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Of the forgers, Bredermeyer, from Hamburg, came closest to the originals. In 1878 the stamp dealer EWC Bredemeyer obtained in Hamburg from the Senate permission to imitate all the Bremen brands. Apparently with the help of the draftsman of the original plates, which were destroyed in 1868, he produced 5000 sets of all issues. They were particularly good. Initially they were considered as “reprints”.
The word reprint is OFTEN erroneously used particularly when the plates are original. If the “reprint” issue is not postally sanctioned for a specific purpose THEN it is a forgery.
In this case new dies were made so the term forgery definitely applies.
Actual Reprints of the stamps of Bremen do not exist.
A word of caution – these are generally high value stamps.
Many auctions (particularly in Europe) are selling these stamps with starting bids of $1 that are then substantially bid up.
As many of the Bremen stamps are far more valuable in a used state, particular attention must be paid to the cancellations, for in this field, many forgeries were produced. It is advisable to consult an expert whenever the least doubt exists with regard to the authenticity of any cancellation.
Even those tied to covers must be authenticated as some very good forgeries exist
Mi 1 1855 3gr Issue
The first stamp was issued on April 10th, 1855, its face value being 3 grote and it was intended for franking letters within the town (Bremen), including Bremerhaven and Vegesack.
The stamps were lithographed in Bremen.
The key is emblematic of the independence of the once free city.
The paper is laid and the laid lines may be found running both horizontally or vertically, the latter being a little the rarer unused and much rarer used.
Imperforate ( 1855). Rouletted ( 1863). Perforated 13 ( 1866)
Paper: Colored, horizontally or vertically laid. Also on chalked paper.
Gum: Smooth, light color.
There are 3 types distinguished primarily by the central bottom loop.
In the Type II , the top of the loop and frame line are one
Note the number of lines and the open top in Type III
There are other variations such as the position of the bottom tip of the shield relative to the circle below it.
The Genuine Issues
Characteristics of the Genuine
Some forgeries are quite good but they should fail in more than 1 of the following;
1. The genuine generally has a dot on top of the crown
2. In some forgeries, the M & T may be joined
3. In the genuine, there are 4 small circled white spaces in the 3’s
4. In some forgeries, the B may touch the top or bottom of the frame
5. In some forgeries, the 3 may touch the frame lines bottom right. Note the inclined right 3
6. In some forgeries, the S is taller than the other letters
7. The vertical lines go slightly past the top horizontal line.
8. In some forgeries, the tip of the key touches the line above
9. The thick vertical black shadow should be at the same level as the horizontal line of the shield
10. In the Type III, we have a diamond with a pearl on each side, this is reversed in the Type I & II
The main genuine cancels
1, 29 with the date in center, VEGESACK at the bottom, between the circles, and a little key, between two parentheses, at the top, between the circles
71. Also an oblong like 71, but with rounded corners.
BREMEN BAHNHOF in an ellipse.
FRANKO, in very large capitals, without a frame.
5, with numerals 303 in center.
TT and date in a circle.
BREMEN TH. & TX.
Some Good Forgeries
A series of 7 Sperati forgeries
The most obvious Sperati issues are shown below
Genuine Type I left, Sperati Type 3 right
1. Lots of artifacts & generally poor printing
2. No vertical shield lines extending past frame
3. Thick white borders around ornaments
4. These do not touch in Type I
5. Shadow tip not centered with round object below.
6. Small shaded area
7. Very small lobe
Sperati copies the genuine Type II
1. position of dot
2. Shapes wrong
3. Body of key too wide
4. No space
5. White borders too wide
6. Should not touch frame in a Type I
7. Lobes too small, on left side too large
8. Characteristic shape of “3” for a Fournier forgery
9. Top tip points out instead of down.
Mi 2 1856 5gr Issue
The next stamp to appear was the 5 grote, which was created to prepay the single letter rate to Hamburg. This value was issued on April 4th, 1856, and was also lithographed.
There were two drawings of the design, differing in small particulars, and the transfers were applied to the lithographic stone in pairs.
