The genuine Liberian stamps are quite gems in their way, and it has therefore always been a matter of difficulty to produce successful imitations of these labels. By far the best facsimiles have emanated from the establishment of Messrs. Spiro; those by other persons being simply execrable.
In the originals, a separate die was engraved for each value, showing visible differences in the pattern of the groundwork. From the various states of the die, we find that, in some copies, the clouds are very clearly defined; whereas, in others, they are scarcely traceable: this is particularly noticeable in the stamps of the lowest value.
The forgeries are evidently from one matrix, and are struck off in sheets of twenty-five. They are always defaced by a circle inscribed MONROWA LIBERIA. All those we have seen have had perforations, differing but slightly in gauge from the genuine.
Wavy perpendicular lines compose the ground. There is no flag discernible upon the ship; and there is a considerable distance between the semi-circular piece of shading below the figure, and the inscription.
The groundwork is composed of diagonal lines caused in this and the two other values, by the face and shoulder of the central figure, is absurd; the latter being quite out of proportion. There is a flag pendant from the ship. Between the shading upon the stone and the word LIBERIA, there is scarcely any space.
Groundwork of undulating diagonal lines, so finely-executed as to give the angles of the stamp a solid look. A single thick line round the shield; the spearhead is well shaped, and the point does not touch the border of the circle. Altogether an elegant stamp.
Ground as in the previously described imposition. The rim of the shield consists of double lines; the point of the spear almost diamond-shaped and running into the circular border. The engraver does not seem to have troubled himself about the clouds, as there are none worth naming.
A similar ground to the genuine six cents. In the figures of value, the 4 has a bottom stroke. Very little shading beneath the goddess, so that there is a wide space between it and the inscription. * It may be further remarked that the rock on which Liberia sits, is perpendicularly straight in the genuine red and green impressions , while the blue has it rounded off like the forged red shown on previous page.
The same horizontal ground as in its companion labels. The 4 in the value is ill shaped and without any stroke below. The shading beneath the figure almost touches the B in LIBERIA, CENTS is much too large and thick.
From “The Spud Papers” by Atless, Pemberton & Earée, 1871-1881.