Belgium

Belgium Forgeries

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Belgium began using national postage stamps on July 8, 1849. Initially, all Belgian stamps were issued with the French name “Belgique” only, as the French was the original language of government. Under the government of Auguste Beernaert, however, stamps began to be issued with the Dutch language “België” also from 1889.

The Issues of 1849 “Epaulettes”
Designs : Charles Baugniet (1814-1886)
Composition : Jacques Wiener (1815-1899)
Painting : Lievin de Winne
Engraving : John Henri Robinson (1796-1871)
Size : 18 x 22mm
Composition of the sheets : 2 panels of 100 (10×10)
Printing Process : Line-engraved bookprinting
Number of plates : 1-I ; 2-I-II
Printing Run : 5.250.000ex
Out of use : 01/07/1866
Paper : Hand made Paper
Watermark : 2 weaved Capitals “L” in frame

The Issues of 1850 “Medallions”
Designs : Charles Baugniet (1814-1886)
Engraving : John Henri Robinson (1796-1871)
Size: 18 x 22mm
Composition of the sheets:2 panels of 100 (10×10)
Printing Process: Line-engraved bookprinting
Number of plates: I
Printing Run: 10 – 498.000ex ; 20 – 376.000ex ; 40 -392.000ex
Out of use : 01/07/1866
Paper: Thin or Thick parchment look-alike Paper
Watermark : 2 weave Capitals “LL” in frame

The Issues of 1851 “Medallions”
Designs : Charles Baugniet (1814-1886)
Engraving : John Henri Robinson (1796-1871)
Size: 18 x 22mm
Composition of the sheets:2 panels of 100 (10×10)
Printing Process: Line-engraved bookprinting
Number of plates: I
Printing Run: 10 – 53.800.000ex ; 20 – 39.200.000ex ; 40 – 4.350.000ex
Out of use : 01/07/1866
Paper: Thin or Thick parchment look-alike Paper
Watermark : 2 weaved Capitals “LL” without frame

The Issues of 1858 – 61 “Medallions”
Designs : Charles Baugniet (1814-1886)
Engraving : John Henri Robinson (1796-1871)
Size 22 X 17.5 mm
Composition of the sheets:2 panels of 100 (10×10)
Printing Process: Line-engraved bookprinting
Number of plates: I
Printing Run: 10 – 28.800.000ex ; 20 – 20.700.000ex ; 40 – 2.300.000ex
Out of use : 01/07/1866
Paper: Machined Paper
Watermark : None

Moens issues
In 1866 the stamp dealer Moens obtained a large quantity of No’s 1, 2 and 4.
To prevent postal use, they were marked with a red line.
However, catalogs note that these exist with the line removed.

I have not found any of these on auctions

1863 – 1865 Bank Guillochin overprints
These are rare and are not known mint.
There are varieties of these but I do not have details on any forgeries and I cannot confirm if the one shown is genuine.

The Issues of 1858 – 61 “Perforated Medallions”
Designs : Charles Baugniet (1814-1886)
Engraving : John Henri Robinson (1796-1871)
Perforation:by company Gebr.Gouweloos
Size: 18 x 22mm
Composition of the sheets:2 panels of 150 (15×10)
Printing Process: Line-engraved bookprinting
Number of plates: I
Printing Run: 1 – 37.250.000ex ; 10 – 39.800.000ex ; 20- 27.300.000ex ;40 – 5.900.000ex
Out of use : 01/07/1866
Paper: machined Paper
Watermark : None

Reprints
In 1945 most of the first 52 issues were reprinted.
The amount is generally considered as being 50 of each.
They are called Eisenhower Reprints but his role is only speculated.
As expected they are quite valuable and only minor differences exist with the originals.

Eisenhower Reprint


1895 Reprint


1929 Black Reprints

The Forgeries


Finding forgeries is very challenging as the ones on auction sites are generally heavily cancelled.
10c (1 foot serif too short and numbers are thin)
According to some experts, Fournier was one of the only forgers of the #1 & 2. However his forgeries are not very good. One key point would be samples with unusually large margins.
These issues should be expertized by a competent Belgium expert and not a general experizing firm.

