The only genuine specimen of this stamp which I have been able to pick up is so very much obliterated, that I cannot give as complete a description of it as 1 could wish. The outer line of frame is very thick, and there is a thin inner line which connects the four labels of value together. In each corner is a quatrefoil, white on solid ground, with one line of shading, following the curve, in each lobe of the quatrefoil. One wavy groundwork has a kind of burete in it, reminding one of that on the second set of Hanoverians, but of the same colour as the rest of the stamp. Printed on transverse-laid paper.
Nicely lithographed on transverse-laid paper, and soaked in coffee to give age! The outer and inner lines of frame are both thin. The quatrefoils are white, without any lines of shading, and the groundwork is of plain wavy lines, without any burele. The D of DREI is at some little distance from the rest of the letters, and the C of FRANCO is very much smaller than the other letters in the same word. The chief test is, however, in the outer line of frame, which is the same thickness as the inner one. This can be very readily seen. The forgers have started a rather new idea, in obliterating each stamp on the sheet with the name of a different town. For instance, on the sheet of 60 stamps before me, there are, amongst many others, the postmarks of Zwickau, Reichenbach, Risa, Meisen, Herrnhuth.
Well engraved in taille-douce; the ink standing out from the plate very perceptibly. The shaded lines of background have been drawn too far in several places, and cut into the jaw under the chin, and also into the base of the neck in front. There is a large pointed trefoil over the N of NEU, and the lower leaf or lobe of this trefoil almost touches the edge of scroll of value over the N. This value-scroll has an enlargement in the center, to contain the figure 10, and below it will be seen two leaves, one on each side, both of which almost touch with their points the semicircular enlargement of scroll below the 10. Between the back of the head, and the inner line of the oval which contains it, there are three lines of the vertical shading, so that the back of the head is at some little distance from the boundary line.
Lithographed in a chalky blue on very white paper. Shaded lines of background do not cut into the chin or the neck. Point of lower lobe of trefoil over N of NEU, is at some distance from the edge of value-scroll. Points of leaves under 10 at some little distance from the semicircle, especially that on the left side. The back of the head very nearly touches the inner line of oval, so that there is barely room for one of the vertical lines of shading between the head and the inner line.
I have been obliged to go into rather minute details with this stamp, as the general design has been very carefully copied, and it is impossible to give broad distinctions. Always excepting the difference between a taille-douce engraving and a lithograph, there is really no other difference between the genuine and forged specimens which can be seen at a glance.
From “The Spud Papers” by Atless, Pemberton & Earée, 1871-1881.