Into the Deep Blue
The Fournier forgeries are ubiquitous when it comes to the Portuguese colonies "Crown" issues of the 19th century. They are found for all of the Portuguese crown colonies that have this issue. Our most recent post looked at the differences between the Genuines and the Fournier forgeries that apply for ALL of the Portuguese colonies EXCEPT Angola. The conclusion was it is not too difficult to differentiate the Genuines from the Fournier forgeries.
I should mention that there are two additional signs for genuine/forgeries to be aware of, as pointed out by the Michel catalog. First, the Genuines are printed by typography, while the Forgeries are lithographic. And the Forgery perforations are line perforations.
Now it is Angola's turn.
And here indeed it gets more difficult.
The Angola 1870-77 "Crown" issues are found in Scott with 29 bolded numbers for nine denominations.
They can be found in Perf 12 1/2 thin to medium paper, Perf 13 1/2, Perf 14 (25r rose), and Perf 12 1/2 thick paper. Additionally, reprints of 1885 & 1905 can be found on smooth white chalky paper, and on thin ivory paper respectively. In addition, there are six minor numbers for shade variations.
I should mention that there are two types of denomination script for the 10r and 40r stamps. Consult Michel for illustrations.
OK, let's first look at a Genuine of the 1870-77 Angola Issue...
For the Genuine, there are a few general principles that should be satisfied.
Is the printing of "Angola" and the denomination (here 300 Reis) clear, detailed and not crude?
Are the letters and numbers evenly sized? Look at the prominent serifs, which is characteristic of Genuines.
Are the corner spandrels (which are different for Angola compared to the other Portuguese colonies) mirror images of each other horizontally and vertically? The spandrels should be clearly (not roughly or oddly) printed.
For counting purposes, there are 121 elongated dots surrounding the ring. There are 9,10.5.10, 9 pearls on the crown (left to right). The pearls are round, and easy to see. If misshapen, or small, suspicion is raised.
The inner frame line, in general, is thinner than the outer frame line. Not always true (especially if over-inking), but often so.
OK, what are some of the more specific signs, especially compared to Fournier forgeries?
The line through the center of "O" is complete and intact. Genuines show this characteristic, compared to Fournier forgeries, where the lower portion of the line is not complete. This is an important sign.
Also note the circular line below the Angola tablet intersects the lower horizontal line of the tablet for awhile. This is normal on the genuines for Angola. It is also seen with the Fournier forgeries for Angola. Therefore this "sign" does not distinguish, for Angola, the genuine and the Fournier forgery.
(On the other hand, for the other Portuguese colony "Crown" genuine stamps, the circular line does not intercept the lower horizontal line of the Angola tablet, except quite briefly in some cases. The Fournier forgery does intercept the line. Therefore, except for Angola, this is an important sign for genuines for Portuguese colonies, distinguishing them from the Fournier forgery.)
With the Fournier forgeries, the cross is smaller, and not in the "maltese" shape. It can be detached from the globe (base).
Note the large very round pearls. Easily counted. No deformed or very small pearls. The line of pearls on the sides of the crown is rounder for Angola, more angular for the other Portuguese colonies.
The Fournier forgery also has a rounder line of pearls on the sides of the crown, like Angola. The Fournier forgeries for the other Portuguese colonies also exhibit this rounder line of pearls, as Angola served as the template. This can help to distinguish the genuine from the Fournier forgery for Portuguese colonies other than Angola.
This is the surprise. Our prior genuine (300r) showed seven intact lobes in the scallop. Here, the 5r, which shows signs of being genuine in all other aspects, has only six lobes, with a large heart shaped lobe in the center, and a partial thick line running center-left. This looks similar to the Fournier Forgery (FF) Scallop's six lobes, except the FF appeared somewhat cruder.
As mentioned, other aspects of the 5r stamp shown here argues that Angola 1 black is a genuine stamp. I also checked with Ron of Classic Stamp Forgeries website, and he labeled the Angola 1 stamp as genuine. I am forced to conclude that, for the Angola 1870-77 "Crown" stamps, some genuines show an intact seven lobes in the scallop, while others show six lobes with a large "heart shaped" lobe in the center.
And, in a way, this makes sense. Why would the Fournier Forgery also show six intact lobes? A coincidence, or, in fact, was Fournier imitating a six lobed Angola genuine that he copied, and then never changed subsequently? I strongly suspect the latter.