Imperforate (1856), Rouletted (1862), Perforated 13 (1867)
Paper: first issue thin paper, second issue thicker paper.
Gum: Smooth, light.
These seem to be one of the most prolific forgeries on auction sites.
Characteristics of the Genuine 5gr
1. The genuine has a dot in each corner
1a . Note the position of the waves which is different for the 2 types\
2. We have a triangular object here
2a. There are 30 vertical lines of shading in the Type I and 28 similar lines in the Type II.
3. In the Type II the right leg of the M is taller than the left. In the Type I they are equal
4. The crown has a diamond with a pearl on each side
5. There are twelve vertical Lines in the shield .
In type I the first line on the left is very near the frame line of the shield.
In type II this line is further away from the frame line of the shield.
6. Note the shape of the keyhole;e and the background lines inside
7. In Type I the top of the second “f” of “funf” touches the horizontal bar.
In Type II the head of this letter is separated from the bar .This is not clear in all examples
7a. In the Type I the bottom of the crown touches the wavy line but not in the Type II
8. The “F” of “FRANCO” touches with its upper spur the ‘r” in the Type II
In the Type I it is separated from the “r”
Note the “n” in “Marken”. This is apparently a design submitted but not approved.
The printers then sold the sheets (220?) to a stamp dealer (Bredemeyer?) so one can expect to see these in auctions. They are often seen in blocks of 4 or 6.
These should only be found as unused and are valued at less than 1/10th the original.
Above excellent Sperati forgery of a Type II. There are only minor variations in the wave and letters as well as a black point in the pearl of the crown , visible above.
This may be the only forgery with points in the corners.
Mi 3 1860 7gr Issue
It was not until July 10th, 1860, that another value was issued.
This was the 7 grote issued for defraying the rate of postage to Lubeck and Mecklenburg-Schwerin.
Correspondence in this direction could not have been very frequent as the 7gr used is a very scarce variety.
There is only one type of this value and, like the 5gr, there are dividing lines between the stamps on the sheet.
Imperforate (1860) . Rouletted (1862), Perforated 13 (1867)
Paper : first issue thin paper, second issue thicker paper.
Gum: Light, very often with little bubbles.
Characteristics of the Genuine 7gr
Note the outer thin guidelines
1. There is a dot in the “k” of “Marke” at the beginning of the slanting limb. This was considered as a “secret mark”. A tiny dot may also be visible in the upper part of the “r”
1a. Both lobes of the tree-foil touch the frame line on the right but only one on the left touches.
2. The vertical lines in the shield protrude over the upper frame line.
3. The center lines in the body of the key are not broken.
3a. Note the thick line on the right ornament versus the very thin on the left side.
4. There are eighteen vertical lines in the shield.
4a. A very large dot which is not prominent or missing in some forgeries
5. The “b” in “Sieben” is open at the bottom.
6. Two short vertical dashes between the frame lines under the “i” of “Sieben.” ‘This may be hard to discern.
7. There are dots in the jewels
8. There are 27 vertical lines in the shaded ornament at the center of the top of the stamp,
and the central line is drawn up through the inner boundary-line at the top of the stamp, and joins the thick outline above it.
2 Bredermeyer forgeries
1. No dot in the k
2. Size and shape slightly different
3. Small Dot
4. Different shape
5. No notch in the b
6. Small dot
7. No line fill
8. Vertical lines in shield do not extend into top
Note also how far the tip of the key crosses into the black frame above
Mi 4 1859, 22. Aug 5gr Issue
The 5sgr was issued to prepay the ship rate to Great Britain.
There is only one type of this stamp.
This value is found in several distinct shades of green and, unused, is commonest on thick paper.
Imperforate ( 1859-63) , Rouletted ( 1863), Perforated 13 ( 1866-67)
Paper : Medium strong, glossy. Also heavy chalked paper.
Gum : Brownish, striped, brush strokes often visible.
Characteristics of the Genuine 5gr
1. The upper right corner ornament consists is a circle with a heavier lower half circle , the others are half circles.
2. The outer line of the second border ornament on the right, from the top, is thickened. In most cases it looks like 1 thick line.
