Forgery or Authentic?
One of the dark aspects of philately that we must all be concerned with are fakes & forgeries. Over the long history of our great hobby, there have been many individuals who have forged stamps to deceive & defraud collectors. Names like The Spiro Brothers, Fournier & Sperati are amongst the most infamous forgers. But others abound. Below are 2 images of Sc #17 and one of Sc# 15 & 16
Scott # 17 ??
Recently, a collector pointed out that one of the images I scanned for the Fiji database was a forgery. I have had this particular stamp for a very long time & do not recall exactly when I purchased it, but it was part of an old time collection I purchased from a reputable auction house.
Needless to say, I was doubtful at first, but this collector (thank you Fred!) gave me some details and proof that what I had was in fact a forgery. A good one, but still a forgery. I looked at my Scott catalog for the stamp & the image used in the catalog was not really sufficient to determine if it was or not. In fact, there was no mention of forgeries for this set of stamps.
Authentic Sc# 15 Authentic Sc# 16
The image on the right for Sc# 17 is a forgery. The way to tell is to look at the design pattern of the central circle. The forged design uses circles to frame the inside circle while the authentic stamp uses a zig-zag line pattern to frame the circle. Also, on the authentic stamp, there is a faint but visible hexagonal frame within the circle, but is lacking in the forgery. A third way to distinguish the forgery is to closely look at the base of the crown. On the authentic stamp, the shadow below the crown has a straight line base, whereas the forgery has a curved base pointing down.
Notice that on the authentic Scott # 15 & 16, the patterns inside the circle are also different. On #15, it uses circles & on # 16, it uses small rectangular patterns. It would look like the forger did not know this and copied the circle pattern of a Scott # 15 and assumed that all three stamps used the same pattern.
Moral of the story is to always look carefully and even if you are purchasing from reputable dealers and auction houses. You can still find yourself with forgeries. For now, this forged Fiji #17 will be housed in my collection of known forgeries.
If you want more details on the known forgeries of Fiji stamps , here is a great resource Forgeries of Fiji