As a special report, I would like to highlight two forgeries recently sold on eBay for three-figure sums. One is very crude and was sold by a general vendor with no expertise, and the other was a slightly crude forged overprint and was sold by a very experienced eBay stamp dealer who should know better.
First up is this very crude Office of Works forged overprint. It was placed on eBay with the title “RARE MINT O34 5D DULL PURPLE & BLUE WITH OFFICE OF WORKS OVERPRINT” and sold as genuine with no gum and a perf. fault for a buy-it-now price of £200 by greatproductsgreatservice. It was a private listing, which is almost always suspicious when dealing with stamps, and is the case for nearly every seller of forged stamps on eBay as it makes contacting the unsuspecting buyer impossible.
This is how it should look. This example is certified by the BPA. First thing to notice is the position of the overprint. They are always very central in the horizontal axis, with “O.W.” at the top of the Queen’s head, and “OFFICIAL” at the base of the neck. There is also no slant to the overprint. Next thing is the definition. It is clear on the forgery that the ink used has run and created “fuzzy” characters. The final thing to note is the shape of the letters. I personally find that the “O”s and “C”s are the easiest to distinguish between genuine examples and forgeries.
Next up is this Government Parcels 1s. Although it is a better forgery, it is still quite clearly a forgery if one takes a small amount of time to look for the signs. So it is very dismaying to see that BygonesofBridlington sold this as genuine for £162.06, who currently have a positive feedback rating of 37’798!
Here is what a genuine “GOVT. PARCELS” overprint should look like. Again, looking at the same signs, the position of the overprint on the 1s is too low (the overprint was positioned not to cover the Queen’s face or the face value of the stamp, hence why it differs on each of the values). Again the definition of the letters on the forgery is poor, but the most distinguishing feature is the shape of the letters. In this example, particularly the “R” and “S” of “PARCELS”.
So remember these important points to help identify forgeries of Official overprints:
– The position of the overprint
– The definition of the letters
– The shape of the letters
And a final word of advice: ALWAYS BUY THE SCARCE OFFICIAL OVERPRINTS WITH A CERTIFICATE OF EXPERTISE