Karelia

Karelia Forgeries

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Additional Quality Images would be welcome.

The Karelia independence attempt occurred nearly two years after the North
Ingermanland independence attempt failed.
The Karelia 15 stamps were valid for almost 2 months in 1922 – from 31 January through 16 March 1922.
All of the values were counterfeited soon after. The stamps were lithographed by F. Tilgmann , Helsinki and issued on white paper with slightly yellowish gum.
The values 5 penni through 1 mark each had 20,000 printed,  the values 2 marks through 25 marks had an even smaller number printed – only 15,000 of each value.
The 10 p., 40 p., 75 p., 3 mk., and 20 mk. are perforated 11 ¼
The 20p., 50p., 1 mk., 5 mk., and 15 mk. are perforated 11 ¾
The 5 p., 25 p., 2 mk., 10 mk., and 25 mk. have both perforations
It is suspected that there are perhaps 3 or 4 different forgeries.
They are attributed to N. Imperato out of Genoa and an unknown source in Switzerland. They appeared in 1923

The characteristics of the forgeries can be summed up as those that are common and those that are inconclusive.

Common traits
4. The billhook points to the R in the forgery and to the K in the genuine
5. The zig zag northern lights are shorter in the forgery, they tend to have a U shape instead of a V, the last one ends further away from the billhook (sword).
7. In those issues with a 5, the top of the 5 tends to point upwards in the forgery
NOTE the forgeries are all perfed 11.5 – this is a point of contention as some “experts” note they only found them as 11.25. This might be so if different forgers were involved.
Inconclusive traits
1. The oblique line of the K is shorter in the forgery.
2. The tip of the J is shorter and less curved in the forgery. NOTE , this is often noted as a prime trait but it is definitely inconclusive.
3. Facial features of the bear are lacking in the forgery.
6. A common trait mentioned is the break in the chain in the genuine that is lacking in the forgery.
8. The 1 tends to be shorter and the 2 either does not have a curl in the forgery or it is much more curled.
9. The margins tend to be larger in the forgeries.
Forgeries are brighter

The quality of the reproduction printing of the forgery image varies, and even more so among the different denominations of the forgeries, hence traits that are visible in one denomination may not be visible in others.
N. Imperato has been credited with these forgeries but there are others which certainly accounts for the forgery traits not always being consistent.

Very little else needs to be shown as the traits shown above repeat in all the stamps


This was auctioned as a proof


A typical eBay offering which appears to be all forgeries.
Often sets sold will have a combination of both but given the original issue quantities, don’t count on it.

Given the short period of usage, genuine used copies are rare and covers are even rarer.

This apparently genuine registered cover matches the date period


Marshal Karl Mannerheim Scott N16-N21 and President Risto Ryti Scott N22-N27


Karelia Finnish occupation 1943 semi-postal