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Spain has an enormous amount of forgeries.
I would estimate well over 300 between 1850 and 1900.
The cause, somewhat of a catch-22.
Between 1850 and 1875, Spain issued new stamps in 20 different different years.
This was basically an effort to combat forgeries which resulted in low production numbers, the resulting high collector demand was a great motivator for forgers.

The key difference between Spanish forgeries and those of other countries is their collectability.
They regularly feature on prominent auctions and can command some surprising amounts.

1850 unaccepted design

The Stamps Issued

Quantities issued (approximate)
6 cuartos – 6,300,000
12 cuartos – 52,000
5 reales – 48,000
6 reales – 13,000
10 reales – 8,500

The 6 cuartos was issued in 2 plate types

Plate I & II

Genuine Characteristics

1. The left frame of the corner element is thick
2. There is a diagonal color stroke in the R
3. There are horizontal dashes in the E
4. There is a blank and sometimes distorted area here
5. A thick color blotch in this corner
6. Background lines are visible in the white frame
7. Notches in the top right frame
8. This dot appears to be fairly consistent.
NOTE – these characteristics are not visible in all types

Right, a proof


The forgeries of Spain are extremely plentiful and varied.
One can expect 5 to 15+ varieties of each value.
Generally there are 2 types, those that are crude and easily recognized and very dangerous ones that require special attention.
A very dangerous and extremely common type are the Segui forgeries.
Miguel Segui was a Barcelona restaurateur turned forger who produced excellent facsimiles of basically all the Spanish stamps up to the early 20th century.
Most of his forgeries are uncancelled and are known under the name ‘Barcelona forgeries’. He also made forgeries of Cuba, Fernando Po, The Philippines and Porto Rico.
There are vast quantities of his stamps and generally they are in unused condition.

It is probably a good time to note that Spanish forgeries are very collectible.
Many will fetch 50 to over 1000 Euros

Crude forgeries compared to the original
Generally, I will not make any comments on these forgeries

This stamp has the honor of being the first Spanish forgery discovered and it is apparently unique.
In a Madrid 1997 auction it sold for the equivalent of $85,000 US.
On April 2, 1850 several letters with fake stamps were discovered in the post office of Alicante. Police investigations concluded with the arrest and prosecution of the culprits. The engraver Francisco Javier Martínez and the printer Vicente Pastor were sentenced to five years in prison and 2,500 pesetas as fine for being the authors of the falsification. Francisco Gomis, a postman in the town, was sentenced to the same penalties and, in addition, to the loss of his employment for distributing the false stamps.
The stamp has sold on auction for an amount greatly surpassing the original.

A recent (2018) auction has an opening bid of 125,000 Euros (142,000USD)  on the Stamp

These others do not require much detail due to their crudeness

Right Graus Type V

Right, unlisted

Right unlisted

Right, unlisted

Right, unlisted

This forgery is unusual as it has the wrong value for the queen facing left.

Better forgeries compared to the original

Possibly a cut out from a centennial issue put on auction site as a genuine

Right, Graus Type II

Right, Graus Type IV

Right Graus Type VI

Right, Peter Winter forgery
Winter made a lot of forgeries, many of them of excellent quality.
They are not found in older collections as they were made in the 1980’s
They were apparently marked as FAUX on the reverse but some dealers removed these marks. See his catalog below.

Right, Segui forgery
It is quickly obvious how dangerous his forgeries are.
Key points of the Segui taken from the genuine characteristics above are;
2. There is a diagonal color stroke in the R – not in the Segui
3. There are horizontal dashes in the E – not in the Segui
4. There is a blank and sometimes distorted area here – this area is normal in the Segui
6. Background lines are visible in the white frame. – the lines do not extend into the frame
7. Notches in the top right frame – there are no notches in the Segui

Right, Placido Torres forgery

Below the 1985 Peter Winter catalog offerings for Spain.

Segui block. His forgeries are often offered in blocks, strips and even full sheets.

12C Issue

Ed 2
There is a break in the line above the 12.


Right, Graus Type I

Right, Segui forgery
Printed by typography on thick paper.
1. The crown has several differences
2. The shading lines in the hair are thicker and more pronounced
3 The eye does not have an ellipse underneath.
4 The neck is outlined by a well defined line, whereas in the original it is formed by the grid of the background
5. The ornament to the left of 1850 has 3 spurs on its left side instead of 2

Another Segui

5r Issue

Ed 3
There is a small color protrusion on the bottom right side of the 8.
This may not always be very visible.


