Fake stamps

Amongst the latest novelties were some stamps from nations that are separating from the former Sovjet Union, or already have some form of autonomy, and a sheet from Somalia.
Together with some other members that were present on the club meeting we were discussing the authenticity of these stamps. Well, the approval for authenticity was not very positive. Reason for me to have a better look at these issues.
First a review: which issues of the last period qualify to doubt about their authenticity? First off course the imprints on Russian stamps and the issued of the former Sovjet Union republics. Further the imprints on the Yugoslavian stamp, and off course the Somalian sheet that is already mentioned.
I myself divide the russian 'Provisionals', as they are descirbed in the philatelic world, in 2 parts: the overprints and the stamp-likes.
We all know the overprinted stamps. This are stamps of low value that have been overprinted with various motifs, both in whole sheets or parts. For us the motorcycle motifs are interesting, but every motif can be found in these imprintings.
What could be the reason for such an overprint? The transition of part of the country to an independent republic could be a reason to issue own stamps.

Imprint on old Russian stamps

First question is thus: have the republics mentioned in the imprints become independent? No, they are still under Russian rule and need to get approval of the Russian state for everything. 32 of these states do have a large extent of self-government, these are called autonomous. In some republics and regions rebellions are in a violent struggle with the central government. But would these rebellions use the old sheets of stamps which carry the letters CCCP, that are so hated by them?
And secondly: would you print them over in your own country's language, or put the English word 'Postage' on them?
Looking at an eventual scarcity I can imagine that old stamps are re-used, but then would you use 4 stamps to make 1 new, and would you make 200 or more different images? Sumy even uses a complete sheet of 100 stamps to make one that doesn't even fit in a mailbox without folding. No, these are definitively artificial items, meant to make us poor and somebody else rich.
Conclusion: some old mailman has bought all old sheets of stamp, put them in his printer and sold them to us. Thank you!

Imprint on a complete sheet Russian stamps

And now the stamp-like items. I think that the folks that have filled their pockets over the last years with the above mentioned activities have shopped around and bought an old printing-press, and are now making their fake-stamps in a more professional way. However, most of the sheets are not even provided with gum, and difficult perforations are just printed (see the sheet with Elvis from Abchazia).
Also these stamps must be put under the heading "fake". Writing this, I remember an item from the magazine "Philatelie" no. 6 of this year. This was about some man called Clinton and a certain Monica, who were depicted on a sheet from Abchazia. This sheet was issued by an English firm, Stamp Tail Ltd. Are they also responsible for the issues that we desire?

Fake stamp with Bill Clinton an a certain Monica

What's next? The Yugoslavian stamps with imprints of Kosovo, Bosnia and Sandzak:

Imprints on Yugoslavian stamps

These seem a lot more reliable to me. One type of print on a single stamp, from a region where there is a need for stamps. Time to search the internet.
On this medium I found out that there are official imprints, but not in the way we know them. Heimer's Stamp pages speaks about imprints on Yugoslavian stamps, but in Cyryllic and with a new value. Further the locals don't call the region Bosnia but HRVATSKA and SRPSKA. Neither have I seen the imprinted stamps on a used letter.
Sandzak appears to be a region in former Yugoslavia that reaches from the hills of Montenegro till over the Servian border, under Bosnia. These stamps are directly called unofficial by Heimer. The Kosovo imprints are put under the same heading.
The Somalian sheet and strip. It directly struck me that the name differs from the earlier issued sports stamps. On the issue of 1958 it is "Somalia", and on the new aquisitions it is "Somaliland" A quick glance in the Michel learned that Somalia uses Soomaaliyeed as the country's name on the stamps of the last years. Time to go on the internet again.
On the pages of Linn's stamp reference I found the answer. Somalia, one of the 3 countries that formerly made the Italian East African colony, struggles with an internal war. A group of Nomads clans fights for the northern part of Somalia, the former British region. They call themselves "Republic of Somaliland". The country is not recognized by the U.N. and the stamps are also not acknowledged by the U.P.U.

Detail of the sheet of Somaliland
(Detail of the sheet)

By the way, there are a few strange things depicted on the sheet. Apart from Bruce Lee sitting on the wing of a jet, we see Pamela naderson on a futuristic motorbike. The only film where she rides a motorbike is Barb Wire, and there she is riding a naked bike. On the other side we see Kurt Russel on some kind of Harley with a very remarkable seat for such a motorbike.
Should we not collect the above metioned types of stamps? That's a difficult question. Of some issues (read here: Russian issues) it is directly clear that making money is the only reason for issueing them, but of some others it is a lot harder. Who would not pay quite an amount of money for a stamp from Burgos or, from our own region, an Indonesian Viennise Print:

Burgos stamp (left) and Viennese print (right)

Both stamps of which everyone said at the time of issue that it would never be worth a dime. But there is a chance that for the few euros that they cost now,  you will have a valuable collectors item later.

Hans de Kloet
(Translation Paul Essens)


Top   -   Back to former page   -   Home