Newfoundland 1857-1862

Newfoundland Imperforate Forgeries
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The Forgers: Francois Fournier,  Madame Joseph (postmarks), Erasmus Oneglia, Panelli, Senf brothers, Jean de Sperati, Sigmund Friedl, Spiro Brothers, Moens, Placido Torres and others.

Due to their design there is what is called “loss of white space” on many of the forgeries. The lines are very fine on the first issues and there is generally bleeding of the ink. It happens on genuine ones also but primarily on the forgeries and is the first “weed” test.
Each of the early Newfoundland stamps has its own story with some being worth more used than unused.
NOTE: I am not including all of the original issues as essentially the same base stamps were issued on 3 occasions between 1857 and 1862 on different papers and color variations.

1d Original

The features of the genuine to check for:
1. Tips are centered with the corner frame ends. The top right corner frame cuts into the tip more than the other three
2. The bottom of the E is wider than the top
3. None of the inner designs touch the star frame
4. The top has 5 distinct points and does not touch the frame. The orb is well defined with the horizontal crossbar only partially visible on the right side
5. 3 Of the stems have a corkscrew shape
6. 6 pearls on the right and 7 on the left side
7. 5 defined rectangular spots in the ermine
8. The bottom of the G extends slightly outwards
9. The angle of the right branch is more pronounced and the branch is thinner
10. The bottom part has a slight slope
11. There is no distinct frame line above the value
12. The bottom of the S extends outwards slightly
13. The dot is large and round
14. The base is more to the left on this side and almost touches the frame
15. The crown is close but does not touch the frame line anywhere
16. The Fleur-de-lis are very well defined
17. The apostrophe is large with a rounded top
18. The spines extend out completely to the folds

A proof of the 1p

Forgeries compared to the original

Oneglia engraved forgery on thick buff paper
Overall rather poor
1. The apostrophe is very small
2.the dot under the small T is oval
3. The spines of the flowers do not extend to the edge
4. There is a distinct frame line above the ONE
5. The crown has too many small pearls
6. The stems do not match the original
7. The fine background detail is very lacking
8. The P of PENNY has a very thick base
9. The 1’s are wide
10. The crown details are indistinct

Spiro forgery lithographed
1. The dot under the small T is rectangular
2. The apostrophe is is extremely small
3. The crown features are indistinct and it touches the frame
4. All the floral elements touch the frames
5. the top squares ends are not centered with the points of the floral frames
6. The top letters are crude especially the D
Note – the Spiro forgeries are plentiful and the used plates began to show wear and specific issues.

Unlisted forgery
I have seen this one attributed to Spiro but this is questionable.
The differences in letters and the florals, which are much smaller than the genuine, are evident.
When compared to the Spiro above, the same differences apply. There is no similarity.

Torres forgery lithographed
A reasonable forgery
1. Crown has indistinct features and the base is narrow
2. Florals touch the frames
3. Apostrophe has a flat top
4. Letters are uneven

An unlisted forgery found in several colors
Extremely crude
Both Sigmund Friedl and/or Placido Torres come up with this attempt
Needs no details as nothing matches the original
Note the name “NEW KORNU”

2d Original

The features of the genuine to check for
1. 17 well formed pearls most with visible dashes in them
2. The spines of the central star touch the petal folds
3. The shamrocks have very little shading lines
4. 17 distinct white dashes in sets of 3 not touching each other
5. Chain like design is barely visible
6. Bottom of G extends out further than the top
7. Bottom of E extends out further than the top
8. Top of T has a slight nick – this may not be in all cases
9. 6 horizontal pearls and 14 total
10. 2 define rings top and bottom
11. Large dot
12. Apostrophe with small tail
13. Tip of the 2 tail curves slightly inwards
The outside frame is basically unbroken
Some genuines are listed as having a thin line running through the 2’s

2p Proof

Forgeries compared to the original

Unknown source
A rather crude forgery with numerous faults

Another very crude forgery

Oneglia forgery
These forgeries are very well done and generally come paired with another value. This does not exist in the originals.
Close examination shows many discrepancies
1. The letters in POSTAGE especially the S and the G
2. The top left 2 is different
3. The dot below the small T is smaller
4. The apostrophe is more of a dot
5. The T of TWO has a thick base
6. Below the central design there is a distinct chain which does not show well  in the genuine
7. The pearls around the outside are smaller

