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...

Friday, July 9, 2021

Fiume 1919 - a closer look at forgeries

1919 Scott 43 10cor olive green 
"Sailor Raising Italian Flag at Fiume"
This Forgery: Only found on 10 corona denomination for Issue
Into the Deep Blue

The legionnaires, under the Italian nationalist poet Gabriele d'Annunzio, seized control of this city on the Adriatic Sea in September, 1919.

Read more about the history at...

And read Bud's post on the "frightful little gnome" here...

The reality is that, between 1919-1924, 262 stamps were issued. !!  Many of them offer challenges to the WW collector - because of overprint forgeries of the 1918 issue on Hungarian stamps, and because of forgeries generated in the 1920s for the packet trade.

In fact, my original post on Fiume (first link above) in 2011 was unknowingly salted with at least two forgery illustrations. I plead that I didn't know any better. ;-)

But help is now at hand.

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.

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.

Fiume 1919 - a closer look at the forgeries
100 Filler = 1 Korona
100 Centesimi = 1 Corona (1919)
100 Centesimi = 1 Lira

So how will I approach the topic of forgeries for Fiume, when as Scott says " Collectors should be aware that collections sold "as is" should be assumed to consist of mostly forged stamps. Education plus working with knowledgeable dealers is mandatory in this collecting area. More valuable stamps should be expertized."

I will approach this topic by showing some of the more common forgeries which are detectable without too much difficulty. That is for the "Education" part of the Scott quote above. And I will warn the reader when forgery detection becomes too subtle, and when experts should be called in. !! 

I will divide the topic into two posts: This one will look at the 1919 issues (and a little of the 1920 issues). The next post will examine the 1920 issues and beyond. Let's begin...

1918 Scott 3 2f brown orange (OP Forgery)
Typographed overprint on Hungarian Stamps of 1916-18
Beginning December 2, 1918, the overprinted stamps only being produced for three weeks, and with the issue being unannounced, the first issue of Fiume (2 printing plates, 6 handstamps) had limited supply. 

And huge demand by collectors.

It was easy for enterprising types to obtain sheets of genuine 1916-18 Hungarian stamps, and go into the forgery business by applying a simple "Fiume" overprint.

1918 Scott 21 10f scarlet (probable OP Forgery)
Typographed Overprint on 1918 Hungarian Stamp
There are both typographic overprints (Scott 1A, 1-23), and handstamp overprints (Scott 3a-23a). CV's are generally higher for handstamp OP specimens ($17+ - $175) than for typographic OP specimens ($2+-$60), but there are typographic exceptions that are rare ($7000-$11000). I think, though, the CVs, in general,  are artificially low in the catalogue for these comparatively uncommon genuine specimens because of the overwhelming need to identify and reject the extensive forgeries.

Most collectors have given up. I know I have. 

If you want to read more about this unfortunate situation, here it is....

Two Typographic Overprints
Probable Forgeries
"Forgery" signs (upper): "Serifs point in the wrong direction and tend to be rounded not sharp;
The right side of the U is too thick; The middle of the M is too low and not pointed"

"Genuine" signs (lower): The Serifs tend to be pointed and sharp, the left side of "U" is thicker, the middle of the  "M" is pointed, and not too low. Overall, though, I suspect the print is too thin for a genuine.

So, Dear Reader, I do not recommend that you spend time trying to figure out genuine from forgery overprints.....unless you really want to get down into the genuine/forgery weeds...

Then, study intently...

1919 Scott 27 2c dull blue "Italy"
The new "city-state" of Fiume first lithographic issue proper of 1919, consisting of seventeen stamps and four designs, was quite attractive to collectors. 

CVs for the issue range from $1+ to $60+.

The 2c, 3c & 5c denominations shared this metaphorical "Italy" design.

Scott now divides the issue based on paper: (A) Jan-Feb printings- grayish, porous paper, sheets of 70 (minor number); (B) March printings-translucent or semi-translucent good quality white paper, sheets of 70 (minor number); (C) April printings-good quality medium white paper, plain and opaque, sometimes grayish or yellowish, sheets of 100 (major number). 

919 Scott 27 2c dull blue "Italy"
Genuine Close-up
Naturally, with the popularity of this lithographic issue with collectors, large quantities were produced for the packet trade.

