing. Collectors search him out in the so late 1800s and early 1900s to to fill gaps in their collections for a low price, yet the trouble came once others resold Fournier’s functions claiming they were originals.Madame Joseph: This brother forger, who operated in between World battles I and II, specialized in fake cancels she marketed to dishonest stamp collectors. They might then make fake however perfectly put cancels on their unused stamps, upping their value. As newly as 1990, the royal Philaletic society of London to be still trying to safeguard its members from her fakes.Dr. Peter Winter: A German opera singer, he created a substantial uproar in the so late 1990s as soon as he declared to have found a second British Guiana 1c Magenta, among the world’s rarest and most an important stamps. However, the imperial Philatelic society of London identified the second stamp as a fraud. Winter has made plenty of other forgeries, too, specializing in replicas that the world’s most very valued stamps.Harold Treherne: Treherne was simply 18 years old once he acquired into the business. During his occupational as a clerk, he established how to make forgeries using just black ink, a lot simpler method than most of his contemporaries in the early on 1900s. Treherne later moved on come making overprints of Indian stamps, but his career was short-lived. 5 years after the began, Treherne to be arrested and also eventually sentenced to four months of difficult labor because that his fraudulent crime.

Famous situations of Counterfeit Stamps

Winter’s fake brother Guiana 1c Magenta might be the many audacious instance of stamp fraud, because the rubber stamp being forged was of such good value. Yet there have been various other famous instances over the years.

In fact, one of the very an initial forgeries was perpetrated by the british postal service. In 1856, it i was delegated counterfeits of its 1d stamps, simply to view if that is stamps were qualified of gift copied. The regrettably news: lock were.

Later on, in the mid- to late-1800s in Hamburg, the printing certain Spiro Brothers produced some 500 reproductions. Castle weren’t intended to cheat collectors, however. Spiro Brothers made no an enig of the truth that they to be forging stamps, which were expected to fill space in collections. However, over the years, the stamps were spread so commonly that world lost monitor of the fact that they were fakes and began treating them together the genuine thing. They still pop up in collection today.


At the turn of the 20th century, Belgian Dr. Lucian Smeets to be forging stamps. Those he’s believed to have actually counterfeited include the British victorian stamp, i m sorry is still held up today as an example of a well-executed fake watermark.

By 1962, authorities learned that a lot that was claimed to include classic Mexican stamps rather consisted greatly of forgeries by famous forger Raoul Charles de Thuin, a Belgium indigenous who ended up being a mexican citizen.

Another an ext recent example involves a sports victory. England’s football team won the civilization Cup in 1966. The British windy couldn’t get enough of that victorious squad, so the british postmaster bespeak the production of a commemorative stamp for the occasion. Human being went nuts. Present formed outside of short article offices to gain the stamps, and the federal government did no produce virtually enough to fulfill the demand. The led to duplicates of the stamp being offered on the black sector for numerous times their original value.

Other well known stamps that have been topic to counterfeiting include:

A Liberty Bell stamp from 1980 in the U.S.A relenten of the Sydney Harbor leg from 1932 in AustraliaGermany’s 10pf native 1902 and also 1909

The Odd instance of government Stamp Forgeries

Individuals aren’t the just ones who communicate in counterfeiting. Among the strangest, but also most interesting, elements of rubber stamp counterfeiting is the big number of governments that have involved in the practice.

Their motives, of course, are really different native those behind the median stamp forgeries. Federal governments have provided stamp forgery to essentially throw a wrench into a rival country’s mechanisms. Counterfeit stamps can expense a nation revenue, due to the fact that its citizens pay because that the fakes quite than the real ones, diverting money from the government.

Fakes can likewise be used to distribute propaganda. Because that instance, a message deserve to be printed on the stamps the undermines the messages being sent out by the government. Possibly the best example the this came in world War II, when the United states made postage stamps to connect to letter dropped right into Germany. The stamps included an inscription that translated approximately to “the Reich has actually been ruined,” and they caused great confusion and also consternation amongst the German people.

Collections that Forgeries

Forgeries are crucial part of stamp collecting history, so it’s little wonder numerous collectors have come to be fascinated by them. A few high-profile collections even focus on rubber stamp forgery. These include:

The Turner collection of Forgeries in ~ the brothers Library Philatelic CollectionsScottish Philatelic Society’s reference collection that forgeriesNational Postal Museum Library collection at the Smithsonian Institution

Protecting yourself From rubber stamp Forgeries

You might be spooked after analysis the history of rubber stamp counterfeiting. Don’t be. Because that one thing, fraud is not as common now together it to be 100 year ago, largely as result of technology. It’s much easier now to determine forged stamps.


But you still need to defend yourself versus stamp forgeries. Here are 4 ways to execute it:

Only use respected dealers. save your business dealings with human being you know and trust. Ask other collectors for references if require be.Do company in person. though the internet is definitely convenient, friend never know who you space dealing with. If who refuses to fulfill you in person, there’s usually a reason.Spread words to others. even if it is you had actually a poor or good experience through a dealer, talk around it with your buddies. That way you warning others off of a bad dealer.Read publications on exactly how to finding fraud. The much more informed girlfriend are, the harder you space to dupe.

Don’t be Stumped by negative Stamps: rubber stamp Authentication

It’s clear rubber stamp counterfeiting has actually been and remains a large business, despite modern-day technology that have the right to detect fake stamps much better than ever before before. So what’s a rubber stamp collector to do? The finest defense is a great offense. That is, collectors are finest served through investing in rubber stamp authentication to spot a fake before blowing many money.

The American Philatelic Expertizing business offers stamp authentication, i m sorry employs an ext than 120 experts to number out the value and validity the a stamp. Of course, this come at a price, therefore some world prefer to do most of the leg work on their very own whenever possible.

Warning Signs: how to point out Authentic Stamps

It’s beneficial to understand what come look for in stamps in order to determine if they’re authentic. If friend see any type of of this warning indications of a fake, you have to walk far immediately:

Watermarks: complicated to reproduce, watermarks differ by country and act as a “stamp” the approval from the issuing country’s postal service. Check the Scott Catalogue against your rubber stamp to view if the watermark watch correct.False postmarks: study the cancel note carefully. This is just one of the vital signs the fraud.Regumming: having actually the initial gum is really valuable, and forgers know that. They try to “regum” stamp backs to make it look together though they space originals. The surface of a regummed stamp will be dull and also have young inconsistencies girlfriend don’t see on original gum.Perforation: The perforation roughly a stamp may be modified or gotten rid of in order to boost its value. Mental that most stamps are gummed very first and climate perforated, so look for indications that this walk not occur in the appropriate order.

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Have confidence in Your next Purchase

To protect against counterfeit stamps, go v a dealer you can trust. Apfelbaum, Inc. Has actually hundreds of authenticated stamps because that you to shop. Call us this day to help grow your collection.Interested in offering you rubber stamp collection? call us because that our experience and also expertise in the revenue of her stamp collection.