Emile Renaud (Painter) Pencil Drawings

The Issues of 1865


Genuine on the left, forgery right
1. The vertical line of the E is smaller
2. The corner ornament is smaller & misshapen.
3. The floral elements are not uniform.
4. Thick shading behind the neck & not uniform.
5. Large white area.
6. Shape is smaller.
7. Diagonal line of the A is bent.
8. Inner shape is smaller.
9. Vertical lines are short.
10. White space down the front of the neck.
11. White space on forehead.

The Issues of 1866-67
The workers of the private printers would only perforate five hundred sheets per day as stipulated in their contracts and the daily sales were over one thousand sheets. The government was obliged to provide the public temporarily (Aug 1866) with an imperforate of the 1c while waiting for delivery of a machine that would allow it to dispense with the private sector.
Due to its limited printing and subsequent value, the 1c imperforate is one of the most forged stamps of Belgium with no less than 14 varieties.


1. This broken line is consistent in all the genuines #
2. P is not broken & the same length as the other letters. Note the size of the serifs.
3. S & T are separated
4. The base of the T is parallel to the top
5. The top & bottom curves are not equal in size, the top is rounded and the 2nd S is larger than the first one.
6. The ribbon has 8 lines of shade on the right with the last 4 touching the top of the ribbon.#
7. The lozenge background is even in size and well defined.
8. None of the letters touch the top or bottom of the ribbon #
9. The extremities of the ribbon are shaded with lines not fill.
10. The acorns are the same size and round.
11. These ornaments have an interior line. Note the size & distance of the spacing.
12. 5 parallel lines on the right side of CENTIME all touching the frame.#
13. The base of the E is broken.#
14. The M & E are separated
15. The top bar of the T is unbroken
16. 3 straight lines under CENTIME with the lower one thicker.#
17. Note the size of the E serif.
18. 6 straight lines on the left of CENTIME.
19. 5 curved lines. Note where they end.
20. Note the thickness of the lion.
21. 3 toes on top paw, 2 on bottom paw.
22. Center diamond shaped.
23 8 pearls on both sides showing separation between them.
24.The cross is distinct. Note the shape of the right end, there is a thick diagonal line that extends down.#
# Key distinguishing features

The Forgeries


Perhaps the most dangerous “forgeries” are the 1929 reprints, especially the 1c. These were printed in black.
The most telling feature would be how pristine the sample is.
They 1c periodically appears on eBay.


1954 Reprints above

The following were pulled from eBay. From about 12 “visually usable” ones 9 were definite forgeries.
I have outlined some of the main issues and you can follow from the genuine sample

The 1866 5c

Genuine

size 18.5X22mm, perf 14.5X14 (1866) or 15X15 (1867)
1. The curves of the 1st S of POSTES are not equal.
2. Note the position, tip direction & distance from upper leaf.
3. The small ornament above & right of CENTIMES is pointed.
4. CENTIMES is over 2 distinct arcs.
5. The upper paw of the lion is in 3 parts
6. Note the shape of the central diamond shape.
7. The lozenges are equal & white lines are thin and even.
8. Note the size and spacing of these ornaments

The Forgeries


Type 1
Size 18.25 X 21.75 mm, perf 11.5 or imperf
1 The cross is just a spot of colour
2 The upper & lower curves of the first S in POSTES are equal
3. The 3 tip of the right ribbon almost touches the leaf.
4 The right acorn on the right side is larger
5 There are 3 arches under CENTIME
6. The ornament is too small
7 The background lozenges are too large & white lines too large.
8 The upper paw of the lion has 2 toes


Type 2
size 18.75 X 22mm
1. The curves of the 1st S are compressed & central branch is thick.
2 The right acorn is badly drawn
3 The arcs under CENTIME are not clear
4 The P of POSTES is thicker
5 The lozenges are smaller and the white diagonals too wide
6 The ornament above the E of CENTIME is open
7. The upper paw has 2 toes

The following were pulled from eBay. From about 5 “usable” ones 2 were definite forgeries.
I have outlined some of the main issues and you can follow from the genuine sample.

