Cape Of Good Hope Triangles
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The Forgers: Dr. Bernard Assmus, Francois Fournier, David Allan Gee (overprints), N. Imperato, Madame Joseph (postmark), Adrian Albert Jurgens (Cape Wood Blocks), Erasmus Oneglia, Oswald Schröder, Senf brothers, Jean de Sperati, Spiro Brothers, Alan Taylor, Peter Winter (House of Stamps).
A note in an old philatelist magazine stated that an exceptionally large Austrian collection of 30,000+ forgeries had been sold with items from over 200 forgers. It also noted that the Cape of Good Hope accounted for 20 of them. I would agree with this as I came across many that were unknown.
Dr. Bernhardt Burghardt Asmus
On 8 February 1892, Dr. Bernhardt Burghardt Assmus was found guilty at the Central Criminal Court, London, for unlawfully obtaining money by false pretenses, selling forged stamps as genuine, to Morris Giwelb, and was sentenced to three years penal servitude. This was the first prosecution of this sort in Great Britain.
Details about Dr. Asmus are sketchy. He was born about 1856, and was originally from Hamburg. From 1882 he was proprietor of the German Gazette in Paris. About 1887 he moved to London, lost his money in a bad speculation and was declared bankrupt in 1890. He then started forging stamps. He sometimes used the alias A. Bernard.
In August 1890, he sold an altered Penny Black with VR in the upper corners to London stamp dealer Morris
Giwelb for £4. These were official stamps and used for experimental purposes and not for postal purposes. The current catalogue value is in excess of $50,000. Giwelb later ascertained that this was a forgery. A few days later he purchased a brown Mexican stamp for £15, from Assmus. He found that this had been colored.
Previously Assmus had tried to sell forged a V.R. stamp to London stamp dealer Theodore Buhl, who recognized it as a fake. Bournemouth stamp dealer Percy Bright, of Bright and Son, and his store manager Harry Hilckes purchased several Baden stamps for £5. These were subsequently found to be forgeries, but Percy Bright did not lay charges.
Prior to the trial, DS Reuben Pensen after arresting Assmus discovered about 900 stamps in his wallet, including 99 Baden stamps similar to those purchased by Percy Bright. A subsequent search of his lodgings in Islington found about 4000 stamps, tools for forgeries, bottles of various chemicals, metal types V and R, etc..
It must be noted that Assmus has been reported as bring a chemist.
Schröder was a partner in a printing establishment (Schröder & Naumann) in Leipzig, Germany. By 1891, he had produced a number of excellent collotype forgeries of stamps of various countries. A listing of 56 different forgeries produced by him was published in 1891, although Schroeder’s identity was not revealed in the article.
Many of these were shown at a meeting of the Royal Philatelic Society in 1904 where he was identified.
Schroeder forged stamps of, amongst others, India, Argentina (Buenos Aires), Saxony, Hanover, France, Finland, Philippines, Cape of Good Hope, Mexico (Guadalajara), British Guiana, Colombia and the United States. François Fournier used Schroeder’s forgery of the 3pf red stamp of Saxony as the basis for his own forgery of that stamp.
In an article in The London Philatelist, Edward Denny Bacon stated that most of the large collections of that era contained Schroeder forgeries and the Tapling Collection contained no fewer than ten.
After his forgeries became notorious, Schröder fled Germany and lived for some years in Zurich, Switzerland.
He apparently made no forgeries at this time. However some time after his death in 1920, police removed a horde of forgeries found in his premises. Some time later the remainders were turned over to a forgery specialist and many “new forgeries” were discovered. These formed the basis for Robson Lowe’s 1981 treatise.
Adrian Albert Jurgens
Adrian Albert Jurgens (1886 – 11 July 1953) was a South African philatelist and signatory to the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists of Southern Africa in 1948 and the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in Great Britain in 1952
In 1941 philatelists became aware of reprints of the 1 penny and 4 penny Cape of Good Hope ‘woodblock’ triangular stamps in the original colours. Although the original stereos had been defaced with a vertical line, the line did not appear correctly on the reprints which were dangerously similar to the originals.
The originator of the reprints was revealed to be A.A. Jurgens who described everything he had done in an article in The South African Philatelist in May 1941. Jurgens explained that he had received permission to make reprints in black from the Director of the South African Museum in Cape Town which were to be displayed in a case with South African postal history material.
