Forgeries of Hannover

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The philatelic history of Hanover (Hannover in German) dates from 1850—the year before the death of King Ernest (Duke of Cumberland)- when a single stamp bearing the face value of one gutengroschen was issued. In 1851 Hanover joined the German-Austrian Postal Union, and a series of stamps was issued on July 2 1st of that year for defraying the rates of postage within the Union. In 1856 they were overprinted with a colored network. In 1859 the stamps with values expressed in fractions of a thaler were superseded by a new series bearing the portrait of King George V and with values denoted in groschen.
Until 1864 all the stamps were imperforate, but in that year five values were issued with a roulette (perce en arc) gauging 16, and in 1866, on the annexation of Hanover by Prussia, the whole of the stamps, with the exception of a few sheets, were burned.

For the first issue, the die was engraved by Herr Fickenscher, a Hanoverian engraver, and the plate was made and the stamps printed by hand presses at the type foundry and printing works of Senator Culemann, in Hanover. As is usual with stamps manufactured by this process, there are plenty of minor varieties, consisting chiefly of breaks and flaws in the frame and other lines, and defective letters.
A peculiarity of this and other Hanoverian stamps is the red gum which was used until about 1864. The exact reason is only speculated at but it is a very important factor in determining originals from reprints. On the originals used examples still retain a rose colour even if the gum is gone.

Some very good forgeries of the Hannover stamps exist. However, the more difficult task is to distinguish between the many reprints of official and of private origin. Collectors are also fooled by many proofs, usually taken for originals, but differing from the latter in many respects.
Special care should be taken to avoid the fake of the red gum of originals; for this gum may be reproduced in order to transform reprints into originals and to hide repairs.

Several articles indicate that only certain issues were forged as shown below. However my research indicates that ALL of the issues were forged and in great numbers.

Stamps of Hannover forged.

Mi 1
1 Ggr. black/gray-blue, blue.
Imperforate. Typographed.
Paper : colored. Watermarked: Square in size of stamp design.
Gum: rose to red.
1. The letters ’S” and “N” are often incomplete.
1a. Front hoof nearly touches the shield.
2. A large dot after the “R”. There are 2 shading lines with one shorter.
3. The right side of the banner line is thick.
4. A large dot after the “N” which is actually an error not seen in the forgeries.
5. 2 shading lines and a 3rd very short with the “E” connected to the banner outline by 2 short thin lines.
6. 4 vertical lines
7. Thick outside frame line.
8. 2 shading lines on the left, with a shorter inside line, and 3 on the right.
9. Point leaning to the left.
9a. 4 equal lines and a short 5th one.
10. Thick line.
11. 2 equal shading lines.
12. Rear hoof made up of 3 roundish shapes.
13. The tip of the left leaf points to the left.


The right hoof of the unicorn is far from the shield, the other hoof is not long enough.
The numerals “1” touch the top of the ribbon and have very wide bottom feet.
The “N’s” on the side ribbons do not lean downwards enough.
No period after “EIN”
Both would appear to be by the same forger.

Left – very crude forgery
Letters are distorted, head and mane of lion crude.
The first “G” of “GGR” is closed
Right – lion looks like a dog with glasses
Both- No period after “EIN”

Mi 2a and 2b – same features as the 1850 1Ggr


Left- this is the same forger as above
The first “G” of “GGR” is closed
Right – Private reprint, letters are slightly thinner than the original
The “AN’s” don’t appear joined

Mi 3 and 3a

Mi 3
1/30 Thaler black/ light pink , crimson, salmon.
Imperforate. Typographed.
Gum : Red.
1. 3 main points in the mane.
2. 2 shading lines with one shorter.
3. “F” and “N” generally incomplete.
4. Large dot after “R”.
5. Hoof slightly away from the shield.
5a. A small oval shape here.
6. The right leg of the “R” is shortened.
7. The inclined leg of the 2nd “N” is heavier than the first “N”.
8. 2 shading lines that do not touch the bottom frame.
9. A thick inside frame line.
10. The left leg of the “N” is noticeably inclined down.
11. The inside bottom groove is thicker and wider.
12. Both leaf tips point inwards.
13. The white inner frame line is continuous and comes to a point in the center.
14. the 2 curved frame lines do not touch
Note also that the “AN” of “FRANC” and “HANNOVER” are joined in all 3 values


2 Fournier forgeries.
Left leaf points outwards
Bottom of “3” flattened
Small inscription above shield all one word
“1’s” lacking serifs.

