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...

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Chad - a closer look

1924 Scott 33 35c indigo & dull rose
"Bakalois Woman"
Stamps of 1922 Chad Issue Overprinted in Various Colors
Into the Deep Blue
Chad became a separate French colony in 1920, and lasted 14 years until 1934, when it was incorporated into French Equatorial Africa.

Chad was one of my earlier country blog posts (June, 2011), and, while heavy on information, only shows several stamp images (and pics at that, not scans ;-).

Chad Blog Post & BB Checklist

And so, to rectify, here following are a discussion showing stamp images of Chad. I should mention, though, that Chad by itself only had a postage due issue produced in 1930. The other issues for the colony are mostly overprinted types (change in colors) from the 1907-17 Middle Congo issues.

A closer look
100 Centimes = 1 Franc
1922 Scott 5 10c deep green & gray green "Leopard"
Types of Middle Congo, 1907-17, Overprinted
The 1922 eighteen stamp first issue for Chad consisted of an overprint ("TCHAD"), and typographic "types" of the 1907-17 Middle Congo issue (actually up to 1922). By "types", we mean a change in color. In this case, the 10c (shown above) is deep green & gray green for Chad, while the Middle Congo 10c stamps (issued in 1922) are carmine & blue, and deep green & blue green respectively.

What does that mean for the collector? Well, it means it would be much more difficult to counterfeit these overprinted stamps. Simply adding a forgery overprint to Middle Congo stamps will not work. The color scheme for Chad stamps has also been changed. !! And this color change is true for other French colonies that are overprinted as well. 

1922 Scott 18 5fr indigo & olive brown
"Coconut Grove"
Types of Middle Congo, 1907-17, Overprinted
There are actually three designs for the eighteen stamp 1922 Chad issue. The "Leopard" design is used for the lower denominations, the "Bakalois Woman" design (shown elsewhere in this post, but not for this issue) for the intermediate denominations, and the "Coconut Grove" design for the higher denominations.

CV for the issue ranges from <$1 to $20+. "Used" is valued at the same or a bit higher than "Unused".

1924 Scott 28 20c green & violet "Leopard"
Stamps of 1922 Chad Issue Overprinted in Various Colors
The extensive thirty two stamp 1924-33 issue consisted of adding the overprint "Afrique Equatoriale Francaise" (in various colors) to the 1922 Chad issue, as well as adding new denominations.

1925 Scott 31 30c gray & blue (red overprint)
"Bakalois Woman"
Stamps of 1922 Chad Issue Overprinted in Various Colors
For the 30c denomination, there were three stamp issues. The 30c rose & pale rose was issued in 1924, and had the same color scheme as the 1922 Chad 30c issue. In 1925, a 30c gray & blue (red overprint) was issued (shown above). And in 1927, a 30c dark green & green example was issued.

Was all these stamps necessary? I suspect these issues with their many stamps were a bit of a cash cow for the French postal authorities.

1925 Scott 40 75c deep blue & light blue (red overprint)
"Bakalois Woman"
Stamps of 1922 Chad Issue Overprinted in Various Colors
There were also three color schemes (three stamp issues) for the 75c denomination.  Shown is the deep blue & light blue of 1925 (The others were issued in 1924 & 1928). For the deep blue & light blue, be on the lookout for the "TCHAD" overprint omitted (CV $260).

1924 Scott 43 1fr indigo & salmon "Coconut Grove"
Stamps of 1922 Chad Issue Overprinted in Various Colors
CV for the thirty two stamp 1924-33 issue ranges from <$1 to $40+, with "Used" valued at a little more.

1925 Scott 53 85c on 1fr brown & olive green
"Coconut Grove"
Types of 1922 Overprinted like Nos. 29-50 
and Surcharged with New Values
Finally, Between 1924-27, the 1922 "types" were surcharged on nine stamps.

In this case, 85c was surcharged on a 1f brown & olive green. Actually, this color scheme is new, and not used on any previous Chad stamp.

1926 Scott 55 1.25fr on 1fr dark blue & ultramarine (red surcharge)
"Coconut Grove"
Types of 1922 Overprinted like Nos. 29-50 
and Surcharged with New Values
I am showing these stamps in particular because they are a riot of color and overprints. !! And again, the underlying color scheme (dark blue & ultramarine) was not used for a prior 1fr denomination.

