Thursday, 1 September 2016

An introduction to forgeries of the low values of the 1889-1892 P&R issue


The release of this issue of postage and revenue stamps allowed the use of postage stamps for the payment of revenue duties in North Borneo. They were engraved by Thomas McDonald and printed by Blades, East & Blades in London. Most of the values were likely to have been printed over a short period of time initially but different values were officially released at different times over a period of three years.
They were ordered in 1887 when it was realised that the 1886 issue did not have the right inscription to include use for revenue purposes. The printing was likely to be completed by 1888 but not sent to North Borneo until 1889. In a famous trial involving John Stewart Lowden and Henry Revell Harmer in 1909, this was consistently referred to as the 1887 issue including the engraver Thomas McDonald himself.  
It was the first mass produced issue that was CTO with 14 bars and sold on cheaply to collectors. So the market was and still is flooded with many of these CTO stamps. Somehow forgers also decided to mass produced this issue even though it was impossible to sell them on other than very cheaply.
Most general and specialised collectors would have some of these CTO and forged stamps in their collection. The study of the various forgeries and how to differentiate between them is a very interesting exercise. I am also surprised that some of the forgeries are not that common. Not all forgeries are undesirable. A Sperati example of this issue, if it ever exists, would be worth a tidy sum of money. As shown next week, a corrected example of the half cent forgery is very well worth looking for.
There were hand painted essays, die proofs, composite proofs and colour trials of these stamps which I shall not mention further as I do not have any of them. There were also different printings and up to five different transfers per stamp which can be useful for plating purposes.


These are crude and common forgeries in various perforation and has been described as "crude multiperfs". The printing is not clear and the ink seems to be lumpy. Unfortunately, ebayers still buy them as genuine. It is not clear what their origins were. They were first noticed in 1922. They remind me of the Japanese Kamigata forgeries but those originated from the early 20th century. Some of them have  a "postmark" and occasionally they are imperf. 


When they are singly imperf like this, you can almost be certain that they are forgeries from Rene Carame or Francois Founier. Genuine stamps are also available as imperfs but they are normally in pairs. I am still not clear how one differentiates between a Fournier and a Carame. That would something to write about at a future date.


These imperf pairs are all forgeries. It is more likely to be authentic when these imperf pairs have normal looking bar cancellations.

Finally, forgeries are sometimes cancelled with these crude thick bar cancels, supposedly to confuse them with the Labuan 9 bar cancellation but they are quite different. They are said to have originated from Carame (Selsor, Sarawak Specialist Society). In the next few weeks, I can also show forged bar cancels which are very similar to the genuine 14 bar cancellations. Some also have unclear cds cancels but if they are the double ring type, then they are most certainly fakes.




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