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...

Monday, July 26, 2021

Fiume 1920-24- a closer look at forgeries

1920 Scott 98 5 l brown
"Gabrielle d"Annunzio"
Forgery: "O" in "Postale" left leaning oval
Into the Deep Blue

This is the second of two posts discussing Fiume forgeries for the 1840-1940 classic era WW collector, as most of us would like to know if our stamp is real or fake. !!

The post for Fiume-1919, as well as the introduction to the Fiume forgery topic, is here.

This post will cover select issues of Fiume 1920-24.

For the 1920-24 period, Fiume stamps were in high demand back in the day. To satisfy the packet trade, forgeries were produced, often in considerable quantities. 

Fortunately, today there are several resources (one book, two internet sites) at hand. (The information following is repeated from the Fiume-1919 post.)

The first is Varro Tyler's book "Focus on Forgeries" (2000), which  offers five pages of discernable findings for five key stamps between 1919-1923. (I recommend that all 1840-1940 classic era WW collectors obtain this book - it covers 321 genuine/forgery comparisons.)

The second major resource (link above) is the brainchild of Denmark's Morten Munck, who has been compiling from his website Stamp Forgeries of the World, images and descriptions of stamp forgeries for many stamp issuing countries/entities. This effort has been going on for a number of years, and he has a particular valuable contribution for Fiume. 

The third major resource (website link above) is relatively new, having only been published for less than a year, but  presents precise research into many classic stamp forgeries, with additional material being added weekly. This is the magnificent effort from Ron, of Canada, and it well needs checking out by the WW classical era collector for all of the counties that he has now posted. In fact, it was his recent post on the forgeries of Fiume that made me decide to revisit this topic.

OK, let's begin....

A closer look 1920-24
100 Centesimi = 1 Lira

1920 Scott 90 25c dark blue (Genuine)
Pale Buff Background; "Gabrielle d'Annunzio"
The typographic fourteen stamp "d'Annunzio" issue of September 12, 1920 was highly popular with collectors. It is a very striking design. CV ranges from $3 to $40+.

Two forgeries (at least) were produced: the most common probably from N. Imperato of Genoa, Italy.

"1920 Scott 90 25c dark blue" (Forgery)
"Gabrielle d'Annunzio"
The marker for the forgery are the decidedly left-leaning "O"'s and the "S". Let's take a closer look

Genuine (top) - Forgery

Genuine: The outer aspects of the "O"'s of "Franco-Bollo" are nearly round. (Note that, even in the genuine, there is a hint of left-leaning "O"'s  with some of the "O"'s; but that is because the inner white cut-outs for the "O"'s sometimes lean left.)

Forgery: The "O"'s of "Franco-Bollo" are oval and lean to the left. 

Genuine (top) - Forgery

Genuine: The outer aspects of the "O"'s of "Postale" are nearly round. The base of "S" in "Postale" points slightly downwards. 

Forgery: The "O"'s of  "Postale" are oval and lean to the left. The "S" of "Postale" has a base that curves upward.

To me, the "O" in "Postale" and the "S" sign are the easiest to evaluate for the genuine/forgery differences.

1920 Scott 87 10c carmine
"Gabrielle d'Annunzio"
There is a more sinister forgery, where the "O"'s look like the genuines. 

Look at the two eyebrow lines above the eye
The second forgery is reported as overall more crude, and the two eyebrow lines are blotchy. I think, though, my 10c carmine does not have the two eyebrow lines that are crude/blotchy enough, and so this is probably a genuine. ;-)

1921 Scott 135 10c carmine
1920 "d'Annunzio" issue overprinted
On February 2, 1921, a fourteen stamp "Governo Provvisrio" overprinted issue, using the 1920 "s'Annunzio" issue, was produced. There were three types of overprintings that were used. But fortunately, one doesn't have to become an expert on the three overprints to tell the difference between genuine/forgery. It turns out, (except for a rare 1 lira denomination), that if the underlying stamp is genuine, then the overprint is genuine, AND, if the underlying stamp is a forgery, then the overprint is a forgery. 

This stamp appears genuine, as the "O"'s are round, and the printing is not particularly crude.

"1921 Scott 134 5c green" (Forgery
"1920 "d'Annunzio" issue overprinted"
Rather than examine closely the overprint, check the underlying stamp. Here the "O" in "Postale" is oval and leaning left. This is a forgery. Then, we know, that the overlying overprint is also a forgery. ;-)

Here, the whole overprinted set is a forgery, as the underlying stamps show oval "O"'s. in "Postale".

1923 Scott 173 10c violet "Venetian ship"
Probable Genuine
The 1923 typographic issue (four designs on pale buff background) consists of twelve stamps, and CV runs between $2+ and $50+.

There are at least two forgeries. The easier one to pick up has an oval "O" in "POSTE", as opposed to the round "O" found in the genuine. I will show some of them later in this post.