This is a "new" stamp in all respects. ;-)

1927 Scott 59 20fr on 5fr violet & vermilion
"Coconut Grove"
Types of 1922 Overprinted like Nos. 29-50 
and Surcharged with New Values
CV for the surcharged 1924-27 nine stamps range from <$1 to $20+.

1928 Scott J2 10c gray brown
Postage Due Stamps of France Overprinted
Not all overprinted Chad stamps are based from the Middle Congo types. Here, eleven postage due stamps from France were overprinted as shown in 1928.  CV is <$1-$5+.

1930 Scott J13 10c dark red & brown "Huts"
This is the only issue proper for Chad during 1922-1933 - produced in 1930. Nice design! There is also a "Canoe" design for the higher denominations (not shown). CV is <$1 - $30+.

1924 Scott 48 2fr indigo & violet "Coconut Grove"
Stamps of 1922 Chad Issue Overprinted in Various Colors
Out of the Blue
I hope you enjoyed the French splash of color for these issues!

Chad - Bud's Big Blue

Comments appreciated!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Maldive Islands - Bud's Big Blue

1909 Scott 9 5c red violet  
"Minaret of Juma Mosque, near Malé
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

It’s not a silo. It doesn’t store crude for an oil refinery, nor fresh water for a nation of thirsty islands. And it’s not a colossal wedding cake that Gulliver discovered in Brobdingnag, the fictional land of giants (Gulliver’s Travels, 1726), although it appears to have Brobdingnagian dimensions.

It’s the coral stone minaret built in 1675 by Ibrahim Iskandar I in Malé, the capital of the Maldives, following his pilgrimage to Mecca. The minaret was meant to resemble those at Mecca’s gate. It adjoins a mosque, also built of interlocking coral stone, and a 17th century cemetery with elaborately carved tombstones and mausoleums, the burial site for sultans and other Maldivian notables. Ibrahim’s minaret doesn’t look quite so formidable in the postcard shown below. It’s only about 50 feet tall, counting the top layer of the cake (my estimate).

The Old Friday (Juma) Mosque and Minaret, Malé

All Big Blue spaces for The Maldives are reserved for stamps showing the minaret. I did, however, sneak an earlier King Edward into a blank space.

The postcard is itself collectable, being a “Dear Doctor” advertisement for a new medicine, in this case Pentothal Sodium, an anti-malaria drug, aka “truth serum” in spy novels and movies of the 1950s and 60s. The Abbot pharmaceutical company sent these postcards to physicians from exotic countries to promote use of their wares. If you’re interested in praiseworthy junk mail, check out Malaria Philatelists International, a society devoted to Malaria-related stamps, and “The ‘Dear Doctor' Postcard Collector Club."

 Message side (1)

Census: 13 in BB spaces, 1 tip-in.

(1) Used by permission of Malaria Philatelists International.

Jim's Observations
The Maldives archipelago of some 1200 islands (192 inhabited)  is located in the Indian Ocean 400 miles from Ceylon. The atolls are spread out over 35,000 sq miles (90,000 sq km), with an average ground level of 5 feet, the highest point at 8 feet. As one can imagine, tsunamis, and predictions of higher ocean levels are of ongoing concern.

The Maldives were originally explored by the Portuguese in the 15th century, then by the Dutch in the 17th century. But in 1887, the Sultan of the Maldives signed an agreement with the British Ceylon Governor that made the territory a British Protectorate as a dependency of Ceylon, albeit with internal self-government.

Maldives Blog Post & BB Checklist

Page 1



Comments appreciated!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Bud's League of Nations Album: Post-War Plebiscites and Early League of Nations Propaganda, Pro and Anti 1919-1920

League of Nations Album
3. Post-War Plebiscites and Early League of Nations Propaganda, Pro and Anti

Swiss Pro-League propaganda postcard

This post displays propaganda stamps and postcards issued during the time the League of Nation was being organized, 1919-20. All items shown stem from the decisions made by the Paris Peace Conference and all relate to the League, but none are directly League-authorized.

During WWI, President Wilson called for "peace without victory" at the conclusion of hostilities, as elaborated in his "Fourteen Points" speech to the US Congress in 1918. Points V through XIII of the speech dealt with "national self-determination." Wilson wanted the people of each nation to determine, by popular vote (plebiscite or referendum), how and by whom they would be governed. Some nations had plebiscites immediately following the War, before the League was up and running; after then, the League administered plebiscites directly. The philatelic upshot was many new and overprinted stamps, along with postal stationary and Cinderellas, promoting desired plebiscite outcomes – a specialization for some stamp collectors.

