Ovals Forgeries and Reprints

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Finland postal stationery issues came out in 1850, six years before the stamps, and although they do not have the secret marks, they were in use throughout the 1850’s and could be mistaken for the stamps if cut out of their envelopes, and especially if a cancel obscures the key identification points. The earliest known usage of a regular 1856 Oval issue stamp is 3 March 1856. Older catalogs such as Moens Le Timbre Poste note a date of February 12, 1850.

Sample of 1850 Postal Stationary – the lack of secret marks should not fool any collectors.

   

  
Described as 1893 postal envelopes in Facit. These could be used to defraud but the yellowish base colour and the lack of red in the 10k should be a key.

1856 5k issue

   
Genuine, type I small pearls
Handstamped one by one, Imperforate
Paper ordinary, narrow-1aid or wide-1aid.
Secret mark between the shield and the crown – note the irregular shape of the mark
The mouthpiece of the left posthorn is over the right one
8 + 8 pearls in crown – note the spacing
Dots after 5s and words are diamond shaped – note the shape and angle
The bottom right star is incomplete
Height 24.7 – 24.8 mm.
Width 28.2 – 28.4 mm.
Width of the shield 9.8 – 10 mm.


Genuine, type II large pearls
Handstamped one by one, Imperforate
Paper ordinary, narrow-1aid or wide-1aid.
The identification marks are the same as in type I, only the pearls are larger.



Comparison of small & large pearl

The stamps were hand stamped with a lever press one by one in a row of 10. The sheet was reversed and another roe printed which produced the tete-beche pairs.
Apparently the original sheets of 20 stamps may have been cut in half at the post offices as none survive.
In fact blocks of 4 are VERY rare.
The individual stamping is a boon foe authenticity as variations are minor and only due to the inking process.

This brings up a good point since the forgeries are lithos, there is no perceptible “ink squeeze” from the pressure of the lever squeezing the ink to the outer edges in the originals as shown below.

Although these stamps have a fairly high CV, the average stamp has faults so with some perseverance, they are obtainable.
Because of their value, forgeries abound, based on articles and my research, I would estimate that some 40 different forgeries exist of these stamps. Aside from the reprints, they are fairly easy to spot.

5K Forgeries
The  types are patterned after the Olamo book.
I am including the genuine (left) with each forgery for easier comparison
   
Forgery Type I
Dot after first 5 is missing
The lion has a solid arm
The cross is solid

  
Forgery Type II
The oval is flattened
AII dots are missing
Cancellation unknown
Posthorn mouthpiece is very small

  
Forgery Type III – Fournier
Secret mark is missing
The Russian P letter on the right is joined at top and bottom
5 is the wrong shape
Posthorn mouthpieces are too close together


2 more Fournier forgeries

  
Forgery Type IV
The oval has a wrong shape
Pearl only in left posthorn
The posthorns have wrong shape
Lion head is small
5’s are the wrong shape
KO too close together

  
Forgery Type VI
Secret mark is missing
Dot only after Russian KOP
Russian P on the right joined at bottom and top
Only six stars in coat of arms
Left posthorn touches the shield

  
Forgery Type VII -offered on eBay as genuine with “faults” $80
Secret mark is missing
Dots are round
The mouth of the right posthorn is over the left
Very thick letters

  
Forgery Type VIII
Secret mark is missing
Pearls are missing from posthorns

  
Forgery Type X – this is a Torres forgery identical to his Moens catalog illustration
Used usually with forged Wiborg cancel
The oval is too round
Only six stars in shield
Dots are round
7 pearls in crown
Secret mark is missing
Torres Note – Fournier, Spiro & Sperati are considered as prolific forgers bot Torres may well outdo them all together.
His forgeries are not in the Sperati or Fournier class for appearance.
He was the major illustrator for catalogs in Europe and America so his forgeries are world wide. His personal 1879 catalog has 220 pages.