Right, unlisted forgery

Right, Spiro forgery

Right, Fournier forgery
These are quite good.
The major difference is the impossibly large margins but a knowing seller might trim them.
Closer observation will show that the shading and dots are much coarser.
The eyes do not match up.

Right, Segui forgery
1. Large space between frames
2. Heavy shaded eyebrow
3. Mouth line is thick and does not curve as much
4. Corner element misshapen
5. No bump on the 8.
6. More white space and broken lines in the hair

Segui block
His blocks are very common on auctions whereas genuine ones are rare

Right, Sperati forgery
Sperati would generally use original stamps as his models so the traits of these originals are found on his forgeries.
1. Top of the S is barely visible
2. White spot in the frame
3. Dent in the frame
4. White spot in the background
5. White bulge of the genuine is present
6. Lower leg of E has a break
7. Break in the frame line

A different color Sperati

Sperati cancels left below compared to original


An unknown forgery in the wrong color
Note the very L and the dark shading above the eye.

6r Issue

Ed 4
There is a break in the bottom right ornament which extends into the white line above.
The 5 is generally disrupted.

As the stones were retouched, many varieties were produced such as the tall and short letters above.


Right, Graus Type I
Extremely crude and rare

Right, unlisted forgery
The very large letters give it away

Right, unlisted forgery
Large ear
Misshapen nose
Large letters

Right, Peter Winter modern forgery
Letters are very different
Background is irregular
Very heavy eyebrow

Right Graus Type II
This is an excellent forgery the used one below was authenticated by a well known expert. It was later deemed to be a forgery.
NOTE – There are many of this forgery.
The first E is slanted to the left
The second E has a curved top
The throat lines are short

Graus Type II used

Right, Segui forgery
Note the small dot of color in the eye
The back neckline is solid
The dash connecting the  frame lines is missing
The hair lines are coarser
The tip of the crown comes to a point

Another Segui – his forgeries are most often found without cancels

Right, Sperati Type I forgery
1. Bulge in the left side of E
2. Weak, broken line
3. Bulges in the frame line
4. Middle branch of the E is broken
5. Left leg of A is broken
6. Bulge in the C
7. Lower curve of the S is broken

Right, Sperati Type II forgery
1. Badly broken line
2. White dash above the nose
3. White bulge in the frame
4. Break in the lin

Right Torres forgery
Though generally overlooked, it appears he may have been a very prolific forger.
He is attributed with being a key illustrator for many catalogs of the period, however some catalogs predate his 1879 edition by some 15 years.
There are many differences but the key is the large letters.
The mouth is small and the ear has little shading.

Another Torres forgery

10r Issue

Ed 5
There is a break in the upper left frame line.
There is break and an area of smudging near the corner in the lower right frame line.


A very crude unlisted forgery

Right, Fournier forgery
1. The top of thr R is slanted
2. The crown details are very different from the original
3. The foot of the R has a hook
4. The hair line is white
5. Missing center section of the cross

Right, Graus Type I forgery
Extremely crude
All letter and numbers either wrong or crudely done

Right, Torres forgery
The small S is larger
The bottom leg of the E’s are not longer
The bottom of the bust does not go into the frame

Right, Segui forgery
1. The corner breaks are missing
2. The A has a slanted middle bar
3. The S is larger
4. The hair lines are coarser
5. A break in the frame
6. The nose is more pointed

Segui block

Right, Sperati forgery
1. Corner break of original is present as is the bottom right one
2. The small S  is slightly bigger
3. Many have a white dash above the nose
4. The serif of the D is hooked
5. The R has a dash connected to the frame as in the original
6. A pronounced blob on the E

Sperati color variation

Sperati cancel compared to original (right)

Introduccion al estudio y relacion de los sellos falsos postales de Espana – Francisco Graus
Michel Europe West 2012
Spain & Dependencies – Edifil.2009
Focus on Forgeries – Varro Tyler
Spain Specialized Vol.1 1850-1931 Edifil Tome 1

Catalogo dos Sellos De Espana – Antonio Duro
Seranne Guide to Forgeries
Torres Catalog 1879
Las falsificaciones del Sello Espanol – A. Monne 1965
SPAIN FORGERIES 1850 to 1925 by De Haene

Timbrex – H. Schloss
Forged Stamps of all Countries – Dorn

Album Weeds – Earree
Tedesco Forgery Index
Handbok Fer Filatelister – S. Tullberg
Guia del coleccionista de sellos de Correos de España, 1850-54 – Tort
Many of the common auction sites that provided ample material