Spiro forgery
1. tail of the 2’s does not curve upwards
2. There are 7 horizontal pearls above the left 2 – a distinctive trait of Spiro forgeries
3. The spines of the flower do not extend
4. The last bottom E is large
5. The sets of white dashes i the outside oval are not uniform in size or placement

Spiro forgeries are very plentiful and come in an array of colors
The dies were used over and over and as seen above, they show eventual deterioration

Torres forgery
1. Pearls are small and poorly formed
2. Shamrocks are heavily shaded
3. Top flower has no central shading
4. Letters are poorly formed
5. Very dark shaded area below the florals

Sperati forgery
The best for last
The Sperati forgeries are so good that they have often been certified as genuine
1. There are many breaks in the outer frame
2. The pearls at the top are smaller
3. The spines in the flower do not  completely extend and the central circle is slightly off center
4. The top of the last bottom E is slightly inclined

A general note on Sperati forgeries
Sperati made his best forgeries in the 1920’s and early 1930’s when the colors and papers were almost as good as the originals.
After he became more “famous” and collectors wanted his works, he produced what might be called seconds that were signed on the back. Since the dies were getting old and he used whatever paper was available, these are not as good as the originals that fooled so many “experts”.
The Newfoundland forgeries are part of his excellent early efforts.

3d Original

The classic triangle stamp of Newfoundland
The features of the genuine to check for:
1.Large apostrophe with large slightly flattened top
2. The foot of the F has sloping sides
3. The central star spines touch the end of 4 out of the 5 petals
4. The 3 lines of turnings are well defined with background work in them
5. The base of the E extends outwards
6. The right side of the H is slightly thinner
7. The openings in the T are not uniform
8. The end of the G extends past the top
9. A large dot
10. The top of the 3 is slightly tilted
Note if the whole 3 is inclined, There were 2 Dies. Die1 had an left inclined 3 & an upwards curving A (#9) in Postage. According to some, this die was not used but some forgeries have these traits. They may have some rapport to a plate created for a dealer (Griebert).
11. A large somewhat flattened dot
12. The J has a small protrusion on the bottom right
13. None of the florals touch the frames

3p proof

Forgeries compared to the original

NOTE: Often the 11a is passed off for the more valuable #3 The #11A stamps actually consist of three printings that are indistinguishable. However, they all differ from #3 in the following ways:
The paper is a semi-transparent wove paper which varies in thickness from very thin to medium thick. The watermark of the paper maker appears on about 5% of the stamps.
There is no mesh and usually no offset on the back. The color varies from Green to Deep Green & none have the yellow characteristic of #3.

The 3p forgeries can also be found in blue, brown, orange and pink

Spiro forgery
A good forgery that can easily fool collectors
1. A large space between the D & L
2. The apostrophe has a long tail
3.  The 3 lines of turnings are lacking details
4. The dot under the small T is smaller
5. The O of POSTAGE has a larger opening and a flat bottom
6. The C in PENCE end curve is different and the first E middle bar is lower
Note – later printings lose details – see below

In the worn plate Spiro we notice;
1. The design in the 3 bands has disappeared and they are almost completely green.
2. There is a dash on the bottom right of the O in JOHN.
In later examples it gets much worse with many broken letters and color artifacts.

Another Spiro pair

Oneglia forgery
This is also referred to as a Panelli. He worked closely with Oneglia so the difference between then can be blurred.
1. Almost no dot below the small T
2. The 3’s are thinner
3. The spines of the top floral are short
4.  All the leaves are shaped differently
5.  The letters in PENCE are taller than the letters before
6.  The 3 lines of turnings are barely discernible
7. The L of LAND is thin and tilted
8. The left side of the A of POSTAGE is more upright

Torres forgery
This is a very crude forgery with very little in common with the original

A crude forgery with many faults particularly in the flowers

Above, 2 unusual attempts at forgeries

Unknown forgery?
I came across what seemed a genuine since the auction said so.
Overall it appears to be just that.
However on closer examination, there are some minor discrepancies in the lettering.

Genuine on top
with the unknown (bottom)
1. The middle stroke of the F is larger
2. The Foot of the F does not have sloping sides
3. The Top of the L is different
4. The openings in the A are different shapes
There is the possibility this is just a different series printing or it is a very dangerous modern forgery.

