Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Brazil postal forgeries

As with many other countries, the early stamps of Brazil have been extensiely forged (or covers and usages faked). For the "Numeral" issues of 1843 to 1861 (not including the extensively faked "Rio perfs" of 1866, I'm aware of 24 different philatelic forgeries of the 1843 Bulls Eyes, 16 different philatelic forgeries of the 1844-1866
"Inclinados", 14 different philatelic forgeries of the 1850 "Upright numerals" issue,
and 10 different philatelic forgeries of the 1854-1861 "coloridos", not counting
faked covers, altered (or chemically removed) cancels, etc. Fortunately, very few of
these are deceptive. There are also quite a few philatelic forgeries of later issues,
again mostly easy to detect, although a few are quite deceptive.

But what interests me far more are postal forgeries, "stamps" privately printed in the hope of using them to cheat Brazil's postal service out of revenue. There are not
a great many different postal forgeries of Brazil stamps known, and most of the known ones are rare Indeed, they usually bring far higher prices than the genuine stamps they were intended to imitate.

The first wave of these postal forgeries showed up from about 1897 to 1904. These included two diferent forgeries of each of Scott 116, 119, 120 and 161. All of these are very hard to come by, and are usually found postally used, not mint. Although rather well executed, they can be distinguished by eye without much difficulty, and they seem not to have caused very much trouble for the postal service (the "Correio"). I don't happen to know anyone who has a complete set of all 8 of these;
acquiring such a set could be a real challenge.

The next serious batch of postal forgeries was produced during the 1930-1933 interval: forgeries of the 300 reis olive gray and 500 reis red brown of Scott Type A76, of the overprint on Scott 297, and of the 200 reis Scott 334. The first three of these don't seem to have bothered the Correio unduly; presumably they got little
circulation. The postal forgery of Scott 334 was another matter. I suspect (without evidence) that it was produced in Argentina by the same group that forged the then-current 5 centavos Argentine definitive at about the same time, and the Brazilian forgery seems to have gotten widespread distribution, causing considerable confusion as postal clerks tried to decide whether 200 reis definitives were genuine, making mistakes of both sorts. The Correio responded by overprinting leftover 300 reis red definitives in place of the 200 reis red definitives, which it withdrew from post offices; these overprints are Scott 376, 377 and their varieties. Then as fast as possible, a 200 reis stamp with a completely different design (Scott Type A116) was issued, and, to close out the problem, all 200 reis red stamps of Scott Type A75 were demonetized effective Dec. 11, 1934. This 200 reis forgery of 1932 or 1933 is not too hard to find unused, but used copies on or off cover, seem to be extremely scarce.

Since then Brazil's postal system has had less trouble with postal forgeries, although there have been several. The most noteworthy ones I happen to know about are postal forgeries of Scott 2065, 2068 and 2139, all produced by a single forger in 1988. The first two of these got significant use, but the authorities nailed the forger just about the time he was putting the forgery of 2139 into circulation, so the majority of the forgeries were confiscated directly from the forger, unused, and the authorities confiscated the forger's printing press for good measure.

It can be great fun looking for examples of Brazil postal forgeries, unused, used or on cover (and for that matter looking for covers franked with Scott 334 that were
mistakenly rejected because they were though by postal clerks to bear forgeries).
However, this is an effort that requires great patience, because the postal forgeries are all scarce now, and seldom show up on the market for sale. If one is really lucky, one may spot a postal forgery lurking in a dealer stock that the dealer hasn't recognized as a forgery; it pays to learn the distinguishing differences that are
easy to see, and take a quick look at every copy of a Brazil stamp that's been subjected to postal forgery. But don't expect that to yield easy results; in 40 years of looking I've found only two copies of postal forgeries that way.

2 Comments:

At 6:19 AM, Blogger william charles said...

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Thanks for your information

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At 10:41 AM, Blogger linda clark said...

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