The 1867 2c


Genuine 2c
1. The foot of P of POSTES is elongated both sides
2. All the letters are uniform & centered.
3. The bottom curve of the 2nd S is flattened.
4. The E & M of CENTIMES are joined top & bottom.
5. The bottom seif of the E in CENTIMES is extended left.
6. The ornaments have interior lines.
7. The acorn does not touch the leaf to the left of it.
8. The lion is well drawn.
9. The cross is distinct.
10. 5 fairly even well defined pearls on both sides.

The Forgeries


Type 1
Perf 13.75X15 or 14.75X14.75
1. Little or no foot on the P of POSTES.
2. The cross is blurred
3. The oblique line of the last S of POSTES is noticeably stretched out.
4. The M & E of CENTIMES are separated.
5. The bottom serif of the first E of CENTIMES is short


Type 2
Perf 11.5X11.5
1. The S of POSTES are large & touch the frame.
2. The lion is thin
3. The ornament above CENTIMES ha no inner line
4. The arches below CENTIMES are blurred


Type 3
Perf 14.75X14.75
1. The curve of the last S of POSTES is round and not flattened.
2. The cross is blurred.
3. M & E of CENTIMES are separated.
4 The acorn is attached to the leaf
May be cancelled with SPA 29 avril

The following was pulled from eBay. From about 6 “usable” ones 1 was a definite forgery.
I have outlined some of the main issues and you can follow from the genuine sample.

Due to changes in taxes, an 1867 royal decree required the printing of a 6c & 8c.
These were illustrated by M. Delpierre and engraved by M.J. Dargent.
2 types of the 6c were prepared along with one of the 8c but neither were put into use.

 

 


A colored proof of the second type of the 6c (not verified)

The 1869 Issues

The Forgeries


What to look for:
1. The lion is in 3 pieces
2. The crown components are visible
3. AD in the right corner
4. Shading on the lion’s body
5. The shape of this ornament.
6. HH in the left corner
7. Shading in the ball
8. Reachable inscription L’UNION FAIT LA FORCE

Below Genuine left, Forgery right


Note in the forgery,  the overall weak lines in the neck and hair

The 1871 Telegraph Issues

These are apparently the first hexagonal stamps produced.
Although not particularly expensive, their appeal made them a target for forgers.
The forgeries vary from excellent to very crude. Some key points are noted below.


The small flowers with 4 petals each are not well defined.
The letters of CENTIME are awkward especially the T of the left.
The facial shading is too heavy.
The initials of the designer HH & engraver AD have been reproduced but the type is too large & malformed.

The 1875-78 Issues

The Forgeries


#39 is one of the most forged stamps in Belgium.
Only 30,000 of the #39 & 18,000 of the 39a were printed.
Only certified copies should be entertained.
Fortunately there are many key points of the genuine that are simple to recognize.
Those marked with a # are the key ones and easy to spot.
1. A break in the top right frame #
2. The tip of the 5 is slightly upturned and blunt.
3. This line is in 1 piece, most forgeries it if forked. #
4. There should be a visible dot here.
5. To the left of this thick hair line are a series of dashes. #
6. The ear has an inner curve broken in 2 places.
7. There are several break in these lines but not overdone.
8. A D should be clearly visible in this corner. #
9. This line is broken in one spot.
10. If one of the lines has a visible dash downwards, it is a Fournier fake.
11. There should be no color dots in this line (except 1 spot on the plate)
12. This ornament should not cross the frame line.
13. This ornament is separated from the Y shaped one to the right of it.
14. A few of these lines have a slight downwards curve on the right side.
15. This Delta has this bell shape with a curved left tail but should not look like an A. #
16. The 4th line up is visibly shorter than the one before & after. #
17. This group is made up of 4 elements.
19. The bottom legs of the ornament are open.
20. This hair if forked & does not touch the top of the head. #
21. This hair starts from the top & has a y fork lower down.
22. The top of the right side of the U is oblique & pointed. #

Below, some UNMARKED forgeries to test your skills at detection.
The 5th one is an excellent Sperati forgery.
There are reported forgeries made from the 1978 issue.


