July 10, 2001 (revised August 13, 2001)
I have been asked to examine several stamps with forged overprints that have been recently sold on eBay by a seller operating out of Hialeah, Florida. The fakes sold by this seller, probably numbering in the thousands, all have very similar characteristics and most seem to emanate from the same "factory". All were offered as forgeries by the seller.
I have examined the material submitted and will summarize my findings here. I will not make any value judgments on the collectibility of such material.
Fake Overprints Only
Many bear "France Libre" forged overprints such as the typical example shown below.
Another group of overprints is exemplified by the examples below.
Fake Overprints With Fake Cancels
Included with these forgeries was a letter from the seller attributing these items to a "Antonio Jorge" who he reports as having operating out of Spain in the post World War II period.
|On these stamps the "RF" overprints have been applied by a rubber handstamp rather than a steel device or a laser printer. The cancels appear to have been applied at the same time as the overprints and both are of the same type and date. The ink bleeds through to the verso and appears to be a formulation typical of more modern, water based inks similar to those available and in use over the last 20 years. These stamps have original gum.|
Fake "Specimen" Overprints
|On these stamps the "Specimen" overprints have been applied by a rubber handstamp rather than a steel device or a laser printer. Again, the ink bleeds through to the verso and appears to be a formulation typical of more modern, water based inks similar to those available and in use over the last 20 years.|
The final group of fakes I have examined are shown below.
|Two very interesting
features are evident in this group. First, they all bear faked cancels of
the same date and in an identical format with different "town"
names inserted at the top. Also, they are all affixed to the identical
brand of paper.
The handstamp used for the cancel, with removable letters, is of a type readily available from Rubber Stamp supply houses currently. The ink used is also of a formulation in current use.
The paper is of very modern manufacture, I would speculate within the last five years, and it is a sturdy specialty brand stock. Actually, it is a paper stock that is commonly supplied by arts & craft houses for use with artistic rubber stamps. The additional handstamps which frequently embellish many of these productions are also of a type easily produced from devices supplied by these same Rubber Stamp supply houses.
For an example of a typical online Rubber Stamp supply house. All of the devices used to produce the above examples could have been supplied by this house, or any one of hundreds of similar suppliers.
I believe that some of the faked material being sold by the "Hialeah" distributor may have been produced over twenty years ago by unknown individuals. A second group may be being produced currently. It is also evident that at least some material from both of the proceeding groups is currently being embellished by the use of readily available rubber stamps.