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Return To Catalogue - Suez Canal Company, forgeries part 1 - Suez Canal Company, forgeries part 2 - Suez Canal Company, forgeries part 3, Spiro and Spiro-alike

Note: on my website many of the pictures can not be seen! They are of course present in the catalogue;
contact me if you want to purchase it.

I would like to thank Robert J.Wilson for letting me use some of the information of his homepage http://www.rjbw.net/SuezCanal.html.

1868 Suez Canal Company, inscription 'CANAL MARITIME DE SUEZ', ship

20 c blue, genuine 20 c blue, genuine 40 c red, genuine

  1 c black
  5 c green
  20 c blue
  40 c red

The company transported mail between Port Said (Egypt) and Suez between 1859 and 1867. In 1868 these stamps were issued, but they have not been used much (however forged cancels exists a lot!). The stamps are lithographed in sheets of 12x10 stamps. The sheet shows the watermark "LA+.-F" (La Croix Freres), but only a few stamps bear a portion of this watermark. The Suez Canal Company stamps were only in use for 38 or 39 days. Used genuine stamps with valid cancellations are rare. Only a few genuine letters (10-20?) with these stamps are known.

There exist 120 (!) different types of the 20 c stamp. There are only 4 types of the 1 c, 5 c and 40 c. These last 3 values can be plated (see http://www.rjbw.net/SuezCanal.html for more details)

(Genuine, position 17)

Image obtained from a Cherrystone auction
Note that genuine stamps have no guidelines between the stamps (often forgeries do).

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
Value Unused Used Remarks
1 c *** RRR Quantity issued: 11820
5 c *** RRR Quantity issued: 61235
20 c ** RRR Quantity issued: 205665; color variations exist from dull blue to Prussian blue.
Also the printing various from good to poor.
40 c *** RRR Quantity issued: 20860

Many forgeries exists, for more information see:
Suez Canal Company, forgeries part 1
Suez Canal Company, forgeries part 2
Suez Canal Company, forgeries part 3, Spiro and Spiro-alike

Plating Characteristics

(This information came from the Barefoot book and I have copied it from R.J.Wilson's site).


***************************ONE CENT***************************

Dot over the "S" of "SUEZ". Low dot before the "C" of "CANAL". Two dots over second "A" of "CANAL" Small line after "E" of "DE". Spike protruding from the "L" of "CANAL" Spike protruding into "D" of "DE". Damaged crossbar in first "A" of "CANAL" High dot before the "C" of "CANAL". Broadened centre line of "E" in "MARITIME"

FIVE CENTS***************************

Two lines, in front of and into the "R" of "MARITIME". Dot on centre line of "E" of "MARITIME". (Click on above image for example) Break in line going up to aft-mast on ship. Dot on downward line of second "A" and on right-most serif of "L" in "CANAL". High dot before "D" of "DE" (Click on above stamp for example) Diagonal line from right-most serif of "N" of "CANAL". Dot in horizontal line under "P" OF "POSTES".

FORTY CENTS***************************

Broken crossbar in "T" OF "MARITIME". Long "T" in "POSTES". Dot above "E" of "SUEZ" and between the lines below the "E" of "MARITIME". Dot between ropes at front of ship. Thickened "D" in "DE". Broken "T" in "POSTES". broken line up to aft-mast on ship. Thickened vertical in "E" of "SUEZ".

All four types of the 1 c?

Part of a sheet with genuine 20 c stamps.

Reprint - forgeries also exist and are very dangerous. They were made by Saatjian, a dealer in Paris, who obtained the genuine stone for the red 40 c value around 1907. He modified this 40c to print the 1c, 5c and 20c values. These 'reprints' do have the cross-hatching. Any 1 c or 5 c stamp that shows the plating characteristics of the 40c, is a reprint. See also here.

Not sure if this is a Saatjian reprint or a genuine stamp. Note the white spot in between the bottom left '40c' and 'POSTES'.


Genuine cancels are cancelled with manuscript cancels or the French '5129' with dots (Port Said). Also a cancel consisting of small stripes (from the town of Ismailia) and one with lozenges (Suez). Furthermore another cancel consists of 'SUEZ' in large capital letters in a double ring (sorry, no image available).

A very clear genuine cancel:

'5129' numeral cancels, images obtained from Shreves Philatelic Galeries Auction and a Sandafayre auction.

Another genuine 1 c stamp with a faint '5129' cancel.

The French "5105" with dots (Suez) is apparently not known genuinely used on Suez Canal stamps. However, forged "5129" and "5105" cancels on genuine stamps are known to have been produced by Venturini and Oneglia (Venturini send stamps to Oneglia to be postmarked). They are applied too neatly and can thus be recognized. These forged cancels I have seen were on pieces of letters:

These are genuine Suez Canal stamps, with forged "5105" and "5129" numeral cancels added by Oneglia and subsequently sold by the stamp forger Venturini.

Ismailia cancel consisting of 48 lines (always applied in blue?).

Circle (25 mm) consisting of large lozenges from Suez applied in blue color (always?).

At least 35 bogus ones are known, most of which are found only on forgeries. "The only dangerous ones are imitations of the French 5129 in a grid of dots."

Could the next stamps be forged cancels on genuine stamps?

(Forged cancels on genuine stamps?)

Other forged cancels:

According to the Peter Bottrill collection, this cancel is based on a coin from Zanzibar (1 Pessa from 1882)

(this cancel always seems to have the same date 'PORT SAID 2-1-14 2-4-5 PORT SAID' in a circle)

'Entreprise Generale des Travaux Canal De Suez' bogus cancel

'PORT-SAID DOUANE COLIS IV T5' and Arabic text at the bottom forged cancel.

Circle with unreadable text(?) and smaller thicker circle in the center.

'SUEZ' in a rectangle

Reduced sizes:


Typical Spiro cancels:

Literature and websites


Unfortunately I haven't been able to read any of the above books or articles.


Copyright by Evert Klaseboer