Some forgeries have the words “FAUX” stamped on the bottom left


A pair of very good Fournier forgeries.
Compared to the genuine, several details in the ornaments are different.
The lettering in BELGIQUE is very different and not uniform as in the genuine

The 1883-86 Issues

All of these issues have forgeries, however most tend to be crude & I did not locate any on the auction sites.
The key to distinguish the better forgeries of these is to compare the letters for visible variations.

1884-91 Issues

The 1893-1900 Issues


These issues particularly the 1fr & 2fr are targets of the forgers.
There are however some traits that apply to all of the issues.1. The vertical line & foot of the F will be noticeably different
2. The upper 2 will have a slant to the left & the tail will be different.
3. The circle will be flattened where the top of the T crosses.
4. The nose & mouth area will look awkward.
5. The left curved ornament will be fused to the circle line.On some, the perf holes between the stamp & label will be smaller

The 1905 “Grosse Barbe” Issues


The forgeries of this series are very good.
However, forgers often have difficulty with the shape of letters.1. All letters of equal height
2. The engraver name legible, letters even & a space between the E & R of MEUNIER.

3. Compare the shape of the G
4. Compare the shape of the A, especially the horizontal bar
5 Compare the shape of the S, the curves & length of the diagonal
6 Compare the shape of the P, the size of the round top.
7. Compare the shape of the E, size of the horizontals.
Note that the top of the E of LE has a slight inclination.

8. Compare shading features in the face.

The genuines on the left, forgeries on the right

The 1894-1905 Railway Issues


Genuine left, forgery right broken frame, lack of features especially lines in engine. Engraver name indistinct.


Genuine left, forgery or reprint right


Forgery: broken frame, CENTIME letters faulty, note the T is too high and the S top curve is slanted, many details missing


Both genuine

1905-1913 Railway Issues


The more valuable 4fr is the main target of forgery.
Examination with the genuine on the right shows;
There is an extra spoke line in the wheel
The feathers are poorly defined.
The FR is too large as is the dot.


Although not generally listed, imperforates of the early railway stamps are not forgeries or reprints. COB catalog lists them as private reprints??
A railway stamp expert of the Belgium Philatelic Society had this to say in answer to my inquiry:

“I fear there is no straightforward answer to this question. It is complicated, as I understand, by two events: (1) workers at the State Printing Works printed sheets of the 1892 issue and sold them to the stamp trade at a time, probably around 1900, when their wages had not been paid for a considerable while, and (2) advancing enemy troops looted stamps of the 1902 issue from the State Printing Works early in the 1914-18 War; these included stamps still imperforate.”

The 1895 – 1916 Postage Due Issues
Even given their relatively low value, most if not all of the stamps of 1895 were forged.
This is one series that no one pays attention to.
Because of fraud the post office began to overprint the name of each post office on the Postage Dues, mainly on 1916 stamps, but also on l895 and 1919 issues.


The key points of the Genuine 1fr (left) are as follows:
1. The PL is visible. On the forgery, it is partial or missing.
2. The first line below the frame does not go to the lion’s mane. In the forgery it does.
3. The inner part of the P is more square in the genuine. It is rounded in the forgery.
4. The left end of the top of the F is rounded. It is square in the forgery.
5. The lower curve is more rounded in the genuine.
6. The right side of the foot is the same height as the left side. In the forgery, the right side is slightly taller.
7. The curved ribbon is in one piece. In the forgery it is in 2 pieces.
NOTE: there are also very crude forgeries of this stamp.

