Friday 7 July 2023

Why produce forgeries of old special (non-definitive) stamps?

It's a question I asked myself when I first heard about these and then saw a couple online.  The stamps in everyday use are the definitives - Machins or King Charles.  These are the ones that people buy normally, and they will be the ones they most often buy (forged) at a discount from online sources.

Most traders will be happy with definitives; Postcrossers and individuals who like attractive, different, stamps may be attracted to something less usual, like the pictorial country definitives.

And those people may like to have the others which have been forged, the Aardman specials, for instance, or these Classic Children's Television, originally issued in 2014.  Thank you to AB for these forgeries.

These are all scanned in pairs with the same settings, and then one of each stamp is copied along side the other to produce matching pairs (I didn't want to split the strips, not least because I borrowed the genuines from Dave Evans of Jerwood Philatelics!)

Can you tell which is which?  Bear in mind that the colour registration of any Royal Mail stamps is not 100% accurate, so text often has a blurry appearance, but sometimes they are very crisp.

Which would you rather put on your letters, knowing that a forged stamp - IF detected - would attract a penalty charge of at least £2.50 on he recipient?

The forgeries are on the right, on slightly thinner paper.  But really, if you bought the ones on the right (bottom strip on the picture below) would you know that they were not genuine stamps?  The quality is superb - and there was no security printing on the backing paper - and although there are differences, which is which?

What you can't see from singles is that the spacing is wrong.  The genuine measure about 196.5 mm perf to perf.  The forgeries measure almost 198 mm.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

This is the shipping label that was on the package of stamps that AB was sent.

Note the endorsement, Shipper only, not seller.   I wonder what this means in practice and in law.  Clearly the shipper is 'sending forged stamps through the post' presumably with the intent that they would be used for postage.

It's much easier to forge self-adhesive stamps than normally gummed and perforated stamps.  

I wonder what other self-adhesive special stamps will be forged.


  1. AIUI parcelsl/packages from China often come to a distribution centre in the UK (In this case in Cannock) which are then forwarded via Royal Mail. If you google the postcode on the label it shows APC Overnight National Sortation Centre. I suspect that the endorsement is really saying "Its not us Guv honest, we didn't know the seller was an international criminal mastermind sending forgeries' As to whether that would stand up in court.......

  2. I didn't notice the 2014 until now. Still have Mr Benn and Shaun the Sheep (although your image doesn't seem to show the 2014 in the bottom left for Shaun)


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