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Fake & Reproduction Stamps

Fake Reproduction Stamps

There are two types of fake reproduction stamps: counterfeits that vendors put on the market without disclosing their origin, and those that are sought precisely because they are known forgeries. Both types are highly collectible stamps.

What are altered stamps and forged stamps?

Both genuine and fake stamps that have been altered have the potential to be collectors items.

  • An altered specimen is genuine, but it has been changed in some way, most likely to increase its value. Perhaps a straight edge has been reperforated, or a cancellation has been removed. Sometimes, stamps are re-gummed.
  • By definition, fake postage stamps are not genuine. An unscrupulous dealer might take an imperforate, or unperforated, Washington-Franklin head issue and add perforations so they can market it as a rare coil issue. Coiled postage stamps are sold in long strips and rolled into coils to make them easier to mechanize in large quantities. In more extreme cases, stamps can be created from scratch.
What are reproductions and reprints?

A reprint is a copy that is made to look exactly like the original, or as near to the original as possible. They are produced using the original design. If you see examples of postage stamps from the United States that are stamped on the reverse side with a letter from the word, “B.O.G.E.R.T.D.U.R.B.I.N.”, this is a reprint from the original plate of a postmasters provisional. The letter the reverse side is placed there to distinguish it from an original. Reproductions are not made from the originals and are not designed to fool anybody. Maybe the design has been altered or they have been reproduced using different colored inks from the original. Some may have a message on them stating that they are reproductions.

What is a counterfeit?

A counterfeit is a calculated ruse that may be created to avoid paying postage. Counterfeits may be designed to convince the postal administration that they are the legitimate equivalent of postage-paid specimens. In order to fool the experts, the fakes have to look exactly like the real deal. Rare examples of known counterfeits are often sought after by collectors to add to their collections. Counterfeits may also be created to replicate some of the rarer stamps on the market that represent an error of manufacture. This may be a run of stamps that was released with printing errors or perforation line errors. When these counterfeits are found, some may become collectible.