Fabulous fakes
By: Louis Grunin

May 1 , 2003

This seminar, entitled “Fabulous Classic US. Fakes and Forgeries”, was led by Louis Grunin. As Chairman of the Philatelic Foundation, Mr. Grunin was very well qualified to lead this discussion. He passed around a number of classic covers and asked the attendees to identify the covers that were fake and to explain why. An analysis of each of these covers is provided below, along with illustrations. Following Mr. Grunin’s suggestions, viewers are invited to examine each of these covers and to determine: (a) if they are fake and (b) why, before reading the analysis (by Calvet M. Hahn) below.



Figures 1 and 2: Look at this pair of covers, with the rare illustrated item at top and the antiwar cover at the bottom, both from Carrollton, Ill. and both dated in June with a tied imperforate three cent stamp. Which is the fake? The top cover is an English production made by F. Deraedemacker, as it states at the bottom. In 1890, Deraedemacker made an excellent reproduction of an 1850s illustrated cover, an example of which is show here, with a three cent stamp added, clearly out of period. Note the weak, watery nature of the carbon black cancellation, which rests on the surface of the stamp and envelope, and which is typical of a John Fox fake. Also note the handwriting breaks on the antiwar cover, which is also typical of a number of Fox fakes. These are often the signs of traced writing. The American Stampless Cover Catalog reports that this town used the IL cds version only until 1848, at which point it began to use the ILL from that date through 1853, after which a 34-mm size cds was used. Both covers have bad PF certificates #38762 and #38763, respectively.

Figures 3: Here we have a large margined Scott #16 tied to a cover to New Hampshire. The basic problem is that this 64L1, the only stamp on the plate with both top and bottom lines recut, doesn’t plate to that position. The recut lines at top and bottom are very carefully inked in, but are slightly different in shade and the stamp plates to 87R with a bad PF certificate #185, 536. Under UV light, there is an outline of a missing stamp.