Scarce and rare altered stamps

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Scarce and rare altered stamps

Postby littleriverphil » Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:25 pm

About a month ago I showed a small collection of the 1875 Special Printing of the departmental stamps that had been altered by unidentified fakers. Because these stamps were in use at the time and were intended for departmemtal use only, it was decided to overprint the stamps with the word SPECIMEN. The regular departmental stamps were difficult to obtain even used, during their period of use 1873-1884. Most of these "fakes" were made pretty easily, just by drawing a heavy line of ink across the word SPECIMEN. Most "stamp gatherers" as we were called then were not interested in the overprinted stamps but a used stamp was another story.

I would guess that this practice of faking used stamps continued until the turn of the century, as when closely examined, some of these mutilated stamps are the wrong color, and or paper. In thier greedy quest, these neferious folks have destroyed or at least altered scarce and sometimes, rare stamps.

For my first example, I'll discuss this "used" O51. I don't really know when an O51 became more sought after than an O51s, although I do have a 1928 Scott and a 1932 Scott, they are both World Catalogues, my earlist Scott Specilized is a 1940 edition, which lists both a mint O51 and a used O51 at $4.00, and an O51s at $20.00 Of the regular stamp, there were 38, 200 issued, the O51s was a mere 177 copies.

Looking closely at the stamp, you will notice that there is a line through the left half of the O in POST, it looks like a fiber as the crosshatched background shading is disturbed all the way to the unprinted inner oval. Another fiber crossed the lower label border and is showing on the left of the S of POST. Now, if that is a constant plate variety, there are possibly 382 copies of that variety on the regular stamp, but only 2 of them could exist on O51s.One less rarity!


Some of the "alterations" were convincing, as this "used O10" is at first glance, but wait! Its the wrong color! The only 1 cent Executive that was that color is the third printing American Bank Note Company's O10 xs, and sure enough when examined with the powerfull Wolfe binonular microscope ( 200X - 400X ) faint traces of the overprint are visible through the blue quatered cork, which is another clue, there are no blue cancelattions on Executive stamps. The stamp was only used in two places, Washington,DC and the Presidents summer home in Long Island, NY.

When I first saw this stamp on ebay, I knew immediatly that it was faked, but wanted it for my Fake reference collection. As soon as the stamp arrived I scanned it at 1200 dpi, and then email the seller, telling him what I had found ( what I knew I was going to find ) and attached a copy of my scan to my email, asking for a return of my money, and then explained that I did want to but the stanp but not at the hammered down price. The next day I got an email agreeing to my offer. 4,652 copies of this stamp were sold, and there is an error in the printing, can't tell if this is one of the 46 or 47 errors.


This last one was harder to spot, It also is the wrong color, but the difference is subtle. It is also the wrong paper, this time from the forth printing, again an American printing Sc O57 xs. Luckly there were no errors in this printing, other than the mismatched type size that is one of the identifing traits of this stamp, but again, that is hidden from us. Only 1,672 copies were sold.

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