The 1910-11 “Caritas” Issues


Characteristics of the Genuine
1. Dot of colour in the white chest space
2. The hat touches the frame
2a. Note the shape of the font the 9 is not always broken.
3. Note the shape of the fingers and the broken space. See below

4. The “nose” is made up of 2 dots (difficult to see)
5. Note the arrangement of the dots in the back
6. The shape of the letters particularly the A & S, the C is higher
7. The name of the engraver C. MONTALD is clear.
8. Note the shape of the letters, especially the P, S & Z
9. The shape of the 2 & size of the c.
10. There is a distinct S shape feature here.
11. The hand has 3 distinct lines.
12. Shape is 2 sections. In forgeries it is generally closed. The font in the 5c & 10c is different from the 1c & 2c in all the series.
As shown below

The Forgeries

The 1912 King Albert Issue


Genuine and source photo


This is apparently a proof

The Forgeries
There are at least 5 different forgeries.
Close attention to the letters is the best test

Left Excellent Forgery
1. Large white space & uneven lines
2. White space & last heavy line is noticeably curved
3. Top of P is slanted
Middle Decent Forgery – This is the most common one
1. Left top of B is rounded
2. Many lines instead of dots in background
3. Coarse shading in epaulette
4. Large close dot after name
5. P is not slanted
Right Poor Forgery
1. Most of the background is lines & uneven
2. White spaces in the face
3. Right epaulette & sash has almost no shading

The 1915 Albert Types

The 1915 Railway Overprints


Superb certified example
1. The tip has a horizontal line through it. (generally hard to see).
2. Note the position of the W relative to the wing tip.
3. Middle line of E is only slightly shorter
4. Note the shape of the S. Curves are slightly closed.
5. Middle line of E is much shorter
6. Break here in the wing, a distinguishing feature.
7. Loops do not touch the upper part of the wing.

The Forgeries


These are obviously very poorly executed and nowhere near the genuine
Websites and auctions abound with these

The 1914 Albert & Merode Issues

Belgium’s Stamp Minefield
In brief, after the beginning of the shelling of Antwerp on 1914, the workers destroyed the lithographic stones and the paper.
But some original autografies and some that had defects remained.
Using these, Verschueren (printer) made new lithographic stones and by accounts at a trial, printed and sold hundreds of thousands to one re-seller alone.
Based on the small quantity of originals, it seems the values should be much higher.
There almost seems to have been an acceptance of these forgeries.
It is not uncommon to find them in reputable auction houses (where some of the samples here came from).
My research on eBay to find samples resulted in finding forgeries in almost all the 5c & 20c Albert’s.
More than 80% of the 10c were forgeries.
NOTE – the colors of the stamps are not representative but a factor of the quality & method they were posted with on auction sites.

The 1914 Albert Issues
Design by : Mac Donald
Engraving : Mac Donald
Perforation : 14 x 14
Composition of the sheets: 2 panels of 150 (15×10)
Printing Process: Stone print
Number of plates: I
Printing Run: 129 – 70.669ex ; 130 – 299.989ex ; 131 – 60.000ex
Paper: machine Paper
Watermark : None


Genuine 5c Type I
1. Cross ia a dull red
2. The letters of BELGIQUE are closer to the top of the frame above.
3. The Q has a cedille with an opening above and a small one below.
It is attached on the left side. It is slightly bent and sharpened on the end.
4. 31/2 pearls above the E of BELGIE & no white line above them.
5. 2 pearls under the BE are not fused together.
6. The edge of the E lines up inside the ball of the ornament.


Genuine 5c Type II as above but the 2 pearls under the BE of BELGIQUE are fused.


False Type I
1. Cross is bright red
2. The letters of BELGIQUE are closer to the bottom of the frame.
3. The cedilla is long & curves to the left. The Q is closed.
4. Wavy line above the right epaulette.
5. Horizontal white line above the left epaulette.
6. 3 pearls above the E of BELGIE & a perpendicular white line above the pearls
7. White line perpendicular to the pearls on the right side of the cross box.
8 Thin white line along the right side of the left cheek of the king.

False Type II
1. Cross is bright red
2. The letters of BELGIQUE are in the center of the frame.
3. The cedille is short, thick & straight. The Q is closed.
4. No white line above the right epaulette.
5. Horizontal white line above the left epaulette.
6. 3 pearls above the E of BELGIE & a perpendicular white line above the pearls
7. White line perpendicular to the pearls on the right side of the cross box.
8 No white line along the right side of the left cheek of the king.


