This stamp (which is a good deal more common now than it was a few years ago) is a fair specimen of taille-douce engraving; and, though the forgers have been wonderfully careful, the counterfeit is very far from equalling the beauty of the original, so that there is no very great probability of our young friends being taken in, if they will only use a little ordinary caution.
Well engraved in taille-douce, imperf. The corner-rays of the eight-pointed stars in the angles point accurately to the four corners of the little squares which contain them. There is a tiny white dot in the center of each star. The border of the stamp is formed of little half-moons interlaced, with all the cusps pointing inwards. The background consists of vertical strips of engine-turning; some of the strips looking like fine lace. The tassel or knob of the cap of liberty is of the same colour as the rest of the cap. The union jack is just visible upon the shield, which is shaded all over. The merchandise in the foreground consists of a bale and a chest, and the bale seems to be tied or fastened with a broad band. The lines of shading on the bale are wavy. The bowsprit and jib of the vessel are plainly visible, and the sea is darkly shaded. The foot of the figure is well shaped, and the half of the spear-head, which is nearest to the figure is shaded. The fingers of the hand which rests on the shield are not shaded. The M and s of MAURITIUS are exactly the same distance from their respective ends of the name label.
Lithographed, on very white paper; imperf. Only one or two of the corner rays of the stars in the angles point to the corners of the containing squares; and in most copies of the forgeries, the dots in the center of the stars are almost invisible, notably the one in the left lower corner. The border of the stamp is a sort of clumsy lace-work. The background is composed of simple shading, without any defined pattern. The tassel of the cap of liberty is a round white dot. The front rim of the shield is white, and there is no union jack. The merchandise in the foreground consists of two bales, the larger one being fastened with a rope. The lines of shading on both bales are straight. The bowsprit of the vessel is not visible, and the jib looks like part of the foresail. The sea has the appearance of soap-suds, and is not much shaded. The foot of the figure is dreadfully “splay”. There is a dark line down the center of the spear-head, but the rest of it is white. The fingers of the left hand are so very darkly shaded that they ate scarcely visible, except upon close inspection. The M of MAURITIUS is much nearer to the end of the name label than the s is.
The forgeries are postmarked with four concentric circles.
From “The Spud Papers” by Atless, Pemberton & Earée, 1871-1881.