Top frame slants to the right
Many shading lines broken or missing (worn plate?)

Mi 4
Same design as before.
1/15 Thaler black/gray-blue to blue.
Imperforate. Typographed.
Paper: Watermarked: Wreath of yak leaves.
Gum: Red.
1/15 Thaler black/gray-blue to blue.
Imperforate. Typographed.
Paper: Watermarked: Wreath of 0ak leaves.
Gum: Red.
1. Left leaf tip is inclined inwards noticeably more than the right one.
2. The inner white frame line is not joined together in the middle. The space is the widest of the 3 values and is wider than the tip of the “1”
3. 2 short shading lines.
4. A large dot after the “R”
5. The letters of ‘ZWEI” are joined together.
6. 2 short line joins the “Z” to the banner frame.
7. 3 short lines join the “Z” to the banner frame. One continues through the “Z”.
7a. 2 small shapes joined together.
8. The left leg of the “N” is inclined to the right.


2 good forgeries, probably from the same forger
The white line at the top of the shield has only a small break on the left
The inscription above the shield is all one word
The bottom of the “5” is flattened.
The leaf tips point out instead of in.
Face of unicorn very crude.

Mi 5
Same design as before.
1/10 Thaler black/yellow. dark-yellow, orange.
Imperforate. Typographed.
Paper: Watermarked: Wreath of oak leaves.
Gum: Red .
1. Hoof is near the shield and has 2 shading lines
2. The inner white frame line is not joined together in the middle. The gap is narrower than the 1/15.
3. Prominent dot after the “R”
4. The “D” is joined to the scroll frame by 2 small lines top & bottom. One runs through the “D” but is generally broken.
4a. Short line in this shape left and right.
5. “HAN” joined together
6. Note the shape and serifs of the “R”

Mi 5 and Mi 5IV ( plate flaws in “THALER”, “T” shaped like F and middle line of “E” and center of “0” misshapen) – may be a later worn plate printing.


Left, crude forgery, heads of both animals misshapen.
The inscription above the shield is all one word
Small dot after “R”, many other faults
Right, good forgery, outside frame uneven and broken in several places.
End letters of “THALER” tilt down

Left, decent forgery, mouth of unicorn open too wide
Side, bottom letters and numerals distorted.
Right, a Winter forgery
Letters of banner above shield too small
Animals lacking a lot of shading lines.
Letters and numerals in shield tilt down to the right.

Mi 3-Mi 5 were reprinted in 1864 in different colors on various colored papers
Also there is a private reprint of Mi 5 (Black on Yellow) in 1890
NOTE – although less valuable than the originals reprints do command some values and are sought after by specialized collectors., especially full sheets.
Reprints “official” or “private” seem nothing more than forgeries as they are not postal government issues.

Mi 6
Figure of value and inscription with crown in oval.
Upper inscription reads: EIN DRITTEL SILBERGROSCHEN.
3 Pfg. rose, rose-lilac.
Imperforate. Typographed.
Paper: Watermarked: Wreath of oak leaves.
Gum: Red.
1. 32 vertical evenly spaced lines
2. Tips point slightly outwards
3. Large white space in both left and right. Also the lines are continuous from top to bottom.
4. 5 even length lines decreasing in thickness
5. Bottom loop of the “3” is wider at the bottom than the top.

Mi 6 and Mi 6a


Fournier top grade and 2nd choice. Very good forgeries
The tips of the scrolls are too small
The spaces of #3 in the genuine are incorrect.

Spiro forgery
White space missing on left scroll
Letters of “PFENNING” are very uneven especially the “ENN”


1864 reprint, apparently also issued in red, black and yellow

Mi 7 Black/Yellow, 7a Black/Orange
Same properties as Mi 5 with a mesh overprint. The mesh is finer than subsequent issues.

