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SUEZ CANAL COMPANY, Forgeries part 2

Return To Catalogue - Suez Canal Company (Egypt) - Suez Canal Company, forgeries part 1 - - 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.

Genuine stamps:

20 c blue, genuine 40 c red, genuine


ATTENTION: most of the stamps found in collections are forgeries! This must be one of the most forged areas in philately. More than 20 different forgeries seem to exist of these stamps! For more forgeries see: Suez Canal Company, forgeries part 1.

How to detect the forgeries? Firstly we can check the space between 'POSTES' and the oval. On most forgeries, the shading is vertical lines only. The real issues have cross-hatching:

(Genuine stamp with cross-hatching)

Gum at the back is almost always cracked, forgeries don't have this, they always almost have smooth white gum (or no gum at all):

(Backside of a genuine 20 c, reduced size)


I found the following information at http://www.geocities.com/dr_k_fleming/suez.htm:

If your examples show any of the following characteristics, they are forgeries.

  Perforated (the originals were imperforated) 
  No cross hatching above POSTES 
  smooth, colourless gum (a forgery if not a regummed stamp) 
  thin, hard paper 
  tan paper 
  shiny ink (genuine stamps are matt) 
  corner guide lines outside the design 
  continuous guidelines between the stamps 
  flat tops to the letters A 
  any number of rays other than 12 in the star-like ornaments 
  smoke from the funnel touches the oval frame 
  circular cancellation of any kind (other than the Suez grid) 

(The deck of a genuine stamp, image from R.J. Wilson)

Be awared of forged covers (even with genuine stamps!). Many have a forged 5129 cancel; others are more "fanciful." Some are on covers with the return address of the Suez Canal company. Addresses can be fictitious. There are only 21 known authentic covers.



Fohl-Fournier forgeries

The above forgeries were sold by Fournier. However, they were actually produced by Fohl (similar to the Fohl forgeries of Lubeck, which can also be found in the Fournier Album). There is an extra dot (passenger) just before the last mast. The waves are much too 'neat' compared to the genuine stamps. Between 'DE SUEZ' and 'POSTES' are only vertical lines. There are guidelines between the forgeries (the genuine stamps never have guidelines). Note the bogus cancels on the last stamps. Fournier sold two different kinds of forgeries in his 1914 pricelist, a 1 c '1st choice' stamp for 1 Swiss Franc and all 4 values (2nd choice) for 1 Swiss Franc.

With 'Falsch' overprint

I think the above forgeries are made by Engelhardt Fohl. A picture of these forgeries can be found in 'Philatelic forgers, their lives and works' by Varro E. Tyler. They are sometimes overprinted with 'Falsch' (= 'forged' in German), since they were distributed with some stamp journals after a discovery of a large stock.
These forgeries have guidelines all around the stamps.
In the 1 c, 20 c and 40 c, the 'Z' of 'SUEZ' has an extension at the top, the 5 c however does not have this extension:

Extension at the top of the 'Z'.

In the 20 c and 40 c there is an extra passenger standing at the bow. The 1 c and 5 c lack this passenger.

These forgeries have guidelines outside the design. Genuine stamps don't have guidelines.

Stamps taken from the Fournier Album of Philatelic Forgeries. I've seen another album with, in my view, a Spiro forgery in it (by the way, I'm not sure if the above shown stamp is not a Spiro forgery either...).

Block of six 5 c Fohl forgeries, note the guidelines between the stamps. In this 5 c value, the ropes at the back of the ship almost rise vertical.

Two of these forgeries pasted on a letter with forged "PORT SAID" cancels, I presume the rest of the letter is genuine? It was offered for 2994 Euros on Ebay in 2021.


Fournier forgery (first choice)

In his 1914 pricelist, Fournier also lists a 1 c black (not the other values) as first choice forgery, besides all four values as second choice forgeries. This first choice forgery appears to be not very common. It has an extra ray on the left hand side star between 9 and 12 o'clock. Also note the very small flag on the tallest mast. It was printed in sheetlets of 6x6 stamps.

To each Fournier Album of Philatelic forgeries, one forgery of Suez was added. It was either the above forgery, a Spiro forgery or a Fohl forgery.


Primitive forgery made by unknown forger:

Other primitive forgeries, made by the same forger. Note the appearance of extra lines in the value labels in the higher values. The clouds are done very blotchy.


Mackenzie-Low forgeries

According to the Peter Bottrill collection, these forgeries were discovered by A.J.Mackenzie-Low. A genuine 1 c was photolithographed and new values were inserted for the other three values. It appears with various cancels; diamond of blue dots, fat "O", "PD" in a box and 'F52' in a box (and possibly others). The 20 c can easily be identified, since it has the "c"s missing behind each value. It was printed in sheetlets of 3x5 stamps. All values have a scratch through the "D" of "DE" (as in the genuine 1 c type of which it was copied). The impression is quite blur.

With 'Fat O' cancel

With 'F52' cancel
The '0's are all very narrow in this 40 c forgery.

In most forgeries of this type, there is a white line in the space connecting the "S" of "SUEZ" to the "S" of "POSTES".

This forgery of the 20 c has all 'c.'s missing in all four corners.


Thin Letters Forgeries

These forgeries have guidelines (genuine stamps never have guidelines), also note the very narrow 'C' in 'CANAL'. In the Peter Bottrill collection these forgeries are indicated as 'Thin Letters Forgery'. Also note the backwards slanting 'S' of 'SUEZ'. The maker of these forgeries is unknown.


1959 Souvenir Sheet

A dealer souvenir sheetlet with all four values issued by Broadway Approvals of Denmark Hill, London from 1959, inscription 'SUEZ CANAL SOUVENIR SHEET ORIGINALS ISSUED JULY 1868'. At the back the word 'Facsimile' is printed on each value once. All values have a dot behind 'DE'.


Art-Paper Forgery:

Is this a so-called Art Paper Forgery? (according to the Peter Bottrill collection), which was probably made in Germany around 1908. The paper usually shows strong oxidation.



Forgery set with 10 c bogus issue:

A set of forgeries with very narrow '0's in the 20 c, 10 c (bogus value!) and 40 c. There is a third flag at the last mast of the ship. Note the squeezed "0"s in the 20 c and 40 c values.

Here a full set with forged cancel "PORT-SAID 12 II 83 T.1" and Arabic text at the bottom.


Bogus item 5 c blue

Perforated forgery, with different lettering, ship and waves considerably different as well.


Other forgery set

Two forgeries, probably made by the same forger. Note the open "C" of "CANAL" and the thin "S" of "SUEZ".

A sheet of 15 stamps (image obtained from Mark Hendrickx)

Literature and websites


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


Copyright by Evert Klaseboer