An architect’s fantasy for the future League offices in Geneva:
the Capital of the World.

The propaganda stamps issued for two early post-war plebiscites - Carinthia and Allenstein - are shown below. The 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain (with Austria) was meant to settle the border question for Carinthia where many Slovenians lived, but it failed. So, hoping to avoid more hostilities, the Allied victors opted for a plebiscite. Both Austria and newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) issued semi-postal overprints aimed to influence the outcome in their direction. These sets continue to be plentiful and inexpensive today, largely because far more stamps were issued than were actually used during the time when they might have had propaganda value.

The Austrian semi-postals sold at three times face value and were intended not only for use in Carinthia, as is sometimes supposed, but for general use throughout Austria. The vote went in favor of Austria and against Yugoslavia.  Since the plebiscite, Carinthia, with a significant minority Slovene population, has continued as a federal state of the Austrian Republic.

Austrian overprints, 1920

Yugoslavia issued fewer semi-postal stamps but, as in Austrian, they sold at three times face value. Six stamps were issued -- all remarkable art nouveau overprints on the newspaper stamp of 1919. The plebiscite was to be held first in south Carinthia where most Slovenians lived, then in the north three weeks later, but only if the south had voted to join Yugoslavia. A 95 percent turnout voted: 59 percent for Austria and 41percent for Yugoslavia. So, the second vote never took place.

Yugoslavia overprints, 1920

The non-postal propaganda produced on both sides, funded in part by the sale of the semi-postal stamps, grew increasingly hostile and, in Yugoslavia, became bitterly anti-Semitic.

 I don't care about old failed Austria ...
I rather have a young, rich Yugoslavia!

Mother, don't vote for Yugoslavia,
because I have to go to war for King Peter

Olsztyn/Allenstein Plebiscite favor cancel page

Olsztyn/Allenstein oval overprint with”TRAITÉ DE VERSAILLES ART. 94 et 95”

In addition to Carinthia and to East Germany (Allenstein), territorial plebiscites were held in Schleswig, Upper Silesia, Marienwerder, Memel, and Saar.

Of all nations, Switzerland, the future home of the League, was most prolific and enthusiastic in their early pro-League propaganda, as the following examples show:

Examples of Swiss pro-league enthusiasm
The United States, caught in a wave of post-war nativism, was less enthusiastic. President Wilson was unable to stop the Repubican Congress’s blocking League membership for the US, a decision that provoked immediate derisive criticism in  Europe and may have eventually led to WW II.

Drawn by Leonard Ravenhill
 Punch (10 December 1919)

The bridge did eventually collapse.

Comments appreciated!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Romania 1903 Second Post House Issue: Genuine or Forgery?

Romania 1903 Scott 166 15b black
"King Carol I and Facade of New Post Office"
Genuine - Forgery
Into the Deep Blue
When I visited Bud last October, we took a trip to his favorite stamp dealer. Within the myriad stock, I found the Romania 1903 seven stamp Second Post House Issue, which celebrated the new Post Office in Bucharest.  Believing I did not have this set in my collection (which turned out right), I acquired the stamps with Bud's assistance.  (Thanks Bud!)

Now, should I be nervous?

Forgery 1903 Scott 164 40b dull green 
"Mail Coach leaving Post Office"
Well, yes. !!!

Romania's preceding 1903 issue, the First Post House eight stamp set, also issued to celebrate the new Post Office in Bucharest, is rife with forgeries. !!!

For a deep dive into the 1903 First Post House set: genuine vs forgeries, see my post on this.

Now Scott is reassuring (Ha!) by stating that, with the first 1903 set "Counterfeits are plentiful", while with the second set, "Counterfeits exist". I take that to mean that, although counterfeits exist for the second set, they perhaps are not as numerous as the first set. Or perhaps that is wishful thinking?

At any rate, I checked my newly acquired stamps for forgery signs at the outstanding  Romaniastamps web site, and they seemed to be genuine. The forgery section is based on Billigs Handbook of Forgeries (Fritz Billig & Otto Stiedl), which of course is a formidable, albeit a bit dated source. By that I mean it was difficult for me to interpret all of the signs for genuine/forgeries presented because of the darkish black & white scans from the Billigs Handbook.