Unfortunately, Jurgens appears to have got carried away with his initial success and he also produced reprints in red and blue and on wove and laid papers. Up to 17 sheets were produced. This had all been done in November 1940 and March 1941, without the knowledge of the philatelic community. Further allegations relating to forged cancellations on Cape material and a public spat with the expert committee of the British Philatelic Association did nothing to help Jurgens’ reputation. This was never conclusively resolved as he died prior to any proceedings.
1853 Issues Bacon Perkins
According to the London Philatelist of 1892:
The first of the notices gives September 1st, 1853, as the correct date of the first issue, which we learn consisted of two values only, one penny and four pence.
The former stamp would be used for newspapers, while the latter prepaid a half ounce letter transmitted within the Colony.
The next notice, taken from The Gazette for February 19th, 1858, proves the date of issue of the six pence and one shilling values.
The six penny stamp prepaid the half ounce letter rate to Great Britain, while the one shilling value was employed to defray the higher postal rates to foreign countries. The half ounce rate to Great Britain was raised on April 1st, 1863, to one shilling by packet, and lowered to four pence for letters sent by private ships.
The first four values of postage stamps used in the Colony were printed by Messrs. Perkins Bacon & Co. The original die, which had the value one penny upon it, and from which the dies for the three other values were afterwards manufactured, was engraved by Mr. W. Humphrey’s, an artist employed by Messrs. Perkins Bacon & Co., for several of the early colonial stamps printed by their firm.
The plates from which the stamps were printed were steel, and each contained 240 specimens, in fifteen horizontal rows of 16 stamps, which were arranged in eight squares. All four plates were handed over to the Agents for Crown Colonies on January 28th, 1862, and Messrs. De la Rue & Co. have since held the contract for printing the Cape stamps.
Quantity Issued 1853-62
I have seen several low “estimates” which seem to mirror their catalogue values, however Perkins Bacon kept accurate records of the shipments to the colony.
List of stamps from Perkins Bacon to the Cape of Good Hope (London Philatelic 1893)
1d, 170,000 4d, 340,000
1d, 400,000 4d, 200,000
1d, 900,000 4d, 450,000
1d, 500,000 4d, 1,400,000
4d, 500,000 6d, 400,000 1/, 200,000
1d, 1,000,000 4d, 1,000,000 6d, 400,000 1/, 100,000
1d, 1,200,000 4d, 1,440,000
1d, 1,780,000 4d, 1,680,000
6d, 120,000* 1/, 80,160*
* Kept in stock after plates were delivered
In all the above were shipped in a total of 32 shipments which would account for the colour varieties
The overall totals are:
1d, 5,950,000 4d, 7,010,000 6d, 920,000 1/, 380,160
These numbers far exceed the estimates I have seen & may not substantiate the catalog values but they certainly account for the vast quantities for sale (about 1000 on eBay alone as of this writing)
Blued Paper – Recently I came across a post that mentioned that Potassium Cyanide was added to the stamp ink possibly to make the ink run if an attempt was made to soak off the stamp & reuse it. This seems illogical as it would affect all used COGH stamps on sale as well as posing some serious health concerns. Potassium Cyanide is used to make Potassium Ferrocyanide (Prussiate of Potash). It may have been used as an ink fixer & died the paper blue. Potassium Ferrocyanide (relatively safe) is an ingredient in Prussian Blue and is used to produce Potassium Ferricyanide used in cyanotype printing, a method in early stamp printing.
1855-58 Issues Bacon Perkin
The 1d, 4d, 6d, 1/ are known rouletted but these are not official (private perforations) & should preferably be tied to a cover (Very rare). Certification would be a requirement.
1863-64 Issues De La Rue
From the London Philatelist (1893)
The quantities and dates the triangular stamps of Messrs. De La Rue & Co. were dispatched to the Colony are as under :
Jan. 31 …… 398 sheets 6d., ….. 158 sheets 1s.
Apr. 17…… 195 sheets 4d.
Dec. 2 …… 2,056 sheets 1d., …. 2,004 sheets 4d.
Apr. l …. 3,040 sheets 1d, …. 3,067 sheets 4d.
Total 10,918 sheets of 240 per sheet.
Forgeries of the 1853-64 Triangles
1. This hatching (fishnet) should have 4 visible diamonds
1a. Note that the 4 main spines touch (or almost) the ends of the bottom ornaments.