False Type III
1. Cross is bright red
2. The letters of BELGIQUE are closer to the top of the frame.
3. The cedilla is short, thick & straight. The Q is closed.
4. Very visible white line above the right epaulette.
5. Horizontal white line above the left epaulette.
6. 3 pearls above the E of BELGIE & a perpendicular white line above the pearls
7. White line perpendicular to the pearls on the right side of the cross box.
8 Very visible white line along the right side of the left cheek of the king.


Dangerous False Type I
Cross is bright red
Here the drawing is exactly as the genuine but the stamp is smaller in height.
It is 22.1-22.3mm instead of 22.5mm.
If it is gummed, it will be thick and bright with very visible brush strokes.Dangerous false Type II
The height is 22.3mm
The pearls below the BE of BELGIQUE are fused together
Bright red cross
Lighter green color
Thick bright gum
Everything else is exactly as the genuine


Genuine 10c Type I
Paper is cream colored & the gum is thin & dull
Type I 22.4mm, Type II 22.6mm
1. The cross & rest are printed together so the cross is generally well centered throughout the sheet of 150.
2. The first letters of BELGIQUE are closer to the top, the last ones are in the middle.
3. The Q is open to the right of the cedille. The cedille is long, wide in the middle & ends in a point.
4. 31/2 pearls above the E of BELGIE & no white line above them.
5. The letters B & E of BELGIQUE do not touch. The U & E touch at the top only.
6. The serifs of the 1 are well formed & the 1 is very slightly longer than the 0.
7. Depending on the type, the upper right corner of the cross box may be cut off (Type II).


Genuine 10c Type II
Paper is cream colored & the gum is thin & dull
Type I 22.4mm, Type II 22.6mm
1. The cross & rest are printed together so the cross is generally well centered throughout the sheet of 150.
2. The first letters of BELGIQUE are closer to the top, the last ones are in the middle.
3. The Q is open to the right of the cedilla. The cedilla is long, wide in the middle & ends in a point.
4. 31/2 pearls above the E of BELGIE & no white line above them.
5. The letters B & E of BELGIQUE do not touch. The U & E touch at the top only.
6. The serifs of the 1 are well formed & the 1 is very slightly longer than the 0.
7. Depending on the type, the upper right corner of the cross box may be cut off (Type II).


False Type I
Gum thick & shiny, paper various shades, white to blueish.
All 3 forget types come from the same sheet
1. Belgique is closer to the bottom
2. The Q is closed. The cedilla is short with a bend and does not touch the sides of the Q.
3. 31/2 pearls above the E of BELGIE & a thin white line above them.
4. The top serifs of the 1 is cut short, the foot is not even & the 1 is noticeably longer than the 0.There is apparently a Type II but I could not find an example
False Type II
Gum thin & shiny, paper various shades, white to blueish. Height 22.2mm
1. Belgique is in the middle.
2. The Q is closed. The cedilla is long, wide & straight and does not touch the sides of the Q.
3. 3 pearls above the E of BELGIE & a very visible white line above them.
4. Both serifs of the 1 are poorly formed & the 1 is the same height as the 0.

 


False Type III
Gum thick & shiny, paper various shades, white to blueish. Height 22mm
All 3 forget types come from the same sheet
1. The first letters of Belgique are closer to the bottom, the last ones are closer to the top.
2. The Q is closed. The cedilla is long, wide & straight and the upper part touches the sides of the Q.
3. 3 pearls above the E of BELGIE & a very visible white line above them.
4. The top serifs of the 1 is a small stump, the foot is not well formed & the 1 is the same height as the 0.Dangerous Type II
Cream colored paper. Gum thick & shiny
Height 22.4 mm – same as genuine
Everything else is the same as the genuine. If the gum is missing, only plate identification will work.
According to records, the sheet has 146 Type I & only 4 Type II which helps somewhat in identification.
There is apparently also a Type I on white paper with a height of 22mm but I do not have further information


Dangerous Type II
Cream colored paper. Gum thick & shiny
Height 22.4 mm – same as genuine
Everything else is the same as the genuine. If the gum is missing, only plate identification will work.
According to records, the sheet has 146 Type I & only 4 Type II which helps somewhat in identification.
There is apparently also a Type I on white paper with a height of 22mm but I do not have further information


Genuine 20c Type I
Gum is thin & smooth
Cross dull red , stamp bright purple. Height 22.5mm
1. BELGIQUE is closer to the top
2. The base of the B is straight.
3. The Q has an opening right of the excelled which is long, bent & pointed. It touches the Q on the left side.
4. The cheek of the king is swollen on the right side of the picture.
5. In the type I the inner & outer pearls situated on the right above the line of the eyes are separated.