4d Original

The features of the genuine to check for:
1. Clearly defined double frame around the 4’s
2. The space around the curls is not the same on both sides
3. A large apostrophe
4. The flower is slightly tilted to the right and the spines extend to the curved shapes. The curved shapes are plain on 3 sides but have a comb like appearance on the other 2. No parts of the inner design touch the frame
5. The N is wider at the top than the bottom.
6. A large comma
7. The shamrocks are lightly shaded
8. The curls are shaped different. The right one has a series of barely visible dots – see the proof below
9. The stem curves slightly to the left
10. Clearly defined rings
11. The base of the G extends outwards
NOTE– in the top right corner there is a horizontal projection of the frame. This clearly shows up in the proof below


Forgeries compared to the original

Oneglia forgery
A good forgery that can easily fool collectors
1. The letters of POSTAGE are crude especially the G with a long top leg which is a key of this Oneglia forgery
2. The apostrophe is a round dot

Spiro forgery
1. The top flower touches the frame, a key feature if the Spiro forgery
2. The stem is straight
3. The 4’s are crude especially the top ones and they lack the double frame
4. Many differences the corner scrolls

Spiro forgeries come in a variety of colors

Sperati forgery
Excellent forgery as might be expected
Very close inspection is required
Due to the process of lithography, the Sperati will tend to have tiny splashes of ink around the frame. Also fine lines tend to thicken and white spaces between them are lost.
1. A key of many of the Sperati’s in these issues are the numerous breaks in the outer frame line and around the 4’s
2. In the letters we find minor differences in the shape and size of the serifs of the bottom value
3. The dot and apostrophe are not as well defined
4. A key easily noticed are the folds in the petals. In the original only 2 have comb like features, in the Sperati all 5 have them

Another forgery attributed to Sperati- not as good as the previous
Lot more white spots around the letters
Broken frames in the value tablets
Lines are lacking in the petals
The outside spikes in the top flower are blunt

Sperati signed proof

5d Original

The same traits that applied to the 1d apply to the 5d
As well note the size and shape of the 5’s
The tip is curved and is higher on the right side, all are equal

In the value tablet
The F has a thick left base
The I is wider at the base
The first E of PENCE has a larger bottom serif
Note the shape of the C

5p Proof

Forgeries compared to the original

Unlisted forgery
The inner design is reasonably well done
The letters and numbers are the issue
1. The 5’s are not uniform
2. The top and bottom letters are too thin
3. There is a large space between the N & D
4. The lower V & C are malformed
5. LAND is very large
6. POSTAGE letters are crude
7. The points don’t touch the value frames

Spiro forgery
Probably from a very worn die
1. The 5’s are all different
2. Very large H & N in JOHN
3. The apostrophe is just a thin crescent
4. The top letters are thin and uneven
5. The bottom value is tall

Unlisted forgery
Similar in some areas to the Spiro but it also has major differences
1. The 5’s are are similar but very different from the original
2. All the letters are thin
3. All the floral shapes are small and very different than the genuine
4. POSTAGE is narrower
5. Large space between the ND and CE

Sperati forgery ?
This is a very good forgery that can easily pass unnoticed
1. The 5’s have minor differences
2. The serifs have minor differences
3. The crown has indistinct areas such as the pearls
4. The letters in POSTAGE are different

6d Original

The features of the genuine to check for:
1. & 2. Note the shape of the T & G. The T is not the same on the top left as on the right side. The top of the G is very thin.
3. The shape of the flower especially the inner star and the size & shape of the outer spikes.
4. Size of the T and large round dot.
5. Large apostrophe
6. Little shading in clover leaf
7. 17 equal sets of 2 bars & 2 dots
8. Slanted stem
9. Shape of numbers & thick white circle
10. Shape of the X which extends out on the bottom right
Many other features that were noted in the 2p & 4p also apply here.