  
Forgery Type XI – very crude
Dots are large & round
Recorded copies are with penmarks
No left pearl, may be partial one on the right
Stars are shaped oddly

  
Forgery Type XVI – probably a modern Peter Winter
Very good copy – may have been made in London in 1960
Shows up in pairs that are widely spaced
The cross is different
The openings of the posthorns are different

  
Forgery Type XIX
The last dot is not diamond shape but square
The bottom right star is complete
The left posthorn touches the shield

  
Forgery Type XXI
Lion head odd shape
Lion arm is solid
Cross is even both sides but larger on the left with the original
Crown secret mark is smaller
Top of 5’s are too curved

  
Forgery Unlisted
Crown secret mark is missing
Pearls are missing

  
Forgery unlisted – overall very good
Solid arm in cross
Top right star shaped differently
Bottom stars are open
Shading in posthorns is different

  
Forgery Unlisted – overall very good
Letters are close to the oval
Bottom right star is complete
Left posthorn touches the shield

  
Forgery Fournier/Spiro
No secret mark or pearls
Mouthpieces too large
Fournier sold Spiro forgeries and as this is cruder than his general offers, it is probably a Spiro

  
Forgery Fournier/Spiro
see above notes

  
Forgery Unlisted
Odd shaped lion
No secret mark or pearls
Last letter looks like an L
Mouthpieces too long
To many pearls on the crown


Full sheet of Fournier forgeries


Forgery of tete-beche.
Stamps should be head to head as in the very rare genuine below.

Reprints
These are somewhat difficult to distinguish from the originals and some common auction sites feature them as “Genuine”


1862 Type I
Made for Belgian stamp dealer Moens by order of Post Director Gripenberg
Large pearls in posthorns
Hand stamped in a lever press as the originals. Exists in tete-beche.
A small color spot to the right in the crown’s right cross
Paper: Two kinds, without gum:
Ordinary thick brownish paper, clear wire-marking. Thickness: 0,115-0.135 mm
Laid (17 lines per 2cm). Thickness: 0,105 – 0,120 mm

 


1862 Type II
Similar to Type I but with larger margins
2 typesof paper
Ordinary lighter brownish paper, harder and more glazed than on the originals. Less significant wire-marking. Paper thickness 0.090 -0.100 mm
Wide laid paper


1862 Type IIa
The same as Reprint 1862 Type II but the secret marks in the posthorns are blue dots as is the secret mark under the crown.
Wove paper


1871
Hand stamped in a lever press as the originals.
The colour is dry and smudgy. Small colour spot to the right
in the crowns cross.
Narrow margins all around.
These reprints were used in the folders sent to UPU
Ordinary thick yellowish paper. Paper thickness 0.120 – 0.125 mm.
Originally gummed.


1881 – the above was listed as certified but the close spacing and dot in the cross says different.
This reprint is called the “Granberg issue”
Hand stamped in a lever press as the originals.
Colour is greenish blue.
Colour spot to the right cross.
Narrow margins as closely printed in long strips.
Without gum.
A clear printing impression that shown through the reverse


1892
Lithographed in sheets of 20 (4×5) from a new cliche.
Vertically pairs not in tete-beche originate from this issue.
The colour is deep dark blue.
They are also found with the cancellation SPECIMEN in a rectangular frame.
Official issue was 1000 copies but more stamps were found in the property left by the printer W. Brandstake


1956
New galvanic clichés.
Printed for the centenary of the Finnish postage stamps.
Dark blue with posthorn watermarked paper


Illustration of 1981 sheet printed for the Nordia Philatelic Exhibition
The miniature commemorative sheet is offset printed in the original colors by The Bank of Finland.
20,000 miniature sheets, consecutively numbered were produced to be sold by Finland’s Stamp Dealers and The Finnish Philatelic Association.
Any left-overs at the end of September 1981 were to be destroyed.
The proceeds were to support the philatelic projects and research sponsored by “Suomen Filatelistiliitory” (The Finnish Philatelic Association).
I do not have any distinguising features of these.


Printed for the 1956 Helsinki Philatelic Exhibition

1856 10k issue
  
Original issues with pen and town cancels
Handstamped one by one, unperforated.
Small pearls in the posthorns.
The star at the top right is open at the top
The right moutpiece is wider than the left one.
Paper ordinary wove, narrow-laid or wide-laid.
Secret mark between the shield and the crown
The right 1 has a slight curve in the top serif
The left side of the cross is slightly larger than the right side
The mouthpiece of the right posthorn is over the left one
9 + 9 pearls on the crown
Dots after 10’s and words are diamond shaped
Height 24 – 24.4 mm.
Width 28.1- 28.3 mm.
Width of the shield 10.1 – 10.4 mm.
The foot serif of the last letter is missing on the bottom right

Forgeries
The  types are patterned after the Olamo book.
I am including the genuine (left) with each forgery for easier comparison