I was still a little uncomfortable with my identification, and thought if I could obtain some forgeries to compare, perhaps I could advance the knowledge state.

I checked the APS stamp store site, and among three what appeared to be genuine sets for sale, was a fourth set that appeared counterfeit to me. It was offered for not too much, and in the interest of advancing the genuine/forgery comparison, I acquired it. ;-)

(Note: I think the APS store is a great place to obtain stamps from fellow APS collectors and dealers. And, one has the option to return the stamps for a refund if one is unhappy. The ratio of wheat to chaff is high at the APS store because of the generally good knowledge base of members. But there is still some "chaff" there, as evidenced by my obtaining counterfeits. In this case, I had full knowledge in what I was doing.)

So let's begin....

The following observations derive from information from the illustrated Billigs Handbook of Forgeries at the Romaniastamps web site (Thanks Romaniastamps!) and my own observations. My observations will be what I can see as differences comparing my genuines with my forgeries. I should say that I believe there are several types of forgeries, so my comments will only be valid for the particular set of forgeries I have.

Romania 1903 Scott 166 15b black (Genuine)
"King Carol I and Facade of New Post Office"
Engraved; Perf 13.5 X 14; Thick Toned paper
There are four characteristics of the genuines that need to be noted right at the start.

a) Perforation is 13.5 X 14 for genuines
In fact, all of my "genuines" had 13.5 X 14 perforations. OTOH, six of my seven counterfeits DID NOT have this perforation. The Billig states that if a stamp does not have 13.5 X 14 Perf, it is a counterfeit. !!

b) Engraved
Scott states that the Second Post House Issue is engraved. (The First Post House Issue is not: by presumption, typographic.) I was actually skeptical of this claim, as the stamp issue (to me) appears like it could be typographic or lithographic. But I applied the aluminum foil - rubbing over with an eraser while the stamp is covered with the foil "test", and I could spot raises ridges in the foil. So the genuine issue is indeed engraved.

c) Thick toned paper
Scott states the issue is on "thick toned paper", and indeed the paper does seem so for the genuines. OTOH, the counterfeits tend to be on white, a bit less thick, paper.

d) Not watermarked
Yes, both the first and second Post House issues are on unwatermarked paper. What that means is watermarking is no help when distinguishing genuines from counterfeits.

Romania 1903 Scott 166 15b black 
The 15b forgery is on whiter paper, definitely not toned paper. The "foil" test was inconclusive - no ridging noted. Still. I thought at first maybe it is possible that the forgeries were engraved. I thought, as the forgery follows the genuine quite closely in detail for the most part, was that the forgery came from old plates that were touched up in areas. In fact, after reviewing close-ups of the genuine/forgery stamps, I think the forgeries are probably lithographic.

The 15b black was actually the only counterfeit that measured 13.5 X 14, like the genuines.

Let's look a little closer at the face (King Carol I) that is portrayed......

Genuine (top); Forgery (bottom)
What can we see with this close-up?

a) How crude the forgery "face" is drawn! The fine line drawing for the face in the genuine (engraved) is turned into crude horizontal lines in the forgery (lithographic?). Actually, the whole set of forgeries I have, show this darker "crude face" look, which is quite distinguishable from the delicate genuine portrait. This is the reason I think there are more than one forgery type. The Billig Handbook only shows one forgery example of a "crude face"; the other forgery "face" examples, the face look much more like the genuines.

b) Take a look at the letters surrounding the King: "carol.I.rece.al.romaniei." For the genuine, many letters are shaded in, while the forgery does not have any shading of the letters.

c) Take a look at the "flower" arabesques on either side ( 9 & 3 o'clock) of the face medallion. There are more markings inside the "flowers" for the forgery. I thought maybe I just had some worn plate genuines that didn't show all the markings. But the genuines shown at the Romaniastamps webside show the same decrease in markings. So, at least for these forgeries, look for increased markings inside the "flowers" as a sign of them indeed being likely forgeries.

d) Note the circular dotted line between the head and the letters? The dotted line (going counter-clockwise) intersects the neck above the bust in the genuine, while the circle intersects at the lower tip of the bust in the forgery.

Let's look at the right upper corner "15" tablet area...

