Fake Advertising Covers
(the "Maryland" fakes)
I was recently contacted to review a group of about 90 advertising covers
for a dealer in Canada who thought that they were likely faked. After a
quick review of some scans I was convinced many, if not all, were
extremely dangerous fakes. The dealer sent them to me and I have purchased
them to study and to keep them off the retail market.
This short web presentation is an attempt to document the characteristics
of these fakes and make postal historians aware of the likelihood that
others are in the marketplace. The same group of covers I purchased
included a smaller group of Canada covers. These covers may have been sold
by the presumed manufacturer (located in Maryland) as being reproduction
add-ons. One or more examples were sold on eBay in 2016 as being genuine,
or without notice that they were not genuine.
A common characteristic of the faked advertising covers is that they are
genuine covers with genuine stamps, genuine postmarks and genuine
addresses to which advertising images have been added. This pattern may
not be uniform in newer productions from the same factory.
A PDF file is here of the 91 United States covers
that in my opinion have been faked. Most by adding images to otherwise
genuine covers but including a couple Civil War era where additional
aspects have been faked, including a unused patriotic with fake address,
stamp added, "Old Stamps" faked on and "Due" faked on (on these marking
note the blurry letters and the background "noise" that should not be
The Covers (click thumbnail for full size)
Genuine - for comparison purposes. Note strong color of the image.
Fake #1 - note first that the imprint below the portrait at left
includes only two lines of the return address, omitting the city of the "Honeyman
Hardware Company." Of course, that style of return address imprint would
normally include name and city and that city should be the city of the
postmark. In this case, the genuine lists San Francisco as city of the
company and cover bears a proper San Francisco postmark. On the faked
cover, research reveals that the Honeyman Hardware Company was a well
known Portland, Oregon company of the era. However, the fake cover was
postmarked at Erie, Pennsylvania.
Note also that the image used for the fakery has been cropped at right
instead of filling the horizontal space as the original. In addition, note
the intensity of the color printing on the genuine, which appears to have
been screen printed, and the washed out appearance of the fake which is
believed to have been produced by photo lithography.
Finally, note that the address impinges substantially into the image which
was actually printed on top of the existing address and the existing
return address. In almost all cases, when people addressed genuine
advertising covers they avoided writing over the printed image. Some
exceptions exist to this but is generally the case except when a automated
address plate may have been employed to send a mass mailing.
Also note, in common with most all of the productions from this factory,
that the letters are not as crisp as in the genuine examples.
Fake #2 - notes as previous fake apply here as well but in this
case the underlying genuine use is from Pittsburg rather than Erie. I
include this to illustrate another aspect of these fakes, the image has
been resized from 105 mm width of fake #1 to 85 mm width. The maker has
adeptly resized images to fit the size of the covers.
Additional fakes (click to enlarge):