For the genuine "Italy" design, the star is a proper regular five-point, and the length of the middle horizontal arm of "E" in FIUME is only slightly shorter than the other arms..

1919 Scott 27 2c dull blue "Italy"
The forgery is cruder in appearance.

1919 Scott 27 2c dull blue "Italy"
Forgery close-up
The five point star is irregular and narrower in appearance. The middle horizontal arm of "E" in Fiume is much shorter in length.

1919 Scott 28 3c gray brown "Italy"
Here is the 3c gray brown genuine...

1919 Scott 28 3c gray brown "Italy"
Note the cruder appearance, the squashed five point star, and the short middle arm of "E" in FIUME.

Another example of the forgery (5c yellow green) is shown with the "Out of the Blue" section at the end of this post.

1919 Scott 30 10c rose (Genuine)
"Italian Flag on Clock-Tower in Fiume"
The second design for the 1919 issue shows City Hall, and the "Italian Flag on Clock-Tower in Fiume".

The 10c rose (above) was given a page in Tyler's "Focus on Forgeries" and features one of the easier ( and gratifying) identification differences between genuine/forgery during the packet trade era.

1919 Scott 30 10c rose (Genuine) close-up
Note there are three windows below the gable to the right of the clock tower. The upper two windows of the far left building (in close-up above) are separated by two horizontal lines: the upper line which is thinner and shorter than the lower line.

(Note also that the edge of the vertical tower wall to the left of the tower clock does not show any gaps or openings in the edge structure. There is a second forgery known, where there are gaps or openings here. I don't have any examples of that forgery.)

"1919 Scott 30 10c rose" (Forgery)
"Italian Flag on Clock-Tower in Fiume"
During the post WW I era, this quite attractive lithographic four design  set of 1919 was abundantly forged for the packet trade: this 10c rose forgery is thought to be the work of N. Imperato of Genoa, Italy, according to Varro Tyler.

"N. Imperato" should be a familiar name, has he is supposedly responsible for other forgeries as well. He produced forgeries circa 1920-22, and advertised them as "costing a fraction" of the genuine stamp. Besides Fiume, he is responsible for producing forged stamps of Batum (British occupation), Brazil, Eritrea, Honduras, Italian Occupation of Austria, Italian Offices in the Turkish Empire, Spain, Sicily, Karelia, and Bulgaria.

"1919 Scott 30 10c rose" (Forgery) close-up
Look for four windows in a horizontal row below the gables on the right side of the clock-tower. !!

The two vertical windows on the far left building only have a line or dot between them. 

(Note the edge (line) of the vertical wall to the left of the clock-tower is relatively intact. Another forgery, as mentioned above, of this stamp will have some gaps and openings here. )

1919 Scott 32a 20c green (Genuine)
City Hall: "Italian Flag on Clock-Tower in Fiume"
Another example of the "Clock-tower" stamp: here the 20c green.

Recall, that the issue can be found with good quality medium white paper (April, 1919 - major number), Poor quality grayish paper (Jan-Feb, 1919 - this stamp (above)), or good quality translucent white paper (March, 1919). There can be major differences in CV, depending on paper. 

1919 Scott 32a 20c green (Genuine) Close-up
Note the three horizontal windows (left of clock-tower), and two lines between the two vertical windows (right of clock-tower).

1919 Scott 32a 20c green (Forgery)
The "four window" forgery....

1919 Scott 32a 20c green (Forgery) close-up
Note the four horizontal windows (left of clock-tower), and the line or dot between the two vertical windows (right of clock-tower).

1919 Scott 31 15c violet (Forgery)
This is the 15c violet forgery. I have to chuckle when I exhibit this stamp, as the seller on the APS website* was proud of the fact that he has parsed the three types of paper for this issue, and asserted that all the stamps belonged to Type C paper type. He forgot about forgeries. ;-)

*APS website - good site, I buy from them. But still Caveat emptor. I regularly cruise the site looking for forgeries, and there are plenty of them, supposedly from "knowledgeable" APS members.

1919 Scott 33 25c dark blue "Revolution"
This is the third design for the 1919 issue: quite lovely indeed.

I don't have any forgeries for this issue. The forgery has many interrupted (non completed) diagonal lines among the upper background, and there is a a small white patch (white dot) below the end of the Lion's tail and between the metaphorical woman figure.

