I don’t think these abominations need detain us very long. The originals are very finely executed taille-douce engravings, and are water- marked with a very plain W. The forgeries (which, by the way, are soaked in some dirty mixture, to give them the yellowish appearance which age has given to the originals) are coarse lithographs, unwatermarked.
Engraved in taille-douce, watermarked W. All the colours and values appear to be from the same die. The loop of the P of POSTES reaches down nearly to the bottom of the upright stroke. The face has a tolerably pleasing expression, and a considerable portion of the ear is visible.
Coarsely lithographed; no watermark. The loop of the P of POSTES is very small. The face has an idiotic look, the nose is out of drawing, the nostril absurd; and the sovereign appears as though he were on the point of being sick! The N of CENTIMES is upright (it is much slanted in the genuine) and there is a considerable space between the E and R of SILBERGROS. There is a stop after this latter word in the forgeries, which is not found in the originals.
The genuine stamps are usually postmarked with three concentric circles, with a dot in the center. The forgeries are obliterated with an oval containing six parallel straight bars, like some of the old Spanish stamps.
I have never seen the difference between taille-douce engravings and lithographs so strongly exemplified as in the stamps just described. The forgeries are copied from the originals almost line for line (except in part of the face) and yet they appear to be only miserable caricatures of the stamps which they are intended to imitate. If the forgers were not so very aspiring, and would content themselves with copying lithographed stamps only, then, after a time, we might justly fear them, but when it comes to a question of taille-douce versus lithograph, the latter must always and inevitably fail.
From “The Spud Papers” by Atless, Pemberton & Earée, 1871-1881.