Forgeries of Uruguay

The First Issues
Issued I st October, 1856. Not definitely withdrawn from circulation until December 1859.
Lithographed by Mege and Willems at Montevideo on white wove paper of medium thickness.
The original sheets contained 35 stamps placed in seven rows of five.

1856 issues
The first 3 issues were forged by numerous “artists”, possibly at least 10
Most are easy to distinguish – like these beauties from 2 different forgers

The genuine traits are fairly consistent for all 3 due to;
The 80c values were made from the 35 stones of the 60c by removing the ’60’, this gives rise to 35 different minor varieties of the 80 c. The 1 real stamp was also made in this way, except that the whole bottom label was removed and replaced by the 1 real text, this also gives rise to 35 minor varieties.
So there lies a major problem, the 1 Real has 35 varieties

Above, color shades of the 1856 issue

Aside from all the easy to catch forgeries there are the Sperati’s
Sperati made several forgeries of these stamps, three of the 60 c, two of the 80 c and three of the 1 r values.
Uruguay was one of his favorite countries and he took extra care in making these forgeries.
The 60 & 80 have some definite Sperati traits, the best of the 1R is near perfect.
All the dozen or more traits of the genuine are in the Sperati 1R.

To really check the early Uruguay stamps one would need
a good forgery guide and a plating guide.
Possibly the best are;
The Postage Stamps of Uruguay  E.J. Lee  1931
‘Estudio de las Falsificaciones de los Sellos Postales del Uruguay’ Robert Hoffmann 1948

These are forged in great numbers
The 60c has at least 12 variations of the first type and 3 of the 2nd
The 80c has 4
The 1r has 5

I feel comfortable that these are genuine

Comparison of stamps provided by jkjblue

jkjblue left, Sperati right
Many similarities, “G”, “E”, “A”, “1”, “R”, “L”, Short line under the mouth

jkj left, genuine right

3 Sperati Best Grade -these stamps sell on auctions and command good prices.

3 very crude forgeries

1931 Exposition Sheets in 4 colors and values

1969 Stamp day

1858 Issues
Probably by far the most forged set in Uruguay.
The majority of stamps on general auctions I looked appeared to be counterfeits.
The 120c has at least 8 known forgery varieties
The 180c has 6
The 240c has 10

Genuine Issues

Sc 4 & 5

Sc 6 & 6a

Sc 6b

The Forgeries

Seranne Type C
“M” outside of frame
Small dots with no shading lines
“S” not touching the upper frame line
Large serif on the “1”
Large opening in the “O”
Pointed chin

Seranne Type F
“M” far from frame corner
Large opening in the “O”
Small shaded dots
“S”not touching the upper frame and no hump below it
Upward tail on “2”
Thin “1” with serif
Dash between eyes
Eyes looking left
Dent on side of chin

More Type F with forged cancels, “240” center opening of “0” is too large

A set of Type F attributed to Fournier – note the visible guide lines

Another series from with color variations – these are by far the most common

Sperati Forgeries

White dot in 240cent
Dot at the top of the head
Somewhat blurred rays

Sperati Proof

Sperati reproduction ‘D’ of the 240 c value. Above the ‘V’ of ‘MONTEVIDEO’ a large red dot in the white frameline can be found.

Fournier Seranne Type G

Broken dots and color spots top left, Dot touches the frame right
Joined frames top left
Frames joined
Spot of colour above the nose
Rays do not touch the frame circle

Some unknown forgers

Broken “M” and “C” joins inner frame with color

Left, Small dots
Thin letters
“S” small and not connected to frame
“1” too far right and small serif
Round face
Right, probably an excellent forgery as only the face does not appear to match the genuine version.
Also the “8” crosses the bottom lin

1859-60 Forgeries

Catalogs make few mentions of these forgeries but I found them to be both prolific and in many cases very dangerous.
The known forgeries in the thin numerals are;
60c, 5; 80c, 4; 100c, 3; 120c, 4; 180c, 5; 240c, 6
In the thick numerals
60c, 8; 80c, 5; 100c, 4; 120c, 3; 180c, 8 – there is possibly none of the 240c