The example above is a design found for the 5c, 10c, 15c denominations.

10c violet "Venetian Ship" Close-up
Cordage well defined (genuine)
The second forgery is definitely tougher to determine (judgement call). The "O" in "POSTE" is round, as in the genuine. 

The genuine will have good detail in the cordage, while the forgery will not. Cordage is defined as ropes or cords especially : the ropes in the rigging of a ship. The forgery may also be on rougher paper.

Here the cordage is well defined.

1923 Scott 172 5c blue green/ pale buff background
"Venetian Ship" (Forgery?)
OK, checking for forgeries: The "O" in "POSTE" is round, so not the "oval O" forgery.

But the cordage is not well defined. So is this the second type forgery? It certainly cannot be ruled out. 

1923 Scott 176 25c dark gray "Roman Arch"
The second 1923 issue design (20c, 25c, 30c) features a Roman Arch. 

Note in this example, the "O" in "POSTE" is round. This is not an "oval O" forgery.

1923 Scott 176 25c dark gray "Roman Arch"
Genuine Close-up
Characteristics of the genuine for this design include a gap in the horizontal line in the lower right portion of the arch. Do you see it? Also, the edge of the arch (left upper arch) is not interrupted.

In the "oval O" forgery, there is no gap in the horizontal line. 

For the forgery with the "round O", all the lines are cruder and thicker, the paper is rougher, and there is an interruption (break) at the edge of the arch (left upper arch). This forgery does have a gap in the horizontal line.

1923 Scott 176 25c dark gray "Roman Arch"
The third design for the 1923 issue ( 50c, 60c, 1 l) has an image of St. Vitus.

Note the "O" in "POSTE" is round, so this example is not the "oval O" forgery.

1923 Scott 176 25c dark gray "Roman Arch"
But the "round O" forgery, which is similar to the genuine, still needs to be ruled out. 

The genuines tend to have few, thin,  and interrupted drawn rays in front of the halo. 

This example is probably a genuine.

1923 Scott 180 1 lira dark blue "St. Vitus"
Is this example a genuine or a "round O" forgery? (This is clearly not an "oval O" forgery.)

1923 Scott 180 1 lira dark blue "St. Vitus"
Close-up Forgery?
Note the complete and well drawn rays in front of the halo. This is probably a forgery - at least it cannot be ruled out.

1923 Scott 181 2 l violet brown
"Rostral Column" Genuine
The last design (2 l, 3 l, 5 l) for the 1923 issue shows a Rostral Column. These denominations have higher CV ($20-$50+), so we may also encounter more forgeries.

1923 Scott 181 2 l violet brown
"Rostral Column" Genuine
Genuine characteristics include a round "O" in "POSTE", and a very small dot in the "A" of "TARS"

Of course, there also exists the "oval O" forgery. Besides the "oval O", the forgery has a larger triangle cut-out for the "A" in "TARS", as we will see in a bit. Also, it turns out the image is 1 mm shorter than the genuine.

I should mention there does exist a second forgery, on rougher paper, with a "round O" and a small dot for the "A" in "TARS": both characteristics of the genuine. However, this forgery is also 1 mm shorter, like the "oval O" forgery.

1924 Scott 191 60c red  (Genuine)
1923 Issue overprinted as shown
Also important to note that the 1923 issue (12 stamps) was overprinted (two different overprints) in 1924 to create two more 12 stamp issues. The good news regarding forgeries is, if the underlying stamp is a forgery, the overprint is also a forgery.

1924 Scott 193 2 l violet brown
Overprinted "REGNO d'ITALIA"
"Oval O" Forgery
Well, we have been talking about the "oval O" forgery for a long time without showing an actual example: Here it is on a 1924 overprinted issue.

Admittedly, one has to look carefully at the "O" to determine if it is an oval or round: It does not immediately jump out as obvious.

Another way to tell genuine vs forgery, at least for the 1924 Overprinted "REGNO d'ITALIA" issue, is to look at the overprint...

1924 "Regno" Overprint
Upper (genuine) vs Lower (forgery)
See the difference? Most obvious to me is the lifted upper horizontal arm of the "E" in the genuine compared to the straight upper arm of the "E" in the forgery. Also, the "R" shape is much different.

1924 Scott 194 3 l olive
Overprinted "REGNO d'ITALIA"
"Oval O" Forgery
Here is another example of the "oval O" forgery.

Let's compare a genuine "round O" with the "oval O"....

"round O" (genuine) vs "oval O" (forgery)
Note the "oval O' seems to be laying more on the left side and is clearly more oval. Note the "S" is a different shape also.

"oval O" Forgery close-up
Note "A" in "TARS" has a large triangular cut-out.
For the "oval O" forgeries of the "Rostral Column" design, note also the large triangular cut-out in the "A" of "TARS" The genuine only has a small dot in the "A".

