Forged Stamps of France

“The Spud Papers”

by Atlee, Pemberton & Earée

1869. Napoleon

5 Francs



Engraved (typograph); perf. 13 1/2; on wove greyish paper. Sixty-four pearls round the head. A distinct five-lobed leaf at each corner of the inside oblong. Figure 5 at equal distance between the inner line of frame and the outside line of central circle. Value generally (but not always) of a different shade from the rest of impression, being printed afterwards. All the lettering in very thin French type. Emperor’s eye well open, with distinct pupil. Strong wrinkle on the forehead. Greek bordering very thin. Dots at four corners small and round, FRANCAIS with cedilla under the C. M of EMPIRE and TIMBRE somewhat like a reversed W.


Lithographed on vertically-laid white paper, which has been smeared over (on one side only) with a cream-colored wash, before printing. Perforated 13 (very badly). Only 63 pearls round the head. Five-lobed leaf very indistinct,—a mere blotch in most cases. Back of 5 nearly touches outside of circle. Value in exactly the same shade as the rest of impression. All lettering thick and clumsy. Emperor’s eye nearly closed, and pupil indistinct.

No wrinkle on the forehead. Greek border thick and clumsy like lettering. Dots at four corners ditto, FRANCAIS without cedilla under the C. M really an inverted W. With all those differences, it is astonishing how well the forgery looks at first sight. It is certainly printed in an unusually red shade of lilac, but the originals are sometimes seen of the same color. Perhaps the best instant test is to be found in the perforation,—which is always clearly and neatly done in the originals,—but which will be found to be very ragged, clumsy, and imperfect in the forgeries. This our readers will see for them- selves in the annexed specimen.

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