Right Upper corner of stamp "15" tablet
genuine (top), forgery (bottom)
Often, examining the number denomination area of the stamps (both upper corners) is helpful to distinguish genuines from forgeries.

a) Note the bottom of the "1" is drawn much closer to the "flower" ("flower" located in the left lower section of the tablet) for the genuine compared to the forgery.

b) The lower tip of the "5" is curled in facing the "5" in the genuine, while the forgery has the lower tip of the "5" more straight. 

c) The top of the "5" is curved in the genuine, while more flat in the forgery.

d) The "1" and the "5" are fairly even in height in the genuine, while the "5" appears higher than the "1" in this forgery. (Of interest, the Billig Handbook scan shows an example where the "1" is higher than the "5" for their forgery. An example of there being at least two forgery types?)

e) The horizontal lines drawn just to the left of the tablet number box - look at the length. They are longer in the genuine, and shorter in the forgery.

f) Finally, look at the chain ornaments in the frame: specifically the right upper corner chain link. In this case, for the genuine, the chain link is shaped as an "o" rather than an "8". For the forgery, the link is attached to others forming three loops. This "chain link" sign works to distinguish the 15b, 25b, 40b & 50b & 5L. But,for the 1L & 2 1/2L, the forgery also has an "o", and therefore looks similar to the genuine.

Romania 1903 Scott 167 25b blue
"King Carol I and Facade of New Post Office"
Genuine - Forgery
From first appearances, the 25b forgery is on whiter paper, and the color is a brighter blue.

Also, the perfs for the genuine are 13.5 X 14, while this 25b forgery example is 13.5 X 13. (Important to measure Perfs:  if not 13.5 X 14, then a forgery. !!)

1903 Scott 167 25b blue
A quick glance tells me that this appears to be good medallion image.

 1903 Scott 167 25b blue
That crude head and hair says forgery.

Note the bottom tip curl of the "5" (in both upper corners) points up (Forgery) rather than curl in (Genuine).

And there is two more signs that sorts out forgeries and genuines...

In the ROMANIA tablet and script, look for...
Genuine (top); Forgery (bottom)

a) See the small vertical line under the second leg of "R" in ROMANIA in the genuine? This small dot or vertical line is attached to the horizontal line below ROMANIA. You will note that my forgery does not have this dot or line. 

According to the Billig Handbook, all originals have this small line. If it is not there, the stamp is a forgery. If it is there, it could very well be a genuine.  But you should check other signs to rule out a type of forgery.

All of my genuines have this line, while none of my forgeries have it.

b) Note the "O" for both the genuine and forgery? The Forgery tends to have a rounder "O" on the inside.

1903 Scott 168 40b gray green
Genuine - Forgery
Note the colors are quite different: the genuine appears green or yellow green on a gray (toned) background, while the forgery is blue green.

The genuine has a Perf of 13.5 X 14, while the forgery is 13.5 X 13.5.

1903 Scott 168 40b gray green
The face appears relatively delicate and nuanced.

1903 Scott 168 40b gray green
The face appears rough with a very odd hair line.

Medallion and "Flower" close-up
Genuine (top); Forgery (Bottom)
The masked bandit on the forgery! Note the "Flowers" at 9 & 3 o'clock on either side of the medallion: The forgery actually has more markings than the genuine.

Right upper corner: "40" tablet close-up
Genuine (top); Forgery (Bottom)
The "0" of "40" for the genuine is closer to the right vertical dotted line in the tablet space compared to the forgery. Note how the genuine "40" is marked with thin horizontal lines inside the numbers, while the forgery is infilled with color in a crude way.

1903 Scott 169 50b orange
Genuine - Forgery
The Genuine is Perf 13.5 X 14, while the Forgery is 13 X 13.5. 

1903 Scott 169 50b orange
The genuine has a normal looking head. Also note the right upper corner "5" of "50" is close to the right (3 o'clock) flower.

1903 Scott 169 50b orange
Note the crude "masked bandit" look. The "5" of "50" in the upper right corner is farther from the right (3 o'clock) flower. The color to me is more red-orange.

Another sign....

Left side: Arabesque area
Genuine (top); Forgery (Bottom) 
The Billig Handbook Forgery scans for this issue show a number of the signs have to do with subtle markings within the arabesque drawings for the genuine that are not seen for the forgery. The problem is the Billig scans are not sensitive enough or too dark to pick up these subtle markings, and hence leads to confusion (at least for me). Or it is unclear which subtle marking the handbook is trying to point out.