Genuine 20c Type II
Gum is thin & smooth
Cross dull red , stamp bright purple. Height 22.5mm
1. BELGIQUE is closer to the top
2. The base of the B is straight.
3. The Q has an opening right of the cedilla which is long, bent & pointed. It touches the Q on the left side.
4. The cheek of the king is swollen on the right side of the picture.
5. In the type I the inner & outer pearls situated on the right above the line of the eyes are joined.


False Type I
On white paper, gum is thick & bright
Cross is bright red & height 22mm
1. First 5 letters of BELGIQUE are closer to the bottom
1. There is no opening in the Q & the cedilla is long & bent down.
2. The base of the B is not straight & the openings are the same size.
3. 3 pearls above the E of BELGIE & a thin white line above.
4. The cheek of the king is not swollen on the right side of the picture.
5. There is a white line above the box of the cross.


False Type II
On white paper, gum is thick & bright
Cross is bright red & height 22mm
1. The first letters of BELGIQUE are centered.
1. There is no opening in the Q & the cedille is a stump.
2. The holes in the B are equal.
3. 3 pearls above the E of BELGIE & a long visible white line above.
4. The cheek of the king is not swollen on the right side of the picture.
5. There is a white line above the box of the cross.


False Type III
On white paper, gum is thick & bright
Cross is bright red & height 22mm
1. The first letters of BELGIQUE are in the middle.
1. There is no opening in the Q & the cedilla is long & straight.
2. The holes in the B are equal.
3. 31/2 pearls above the E of BELGIE & a dotted white line above.
4. The cheek of the king is not swollen on the right side of the picture.


Dangerous Type I
On white paper, gum is thick & bright
Cross is bright red & height 22mm
1. The Q is open at the bottom & the cedille touches bothe sides inside the Q, it is long & bent.
2. The cheek of the king is swollen on the right side of the picture.
3. The pearls of both sides on the right are not joined


Dangerous Type II
On white paper, gum is thick & bright
Cross is bright red & height 22.1mm
1. The Q is open at the bottom & the cedilla touches the left side only inside the Q, it is long & bent.
2. The cheek of the king is swollen on the right side of the picture.
3. The pearls of both sides on the right are joined


An unknown forgery, only 2 pearls, completely closed Q, artifacts added, crude very bright cross


A set of imperforate forgeries offered for $100.
Bright red crosses, only 3 pearls, all lettering centered.

The 1914 Merode Issues
Design by : Mac Donald
Engraving : Mac Donald
Perforation : 14 x 14
Composition of the sheets: 3 panels of 25 (5×5)
Printing Process: Stone print
Number of plates: I
Printing Run: 126 – 150.000ex ; 127 – 150.000ex ; 128 – 50.000ex
Paper: machine Paper
Watermark : None

The general characteristics if all genuine Merode stamps, your first check for forgeries
1. The letters B and E of BELGIQUE don’t touch one another.
2. The sloped line at the bottom of the L of BELGIQUE is short.
3. The cedilla in the Q of BELGIQUE is drawn very clearly and is different in all three values.
4. The form of the curls before and after BELGIQUE is different in all the three values.
6. In general the crosses have right angles and the pale-red colour covers the whole surface very well.
Concerning the 10 cent the cross is printed in the same colour of the rest of the stamp.
7. The four upper lines in the section with the words BELGIË consists of little squares while the false stamps have full lines.