Genuine Issues – Thin series

1. The circle is not in the center, it is slightly to the left and down.
2. Ray lines up with back of “E”
3. Bottom leg of the “E’s” longer than the top.
4. The rays do not touch the circle frame at the top.
5. The corner elements are all proportional.
6. The tear drop shapes point to the center of the flower elements. The right ones are shorter than the left ones.
7. “CORREO” on the right is longer than on the left, about 9.25mm vs. 8.25mm
8. The rays are made up of alternating straight and wavy lines.
9. The width on the right is ~3mm, on the left ~2.5mm
10. The “S” slants left and is 1mm from the end of the shaded frame.
11. There is a separating line about 2mm from outside frame.
12. There is an accent on the “E” and in the thin series generally does not touch the “E”
13. There are 2 breaks in the frame line.
14. The ray lines up with the center of the “N”.
15. Generally a dash is visible in these shapes.
16. This ray lines up with the back of the “R”.
17. This particular ray ends in a dot

Note that given the varieties, not all issues have all these genuine traits
There are many Classic Types which may help in their identification.
LINK is a Spanish listing of these types

Others of the thin series

1. Lower leg of “E” generally broken
2. Extended stroke on “4”
3. Left leg of “M” sometimes broken and curved to the left.

Thick Series

The traits of the Thin Numeral all apply plus,
1. The “N & T” are joined
2. The “I & M” are joined
3. The accent over the “E” is longer and generally touches the “E”
4. The “R & E” are joined
5. The top of the “M” has a long dash
The initial printings are generally clearer than the Thin Numerals.

Others of the thick series


Fournier Forgeries

Typical Fake cancel

The corner elements are squarish in shape instead of the definite petals of the genuine.
Center circles are more centered
The 180 has a slanted “8” & the top right drop shape is missing
Many letters do not match the originals.

Sperati Forgeries
These require quite close attention as they are quite good.
Sperati made copies of every issue both thin & thick

‘VI’ of ‘MONTEVIDEO’ joined at the top.

Left, The ‘0’ of ’80’ is open at the bottom.
Right, slanting ‘8’

Left, break in the lower left frame. The first ‘O’ of ‘MONTEVIDEO’ is open at the top.
Right, upper left flower ornament very ‘white’

Left, this copy always has same cancel and can thus be easily identified.
Right, the left leg of the ‘M’ of ‘MONTEVIDEO’ is broken as well as the first ‘R’ of the left ‘CORREO’.

There is a weak spot in the lower part of the left outer frameline. Also a white horizontal line in the central rectangle just to the right of the ‘E’ of ‘CORREO’.

A very dangerous forgery – probably Hoffmann Type A
Slanting leg of bottom “M”
Short lower “S’s”
Some letters inclined

Dot in front of ‘180’

A smudged ‘O’ of the right ‘CORREOS’, an the second ‘O’ of this word is open at the top.

I have not identified the forger of these copies.
I have seen a notation that they are Sperati copies, if so they would not be his A group.
They all have a dash on the left cheek and the tear drops are very white. There are many issues with the letters and the numerals as well (note the “S” position).

Some unknown crude forgeries

Many of the above appear on auction sites with various papers, some with very high prices
The very white drops and corner elements are key features


Other Forgeries

1864 Coat of Arms Issue

What to look for
1. Dent on top of the C
2. RI joined together
3. White spot above the OS
4. Bottom of the I is weak
5. Accent above the E
6. The E is smaller than the C & N
7. The banner protrudes from the frame on the left side
There are 7 types of this stamp based primarily on the distance between the 06 and the C

A very crude forgery lacking many details of the genuine above

Genuine left, Spiro forgery a right (note missing accent on the “E”), “R I E” not joined.
The face is very different and is a common issue with many of the forgeries.
This forgery is very common and there are about 8 different varieties
In almost all cases the forger has made errors in the sun shape and rays as well as the value and the letters of CENTESIMOS

