The forgers have been very careful here, and have executed a lithographic transfer of the originals, corresponding with them almost line for line. If the printing and perforation were better, these would certainly be dangerous forgeries.
Perf. 14. All the values are from the same die, the figures only being altered for each separate value. The lines of shading on the Queen’s neck go quite to the back; and each line is distinct from its neighbors. The stop before CORREOS is exactly midway between the c and the boundary line. The fine inner line of the lower scroll, below the figures and words of value, runs the whole way from end to end of the scroll. The little pearls set on stalks between the zig-zags down each side of the stamp do not touch the fine inner boundary line in one single instance. The pearls and jewels on the coronet are very distinct, as is also the chain pattern in the oval round the head. The figures of value and the date are very evidently typographed.
Lithographed; perf. 12 1/2. Both values from the same stone. The lines of shading on the Queen’s neck do not go quite to the back, and there is, consequently, a white line down the back of the neck. Some of the lines are blurred, and run into each other. The stop before CORREOS is much too close to the C, and almost touches it. The fine inner line of the lower scroll is broken away just below the 0 of 10 (or of 40, as the case may be). The little pearls on stalks touch the boundary lines in many cases. The pearls and jewels on the coronet are smudged, and difficult to count. The chain pattern round the head is also smudged, and very badly done. The figures of value and the date, like the rest of the stamp, are lithographed.
The 5 and 20 C. have probably been forged at the same time as the 10 and the 40 C. described above, but I have not seen them. If they have been forged, our readers will find the tests just given sufficient for their detection.
These counterfeits all have a sort of oval perforation, instead of the circular perforation of the originals. This, however, would scarcely be noticed on a single detached stamp; but is very plain where two or more stamps can be examined before separation. They are ungummed, printed in sheets of 25 (5 X 5), and are postmarked with the old British Guiana obliteration, without the central figures.
One matrix has served for each value, both of the genuine and counterfeit respectively.
The forgeries now before us, although easily to be condemned at sight, are very difficult to describe, being so faithfully copied in details.
The whole design is well engraved; and the nose, right cheek, chin, and neck, are distinctly shaded. The crown is clearly shown, and the star is of correct proportions. The outer lines of frame are very wavy; eight undulations can easily be counted upon each side, and seven above and below.
The face has a very whitey look, due to the almost entire absence of shading, particularly on the neck. The mural crown is immature, and the lower right-hand point of the star is too long. The outer lines of frame are not sufficiently wavy. These shams are on very poor paper, and badly perforated.
I have a full set of Cubas, for 1871, to introduce to the notice of our readers this month. The forgeries are not badly done, but of course they fail, when compared with the originals.
Typographed, on thick white wove paper; perf. 14. All values from the same die. All the A’S in the inscriptions have the transverse stroke very low down, which makes them look like triangles with slightly protruding bottom corners, or like the Russ letter D (A). The hand holding the branch is perfectly distinct, and all the fingers can be plainly seen. The three lower values have the stop after the D (C.D PESETA) high up in the center of the line, instead of at the bottom. In the I peseta there is not any stop, except after the figure 1. The right foot is sharply pointed, and touches the inner line of frame in all values. The long, flowing hair, and the wreath round the head are both plain. The long staff in the left-hand is composed of two lines, which very rarely run into each other.
Lithographed, on thin, white wove paper, perf. 13. All values from the same stone. The A’S in the inscriptions are properly made. The hand holding the branch is a mere blotch, and the fingers are not to be distinguished. The stop after D. in the lower values is on a level with the bottom of the letters, like the stop after C. In the 1 peseta there is a faint hyphen before 1., a very small stop after 1., and a faint hyphen and a stop after PESETA. The hyphens are not to be seen in some copies without a glass. The right foot is stumpy, and does not touch the boundary line. The hair is very blotchy, and the wreath is not at all plain. The long staff in the left hand is, in most copies, one thick line. The rampant lion in the shield has only three legs visible, and his tongue hangs out slightly. The colours closely resemble those of the originals. The postmark is like our ordinary cancel-stamp, but without the central numerals, whereas the originals are usually postmarked with that curious, well-known network, with stars where the lines intersect.
These stamps will probably become comparatively rare after a time, so that there is more likelihood of young collectors being deceived by them. I say comparatively rare; because, owing to the dealers’ custom of laying in large stocks of all new stamps directly they are issued, no stamps of the present day can become very rare. Twenty years ago, stamps might be in existence years before collectors ever heard of them; but now, what with magazines, dealers, and energetic amateurs, “on a changé tout ccla,” and we now usually have timely notice of emissions before they take place. But, as the stamps under discussion were not long in circulation, they will never be very common, and therefore, there is more chance of our young friends being sold by the counterfeits.
Engraved in epargne; perf. 14. The U, and the final R of ULTRAMAR touch the outer frame, but none of the letters touch the outline of the central medallion, though they are very close to it. The end of the moustache, on the left side of the face, is split into two points. The outline of the central medallion is formed of small horizontal lines set very close tog-ether, except just above the head, where it is one single line. The edge of the linen collar is formed of two lines. The embroidery on the collar of the uniform has a design in the center looking like a monogram of the letters WC. The outline of the neck, between the ear and the collar, is formed of short horizontal lines.
Lithographed; perf. 13. Most of the letters of ULTRAMAR touch the outline of the oval The moustache ends in a single point on each side. The outline of the central medallion is formed of one single line. The edge of the collar is also single, except where it touches the beard. The embroidery on the collar of the uniform is very indistinct. The outline of the neck is one single vertical line. The postmark on the forgeries is somewhat like our own, without the central figures. The colours are tolerably like those of the genuine. The small piece of flesh in the inner corner of each eye is very large and distinct in the forgeries, but it is scarcely visible in the genuine stamps.
From “The Spud Papers” by Atless, Pemberton & Earée, 1871-1881.
See also –> Album Weeds – Cuba