  
Forgery Type I
The last letter open at top
The pearls in the crown are separated from each other
The pearls in the posthorns are different size

  
Forgery Type II
Secret mark is missing
Left posthorn touches shield
Oval has a wrong shape
Dot after KOP missing

  
Forgery Type III
All four dots are missing
Secret crown mark is missing
Mouthpieces are small
The left hand mouthpiece is over the right one
Very large pearls

  
Forgery Type IV
Dot only after KOP
The left hand mouthpiece of the posthorn is over the right one

  
Forgery Type V
The pearls in the crown are separated from each other
The dot after the right 10 is missing or is very faint
Posthorn pearls too large

  
Forgery Type XII
Thick letters not aligned with the original
No dot after the right 10
Posthorns touch the shield

  
Forgery Fournier
Mouthpieces wrong shape
Top of letter K extends too far
KOP too close to frame
Large stars

  
2 more Fournier forgeries
Same issues as previous

  
Unlisted Forgery
Letters to tall
Right 10 too close to crown
Very large posthorn pearls
Odd shaped lion head

  
Unlisted Forgery – good forgery
No dot after right 10
Both posthorns touch the shield

  
Unlisted Forgery – Very primitive
Tiny pearls on crown
Letters uneven
Odd shaped lion head
No secret marks or pearls

  
Unlisted Forgery – Very primitive
No pearl right posthorn
Uneven letters
Large cross
Small mouthpieces
Lion head wrong shape

Reprints


1862 Type II Reprint
Hand stamped in a lever press with original dies by order of Post Director Gripenberg for the Belgian stamp dealer J.B. Moens.
The colour is dull carmine.
There is a small colour spot to the left in the crowns cross.
Left frame line of the Coat of Arms sometimes a little damaged making a small curve. Printed on two different papers ungummed.
There is a Type I with smaller margins
Also a IIa were the post horn and secret mark are solid red dots


1871 Reprint
Hand stamped in a lever press with original dies.
The colour is carmine red and there is a small colour spot to the left in crowns cross.
Left frame line of the Coat of Arms is broken near the lion’s top paw.
Narrow margins all around.
These reprints were used to the UPU


1881 Reprint
Hand stamped in a lever press with original dies.
The colour is carmine red and there is a small colour spot to the left in crowns cross.
Left frame line of the Coat of Arms is broken near the lion’s top paw.
Narrow margins vertically since closely printed in long strips.
This reprint is called the “Granberg issue”.
Hard white and thin paper with impression showing on the reverse side


1892 Reprint
Lithographed in sheets of 20 (4×5) from a new cliche.
Vertically pairs not in tete-beche originate from this issue.
The colour is red.
They are also found with the cancellation SPECIMEN in a rectangular frame.
Official issue was 1000 copies but more stamps were found in the property left by the printer W. Brandstake


1956 Reprint
Printed for the centenary of the Finnish postage stamps with new cliches.
The colour is reddish carmine.
Paper with watermark Posthorn and white glossy gum

20k issues
Very few collectors would even know this exists.
It was in pre 1900 catalogs but is not in modern ones.
In reality it is one of the great Finnish rarities and only a few exist.
Printed in black.


One of the 2 know copies tied to envelopes.

Forgery
Also rare to see any and I have no real information on them.

The mouthpieces are smaller
The letters are all different.
The cross is smaller

Reprint
No real information on these.

This is apparently an 1881 reprint

Postmarks
As with some other early stamps, pen cancels were often found to be unsightly and were removed.
This procedure when duly noted does not affect the value appreciably on auctions./
However, there are documented cases where the penmarks were re-applied and sold as genuine. Unfortunately these are fakes with no value.

This brings up the case of certification.
Any “signed” copies are to be viewed with suspicion as many were faked.
A good copy should be recently certified by a competent Finnish expert.


Typical town and penmark cancels
The last one “Lovisa” is particularly sought after.

References
Fournier Falsifikat – L.Linder
Finland catalogue 1856-2005
Finlande : les timbres des premieres emissions – Grosfils-Berger
Facit special 2015
Finland reference manual of forgeries – J. Olamo
Posthorn articles 1960-85
Rossica journals
Forgeries of Finnish stamps – M. Ossa
Seranne and Weeds articles.
Stamps Catalog CD – Evert Klaseboer
Le timbre Postes 1863-99 – Moens
Forged Stamps of all Countries – Dorn
Forgeries Filatelister – Tullberg.1946