Friday, January 30, 2009

Seebeck Originals and Reprints - Some fairly easy ones to determine

Although reprints for some values do exist prior to 1895 they are not noted in catalogs, except for the 1891 reprints on coarse paper. However, these are mostly of the higher denominations so a careful study of the 1c, 2c and 3c values will help the collector identify the paper and gum of the originals. Further, a close examination of the provisional issues prior to 1895 will assist collectors in becoming familiar with the characteristics of originals.

In 1895 a shortage of 1 centavo stamps led to the overprinting of the 12c, 24c, and 30c, while a shortage of 2 centavos stamps resulted in the 20c and 30c being overprinted to meet this need. Thus, originals of the 1c and 2c stamps are not common mint. A study of the various overprinted stamps will help collectors determine the original paper and gum of this issue and the shades of the 12c, 24c and 30c can be used to weed out originals from reprints.

The “First” Issue of 1896 has two shades of the 15c. Only the violet shade (on a gray-white paper) is an original. The 15c in bright ultramarine (on a white paper) is always a reprint on a paper similar to the originals. Use it to help determine what is an original and what is a reprint on a similar paper. The official stamps of this issue exist ONLY as reprints.

The “Second” and “Third” Issue originals are not easy to distinguish. The only overprinted value is the 15c on 24c provisional but it can be used to help distinguish the original paper and gum. The “FRANQUEO OFICIAL” overprint is on originals and some reprints so care must be taken with these.

The originals of the 1897 issues are on the same paper as the originals of the Second & Third 1896 issues although the gum now is now yellowish-white to brownish instead of colorless. However, there are a number of provisional stamps that can be used to help make a determination of what the originals are like. I refer to the 13c on 24c, 30c, 50c and 100c. Also, there is a distinct difference in color of the 24c. The best way to see this is to obtain a copy of the 13c on 24c provisional and use it to compare to the unoverprinted stamp. If the color is the same it is an original else it is a reprint.

The originals of the issue of 1898 are on the same paper as the Second issue of 1896 so they can be compared to that.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

El Salvador - The First (BOGUS) Issue

In the September 30, 1907 issue of “Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal” Joseph B. Leavy, once the philatelic curator of the Smithsonian Institution, states, “…in The Stamp Collector’s Magazine for February 1867, appeared the following description of a bogus stamp, said to have emanated from a notorious San Francisco counterfeiter: “The design is very similar to that of the Hawaiian…”

Today these bogus items are quite scarce. Shown here are the two colors they appear in:

If you have a copy of this item, treasure it as they are seldom seen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Whatever became of the de Thuin counterfeits?

Recently, a fellow-philatelist and I were discussing various matters and the question arose “Where are all the de Thuin counterfeits?”

Both of us remember the flurry of publicity in 1967 about the acquiring of the clichés, art work and material when the American Philatelic Society acquired these items from de Thuin in Mérida, Mexico and the subsequent publishing of the book, The Yucatan Affair: The Work of Raoul Ch. De Thuin, Philatelic Counterfeiter, in 1974.

Although the works of Spiro, Fournier and others are offered for sale (as counterfeits frequently, but not always) neither of us has seen any de Thuin material offered as such. Also, other than the above mentioned book not much literature seems to exist on these items.

We got to wondering why this is and several possibilities occurred to us.

• People don’t recognize the work as being that of de Thuin

• When the material was brought into the U.S. the counterfeit stamps were turned over to the Treasury Department and destroyed.

• Since de Thuin generally sold to collectors rather than dealers only a limited number of copies were sold and these remain in collections unrecognized.

• Collectors at the time examined their collections for this material and destroyed it.

We have no way of knowing which, if any, of these possibilities is the correct one. What do you think the case may be? What do you think happened to them?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another example

Here is another example showing how the “cut corner” was used to verify the printed matter rate. It was sent from Asuncion using the 1900 issue 8c value to pay the rate. However, since the U.S. postal regulations required that printed matter could be sent only unsealed it was considered to be a first class letter and charged double the international letter rate.