Mesh Overprint Die

Most of these issues have elaborate borders which increase the value significantly

Mi 8a
Same characteristics as the Mi 6
Note that in genuine issues the ends of the mesh die may be visible.


This is a high value item both mint and used, so forgeries are plentiful.
Left Fournier forgery with HANNOVER 1 MA I 64 cancel from his forgery offers.
Note the uneven mesh
Right, a genuine on eBay offered as an 8b excellent – bottom row of mesh has been hand painted in probably after a repair essentially creating a forgery.

Mi 9


Very crude forgery
Awkward shape of mesh
Heads of animals crude
All the lettering is misshapen

Mi 10 and Mi 10a

Mi 10b


Both very crude forgeries
Animal heads crude and lettering misshapen especially the right one which has a thick outer frame

Same forger as the left above.

Mi 11


Left very uneven mesh
All letters distorted
Right uneven mesh
Animal heads crude
The inscription above the shield is all one word

Mi 12


A reasonable forgery
Small space in the white frame line at the top of the shield.
The inscription above the shield is all one word
Probably the same forger as the last Mi5 forgery


This is a reprint – light orange on white paper
The network (mesh) on reprints does not cover the outer borders.
Mi 9, 10, 11 and 12 were reprinted in sheet-lets of 4 stamps. Colors are dull and gum is color less.
In 1890 a private reprint of Mi 12 was made on smooth paper with an orange network

Mi 13a and Mi 13b
Same design as of the 3 Pfg. rose of 1853.
3 Pfg. rose, carmine.
Imperforate. Typographed.
Gum: Red.


Left uneven letters in “PFENNIGE”, cancel fake
Right very thick lower letters, top letters too small, very large “3”. tips of scroll point out

Mi 18
Head of King George V. within circle .
1 Gr. Carmine, violet -rose , rose .
2 Gr. Blue, dark-blue , ultramarine.
3 Gr. yellow, light yellow , orange-yellow.
3 Gr. brown, black-brown.
10 Gr. green.
Imperforate. Typographed.
Paper: White.
Gum: Red, pink.
1. The “C” is slightly taller than the other letters.
2. There is 1 complete vertical line on the right side of the circle.
3. The middle stroke of the “E” is slightly below the center.
4. The right diagonal line of the “V” is thinner and shorter.
5. The first “N” is slightly wider than the second one.
6. There are 2 complete vertical lines on the left side of the circle.
7. A heavy hair line splitting into a v (not always visible)
8. The top of the ear has 2 horizontal lines inside (not always visible)
9. The mustache has 3 prominent pointed curls.
10. The nose has a slight curve and is rounded at the end.

Mi 14 and Mi 14c

Mi 14dI and Mi 14dII

One stamp per sheet has the year printed in the margin which increases the value.

Mi 15 and Mi 15a

Mi 16 and Mi 16b

Mi 18

Mi 19 and Mi 19a

Mi 14 forgery
Wrong color and many faults in letters, face and fake cancel.
Corner elements outside of frame.


Mi 15 forgeries
The top one is very crude with many faults.
The bottom one is very good, the face and neck lack a lot of shading.
The center of the ear is completely shaded.

Mi 16 Forgery
Bottom letters touch the frame
Eyes and mustache wrong. Curls too blunt.

Mi 18 Forgeries
Left – fake cancel on genuine to increase value X3 – very common
Right – bad forgery, note the thin outside frame line and the small irregular pearls that do not touch each other.

Sperati good forgery
Very thin letters, lack of shading in the face and hair.

Mi 19 Forgery
Dots in corner elements not in center of opening.
Face and hair lacks shading
Pearls irregular shapes.


Mi 15 reprint – the paper is yellowish white, very thin and granulated, the colors are different.
There is an 1891 private printing of the 3Gr Yellow and Brown. The gum is white, the paper thicker than that of the originals and the printing is very bad.