Forgeries compared to the original

Oneglia forgery
Engraved, it can be very dangerous
Variations in color exist
1. A key feature is the distance between the FO which is greater in the Oneglia. The middle leg of the F is also smaller
2. The small T is smaller
3. The clover leafs have dark areas instead of shading lines

Spiro forgery
Overall very crude and easy to discern. Comes in a variety of colors
1. The central image is noticeably larger
2. The 6’s are narrower
3. The left flower is tilted upwards
4. The dot below the small T a long dash
5. The apostrophe has a thick tail

Sperati forgery
Another excellent and dangerous forgery
1. The bottom of the CE of PENCE is thin
2. The left bottom leg of the X is thick
3. One of the spines of the right middle leaf touches the leaf above

A possible later Sperati?
This has several of the Sperati traits above but it also has different ones
1. Note the small T & J are joined
2. Some letters in POSTAGE are different as with the value table
3. Many breaks in the outside frame

61/2d Original

Same general feature as the 6d
Some key features:
1. There is a small space between the I & X
2. The top of the C is broken
3. Although not in the proof, the printed stamps have a dot in the H


Forgeries compared to the original

Oneglia forgery
1. No dot in the H
2. The top serifs are shaped differently
3. The apostrophe is smaller
4. The N of PENCE is angled differently
5. The main issue is the distance between the FO which is greater in the Oneglia. The middle leg of the F is also smaller

Torres forgery
Overall crude design
All the letters are crude and do not resemble the original
Unusual design below the central oval
The florals are greatly lacking design features

Unlisted forgery
This is an excellent unlisted forgery
2 key features are the color dot inside the bottom left 6 and the back of the E in PENNY and above in PENCE which is curved instead of straight as in the original
3. The bar cancel lines are too thick
4. There are some other issues with the shape of the serifs

Sperati forgery
Excellent forgery that easily fools collectors and experts.
It meets all the criteria of the genuine but due to the printing process, it has some added features.
1. Below the F of HALF there is a constant frame line break. Other breaks may also appear
2. There is a color dot in the top right head of the S in N’S and one in the bottom right leg of the X in SIX
3. There is a defect above the first E and between the bottom of the CE of PENCE
4. We can also find some dots/defects between the NY of PENNY

8d Original

The 8d is very rare.
The rate to the US was 8d so 8000 8d stamps were ordered. However, on Jan 1, 1856 this rate was reduced to 4d. So when the stamps arrived they were obsolete. Many were used as bisects for 4d rates

1. In the top flower, the spine at 5 O’clock does not extend to the fold
2. The stem and left side almost touch the frame
3. The A has a curve on the right side
4. Some characteristics of the 6d apply


Forgeries compared to the original

Oneglia forgery
It can be found in several color varieties on yellowish paper
1. As with the 6d the main issue is the distance between the FO which is greater in the Oneglia. The middle leg of the F is also smaller
2. Many of the letters in the value table have different serifs

Torres forgery
Overall, a crude forgery
1. The letters are not uniform and thin
2. The 8’s are poorly executed
3. Fine lines are lacking in the florals
4. The stem touches the frame

Sperati forgery
An excellent forgery with some minor issues
1. Notch on top of the S in N’S
2. Notch on the top right side of the A in LAND
3. The crossbar of the H in EIGHT is slightly tilted
4. The lower tip of the C in PENCE curves inwards
5. In the first 2 lines left above the thistle there is a distinct dash that connects them
6. There are some differences in the lower serifs of the value letters

Another Sperati with the same details as above

1sh Original

The features of the genuine to check for:
1. Dot in both top 1’s. Shows well in proof
2. Well defined flower. Note the star spines touching petal curls
3. 19 sets of even double dots that look like diamonds
4. Note overlapping shapes
5. All the letters of POSTAGE have a thin colored line inside.
6. Note the shape of the letters especially the serifs on the feet
7. Note the letter spacing on the nameplate especially the WF and FO


Forgeries compared to the original

Oneglia forgery
Not the usually good forgery from Oneglia
1. The background especially the chain like element is highly contrasted
2. The florals lack finer details
3. The bottom value serifs are thicker
4. There are no dotted lines in POSTAGE

Torres forgery
Overall very crude
1. The central design does not match
2. All the letters are different

Sperati forgery
The 1sh is the most valuable of these Sperati forgeries and there are at least 3 types.
Type I – There is a dot in the top of the J of JOHN
Type II – there is a smear on the right leg of the N of SHILLING
Type III – There is a dot in the right of the H and in the top of the S of JOHN’S
The above is a type II with these added features
1. A dot in the top of the O and a colored spot in the right of the first D of FOUND
2. Two dots in the O and one in the ‘S’ of ‘POST’
3. The bar of the A of POSTAGE is weak and sometimes missing
4 A dot in the upper diagonal of the N of SHILLING and a heavy dot in the right leg.

Sperati Type II with dot in J