1919 Scott 38 60c claret (genuine)
"Sailor Raising Italian Flag at Fiume (1918)
This is the fourth design for the 1919 issue used for the higher denomination between 50c and 10cor (seven stamps). 

1919 Scott 38 60c claret (genuine) Left upper Close-up
A close-up of the upper left portion of the stamp shows a horizontal line extending into the space between the two vertical outer lines. The genuine stamps of this design (seven denominations) usually show this marker. The unique 10 corona denomination stamp forgery does not (see below).

1919 Scott 41 3cor orange red
This is probably genuine. But there is a type of forgery that is over-inked, and shows a break in the central part of the cross, where the top vertical cross part and the right horizontal cross part meet (where they cross!).

Note the many wavy lines present in the outer margin of the collar of the sailor's middy. Also note the thick-ish wedge of color located between the two legs of "R" of "COR".

"1919 Scott 43 10cor olive green "\
"Sailor Raising Italian Flag at Fiume"
This Forgery: Only found on 10 corona denomination for Issue
This 10 corona forgery (only found with this denomination) is quite deceptive, and no doubt lurks in many collections. Is ignorance bliss? Varro Tyler devotes a whole page to this forgery.

1919 Scott 43 10cor olive green left upper Close-up
Note there is no horizontal shading line extending into the space between the left outer vertical framelines. (Characteristic for the 10 corona forgery.)

"1919 Scott 43 10cor olive green "\ Close-up
Note the lack of horizontal lines on the outer margins of the collar of the sailor's middy.

Also note the thin wedge of color between the "R" legs of "COR".

1919 Scott 46 5c yellow green "Italy"
An almost identical issue to the preceding Jan-April, 1919 issue was released on July 28, 1919, except the bottom tablet has "Posta Fiume", rather than "Fiume". This July, 1919 issue consisted of the four previous designs, but on only eight stamps. CV is $2-$8. 

For the "Sailor Raising Italian Flag at Fiume" design (four stamps), the "crack in the middle of the cross" forgery is known.

Newspaper 1919 Scott P2 2c deep buff -original
Sometimes genuine differences can be mistaken for a forgery. The genuine original looks like this...

Newspaper 1919 Scott P3 2c deep buff - re-engraved
Note the re-engraved specimen has the "2" rounder, and broader, the feet of the eagle shows clearly, and the diamond at the bottom has six lines instead of five lines.

1919 Scott 62 15c on 45c orange "Revolution"
Stamps and Types of 1919 Handstamp Surcharged
Between 1919-20, thirteen stamps/(types-new values) of 1919 were surcharged. Generally, there are three types of overprints. This is Type I for the 15c: Letter N with serif at top left, Loop of letter R round, Numeral 5 thick and wide. 

There are plentiful forgeries. Check to see if the underlying stamps is a forgery, then the overprint is also. Or, check the Fiume Forgery website resources linked earlier to ascertain if the overprint appears genuine.

1919-20 Scott 76 20c on 20c orange 
"Statue of Romulus and Remus Being Suckled by Wolf"
Semi-postal stamps of 1919 Surcharged
First Setting: Surcharge Letters thin and small
Between 1919-20, semi-postal stamps of 1919 (three designs) were surcharged as shown. There are three settings of the surcharge overprints. Of interest, the three settings are each given major numbers in my 2020 Scott, but my 2011 Scott does not break them out.

1920 Scott 73A 5c on 5c green
"Statue of Romulus and Remus Being Suckled by Wolf"
Semi-postal stamps of 1919 Surcharged
Third Setting: Surcharge Letters Bold, 2.0mm separation
With the third setting, the surcharge letters are bold, and there is a 2.0 mm separation between "Cent." and letter of value, according to Scott.  The second setting has a 2.5 mm separation, according to Scott.  (Note: the actual measurements that I got was 1.5 mm between the dot after "Cent" and the numeral of value for the third setting. The second setting has 2.0 mm between the dot after "Cent" and the numeral of value.

1919 Scott 29 5c yellow green "Italy"
Out of the Blue
Well, I know much more regarding the "Packet Trade" forgeries for the 1919 Fiume issue. I hope this has been helpful to you, too. Of course, if you want to know more, check out the resources listed during this post introduction (scroll up).

Comments appreciated!

No comments:

Post a Comment