Mi 20
Design as before, upper inscription changed to read: DREI ZEHNTEL SII.BERGROSCHEN.
3 Pfg. green, yellow-green.
Imperforate. Typographed.
Paper: Unwatermarked.
Gum : Red.
1. Large white space both sides.
2. Tips point outwards
3. There are 32 vertical evenly spaced lines.
4. The bottom of the “3” is exactly one space wider. Note that both just touch a vertical line on the left.
6. Several letters are joined after the “R”
Note where the tip of the crown is in relation to the “S” above it

Mi 21x and 21y

NOTE – The main forgery you will come across is a Mi 21 with perfs cut to look like a Mi 20 and thereby increasing its value 10X.
The imperforate stamp must have at least a size of 21/2 by 241/2 mm, to be considered as a genuine imperforate specimen.
The second problem is forged cancels which are much harder to detect unless you have a reference chart.

2 forgeries
Left, very thick bottom letters, no right white space in scroll. eBay listing for $150, seller said even if a forgery ” no problem, returns are accepted ”. He did not comment on the guide lines not in the original and typical of some forgers.
Right, No white space left, scroll tips do not curve out, “3” does not touch the lines left.

Left, a Fake – left overs of the Mi 21 perfs can be seen at the top.
Right 2 strikes, an obvious forgery with a fake cancel (cancel has an oval shape)

There is an 1864 Mi 20 reprint black on greenish paper

Mi 23 and Mi 24y

M1 25x and Mi 25y
NOTE – On the Mi 21 to Mi 25 we have 2 types of gum, Mi –X for rose gum and Mi –Y for white gum.
There are some notable value differences.
On used without gum, the paper is still left with a pink color even if the gum is gone.

I do not have any examples, the serpentine perforations may have been a deterrent.

Mi 25 reprinted in a coarser print on light brown paper with white gum.
The rouletting of this counterfeit is 131/2 and differs in many ways from the original. The color is also considerably darker. Even in size the reproduction differs from the original, being 184/5
214/ 5 mm. instead of the 19 X 221/ 5 mm . of the original.

The best for last, the easiest and most forged stamp of Hanover

Mi 17
Post-horn and crown.
1/2 Groschen black.
Imperforate (18 6 0), Rouletted ( 18 6 4) Typo graphed.
Paper: Beclouded, irregular in patches when looked through . Unwatermarked.
Gum: White (1860), Rose (1862) on the imperforate stamp.
White (1865), Rose (1864) on the rouletted stamp.
1. The left branch of the “N” is inclined to the right.
2. The bottom of the “V” is cut at an angle.
3. The three-foil is clear and distinct both sides.
4. The connector is made of 2 straight lines only.
5. The right side of the mouthpiece is more angled outwards.
5a. Large uneven dots within the perimeter of the frame.
5b. The “1” is slightly inclined to the right.
6. There are 2 long shading lines and 1 very short here.
7. There are 2 heavy lines inside the band.
8. The center piece is shaped like a Y.
9. The 2 large end pearls both sides have a white inner (not always visible on all 4).
10. The top has a definite X pattern with an inverted T below it

Mi 17 and Mi 17y


Mi 22x and Mi 22y

2 excellent Sperati forgeries – these are common in collections as genuine
The jewels at the bottom of the crown are too close together.
Slight variations in the size and shape of the top letters
Variations in the shading on the left side of the horn and the lack of white spaces in the netting

Left Spiro forgery
The first “N” and the “1” are not inclined
Large spaces in the pearls on the left side of the crown.
The mouthpiece is round instead of oval
The base of the crown does not flare out.
Right crude forgery
The crown is misshapen
Letters are too thin
Mouthpiece is crude

2 extremely crude forgeries that should fool no one, right one top cross and fraction are obvious

Unknown forger
Lob sided mouthpiece
First “N” is not inclined
“1” of fraction has a pointed crest.
Horn opening misshapen.
Crown pearls too small.

Goldner Reprints
The paper is thicker than that of the originals. Tete-beche are only known in reprint.

Note the typical heavy connector lines.
The shading lines are not well defined.
The top of the “H” is blotchy

A complete sheet of reprints