3. There is a dot on the left and right below the center oval, inside the ornament.
3a. The bottom of the “g” rests on the line. Some forgeries it is below the line.
4. There are shade lines above ” 5 Sgr.”. Very difficult to see
4a. There are horizontal lines of shading both sides.
5. There is a dot in the corner of the left ornament but none in the right
5a. There are 59 vertical lines behind the shield, counting along the top.
6 . The shield with the inscription “BREMEN” is not connected on the left with the hatched centerpiece.
7. The end stroke of the “R” in ” BREMEN ” is lengthened and curved slightly.
8. The shield containing the word “BREMEN” is joined to the centerpiece.
10. Note the outer guide lines
Left a Peter Winter Forgery with a typical cancel, overall decent but several of the genuine traits missing
Right a crude forgery with most of the genuine traits missing, note the cross shaped keyhole
Two excellent Sperati forgeries, there are only a few small details in the shading & extraneous artifacts.
Note that compared to the original there are numerous ink blotches and places where the vertical lines have white spaces.
Sperati blocks of 4 are not uncommon.
Mi 5 April 1863 Issue
In 1861-63 the 3gr, 5gr, 10gr and 5sgr were issued with the perces en scie roulettes but the 7gr, for which there was only a small demand, is not known in that condition.
The 3gr, like the imperf. variety is found on laid paper while the other two values are on wove paper.
The same types of the 3gr and 5gr exist as the original stones were used.
The characteristics are basically the same as the imperforated stamps.
On April 29th, 1863, a new value, 2 grote, was issued this for the single letter rate between Bremen and Vegesack.
This value was lithographed in orange varying in shades and, like the 10 grote, was never issued as an imperforate.
The two grote was the last stamp to be issued and no further changes were made until 1867
Characteristics of the Genuine 2gr
1. Heavy shadow around key
2. Dot inside the A – very faint
3. Large Dot
4. Note shape of letters especially the ‘G” and uneven spacing
5. Note the shape of the curls
6. Ellipse shape inside the “D”
7. Shadow of key touches frame in 3 places
8. Note the shape of the ’2” particularly the ends and thickness of the foot.
9. A dot inside the “P”
10. A dot inside the top and bottom of the ‘S”
Mi 6 1864 Jan/Feb issue
Mi 7 1862 Sept.
Mi 8 1861 Nov issue
A 10 grote stamp was placed in circulation for prepayment of the single letter rate to the Netherlands.
There is only one type for this value and the stamps have dividing lines between them on the sheet.
Rouletted ( 1861). Perforated 13 (1867).
Paper: Thin to medium strong.
Characteristics of the Genuine 10gr
1. 3. There are small dashes on the left side in the ” 0″. The “0” is also flattened slantingly at the bottom. This is the same for the other “0”s
2. The vein in the right leaf extends almost to the tip but not so in the left.
2x. The top link of this right lower chain is almost non existent.
2a. There are 5 vertical lines in the opening.
3a. The middle bar slants downwards and appears broken in many specimens.
3b. The serif of this 1 is separated from the body by a thin line.
3c. Many examples show a break in this line.
4. The background line crosses the oval frame.
5. There is a little notch in the upper part of the ” B” of “BREMEN”
6. The 1 has a bulge in it.
7. The “0” in the upper left figure of value is usually open or very thin.
8. There are thin shading lines on this side between the frame lines.
9. There is a little dot in the upper part of the ” R” of “BREMEN”
10. In many specimens there is a white dot below the ” E” of “BREMEN”
11. The left side of the “M” is deformed.
12. The top right 1 has a very short serif.
X. The tres-foil ornament, outside the left top corner of the stamp, contains seven black lines, the third from the left being very long; the tres-foil in the right top corner has five lines, the trefoil in the left and right bottom corners have six lines.
It would appear that the intent was to correct minor faults in the original die.
