What The Fake?


Le Philatelist by Francois Barroud (1929)

Fakey Fakey

Fake and forged stamps are nothing new - they have been around for almost as long as the postage stamp itself. The first stamp was issued in Britain in 1840 while the first classical forgeries began around 1860 - Sperati and Fournier being the two notorious master forgers. Stamps are not only fun collectibles but also form important, high-value commodities. Like many rare or high value items, stamps are targeted by unscrupulous counterfeiters for easy lucrative money from unsuspecting buyers. North Borneo are far from spared.

Ebay and Fakes

There is no better place to find a large amounts of fakes/forged stamps than in ebay. The following stamps are fake/forged North Borneo stamps I found in ebay, just for future references:

1. $10 and $5 with obvious forged postmark

These stamps were both sold by the same seller. The $10 was sold for £17.89, about £10 less than the $5 stamp which ended with a price of £28. The forged postmarks are notably blurry and don't appear to be legible enough. The most obvious give away though was the presence of the obliterator marks (the CTO marks). The forged postmarks are applied on top of the CTO marks to mask it from unsuspecting buyers.

2. Fake Japanese Overprints

This pair of Postage due stamps with Japanese overprint was offered for £50 (under Buy it Now format). The stamps are genuine but the overprint are forged. This is mentioned by the seller in his/her description. Compared to genuine overprints, the faked overprint in this pair appear markedly thicker and looked too 'rigid' as well.

3. Fake "Two Cents" Overprint

This one is still ongoing in ebay at the time this is written. What's interesting about this lot is the 'new variety' of the "RED CROSS / TWO CENTS". The font is markedly different from the genuine overprint and the "TWO" is simply replaced by numeral "2". The genuine overprint is issued in Aug 1918 on stamps of 1909-1911, strangely enough though, the overprint in the lot above also appear in the 2 cents of 1894 issue.


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