1924 Scott 195  5 l yellow brown
"oval O' Forgery
Out of the Blue
I hope you found this review, intended for the general WW collector, helpful.

I think the forgeries that show "oval O's" are fairly easy to determine.

I must admit, I find the forgeries, where the "O" is now round, like the genuine, to be problematic to determine. It seems to be a bit of a judgement call. The paper is often "rough" for these forgeries, so that should be helpful. 

Comments appreciated!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

New Caledonia - Bud's Big Blue

A recent New Caledonia emblem

Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

I’ve commented in several Bud’s Big Blue posts that large numbers of overprinted stamps usually indicates that some form of social upheaval bedevils the country. New Caledonia is no exception to this rule. In the nineteen years following New Caledonia’s first stamps with identifying initials (1881-1900), thirteen different overprints were used. And there are many double surcharges, errors and anomalies. New Caledonia was the first colony to have its initials overprinted on French Colonies stamps

#6 red on straw, inverted

Fortunately, an excellent resource for identifying early New Caledonia surcharges can be found at https://www.rfrajola.com/NCE/nce.pdf.  At this site, Richard Frajola has published the Frederick Mayer collection of pre-1900 New Caledonia stamps. These overprints commonly turn up in feeder albums, so most world-wide collectors have at least few of them. My assortment is showing at the beginning of the supplement pages (below). 

#35 red on green, #37 carmine on rose (blue ovpt)

No doubt the main reason for the deluge of overprints was slow delivery of stamps from France. But social turmoil may also have contributed to the necessity for overprints -- New Caledonia was a prison colony for French convicts and political dissidents, indigenous people were largely excluded from the French economy and restricted to reservations, French ranchers’ cattle ate locals’ vegetable gardens, violence erupted, and European diseases decimated the native population. Collectors might wonder if their early New Caledonia stamps franked a prisoner’s mail to France.

From 1859 through 1881, New Caledonia used French Colonies stamps without overprints, as was the case in other colonies. Stamps cancelled in New Caledonia, however, can sometimes be identified by a distinctive dot matrix lozenge authorized for Nouméa, New Caledonia’s capital and largest city. Scott’s catalog numbers these with an “A” prefix. I located my collection of Nouméa cancels in Big Blue’s French Colonies pages rather than with the New Caledonia supplements. Here are four examples; the first three show the dot matrix while the fourth has a standard circular cancel

A7 20c blue on bluish, A19 1c olive green on pale blue,
 A23 30c brown on yellowish, A54 25c black on rose

Scott’s Catalog makes an exception for the first New Caledonia stamp -- it’s an 1859 local issue rather than an officially authorized stamp. Apparently, it was in use only a short while, then, when the French Colonies stamps became available, it was discontinued. According to comments in the Mayer collection (cited above), it was carved by a Colonial French Marine sergeant on a stone plate of 50 stamps, each being separately drawn. Since each of the 50 originals is different, forgeries, which abound, are difficult to detect. These local stamps were intended for service between Nouméa and Canala, an outlying town. A total of 1500 stamps were printed. Of the two in my collection, the first may be authentic while the second is an exceptionally crude imitation. The image is meant to be Napoleon III.

#1s? Maybe/Unlikely.

After 1920, New Caledonia, like most French colonies, was issued stamps of distinctive design. The acclaimed artist André Delzers engraved many of these, but they lack the inspiration, nuances, and details of the stamps he designed for France. Compare, for instance, these four, all by Delzers:

NC #s 152 and 169, France #s 332 and B100

The emblem at the top of this post employs some New Caledonia symbols that classical era stamps largely avoided -- the nautilus shell, a Kanak spear or flèche faîtière (often used to decorate roofs of chiefs’ houses), and a tall native pine tree. These had to wait until the 1950s for their philatelic debut. A flèche faîtière appears on a 2007 New Caledonia stamp.

Census: 125 in BB spaces, 101 on supplement pages.

Jim's Observations

Wow, I learn something from Bud's observations every time!

New Caledonia, 750 miles east of Australia in the southwest Pacific Ocean, has been a formal possession of France since 1853. But, it was named by the British Captain James Cook in 1774, as the land reminded him of Scotland. The indigenous population was the Kanak society, which is clan and chief based, and had the fearsome reputation of eating their enemies in former years.The French established a penal colony, where some 22,000 prisoners were sent through 1897. Nickel was discovered in 1864, and New Caledonia has today 25% of the known nickel resources in the world.

Stamps were introduced in 1859 with a portrait of Napoleon III. One will note the stamps often are inscribed "Nouvelle Caledonie et Dependances". The Dependencies are the Loyalty Islands, Isle of Pines, Huon Islands, and Chesterfield Islands.

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Comments appreciated!