Genuine 5c
1.The descending line of the left 5 is slightly bent and thinner on the upper side but not broken.
The foot is also thinner but not broken.
2. BELGIQUE in the middle of the section.
3. The letters B & E are well separated
4. The leaf above the first E of BELGIQUE is not attached to the letter.
5. The letters E & L and U & E of BELGIQUE are attached top & bottom.
6. The first E of BELGIQUE is closed at the bottom.
7. Second E of BELGIQUE is closed.
8. The top of the E is joined to the small curl right of it
9. The curl is attached to the scroll below it
10. The letters of BELGIË are touching each-other at the foot.
11. The cross bars are equal in thickness
12. The shaded area is made up of little squares barely visible on most scans
13 The Q is open & the cedilla has a specific shape.Dangerous 5c looks exactly as the genuine except:
The descending line of the left 5 is broken. The foot is also frequently broken.
Printing generally mediocre, especially between the legs of the standing figure.
The shaded lines above and left of BELGIE are not well printed.


Genuine 10c
1. BELGIQUE closer to the top of the section.
2. The Q is open with a specific cedilla
3. The leaf almost touches the first E of BELGIQUE.
4. Semi-circular line in the scroll above the L of BELGIQUE.
5. The leaves above the letter Q of BELGIQUE almost form a straight line.
6. The letters E & L, G & I and U & E of BELGIQUE are attached top & bottom.
7. Note the shape of the foot of the L of BELGIQUE
8. Second E of BELGIQUE is open.
9.Two lines or two rows with dots in the 0 of the 10 at the right (very difficult to see).
10. The letters of BELGIË are touching each-other at the bottom.
11. White vertical line under the second E of BELGIË.Dangerous 10c
Interruptions in the ribs of the leafs.
No line or a barely visible line in the scroll above the L of BELGIQUE.
No point or only one point in the 0 of the 10 on the right.
No line or an interrupted line in the globe at the top right .
Lines in the leafs interrupted.
Printing not-well-done.
The shaded lines above and left of BELGIË not well formed.


Genuine 20c
1. BELGIQUE closer to the top line of the sector.
NOTE that the letters BEL are closer to the top side than the other letters.
2. The left 20 has little notch in the scroll of on the left of the foot.
3. There is a dot in the right side of the 0.
4. Only the letters UE of BELGIQUE are touching each other.
5. The Q is open with a specific cedilla
6. The second E of BELGIQUE is open.
7. A small dot inside left side the right 0 of 20 point.8.
The second E of BELGIQUE is not attached to the scroll on the right.
9. The left bottom of the foot of the right 2 in the 20 attaches or almost attaches the scroll.
10. The letters of BELGIE are attached one-another.Dangerous 20c
No point in the 0 or notch in the 2 of the 20 at the right.
Ribs of the leafs not well-formed.
No point in the 0 of the 20 at the right.
The line in the scroll at the right of the E of BELGIQUE is broken in three pieces.
It is shorter or has disappeared completely.
Shaded lines above and left of BELGIË not clearly printed.
The other characteristics are the same as those of the real stamps.


Line on chest variety


Proof of unissued 50c

The Forgeries
These are so plentiful, I leave it up to the reader to pick out the characteristics.



Left: A common forged cancel
Right: a forged Baarle Duc cancel – these command more due to this area of Belgium maintaining neutrality during the war and being a focal point for mail that may of otherwise been censored.

The 1928 Orval Overprint
Another forgery favorite. The forgery on the right is fair but lacks the details in the crown. Note especially the size of the dark shaded areas in the center of the crown. The lettering is also an issue. The overprint also comes in blue.

The 1928 Newspaper Stamps
Although not high in value, several of the 1928 newspaper stamps were forged. However almost all are crude and easily discernible. Below, it is just a matter of comparing the genuine to the forgery. I have numbered the letters and numbers most at fault. Left: Genuine, Right: Forgery Left


Another forgery. Note the many faults in the lettering especially the X, U, D
I cautioned the seller and she requested I give my expert credentials to substantiate this conclusion as this was a genuine rarity. The stamp sold and both seller and buyer are happy.


Comparison of the most common forgery (bottom) with the original

Here are a few more – note that in all cases the overprint is quite good but it is placed over the cancel!! The invert above also suffered from this problem.