So here (in high definition!) is the left edge of the arabesque with several subtle markings seen for the genuine, that are not present in the forgery. Do you see them? I see at least three markings inside the arabesque that are not present in the forgery. One is in the end of the bulb adjacent to the frame, and two more are just to the right in the next arabesque drawing, including a line that divides that arabesque area. I'm sure there are more in other portions of the arabesque.

One can decide which subtle marking one wants to look for, if one wishes. In the big picture though, there are easier ways to determine Genuine from Forgery that doesn't require a high definition scan. I think if one is dealing with a particular vexing genuine/forgery, then these subtle signs might come into play. Otherwise, just go for the big and obvious differences! ;-)

1903 Scott 170 1L dark brown
Genuine - Forgery
The genuine is dark brown, while the forgery is blackish, and on whiter paper.

The Perf is 13.5 X 14 for the genuine, while the forgery is 13.5 X 13.5.

1903 Scott 170 1L dark brown
The head is fine featured.

I want to point out something in the design that might have escaped your attention.

1903 Scott 170 close-up: "Mail Coach Leaving PO"
The first 1903 Post House issue features,as a design, "Mail Coach leaving PO".  (There is an illustrative example at the beginning of this post.) Well, guess what? The second 1903 Post House issue repeats that motif in miniature! Cool!

The Head is crudely portrayed.

Let's look at the right upper corner 1 L tablet area...

Right upper corner Tablet area
Genuine (top); Forgery (bottom)
The "1" is closer to the flower in the genuine compared to the forgery. The forgery "L" is higher than the "1", while, for the genuine, they are of the same height.

Now note that the chain link in the right upper corner (within the frame) appears the same for the 1 L denomination.  Recall what I said earlier...

"f) Finally, look at the chain ornaments in the frame: specifically the right upper corner chain link. In this case, for the genuine, the chain link is shaped as an "o" rather than an "8". For the forgery, the link is attached to others forming three loops. This "chain link" sign works to distinguish the 15b, 25b, 40b & 50b & 5L. But,for the 1L & 2 1/2L, the forgery also has an "o", and therefore looks similar to the genuine."

Also note, as I mentioned earlier, that the horizontal lines just to the west of the 1 L tablet space is longer for the genuine, and shorter for the forgery.

And the flower has more markings inside, on the forgery, as also mentioned earlier.

1903 Scott 171 2 L dull red
Genuine - Forgery
The color is dull red for the genuine, while red on whiter paper on the forgery.

The Perf is 13.5 X 14 for the genuine, and 13.5 X 13.5 for the forgery.

1903 Scott 171 2 L dull red
The head is noble.

1903 Scott 171 2 L dull red
The head is dark and crude.

Another sign...

Winged structure (Bird? Bicycle? Mercury?)
Genuine (Top); Forgery (Bottom)
I'm not sure what this winged structure is, but there are obvious differences between the genuine and forgery. One thing that stands out is the genuine has shading applied on the lower wings, while the forgery has none.

1903 Scott 172 5 L dull violet
This is certainly a dull violet color, and the Perf is correct (13.5 X 14). 

I said earlier that I did not have this seven stamp 1903 Second Post House issue in my collection when I visited Bud and spied this set among the dealer stock. On the other hand, I've seen plenty of the 1903 First Post House issue. Why is that? I think the second issue is much more scarce than the first issue.That is reflected in the set CV: $210+ (used)- $380+ (unused) versus $40+ (used)- $110+ (unused). And with the Second Post issue, much of the value is in the 5 L dull violet ($160 unused).

I should mention that a "red violet" color is a minor number, and less expensive ($80 unused).

1903 Scott 172 5 L 
My forgery of the 5 L is strong violet color. This stamp has a Perf of 13 X 13.5, which marks it as indeed a forgery.

Let's look closer at the 5 L tablet area...

Right corner 5 L tablet area
Genuine (top); Forgery (Bottom)
What jumps out dramatically is how much larger the "L" is for the forgery! In fact, the Billigs Forgery Handbook for Romania shows two different type forgeries: this one with the rough face and large "L", and another one which looks similar to the genuine (smaller "L").

1903 Scott 172 5l dull violet
Genuine - Forgery
Out of the Blue
OK, I've shown the "rough face" forgeries versus what I believe are genuine stamps. Hopefully, you enjoyed seeing the differences. As I cautioned earlier, my comments are only valid for the particular set of forgeries I have.

Unfortunately, based on the notes from the Billig Forgery handbook, I believe there are other forgeries out there. 

Comments appreciated!