New Brunswick Forgeries
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The Forgers: Francois Fournier, Erasmus Oneglia, Spiro Bros, Panelli, Taylor, Craig & Melvin, McLeod, Forger A (a name given to a specific unknown forger of very high quality – beware!!) and a few unknown.
Craig & Melvin are special in the forgeries of New Brunswick as they perpetrated a very good bogus scheme. Edward Craig & Robert Melvin were stamp dealers in Saint John NB when they created their only bogus local, advertised as ‘Baldwin’s Railroad Postage’ Issued in July of 1865, an ad for the Baldwin stamp appeared in the first issue of George Stewart’s ‘Stamp Collector’s Monthly Gazette’. At first Craig & Melvin had only 1500 copies of the stamp printed in 15 different colors but there were probably subsequent printings.
Craig & Melvin went out of business in November of 1865 and appear to have sold the remainders along with the printing block to Allan Taylor. Most existing copies are Taylor’s version. Quality samples will fetch about $150.
The 1851 Issues
We learn from the following notice, which appeared in The Royal Gazette, published at Fredericton, New Brunswick, on September 10th, 1851, that the introduction of postage stamps took place on September 6th of that year:
“NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC.A supply of postage stamps has been received from England, and will be on sale at this office on and after Friday next, the 6th September. They are of the respective colours and values as under;
Scarlet …. Three Pence.
Yellow …. Six Pence.
Pink . … One Shilling.
Supplies will be immediately forwarded to all Postmasters throughout the Province, and through them to the Way Office Keepers from whom the Public will be able to obtain them at cost prices in any quantities they may require.
N.B.-The postage stamps should be affixed to the face, or direction side of the Letter, at the right hand upper corner.
(Signed) J. HOWE Postmaster-General.
GENERAL POST OFFICE ST. JOHN, 1 st September, 1851.
– NOTE the error in the stated color of the 1 shilling
Postal Rates of the Period
In 1851 measures were introduced for the establishment of a low rate of postage.
“On Letters not exceeding 1/2 oz. . ..3d.
Above 1/2 oz. and not exceeding 1oz. . . 6d.
And so on, 3d. being charged for every additional 1/2 oz.
There is an additional charge of 1d. each on Letters delivered at St. John and Fredericton, the only places where letter carriers are employed.
Newspapers are conveyed free.
On Books, etc., the charge is as follows, prepayment being compulsory:
For a single volume, not exceeding 1/2lb. in weight . 71/2d.
Above 1/2lb and not exceeding 1lb. . . .1s. 3d.
Above 1 ib. and not exceeding 2 lbs. . . . 2s. 6d.
And so on, according to the English scale of weight.”
1851 Genuine issues
Reprints of 1890 are on thin hard white paper
The 3p is bright orange, the 6p and 1sh are violet black
A good set can fetch $3-$500
The 1851 Forgeries
Of NOTE: Notice in period philatelic news:
“The Three Pence has been seen divided obliquely, and surcharged in red” 1 1/2.” The same surcharge is also said to exist in black. Neither of these two stamps has come under the notice of the Society but from certain remarks contained in two articles which may be found in The Philatelic Record vol. viii. pp. 165 and 219, there can be little doubt that the surcharge is “bogus.”
The Connell Afair – According to a 1886 Publication
Mr. Connell, then Postmaster-General of New Brunswick, was authorized by a Minute of Council in December 1859, to procure a new set of postage stamps, which the change in currency rendered necessary. Believing that this Minute gave him full power and discretion as to designs, etc., he ordered the plates for the values wanted – One, Five, Ten, Twelve and a Half and Seventeen Cents; and for the Five Cents had his own portrait designed.
The stamps came to hand in due time, and Mr. Connell, not making any secret of the design for the Five Cents, spoke to some of his friends about them, and of his intention of going down to posterity thereon. This came to the knowledge of the Council, who, knowing that they had not been approved by them, decided to see the issue before it was sent out to postmasters or public use.
As a matter of course they disapproved of Mr. Connell’s design for the Five Cents, and he was instructed by the Council to destroy them, and order a new lot with the effigy of the Queen. This Mr. Connell would not do, and therefore resigned. The Five Cents, brown, were destroyed, and only the other values issued.
There are many embellishments of this story including that he offered to buy them all back and personally burned the stamps on the lawn of his home. None of this is recorded in philatelic publications of the period & given his opinion on the matter does not seem plausible.
