Nobody wants to find out that they have spent hard earned money on a fake stamp. In an effort to prevent counterfeiters from easily producing certain stamps, on December 19th, 2003, Canada Post issued a high-value definitive, the $5 Moose (Canada #1693), with certain security features.
While we do not want to condone the practice of forging stamps, it is however interesting to learn the story of Jean de Sperati, the greatest stamp forger of all times! De Sperati (1884-1957) was born in Pisa, Italy, but grew up in France. His family was in the printing business, and he became a printer and engraver, eventually becoming a master forger of stamps.
Just as the design and fabrication of postage stamps is an art, one might say that the forging and faking of them is as well. Familiarising ourselves with the different methods employed can help to not be fooled by them. Here are a few ways counterfeiters go about altering stamps.
|Real or fake? At top is the unique genuine British Guiana Penny Magenta, and on the bottom is a very similar stamp described by experts as a forgery.|
As with any object of value, stamps attract the attention of some dishonest individuals. Just like in the world of currency and of fine art, one has to be on the lookout for forgeries and fakes. In fact, only twenty years after the issuing of the first stamp in 1840 did the first forgery appear. It is probably every collector’s greatest nightmare to discover that a well-loved and valuable stamp is actually a fake.