2. A distinctive cross should appear in the pattern.
2a. The toes are well defined (5 visible) and both feet are in proportion.
3. The digits of the hand are visible. Note the length of each one.
4. The serif of the upwards stroke of the G extends well beyond the top serif to the right.
4a. There is a small dot of color very close to the forehead. This is often mistaken as part of the hair by forgers. Note also that the nose is low on the face and the slope.
5. All the ornaments have an outer ring and a solid inner bulls-eye (not always clear).
5a. The tip (bill) of the anchor is not visible. Note also the shadow that runs along the back of Hope and the shadow of the anchor.
6. There are several boomerang shaped designs in the background. Generally the 3 dots should be visible.
7. Note the shadow of the anchor, the curvature of the fluke and the bill (tip) that points to the 2nd O of GOOD.
8. Note the “rainbow” pattern of this hatching.
8a. The O of HOPE is slightly higher than the other letters.
9. There is a distinct white line inside the D.
10. The serif of the upwards stroke of the G extends well beyond the top serif to the right.
11. There is a dot of colour just below and to the right of the center stroke of the F.
12. There is a large patch of color in the bottom inner side of the C.
The right branch of the U is much thinner than the left one. The bottom stroke of both E’s extends further than the top one. There are dots of color in the bottom right leg of the R near the tip (may be difficult to see).
Many of the early issues will show an “Ivory Head” as with the GB Penny Blacks. The image shows the white outline on very deep blue paper.
The paper of the early issues will generally show a light blue to deep blue , as above. The 1857 1d Reds were on a cream colored paper. The white paper is not smooth, looks worn & will show impurities in the paper. The woodblocks are on laid/wove paper which will show fine lines.
Early Crude Forgeries
These forgeries are very obvious. The background dots and the straight lines in the captions are the keys. The forger is not known. The head of Hope is crudely done. Many of the letters are deformed, in particular the H & E of HOPE, the long serif of P in CAPE, the inclined P of POSTAGE. The cancels are obviously wrong. The one penny was recently offered on eBay
2nd Crude Forgeries
The are from an unknown forger and almost appear as a cross between a Perkins Bacon and a Woodblock
3rd Crude Forgeries
Another set of very crude forgeries. Notice the STAGE is higher than the PO of POSTAGE. The lower caption also has a wave to it. The captions have no frames or background details.
How is it that some early forgeries are so crude?
These forgeries were generally not made to defraud postal authorities. Rather they were for collectors and often were just intended as “space fillers”. Most forgers generally made it clear that these were facsimiles. As these older collections were sold or passed on, they entered the market place and passed on as genuine. We are talking about the late 1800’s and collectors were not aware of what these stamps may actually have looked like so it was easy for forgers to sell them as facsimiles or “genuines”. On the other hand some fairly obvious forgeries still end up at certification services even with the information available today. For many collectors acknowledging they have a forgery seems difficult even when presented with the evidence.
As might be expected of Fournier, these are decent forgeries. Their key points include: short spines in the bottom corner elements, the O of HOPE is the same size as other letters, lack of definition in the right foot (toes), the fingers are not the correct length, the face is good including the nose which is better positioned, the anchor shadow is weak, the filligree inside the captions is indistinct.
A Die Proof Forgery on the left with many of the characteristics of Fournier. The details are very good. The only key features lacking are the face of Hope, the short fingers in the right hand and some details of the anchor. The finished product on the right.
Oneglia or Panelli Forgeries
These are fair forgeries: the face is too large, the fingers too short, the corner ornaments have short spines the background lacks the boomerangs, no shadow of the anchor, the caption filigree is crude and lacking the cross and rainbow. The engraved may be Panelli – note the very large margins and very thin C in CAPE as well the letters in the captions are not equal. Panelli & Oneglia were closely associated.
Easily distinguished by the right hand missing and the very prominent double frame line. No details in the body of Hope. The top tip of the anchor is visible. The cancels are wrong for the period.
Note the guidelines which are typical of Sperati as well as his trademark cancel. The cross Besides the P of POSTAGE is missing. The face of Hope is very crude. The fingers of the right hand are short. The top tip of the anchor is visible. The fishnet in front of CAPE is missing. The tell tale guide lines are present. You will notice that in front of the P of POSTAGE there is a small are of missing colour
The cancels on these forgeries are the real giveaway. The top tip of the anchor is visible. The face is crudely drawn. The fingers of the right hand are short. The cross, rainbow and fishnet are missing. The letters of the bottom caption are too thin.
