Napoleon 1852-1862

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Although the main forgers were Fournier, Spiro and Sperati, only Sperati achieved a superb measure of similarity. His forgeries have been sold on many prominent auctions with neither the auction house nor the buyer aware.
Most of the forgery analysis will focus on Sperati forgeries.

1852 Series
Recognized by the “B” under the neck. Initial of Jacques-Jean Barre the designer and engraver.


When 2 are compared, the genuine is always on the left

Probably a Spiro forgery right
Although the header reads REPUB, the “B” is missing
Note also that the top and bottoms tablets have been added to the main central image. Both are out of alignment.
The pearls are not consistent in size or spacing.

Sperati 10c Reproduction ‘B’ has a constant numeral cancel ‘2273’ (always in the same position) with which it can be easily identified.
It also exists with ‘2235’ cancel below.

Sperati 10c Reproduction ‘C’ is actually Reproduction ‘A’, but with the cancel removed. There are some flaws, for example in the right hand border halfway up has some issues.
The lines inside the ear are different from the original as is the eyebrow.
It also exists as a black ‘die-proof’

Probably a Spiro forgery
Although the header reads REPUB, the “B” is missing
Note also that the top and bottoms tablets have been added to the main central image. Both are out of alignment.
The pearls are not consistent in size or spacing.
The lower value tablet has many character differences as does the top.

1853-1860 series

1854, 5c Green on Greenish Paper & 1853, 10c Bister on Yellowish Paper

1853, 25c Blue on Bluish Paper & 1853, 40c Orange on Yellowish Paper

1854, 80c Lake on Yellowish Paper & 1860, 80c Rose on Pinkish Paper

1853, 1fr Lake on Yellowish Paper


Extremely crude example – needs no comments

This crude sample is derived from the 1894 Moschkau catalog

Fournier forgery right
No “B” below the neck
The mustache and ear are very different.
The key ornaments on the sides are broken, distorted  and missing.

Sperati reproduction “B”
There is a scratch in the design below the ‘U’ of ‘REPUB’.
It was sometimes, but not always cancelled with a constant numeral cancel ‘2273’ However, other cancels exist: the numeral cancels ‘1128’ and ‘2235’ (see below).
Unused Reproductions ‘B’ also exist

Sperati reproduction “C” right
Reproduction ‘C’ is actually Reproduction ‘A’, but with the cancel removed. In the right hand border halfway up there is a distortion.
There is a distorted pearl at 4 o’clock
Shading lines are lacking in the eyebrow
It also exists as a black ‘die-proof’ (see below)

The distortion in the right frame is evident

Probably a Fournier forgery right
Letters and numerals are thinner than the original.
Scrolling keys on the right side are missing sections.
Background is irregular

Sperati 1852 right
Extremely dangerous
Small break in the frame line below the “FR” and a white spot below the break
Top of the “T” is slightly inclined
Top of the first “S” is shorter and more curved
Small dent in the top “P”
NOTE a color flaw in the nostril on another sample found is likely a plate position fault only

Sperati Type II Tete-beche forgery
Extremely dangerous. It has passed as an original
Very minor differences, extra white dots and slight difference in the ear.

Torres crude forgery from his catalog

A very crude forgery easily distinguished from the original.

Fournier forgery right
The 1032 is known to be one of his cancels.
The lines in the neck are thicker.
The chin beard is thinner.
The ear shading is lacking.

Fournier forgery, probably a second choice one right
The shading lines in the ear are different
There are more breaks in the shading lines of the neck and cheek.
The letters and numerals appear to be shorter.
The S in POSTES has a narrow top section.
The last F is crude

A pair of Fournier forgeries
Many of the letter issues have been fixed so this is probably a first choice forgery.
The last F is still crude
The 1’s are slightly tilted as is the bottom of the T’s.
The shading lines in the ear are different

Fournier tete-beche forgery
Fournier produced a lot of the rare tete-beche in early France issues.
Most of the previous issues are still present.

Spiro forgery right
The pearls are too small
The mustache is different
The side keys are crude and missing sections
The letters are thin

Probably a Spiro set of forgeries.
There are many differences in the letters and the facial features (see above).
Compare to the genuine set below

Here are some Sperati reproductions of the 1-franc stamp of the 1853 issue.
Sperati made fifteen different reproductions of this stamp.
He used a photo-lithography technique to produce his forgeries. The forgeries are reproductions of a genuine issue and therefore will have the traits of that particular plate position.
Several black ‘die-proofs’ were also made by Sperati.

Sperati reproduction “A” right
Reproduction ‘A’ has some minor spots in the ‘PO’ of ‘POSTES’.
Also, a horizontal scratch can be found in the last bottom ‘C’ extending towards the right bottom square.
Reproduction ‘A’ has a numeral cancel ‘898’ and circular date cancels. Apparently, this cancel is always in the same position so this is a key feature

Sperati reproduction ‘C’ is very dangerous. right
There is a small scratch through the lower part of the first ‘S’ of ‘POSTES’.
Sometimes a white spot at the upper right part of the right ‘1’.
Some pearls are not uniform and the spacing varies.
Below a cancelled reproduction “B” “B” with the common 2273 cancel

Sperati reproduction “D” right
This forgery has a constant star cancel always in the same position.
He apparently copied a genuine cancelled stamp.
Some pearls around 11 o’clock are fused.
Some letters of EMPIRE are distorted.

Reproduction ‘E’ has a rather large break in the outer frameline, just before the upper left corner ornament.
A similar break can be found in the upper right hand corner.
There are some very small white dots in front of the first ‘E’ of ‘EMPIRE’ around the normal large dot.
Several hairs are dotted or broken instead of being solid.
The cancels ‘295A’ (below) and ‘698’are common to this reproduction

Sperati reproduction “F” right
A very dangerous forgery.
There are many weak areas on the outer frame.
The top of the “T” in POSTES is slightly shorter as is the top of the first “S”
Some hairlines are different.
Below, a cancelled Type “F”

Probably a type “H” with part of the constant cancel “XX73”, 2273?

Sperati Type K pair
Basically the same flaws as the Type F above

Sperati tete-beche Type L
An extremely dangerous forgery that has been sold as genuine
In the left stamp there is a very small white dot between the letters ‘R’ and ‘A’ of ‘FRANC’. The right hand side stamp has a broken line and white space below the ‘FR’ of ‘FRANC.

Another Type L forgery with a 3383 typical cancel

Another Type L forgery with a 1792 typical cancel

Sperati with typical 924 cancel
Lots of outer frame breaks
Shading in the ear is different

Sperati reproduction M, these are affixed to fake covers and have the same flaws as the “L” above. The well designed fake cover below

The most common Sperati numeral cancels include;
295A 318 698 852 924 978 1032 1128 1129 1425 1632
1675 1792 1954 2221 2235 2273 3151 3383 4305

1862 Perfed Series
I have not located any sufficient forgeries of this issue at this time.
Perfed stamps tend to deter the classic forgers especially if the perfed types are worth considerably less than the imperfs.



1967-69 Series Napoleon with Laurel
I have not located any sufficient forgeries of this issue other than the high CV 5 fr which I will discuss below.

The ‘5’ and the ‘F’ interrupt the horizontal lines and have a white interior.
Letters are very tall and uneven

A very crude attempt

A modern litho forgery with many fine details missing.

Fournier forgery
No cedilla on the C
Typical “17” cancel
Letters are larger.

A Peter Winter forgery with typical cancel
Many small details missing.

Fournier faked cancels




A completely bogus find