The forgery on the right is a more dangerous one that frequently shows up on auction sites. Possibly a Sperati
The broken frame is typical
Close examination of the letters shows they are not as uniform as the genuine right

Sperati forgeries
Left, the L of LICA is heavily curved and joined to the I at the bottom
Right, pronounced dot in the U and the inner circle besides the E of  RIEN is broken

Sperati Postmarks

1866-68 Numerals – there were 3 printings of these
Issued 1st October, 1866. Withdrawn 4th May, 1877 (with the exception of the 15 c.).
200,000 emitted in all of the perf. and imperf.

Genuine left, forgery right note the mountain and background lines, “CORREOS” poorly done & too small. No horns on the bull.
The above is a Type I
The Type II looks more like the genuine. The middle stroke of the “E” in “REPUBLICA” is very crooked. The “I” in the same word is much shorter than the other letters. The “L” has a thick base.
The Type III has no accent on the “U” of “REPUBLICA” and all the letters are much shorter than the original.

Paper money was made from the same die as the stamps, the colour being black on rose, they served for postage as well . Their manufacture was caused by a scarcity of small coinage.

Proof left, forgery right, note “RE” looks like “HE”, serif on “M”, small last “O”
The background letters are very irregular. Note the shape and where the subject is looking.
All these numerals are extensively forged.
Some, especially the 15, are very dangerous so care must be taken.

Forgery easily recognized by the awkward background

1880 Official

There are many forgeries of these overprints as shown below

This is a Fournier 1905 forgery. Perfect in every detail except for the short leg on the “L”

1881 issue
Authorized 23rd August, 1881.
Issued 25th August, 1881.
Withdrawn 1st July, 1884.
Emitted 1 ,000,000.

Genuine left.
In the right forgery (grayscale), the top of the head is much lower.
The “U” of “URUGUAY” is not evenly shaped

1882 issue|
Issued 1 st July, 1882. Withdrawn 1st June or July 1883.
Emitted 500,000
Imperfs probably originate from printer’s waste and are not cataloged

Genuine above
The stamps of the series are numbered from 1 – 100
As a result, collectors are searching for the missing numbers to create a full plating.
Forgers have seized an opportunity.
On yellowish paper
A tiny white flaw over the initial letter of ” URUGUAY. ”
The ”1” is thicker at the base
The numerals that go from 1 to 100 are much thinner
Generally perforated 11.5 instead of 12.5
The 2c forgery has a color dot top left of the “1882”, see below. I am not aware if the 1C has this feature.

1884 issue
Authorized 19th January, 1884.
Issued 25th January, 1884.
Withdrawn 20th May, 1885.
Emitted 400,000.
Imperfs exist on thin white glossy paper

Forgery left, genuine right
The forgery
The face is very different. The lower part of the face is made up of heavy dots and dashes
The background lines are more separated.
The round corner elements are smaller

This series was reprinted between 1894-1909 in different colors

The reprint was in Vermilion, so I suspect this is one.

 The Forgery (General characteristics)
The reprints have their own forgeries.
The horizontal top bar of the 2
nd “E” in “CENTESIMOS” is long and crudely done
The right leg of the “M” in “CENTESIMOS” is taller than the left one.
The “5” in “25” ends in a long point and has many dots.
The right leg of the “U” in “URUGUAY” is much longer than the first one
“REPUBLICA” has no accent on the “U”

1897 La Paz issue
Issued 26th September, 1897, and only in circulation for three days,  26th,  27th,  28th September,  897.
Emitted : 1c. . 150,000
2c. . 100,000
5c. . 200,000
10c. . 50,000

Genuines above
Widely forged overprints are shown below.
Note the size of the 8, the position of the 7 and the space between the 1 & 8
Genuines are  found with an inverted overprint

1904 Paz issue

Genuine and example
Note that the overprint was printed in a 50 & a 63 degree slant.
A few forgeries exist as shown below.

