A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Romania and Forgeries

Forgery 1903 Scott 164 40b dull green 
"Mail Coach leaving Post Office"
Into the Deep Blue
Without a doubt, the WW classical era collector will have some forgeries in their Romania collection.

Fortunately, there is help.

One of the best, if not the best, stamp websites focusing on a philatelic country is available for Romania.


There, one will find comparison illustrations and descriptions for genuine/forgery stamps.

Ah, if a site like this was available for all countries/major collecting areas with an emphasis on forgeries, what a wonderful "world" it would be for us naive lambs that do indeed collect the world. ;-)

Another helpful resource is Varro Tyler's book- "Focus on Forgeries c2000", which has 10 pages for Romania.

And presented here are some of the common forgeries in my own collection.

1903 "Mail Coach" Issue - Genuine
The 1903 eight stamp (Scott 158-165) "Mail Coach" issue was intended to help commemorate the opening of a new main Post Office in Bucharest.  The issue is on thin "tinted rose on face" paper, with perforations 14 X 13 1/2.

It is a lovely striking design.

1903 "Mail Coach" Issue - Forgeries
But Scott has a note: "Counterfeits are plentiful"- and, are they ever! ;-)

Varro Tyler states there are actually two forgeries- the common one shown here is called "Type I", and is apparently the work of the E. Cote printing firm in Paris. Tyler also comments that the Type I forgery is so common, it probably outnumbers genuines.

Let's take a closer look....

Genuine 1903 Scott 159 3b brown violet
"Mail Coach leaving Post Office"
There are three good signs that help distinguish a genuine.

Genuine: Horse Forefoot touches Whiffletree
The most obvious (to me) is the horse's forefoot touches the whiffletree in front in the genuines, which is not the case for the Type I forgeries.

Genuine: Rider's Hat Sign
On the rider's hat, there are two feathers. The left, longer, and lower feather is definitely attached to the hat, while the right shorter feather does not touch the hat or the lower feather (or just barely).

Genuine: Ball is attached at the top of left Stairway Rail
The left ball at the top of the stairs on the rail is definitely attached to the rail.

Forgery 1903 Scott 162 15b black
Now, let's look at the common Type I forgery.

Forgery: Horse Forefoot does not touch Whiffletree
For Type I, the forefoot and whiffletree do not touch. 

Forgery: Rider's Hat Sign
The feathers on the hat form a "V", and they do not (or just barely) touch the hat itself.

Forgery: Ball is floating above the left Stairway Rail
The left ball at the top of the stairs is not attached to the railing in the Type I forgery.

1932 Scott 428 16l blue green
"Mail Coach Type of 1903"
Be aware there there was also a 1932 Scott 428 16 l blue green stamp issued for the 30th anniversary of the opening of the new Post office in Bucharest.

It resembles a bit the description for the much scarcer cruder Romanian origin Type II forgery- " Horse forefoot and wiffletree touch each other, and the hat feathers resemble a "Y" that is firmly attached to the hat".

Genuine: 1906 Semi-postal "Queen Elizabeth Spinning" Issue
The 1906 four stamp semi-postals "Queen Spinning" issue (Scott B1-B4) is rather stunning in design.

Genuine: 1906 Scott B2 5b (+10b) light green
"Queen Elizabeth Spinning"
The insatiable packet trade needed stamps, and Belgium source forgeries were produced.

But the forgeries are easily distinguished- let's take a look.

Genuine: a Hyphen between "Romania" and "Posta"
The genuines have a hyphen between "Romania" and "Posta". In addition, the top portion of the "R" in the "Facere" script is small, and the top of the "S" and "T" touch the border.

Forgery: 1906 Scott B2 5b (+10b) light green
The forgeries have an obvious mistake. Do you see it?

Forgery: No Hyphen between "Romania" and "Posta"
There is no hyphen! And note the top portion of the "R" in the "Facere" script is large, and the top of the "S" and "T" do not touch the border.

Genuine: 1906 Semi-postal "Queen Elizabeth Weaving" Issue
The "Queen Weaving" semi-postals of 1906 (Scott B5-B8) are illustrated here.

Genuine: 1906 Scott B6 5b (+10b) blue green
"Queen Elizabeth Weaving"
This issue was also forged by the Belgium group.

Genuine: Right innermost vertical frame line
does not touch horizontal frame line below
Note the characteristic sign for the genuine illustrated here. In addition, the left inner vertical frame line continues in-between the laurel leaves.

Genuine: Face and Lattice
The latticework is finer and more complete.

Forgery: 1906 Scott B6 5b (+10b) blue green
Now, let's take a look at the forgery....

Forgery: Right innermost vertical frame line
does touch horizontal frame line below
Note the sign above. Also the left inner vertical frame line does not continue in-between the laurel leaves.

Forgery: Face and Lattice
The latticework is crude, and the face likewise.

Out of the Blue
I must admit I enjoy forgeries- especially the more common ones found distributed through the packet trade.

But it is only enjoyable if one can identify them. ;-)

Have a comment?


  1. Hi Jim,
    Well, I discovered that all but one of my 1903 "Mail Coach" issues are type I forgeries. I inherited this collection from my late cousin, who was said to have thought that he had a fabulous (but unintentionally assembled) WW collection of forgeries. Tracking these forgeries down will keep me busy for quite some time. Thanks, Jim, for such an informative site! Great fun.

    1. John - yes, those Mail Coach forgeries are quite ubiquitous. ,!!