1. No notch in the 1
2. No dot below the E
3. No distortion in the left M leg
4. No notches in the 0
5. Chain not broken
6. Shorter serif
7. No notch in the B
A poor imitation, the “10” top left is too closed, the bottom left 10 is too thick & no bulge in the “1”, the chains only have 2 or 1 link, the corner elements are lacking rays,
the “H” has no slant in the crossbar, serifs on the “1” are short, the tip of the key has no oval and does not touch the frame. Many other faults
Mi 9 1863 Jan. issue
The main difference between the imperforated 5sgr stamps and the rouletted and perforated ones is on the pendant.
The imperforated stamps show but a few horizontal shade lines, whereas the rouletted and perforated stamps have two fine lines running parallel to the outside lines in the end of the right pendant.
NOTE: there are at least 8 different forgeries of this issue most of which are the Mi 4 1859 examples of forgeries
Mi 10 1866 issue
Of the rouletted stamps, only the 5g and the new 10g had the now useless dividing lines, while they had been removed, except for some insignificant traces, on the 5sg, the 2g stamps never had any. In the fall of 1866, the printer abandoned the unpractical rouletting of the sheets. He acquired a perforating device which supplied a line perforation 13.
In 1866/67 all six values were placed in circulation perforated 13,
The 3gr is on laid paper as before, all the others being on wove. Of note, these are generally poorly printed.
The dividing lines were removed from the stone of the 7gr and though the lines remained on the other values they did not always print distinctly.
Most of the values of this set are considerably rarer used than unused for not only did they have a very short life, but a number of remainders came on the market in 1868 (Bredemeyer?).
There is a 1903 post in the Monthly Journal that in December 1868 a Mr. Van Rinsum, of Amsterdam, passing through Bremen, purchased the whole stock of stamps there, for cash , at the then high price of 5 thalers (actually a good deal).
Mi 11 1866 Sept. Issue
Mi 12 1866 Dec. Issue
Mi 13 1867 Issue
The left one has a prominent dash under the C
Note in both that the wave pattern on the left side of the bottom banner is level instead of being slanted.
Several bottom letters are much thinner than the original
Mi 14 1867
Mi 15 1866
Bremen also produced a fairly rare postal cover which has been forged in great quantities.
This is the top left corner print with 2 varieties
Genuine envelopes exist on several papers from white to bluish or bluish-grey, with and
without watermark and in various size and cuts. The oval is invariably in the upper left
comer and a hand-stamped “FRANCO” is in the lower left comer. There are two types
of genuine oval imprints as shown above
The stamps of Bremen were valid until Dec.31st,1867 when the stamps of the North-German Confederation came into use.
I. The A of AMT has equal legs.
2 P is inclined slightly left.
3. Tail or the R is diagonal.
4. The lower lobe of the S in STADT is nearly closed.
I. A has a longer left leg.
2. P is nearly vertical.
3. R tail is nearly vertical.
4. Lower lobe wide open.
For both types:
The S of STADT is lower at the left than the T of AMT at theright
The point or the coat-of-arms is between the E and M or BREMEN but closer to the E
The height of the oval is 15 1/3mm; the sides of the crown flare out
In STADT and in POST the bottom of the S is slightly lower than that of the T.
At least 5 different forgeries are known but none are considered as dangerous>
Comparison to the originals easily differentiates them.
The Serrane Guide to Stamp Forgeries
H. Bynof-Smith: Forged Postage Stamps of Europe and Colonies
Album Weeds – How to Detect Forged Stamps, R.B. Earée: 3rd Edition
650 falsche stempel und Prufzeichen BDph
German Philatelic Society Reference Manual of Forgeries
Fritz Billig: and Otto Stiedl – Großes Handbuch der Fälschungen, Bremen 1934
Distinguishing Characteristics of Classic Stamps: Old German States, Hermann Schloss
Germany States Vol 1, Muller, 1933
The Forged Stamps of All Countries, Dorn, J.
Altdeutschland spezial-katalog und handbuch, Grobe 1963
Bergedorfer postgeschichte : von den anfangen bis 1868, Karl Knauer 1961
Handbuch Der Neudrucke , Paul Ohrt, 1938.
Handbok för filatelister Sigurd Tullberg.
Étude sur les Faux Timbres d’Europe, A. de Haene
Bayern spezial katalog 1976 : kreuzerausgaben stempelteil