1905 Corriente series

A genuine left and a very crude forgery on the right


Genuine left & postal forgery right

1906 National shield another postal forgery

Genuine shown
Forgeries of the 5c issue exist in 3 different types and are fairly common
Type 1 has a triangular white spot below
Type II has a white round stain underneath “L” of “ORIENTAL”
Type III has a white and irregular spot, entering the back of the cow, below the “U”

1908 Independence Commemorative
Designed by Manuel Larravide and printed by Barreiro and Ramos of Montevideo by typography in a plate of 25 on thick paper. Line perf 13
Valid for 3 days only Aug 23-25 1908
Inverted center copies are listed in some catalogs but knowledgeable philatelists of the period say these were “fabricated” by the printers and sold at a premium
100,000 were emitted of each denomination.
An error of printing was made in printing the 1 c. stamp, i.e. ” CENTESIMOS ” in lieu of “CENTESIMO”
Pictured are the cruiser Montevideo (formerly the Dugali purchased from Ital) and the gunboat 18 de Julio
There are proof in blocks of 9 on thick tinted paper.
There is also a very rare souvenir sheet with the 3 values issued and autographed by the Director of Posts

Genuine issues

Genuine Traits
The G in AGOSTO has a plate fault in the crossbar
The rear spar is straight
The base of the front funnel is complete
The water is distinct and there is no large white area surrounding the inner image.

Forgery above
It is grey-green instead of dark green. It is dull and the forward funnel is broken at the base.
The spar of the tall mast of the ship far left has a bend in it towards the bottom.
Ragged lines encircling the numeral and the water is different
Line perfed 7.5 instead of 13
Large white area around the central image.
The accent over the U of REPUBLICA is almost absent.
The paper is thinner

There are 2 different sets of forgeries as shown in the group below – click for full image.

The set we can call Type II shown in the 2 stamps above is much less distinct than the Type I and may be a reproduction of the Type I forgery. It is often found in blocks with the “MONTEVIDEO 8 MAR 1910” cancel. This forgery appears to be the one most encountered and even found in most catalogs.

1913 Overprint – Cent. of the Buenos Aires Congress of 1813.

Genuine left, forgery right
Note in particular the difference in the C’s, the size of the last line and the symbol above the N.
There are also much better forgeries that require very close scrutiny.
Most inverts offered on auctions are fakes.

1925 Airmail – circulation was under 4,000 so pricey and lots of forgeries


Forgeries – very well done, look for small details like the toes in feet which are joined.
No watermark, perf 10.5 x 12.5
In “FLORIDA” – the “S” is different
In “MONTEVIDEO” the serif on the “M” and the lack of separation between the “D & E”

1926-29 Airmail

This is a long series and all the values were forged.
Left genuine, right forgery, may originate from Belgium, excellent other than the notch in the wing.
Forgeries have no watermark. The colors will vary from the originals.
In the name “SCASSO” there is a dot above the last “S” which is missing in the forgeries

 There are deceptive forgeries with no notch in the wing.
Look for minor details like the shape of the head, the inclination of the accent on the “E” of “AEREO”, the straight 4 small dashes in the body instead of being curved and the details above.

1939 Airmail

This series has abundant forgeries of every value. The perfs are 11.5 instead of 12.5
Extremely deceptive other than the line to the right of the shield with the value.

The short line does not touch the shield frame line in the genuine.

Here is another forged value

– The Postage Stamps of Uruguay. London: Stanley Gibbons Limited, 1931.- Lee, E.J.
– Estudio de las Falsificaciones de los Sellos Postales del Uruguay. Club Filatelico del Uruguay de Montevideo, 1948. – Hoffmann, Robert.
– Les Timbres de L’Uruguay. Paris: Editions Charles Mendel, 1908. – Sigismond, Jean.
– Catalogo de estampillas del Uruguay. Uruguay: Mundus, 1985. – Kobylanski, J.K.
– Catalogo especializado de los sellos postales de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay – Ciardi