DDSG Forgeries (click on images for a larger picture)
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The Donau Dampfschiffahrt Gesellschaft (D.D.S.G) was established in 1829 by John Andrews and Joseph Pritchard, two British engineers in Vienna. The Austrian government granted them exclusive commercial navigation rights on the Danube.
In 1846 the DDSG agreed to carry mail between Austria and the Consular P.0.s in the Levant, and in 1866 the DDSG formally took responsibility for mail handled by its agents along the Danube. A uniform letter fee of 17k was charged (reduced to 10k in 1867) and the first DDSG stamps were issued.
The DDSG stamps continue to be listed in the standard stamp catalogues, even though they are strictly more ‘private’ than Russian Zemstvo issues.
Route covered by the DDSG
The stamps were lithographed by H. Engle & Sohn, Vienna. By the time the use of stamps ended in 1880, there was sufficient collector demand for the stamps to be reprinted, and various reprints were made between 1880 and 1900.
Three different printing stones were made
Stone 1 – 17k in 10 different fields in regular repetition for a sheet of 100.
Stone 2. – According to records, the 10k was made by changing the “7” to a “0”. This resulted in worn plates. This is a Type I and the 17k and 10k have specific characteristics.
Stone 3 – About 1878 a new die was made for printing the 10 k.
Green in type II, 20 different fields in five regular repetition.
It is estimated that at least 7 editions were printed resulting in many color variations.
Michel 1A, perf 12, probably a plate var. 1 with flat top on the “s” of “schif”
The features of a genuine Type I 17k and 10k are clearly shown.
The flat tops of the “f”‘s
The two dots of color and the line between the ovals above the first “k”
As the printing stone wore these two dots tended to become faint, one or the other
even disappearing on certain subjects in the sheet.
Three forgery types exist for all values and colours. Engelhardt Fohl and Francois Fournier both sold forgeries of DDSG stamps, but probably neither actually designed or printed DDSG forgeries themselves. The actual origin of the three forgery types remains a mystery.
17 kreuzer, red.
1. ” 1″ in ” 17″ has only a very faint and rudimentary serif.
2. The “7” has an unusual shape and is the main trait
3. The background lacks wavy lines
4. The “D” of “Dampf” is not inclined
5. White margins
6. The bar cancel is common with this forgery
7. The inside oval has irregularities
8. The perfs have small holes
I have seen this forgery attributed to Spiro.
This series has the best execution of quality.
All of the letters of the inscription are slightly larger than those on the original stamps.
1. Cross bars on ” t”‘s and ” f”‘s go only to the right.
2. The “7” is curved
3. Tops of the “f” are rounded as in die II
Probably the number one reason why these issues are not overly popular. There are three main types of reprints and they are extremely plentiful . The printings were made in the I880-I900 period after the private postal business of the Company had closed. Basically printed by the printers of the originals to meet philatelic demand so they are very close to the originals.
Type I Reprints
It is noted that the first reprint was made from the same stone that produced the fairly rare 10K Mi 4 red, it would be fair to tag these as “unauthorized reprints”. Reprints that came after were printed from new stones and really fall into the category of “forgeries”.
The first reprints of the 10k are both perfed 91/2 and a scarce imperforate. Several colors were issued including green, pale violet, pale red, and black (possibly as a proof?).
This is apparently a certified reprint Type I
In comparing to the original on the right, the dots and the dash in the oval are missing. The “f”‘s are rounded, the “1” serif is not as long and the “7” base is not as pointed.
Type II reprints
Extremely dangerous as they have the characteristics described for the Michel 1A above.
These need examination of the actual stamp as only paper and gum show variations. In the originals, the paper is always very thin hard white wove, while the reprints appear on a somewhat thicker and softer paper. The gum used on the originals was rather thick and pasty and practically colorless, while on the reprints it is thin, smooth, and hardly visible.
Another method is by very close examination of the printing. As the stones used were getting old, a lot of scratches, breaks and dots began to appear. Needless to say, a low quality picture on an auction site will not do. A description of what to look for can be found in the reference material.
A possible Reprint II. Note that the dots and the oval dash are still visible.
Reprint Type III
“Album Weeds” by the Rev. R. B. Earee notes that the printing is “coarser” than the originals. One item is that the dots mentioned in the Michel 1A above are missing. The line above the “k” between the ovals is basically gone as are many other small faults.
These reprints exist in a variety of shades indicating many print issues. A different perforator may have been used as the teeth are clean cut without missing holes.
These are good Type III candidates. The image is brighter. The lettering is coarser. There are signs of wear. All the original marks have been removed.
All this to say that forgeries can be spotted but reprints you need a plating guide, patience, an expert opinion and a good refund policy.
Special Purpose Issues
The Company issued various non-postal adhesive stamps to denote payment of insurance fees, revenue charges, bill of lading fees, etc. Some are very common and others quite scarce.
They are generally found listed in special catalogs under Romania.
The Danube Steam Navigation Company – Hurt and Kelly, 1950
Forgery & Reprint Guide 7-8 – Barefoot, 1983
Austrian Post Offices Abroad by S.D.Tchilinghirian, 1962
Oesterreich 1850-1918 by Dr. Ulrich Ferchenbauer, 1974
Austria Netto Katalog, 2015
Michel Europe, 2012
“Album Weeds” by the Rev. R. B. Earee