Several letters went back and forth between parties involved (all a matter of public record). The final letter follows:
The Halifax Philatelist June, July, and August 1888
Letter from Mr. C. Connell to the Lt.-Governor.
To His Excellency The Hon. J. H. T. Manners-Sutton Lt-Gov
“SIR,-The Royal Gazette of the 6th inst. contains a memorandum intended as a reply to my letter of the 30th to your Excellency, in which your advisers exhibit a great anxiety to impress on the mind of your Excellency that the only cause of my resignation of the office of Postmaster-General was the refusal of the Council to advise your Excellency to order the issue of the Five Cent. stamps.
I have in my previous letters to your Excellency stated some of the many reasons forming the basis of my conclusion to resign, and to repeat that I was not influenced in my course altogether by the stamp question. I consider unnecessary, that matter merely having had the effect of bringing my previous intention to its fulfilment, for sooner or later my resignation must have been tendered.
I will however say, that the usage I did receive at the hands of my colleagues in reference to the stamp would have been sufficient to cause such action as I took upon the premises.
The correspondence between myself and the Provincial Secretary, with reference to the issue of the Postage Stamps laid before your Excellency either has not had a careful perusal, or else they are in ignorance of the meaning conveyed by such correspondence.
I was first authorized to procure the stamps, and stated on the floor of the House in March last that I had ordered, and would receive in time for distribution on the 1st of May, stamps of the denomination of One, Five, Ten, and Twelve and a Half Cent, in view of the introduction of the decimal system of currency. They arrived, and preparations for their issue at the appointed time were made by the Department, supposing that any further orders were unnecessary, until I received the telegram from the Provincial Secretary and subsequent interference on the parts of your advisers in, what was a mere matter of detail, became apparent.
An order to issue all but Five Cent stamps was made, thus setting aside my power and right to conduct even a minor arrangement of the Department. After having procured, by the knowledge and consent of the Government, stamps of various denominations, my position as head of a department was ignored. Even if this was the only circumstance influencing my course was the only honourable one to pursue.
I have the honour to be,
Your Excellency’s most obedient servant,
NOTE- Many feel that the 5c Connell is an essay and not a regular postage issue. Although most catalogs list it, it is not depicted in the Canadian Government Philatelic archives. According to a 1894 & 1923 book, it was on sale 1 day & some were sold and may have been used. A good copy now fetches about $15M
Forgeries of the Connell stamp are not overly common. The forgeries tend to have poor features, wrong perforation and color.
Most genuine examples tend to have noticeable damage as in this example. To the right is a crude forgery
Invoice for the First Shipment of Stamps
1850-63 Genuine Issues
Most publications note that the locomotive on the 1c is a picture of the Ossekeag (left), the 2nd locomotive built by Fleming of New Brunswick in 1859. However a far better choice is the Atlantic & St. Lawrence Railway 4-4-0No. 6, Coos (right) which served the US, New Brunswick & Quebec from 1853 on.
Similarly with the ship, although noted as being the Royal William (left) it is thought to be the steamship Washington (right) which carried mail.
The 1860 – 63 Forgeries
According to Smythies book on BNA forgeries, only Spiro of the classic forgers bothered with the cent issues. This seems unusual, as I have not encountered forgeries that might be from another source. Notice the outer guidelines visible on most of the stamps, a trademark of Spiro forgeries. The perforations will not match also.
Forgeries Not Recognized ?
Often Moens, Spiro or another unknown forger are given credit for the work of one of the most prolific forger, Ramon Placido Torres of Spain.
Torres not only illustrated many of the period catalogs, he produced a large number of forgeries.
From his 1879 reference catalog
It is sometimes noted that the same portrait was used for the queens, however the results were definitely different.
1891 Catalog Prices
The McLeod Affair
According to “Stamps of BNA – F. Jarrett 1929”
After confederation a large number of sheets of various denominations were returned to Malcom A. McLeod, a Post Office Inspector, also a stamp collector. About 2 years later in response to demand for used copies, he had some circular rubber cancels prepared with city names; Richibucto, Hampton, Paquetville, Baldhill, Little Ridge, Saint John, Moorestown, Main River, McAlpine, Harts Mill, Lower Canterbury and others. He then cancelled a large portion of his holdings.
These are generally dated 1863, 64 & 65. They are found on the 2c, 5c and 17c.
A modern postcard