These are uncharacteristically crude for Taylor. In particular the head and feet of Hope. The tip of the anchor points to D. The backgrounds in the captions are just straight lines.
These are reasonable forgeries and may be the “first class” offerings of a well known forger especially with the guide lines. The key feature is the “big foot” of Hope. The cross and the rainbow are missing. The face is lacking in detail. The letters are slanted and awkward.
These are crude forgeries that do not appear to match any of the known forgers.
According to the London Philatelist of that period: “A large wholesale firm ordered a large number of sets in 1882, but as there were no more in the Post Office they reprinted the four values and sold them face value to English wholesale dealers.” This information was apparently passed on from a collector who was a post office employee. There is doubt that this is true.
1861 Issues S. Solomon & 1883 Reprints
The Postmaster-General made it a practice to have a reserve supply of stamps good for two years at the Capetown Treasury since the Cape of Good Hope was so far from the source of supply, Perkins, Bacon, & Co., in England. Early in 1860, the reserves were found to be low and, accordingly, an order for 1,200,000 1d. and 1,440,000 4d. stamps was sent to London.
On June 15, 1860, the stamps arrived at the Cape. Although there were papers with the shipment the Bill of Lading had been lost. As a result the stamps were held by the Union Steamship Co. in the Queen’s Warehouse at Capetown. Postal officials forgot all about the shipment.
Meanwhile the imminent shortage of stamps became a crisis. The Government printers, Saul Solomon & Co., were instructed to print and deliver the stamps as quickly as possible. The design was to be the same as the other triangles. Charles Julius Roberts engraved the steel dies and the printing was carried out by stereotyping as Saul Solomon & Co. had recently installed the equipment for that process.
Stereotyping involved making of a mold of plaster of Paris or similar material from an original die. This mold, or matrix, is filled with a thin layer of molten type-metal and allowed to harden. The cast type-metal was then glued to straw-board and then affixed to wooden bases. The entire assembly was the same depth as type so that such ‘cuts’ could be assembled in the printer’s chase along with type. Printing was accomplished by inking the surface of the type or cut and impressing it on the paper.
The first stamps to be printed were the 4d. which were more urgently required. A ‘plate’ or block of 24 was assembled and sent to the press. During the process a number of the stereotypes were damaged or retouched. This gives rise to some interesting varieties. The stamps were printed on unwatermarked laid paper with the first delivery of 150 sheets on Saturday, February 23, 1861. It is believed that the stamps were put on sale that day. On the following Tuesday, an additional supply of 850 sheets was delivered for a total of 24,000 stamps. The 4d. was printed in blue which varied from a milky shade to a bright blue for the various printings.
Meanwhile, work continued on the 1d. The block for this stamp was assembled in a group of 64 and printed twice on each sheet so that a full sheet comprised 128 stamps. A small supply was delivered February 27. By March 7, 100,352 stamps in 789 sheets had been delivered. The 1d. was printed in red ranging in shade from vermilion to carmine.
During the time the 1d. block was being assembled work proceeded on preparing a new block of 64 of the 4d. The 4d. original block of 24 was dismantled and some of the stereos found to be in good condition were included in the new block. Further, the two blocks got mixed up so that 1 4d. stereo was included in the assembly of the 1d. block and 1 1d. stereo was included the 4d. block. This was the source of the color errors listed for these stamps. Stamps printed from these blocks were delivered on March 9 and March 14. 597 4d. sheets with 1,194 color errors were delivered in the additional 76,416 stamps delivered. The 1d. deliveries included 1,568 4d. color errors.
In April, a further printing was ordered at which time Saul Solomon & Co. corrected the color errors and replaced some damaged stereos. These new blocks were used to print an additional 24,960 1d. stamps and 12,480 4d. stamps. The 4d. sheets apparently only had one impression of the 64 subject block in this printing. [See Editor’s Note]
By this time a letter arrived from England and the cases with the normal stamps were removed from the warehouse ending the need for further reprinting of the ‘woodblocks.’ The blocks were rearranged one more time in a block of 62 of the 1d. and 63 of the 4d. These were placed in the Treasury vaults. They were discovered in June, 1882. In 1883, 195 sheets of each value were reprinted in order to comply with requests for specimens from several UPU countries. The reprint colors are much deeper than those of the issued stamps.
