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The first issues of Prussia.. Mi 1-5
The stamps of Prussia were produced by a method totally new in printing.
The engraving of the original plate, and the production of the item by intaglio engraving.
In this process, the stamp design is not raised on the\plate, but rather sunk into it. The printing plate is provided with color several times and the engraved lines in the plate are filled up.
What color remains on the plate, except in the grooves of the design, is cleaned off.
The plate is then passed between two rollers, along with the paper and a layer of felt or other soft material to aid in bringing up the design on the paper, and when this process is completed, the design in color is clearly visible on the paper.
The good watermark, the method of production, and the delicacy of the design, all contributed to make the work of the forgers difficult and for this reason, no really dangerous forgeries of the stamps of Prussia exist in the first 5 issued.
Great – BUT there were reprints (1864 & 1873) and many sellers knowingly or unknowingly pass off the cheaper reprints as expensive originals.
Julius Goldner a dealer who bought a large quantity of remainders is attributed with the 1873 reprint.
Some of the reprints can be found with forged postmarks:
The following cancels were forged: ‘155’ (Bonn), ‘258’ (Coln), ‘1008’ (Neuenrade), ‘1042’ (Neuwied) and ‘1520’ (Trier) (source: Ohrt; ‘Handbuch der Neudrucke’).
I have seen a notation that: Some ‘reprints’ were also made in 1965, 1966 and 1967 for stamp exhibitions in Gladbeck and Wattenscheid (4 identical stamps on one minisheet). The 1 sgr black on red has the numeral cancel ‘396’, the 2 sgr black on blue the cancel ‘205’ (1966) and the 3 sgr black on yellow the cancel ‘1590’ (1967)
Although the Michel catalog shows no used values for reprints, it is well known that the 1864 & 1873 reprints were postally used.
In fact the Michel Germany catalog notes: “Einige Neudrucke sind postalisch gebraucht bekannt. Vorsicht” (Some reprints are known postally used. Attention!)
As well there are many forged cancels on reprints to fool collectors into thinking they are cancelled originals.
Sources – Muller, Ohrt, Klaseboer, Krötzsch. The forger Georges Foure made illegal reprints of these stamps and he applied forged cancels
The original laurel watermark which is not found on the 1864 but on the 1873 reprint.
1850 Mi 1
1850 Mi 1 original
Mi 1 1864 Reprint NDI , no watermark, bright red orange on whiter paper. Image is slightly wider
The 1864 Reprint is almost as expensive as the original in never used condition.
Mi 1 1873 NDII reprint, Image is duller than original, whiter paper with watermark, gum is white, smooth and thin. Stamps are slightly narrower than originals.
The 1873 Reprint is MUCH less expensive than the original in never used condition so expect this one to show up in common auctions!
A very crude forgery
1850 Mi 2
1 Sgr black on light gray red to red carmine (15.11.1850)
There are 4 color variations – one issued in 1851 which is the red carmine and VERY valuable.
1850 Mi2b (light carmine) with Liegnitz (852 cancel)
3 types of this cancel exist. It is one of the more common ones.
My listing shows over 1400 numerals some of which add a substantial premium for collectors of Prussian postmarks.
1864 Mi2 Reprint NDI
Described as black on light brown red with no watermark and slightly wider than the original
It is about 1/3 the CV of the original
1873 Mi2 Reprint NDII
Described as black on rattan brownish red with watermark. It is slightly narrower than the original.
It is very common and 1/20th the CV of the original – beware of this one being sold as the 1850 issue
I came across this item which was noted as being a “forgery”
If it is then it is near perfect so it may just be a color trial.
1850 Mi 3
1850 Original – black on gray-blue to medium gray ultramarine
1864 Reprint NDI – black on dark gray blue, no watermark, slightly wider than the original, 1/3 CV of original in never used condition
I do not have a sample of the 1873 reprint NDII
Now for an easy issue..
1850 Mi 4
3 Sgr black on reddish yellow to medium brown yellow (15.11.1850)
With watermark, 2 distict colors issued in 1850 & 1851
1864 Mi4 Reprint ND1, no watermark, brighter color and sligtly wider than the 1850.
It is about 1/3 the CV of the original in never used condition
1873 Mi4 Reprint NDII, with watermark but very distinct color. Listed as black on turquoise-gray.
It is very common and 1/20th the CV of the original in never used condition
And now for the last one in the series…
1856 Mi 5
1856 Mi 5
1856 Mi 5a in moss green
I do not have an unused copy of the 1863 reprint
It is a very dark olive green with no watermark and slightly wider than the original
It is scarce and quite valuable
1873 Reprint NDII
This reprint shows more wear and the background is not as distinct.
The color is a lighter shade than the original.
It has a watermark and is slightly narrower than the original.
There is a rare inverted watermark.