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 In 1859 the stamps with values expressed in fractions of a thaler were superseded by a new series bearing the portrait of King George V and with values denoted in groschen.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 possibly for quality control as the gum was hand applied. 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. However my research indicates that ALL of the issues were forged and in great numbers.

1850 Mi 1

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.

Mi 1 Light Blue

1864 Reprint.
Official. Unwatermarked. Gum white or missing.
The color is somewhat brighter than in the original.
The gum\of the early Hannover stamps was colored red and was applied by hand. The color allowed for better quality control.
Beware that unused reprints were applied a colored gum to fool collectors.


Type I
Overall very crude
None of the letters match.
The shield scroll-work is very different
No period after EIN
The crown, lion & unicorn are completely different.

Type II
Numerals touch the scroll
Characteristics are basically the same as the Type I but better overall

Type III
The lion appears to be wearing sunglasses
Again very crude overall with lack of fine shading lines.

Mi 2a and 2b – same genuine features as the 1850 1Ggr
NOTE: It is not uncommon for the 2a or 2b unused stamp to be chemically altered to resemble the much higher CV Mi 1 unused.

M1 2a

Mi 2b


Similar to the Mi 1 Type I forgery above

1961 private reprint.

1851/55 Issues

Mi 3 Characteristics
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

1851 Mi 3a on salmon

1855 Mi 3b on raspberry red


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

Crude forgery
Crown is incomplete, shield is very different, bottom of 3 is flat.
Letters under the coat of arms too large

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

1851 Mi 4

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.


A crude forgery
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.

1851 Mi 5

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”


Crude forgery, heads of both animals misshapen.
The inscription above the shield is all one word
Small dot after “R”, many other faults

Decent forgery, outside frame uneven and broken in several places.
End letters of “THALER” tilt down

Fair forgery, mouth of unicorn open too wide
Side, bottom letters and numerals distorted.

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.

1853 Mi 6

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.


Goldner forgery
Thick vertical lines
The ends of the inscription bands are blunt and point downward.

Fournier. Very good forgeries
The tips of the scrolls are too small
The Last bottom E is not inclined enough
The right upright of the “N” of EIN is too short.

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


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

1855 Mi 7 Black/Yellow, 7a Black/Orange
Same properties as Mi 5 with a mesh overprint. The mesh is finer than subsequent issues.

Mi 7a

Mi 7b

Mesh Overprint Die


I do not have forgery samples but it is noted that they are the same as the Mi 5’s with a crude network added.

1856 Mi 8

Mi 8

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 bound to be plentiful.
Above, Fournier forgery with HANNOVER 1 MA I 64 cancel from his forgery offers.
Note the uneven mesh

1856 Mi 9

Mi 9

This is reportedly an essay. The mesh runs in the opposite direction.


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

1856 Mi 10

Mi 10a

Mi 10b


Very crude forgery
Animal heads are crude and lettering misshapen.
Outer frame is uneven.
Crown and leaves very crude
Tiny letters in the COA banner

Another crude forgery
Crown and leaves wrong shape
Animal shapes crude
No serifs on the 1’s

1856 Mi 11

Mi 11


Fournier forgery
Left leaf points outwards
Bottom of “5” flattened
Small inscription above shield all one word
Network is uneven particularly on the top right

Extremely crude
Network is too large
Letters are distorted and unreadable
Crown and coat of arms very different

1856 Mi 12

Mi 12


A reasonable forgery GPS Type I
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 lion wearing shades seems fairly consistent with reprints.
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

1859 Mi 13

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


Fournier forgery
The S at the top is slanted
The last bottom E is not inclined enough.
Tips of the scroll are too short

Top letters not evenly sized
Bottom letters too tall esp. the first N
Fake cancel

1859 Mi 14
An affordable series of Georg V. (1819-1878) with no specific varieties.

Mi 14

One stamp per sheet has the year printed in the margin which increases the value.
However, I do not believe this sample is genuine.
Many fine details are missing and the letters are coarse and irregular.

Image taken from a catalog

Lithographed by the Spiro Brothers of Hamburg in shades of brownish red to carmine on ordinary paper.
The colorless dots around the vignette are too small and irregular.
Some of the outside comer ornaments are leaf-shaped or are joined to the small dot nearby.
Compared to the original. the hair is flatter on top and the eye has less shading underneath,

1859 Mi 15

Mi 15

Forgeries of this issue appear to be plentiful

A very coarse forgery with thick misshapen letters

Another crude forgery with thick misshapen letters

Mi 15 is the only one of the series printed in 1864

NOTE – Mi 14-16 also have private reprints (1891) in the coarser printing on hard, smooth paper with a light, smooth gum coating.
Perhaps the coarse forgeries noted above are these reprints.

1859 Mi 16

Mi 16


A very crude forgery
No fine details
Bottom letters uneven and touch the frame

1860 Mi 17

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 is the most forged stamp in Hannover

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

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

Poor forgery
Crown is crude
Mouthpiece has no shading

A very crude forgery
All the elements are wrong

Another crude forgery
Many issues with the letters.
The fraction is very different

Thin letters
Very small crown
2 is wrong
Ribbing on the horn is incomplete

Heavy shading particularly on the left side of the horn
No detail in the crown
Letter C is smaller than the others


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

This “reprint” is very difficult to determine
Pearls in the crown are irregular
Shading lines are coarser

There are also private reprints (about 1890) on hard, smooth paper with light, smooth gum.
In addition, some fantasy prints in other colors and differently colored paper (see below).



1861 Mi 18

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.


Crude forgery, note the thin outside frame line and the small irregular pearls that do not touch each other.

Fake cancel on genuine to increase value X3 – very common

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

There is a private reprint (1891) in coarser print on hard, smooth paper with light smooth gum (like Mi 16 ND)

1861 Mi 19


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


1891 Reprint – very common

1863 Mi 20

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

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.

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.
The bottom letters are thick and close together.

Probably the same forgery as the one above.

A cut perf fake, remnants are visible top right.

There is an 1864 Mi 20 reprint black on greenish paper

1864 Mi 21
Found with either white or pink 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.

Mi 21x – pink gum.

Forgeries exist –  most probably of the 1/2 and 3Gr but I have no copies of Mi 21-25.

1860 Mi 22

1860 Mi 23

1860 Mi 24y

1860 Mi 25x

Mi 25 reprinted privately 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.