From the 1893 London Philatelic, a response from the Cape of Good Hope Postmaster General:
As regards the questions put forward by you, some difficulty has been experienced in obtaining information on the several points, which accounts for the delay that has occurred in replying to your communication.
In reply to questions 1 and 2,—The triangular 1d. (red) and 4d. (blue) postage stamps, known as woodblocks, were printed on the 10th and 12th April, 1861, respectively, from 64 separate type metal plates, which were cemented on to a wooden block. These type metal plates were reproductions of an original steel die. ( There are apparently stamps dated March, so this may be an error)
3.—The number of four penny stamps printed in 1861 was 12,840, and of the penny stamps 24,660 were printed. (This figure does not appear to be the first printing but rather the April 1861 second printing)
4.—Messrs. Saul Solomon & Co. reprinted 195 sheets of 1d., and a like number of sheets of 4d. in March, 1883. Of the former denomination, each sheet contained 62 stamps (having two stamps deficient), and of the latter 63 stamps (having one stamp deficient).
These reprints were made solely for the purpose of distributing specimens to the various Postal Administrations throughout the world, the stamps not being issued or sold to private collectors. The errors were not reprinted.
5.—As stated above, the stamps are only for distribution to Postal Administrations, and I regret therefore that it is out of my power to grant you a set.
6.—The reprints in March, 1883, were taken from the same dies as those used in the printing of the 1861 supply.
NOTE – the excerpt describes metal dies on wooden blocks, not wooden dies as the name implies.
There are 2 main die varieties of the 1861 4d, Die Ia & II. There is a also scarcer 1b
Characteristics of Type 1a & 1b:
There is no dot between G&E of POSTAGE.
The top of the ” P ” of” HOPE ” does not touch the line above it.
Specific to 1a:
There is a small dot at the bottom left of the U of FOUR
The O of FOUR sometimes touches the line below it.
The serif at the top of the P of HOPE is generally missing.
Specific to 1b:
The O of POSTAGE has a tail like Q.
The tops of the letters FOUR are nearly always shortened and flattened.
Characteristics of Type II
There is an uncolored dot between the letters GE of POSTAGE, nearer to the E.
The P of HOPE touches the line above it.
The S of POSTAGE is often joined to the line below it.
The occurrence on a sheet of 63 is; 1 of Type 1b, 22 of Type Ia and 40 of Type II
The Genuine Issues
The 4d Color error shows the following
I. A small white dot over the space between the letters A and P of CAPE.
2. A blurred patch after the word HOPE.
3· A small white patch below the letters N and C of PENCE.
4· The base line shows a blurred over-inked appearance in the printing.
Forgeries of the 1861 Woodblocks
The main characteristics of the Fournier forgeries are: The thick anchor, the top ornament is very crude, no separation in the letters of the lower caption. letters are much cruder & deformed than the original, the head of Hope is very different than the original. Overall a poor forgery.
The main characteristics of the Spiro forgeries are: the thick outer frame line not in the genuine, the lettering is too neat, the tip of the anchor has no flukes, the cancels are not of the period.
As might be expected, Peter Winter forgeries are excellent. Many of his forgeries were made from photographs he obtained from the British Library under false pretenses. They are however very modern (1980’s), so the paper is quite new. Also they are in very good condition for issues of that period. They tend to have a lot of extra artifacts in the background and the lettering is uneven.
These forgeries very closely resemble the Spiro forgeries. The overly near lettering, the anchor with no flukes, the small letters in the bottom caption.
The may be from the same forger. Note especially the large top fluke & the missing lower one of the anchor. OF looks more like OP.
The most dangerous forgery?
Part of the extensive Carl Waske forgery collection included these error woodblocks. Apparently, genuine woodblocks were altered with new values. The values appear to be too distinct. I have no further information on these.
In 1883, plate proofs of both values on white paper, usually called “reprints,” were made. The 1p is in dull orange red; the 4p in dark blue. These are known canceled, as a few were misused as stamps.
Issued for the 1950 & 1960 London Philatelic Exhibitions, cutouts of the Cape stamps have appeared for sale
Facsimiles from eBay
Falshung Productions forgeries