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FRANCE, Napoleon III Sperati forgeries

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10 c value 'REPUB FRANC'

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 (sorry, no image available yet). See under Reproduction 'C' for uncancelled forgeries.

Image obtained from a Sotheby auction
So-called Reproduction 'B' has a constant numeral cancel '2235' (always in the same position) with which it can be easily identified. It also exists with '2273' cancel (see right image)

Reproduction 'B' has a scratch in the design below the 'U' of 'REPUB'. It was sometimes, but not always cancelled with a constant numeral cancel '2235' (see above). However, other cancels exist: the numeral cancels '1128' and '2273'. Unused Reproductions 'B' also exist.

Reproduction 'C' is actually Reproduction 'A', but with the cancel removed. There are some flaws due to this, for example in the right hand border halfway up. It also exists as a black 'die-proof' (see image above).

 

20 c value 'EMPIRE FRANC'


Front and backside of a tete-beche pair of 20 c Sperati forgeries

This reproduction of two 20 c tete-beche stamps only exists uncancelled. Distinguishing characteristics of the left stamp: some small white dots can be found between the letters 'E' and 'M' of 'EMPIRE' and after the 'F' of 'FRANC'. Distinguishing characteristics of the right stamp: a white dot appears behind the 'P' of 'EMPIRE'. This forgery is very deceptive. Luckily, only one genuine pair of 20 c tete-beche uncancelled stamps exists.

 

1 F value 'EMPIRE FRANC'

Here some Sperati reproductions of the 1-franc stamp of the 1853 issue are shown. They was produced by Jean de Sperati, the "Master Forger" and first appeared in 1947. His forgeries are very dangerous. Sperati made fifteen different reproductions of this stamp. Sperati used a photo-lithography technique to produce his forgeries. The reproductions A, B, D, H and I can also be recognized by their cancellations, which is always 'constant' that is, placed in the same location. Several black 'die-proofs' were also made by Sperati.

Reproduction 'A' always has the same mute Paris Star cancel.


Reproduction 'A', left image obtained from: http://www.seymourfamily.com/rfrajola/Sperati/FRA22_300.jpg.

Reproduction 'B' has the constant cancel '924' and can thus easily be recognized as well (sorry, no image available yet).

Frontview Backview
Sperati forgery referred to as reproduction 'C' in the British Philatelic Association's Sperati book.

Reproduction 'C' is extremely deceptive. There is a small scratch through the lower part of the first 'S' of 'POSTES'. Also, sometimes a white spot at the upper right part of the right '1'.

Sperati forgery! Reproduction 'D'
Reproduction 'D' with constant cancel

Reproduction 'D' has a 'constant cancel', meaning that the cancel on this reproduction is always the same and is always in exactly the same place on the stamp. Sperati copied a genuine cancelled stamp, and his reproduction process reproduced both the stamp and the cancel. It has been handstamped 'Sperati Reproduction' on the reverse by the B.P.A.

Although noted Reproduction 'B' on the back, it is Reproduction 'E' Forgery! Sperati reproduction 'E'
Sperati Reproduction 'E'.

Reproduction 'E' has a rather large break in the outer frameline, just before the upper left corner ornament. A much smaller 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'. Another microscopic dot can be found after the 'F' of 'FRANC'. I presume that the above cancels '295A' and '698' are genuine cancels obtained by removing the design of cheaper genuine stamps and replacing it by the image of a 1 F stamp.


Sperati Reproduction 'F'

This forgery is extremely deceptive. There are some small weaknesses in the lower frameline. I have seen Reproduction 'F' with an apparently genuine numeral cancel '2273'.


Sperati Reproduction 'G'

Reproduction 'G' has a white spot below the 'A' of 'FRANC'. Otherwise, this forgery is extremely deceptive.

Sperati forgery, reproduction 'H'
Reproduction 'H', with constant numeral cancel '..73'.

Reproduction 'H' always has the same numeral cancel, with the last numbers '73'.

Guaranteed a Sperati product
Reproduction 'K': a pair of 1 F stamps

I don't find the distinguishing characteristics given by the British Philatelic Society very helpful. Nevertheless, the above Reproduction 'K' is definitively a Sperati product. The right hand side stamp is supposed to have been based on Reproduction 'F'. Flaws, other than mentioned by the BPS seem to be constant for both pairs shown above.

Sperati forgery
Tete-beche Sperati forgeries; Reproduction 'L'

In the left stamp of Reproduction 'L', a tete-beche pair, there is a very small white dot between the letters 'R' and 'A' of 'FRANC'. The right hand side stamp has a some disturbance below the 'FR' of 'FRANC. This forgery is extremely deceptive and the distinguishing marks are very hard to see. In the second forgery shown above, Sperati used the numeral dot cancel '3383'. On the site: http://www.seymourfamily.com/rfrajola/Sperati/FRA27_300.jpg, a continuous grill cancel can be seen applied to Sperati's Reproduction 'L'. I've also seen the cancel '1734' being used on Reproduction 'L'.

A tete-beche forgery pair Reproduction 'L' on an envelope, apparently all cancels have been forged as well (this appears to be the cover illustrated in the British Philatelic Association work). The cancel 'ANVERS 17 JANV. 54 5S' is listed there under Belgium:

Reproduction 'M' consists of three 1 F stamps with one inverted 1 F in the middle. They have the same flaws as Reproduction 'L'.


Reproduction 'M'

 

5 F value

The forger Sperati also seems to have made forgeries of the 5 F stamp (five varieties; among them three 'proofs'). They are not very common and quite valuable.


Copyright by Evert Klaseboer