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Placido Ramon de TORRES (Stamp forger)

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Placido Ramon de Torres was born in 1850 in Spain (source: http://www.philahistorica.de/Dokumente/MonacoPhilKatDt.pdf)

Placido Ramon de Torres issued the first Italian stamp catalogue in 1873 when he was in Livorno (Leghorn, via Maggi No2). This was merely a pricelist, with only a few images on the frontpage (it can be downloaded with Google books). The title of this catalogue was: "Catalogo descrittivo di tutti i franco-bolli emessi dal 1840 al 1873 colle date di emissione, lor valore e particolarita in vendita.", 52 pages, P.R.De Torres. It is listed in the Bibliografia Italiana under the "Catalogo Alfabetico delle Pubblicazioni Italiane" of 31 Maggio 1873. During this time he also published a magazin "La Posta Mondiale", which ceased to exist after 12 issues. According to Gerhard Lang he was also involved in preparing essays of Italian local revenue stamps for various cities.

Placido Ramon de Torres issued the "Album Illustrado para Sellos de Correo" in 1879 (information passed to me thanks to Gerhard Lang, 2016). This catalogue has illustrations of some of the stamps. Here are some examples of the images from this catalogue that correspond to forgeries. Either these forgeries were inspired by the de Torres catalogue, or de Torres copied images of forgeries into his catalogue. In many instances, the same images also appear in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray of 1870. It is possible that most (if not all) of these images were used to produce forgeries.

According to the book 'Philatelic forgers, their lives and works', de Torres lived in Malaga in 1886, when he was arrested on a sales trip to Bremen (Germany) but managed to escape.
Afterwards, in 1892, he went under the alias of Rosendo Fernandez on another sales trip to Cuba, Mexico and the United States. Again he was arrested for selling forgeries.
When he came back to Spain, he took part in the 1893 Melilla bogus stamp issue.

Genuine, image obtained from Bill Claghorn
Genuine 3 Sch stamp of Bergedorf (first iamge) A forgery with the '3's much too thin. A similar image appears in the catalogue of de Torres of 1879 on page 33 (third image)

Certified genuine Image from a Gray catalogue Image from a de Torres catalogue
Two genuine stamps and a forgery in wrong colour blue instead of green. The design of this forgery is identical to the image given in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray (1870, page 11, see third image). A similar image appears in the catalogue of de Torres of 1879 on page 28 (fourth image).

Gray catalogue illustration Image from a de Torres catalogue.
Rather blur forgery of British Columbia and Vancouver Island with wrong perforation (11 1/2 instead of 14). It even exists in the color blue (with printed perforation). The design is similr to one given in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray (1870, page 105). A similar image appears in the catalogue of de Torres' album of 1879 on page 183.

Cut from the Gray catalogue of 1870 Part of the De Torres catalogue
Genuine 1857 stamp of Brunswick (first image). Next to it a forgery which I have been told was made by the forger Young. Note the very large space between "Gute" and "gr". The design of this forgery is identical to the image given in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray (1870, page 13, see second image).A similar image appears in the catalogue of de Torres of 1879, page 34.

Image from a Scott catalogue Image from a Gray catalogue. Image from a de Torres catalogue
Confederate States 1 c. The first image shows a cut from a Scott album of 1886, second and third forgeries based on this cut. The face is very strange and the "O" of "ONE" is placed too low. Actually, this 'forgery-image' already appeared earlier in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray of 1870 on page 115 (fourth iamge). It also appeared in the catalogue of Placido Ramon de Torres "Album Illustrado para Sellos de Correo" of 1879 (information passed to me thanks to Gerhard Lang, 2016) on page 184 (fifth image).

2 c green Cut from a Scott album Scan from Le Timbre Poste by Moens. Image from a de Torres catalogue
Confederate States 2 c. First image shows a genuine stamp. The second image shows a cut from a Scott album of 1888, the third image shows a forgery based on this cut. Actually, this 'forgery-image' Actually, very similar 'forgery-images' already appeared earlier in Le Timbre Poste of February 1864 of Moens (page 10, or fourth image above) and in the catalogue of Placido Ramon de Torres "Album Illustrado para Sellos de Correo" of 1879 (information passed to me thanks to Gerhard Lang, 2016) on page 184 (fifth image). The Moens and de Torres images are slightly different (see for example the arching in the upper right ornament).


Genuine 1 p stamp of Dominica (first image) Primitive forgery (second image). Note the white patches in the hair. The design of this forgery appears to be similar to an image that appears in the catalogue of Placido Ramon de Torres of 1879 on page 163 (third image).

Forgery, image obtained from Mark Toft Image from the Gray catalogue Image from the Torres catalogue
Genuine (first image) and forgery of the 5 F Napoleon stamp of France (second image; obtained thanks to Mark Toft). Next to it an image of the "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray (1870, page 199, see third image). This forgery can also be found in the catalogue of Placido Ramon de Torres on page 63 (fourth image). The "5" and the "F" interrupt the horizontal lines with a white interior. Also note the weird shape of the letters "A" and "S" in the word "FRANCAIS" and other badly printed letters. There is also an extra horizontal line in the bottom left corner. In the de Torres image, there are some lines and smudges under the head that do not appear in any of the other images.

Illustration from the Gray 1870 catalogue
Postage due forgeries of France. The design is similr to one given in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray (1870, page 18). Also an illustration of the same forgery that appeared on page 65 of de Torres' album.

 

Image obtained from a Shreves auction
Genuine 4 p stamp first issue of Gambia and a very primitive forgery with the head of the Queen drawn instead of embossed. The design of this forgery is identical to the image given in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray (1870, page 206, third image). This forgery can also be found in the catalogue of Placido Ramon de Torres on page 149 (fourth image). Note that in the forgery and both catalogue illustrations, the upper left hand side is missing.

 

de Torres illustration from his catalogue
Very primitive forgery of Gold Coast with printed perforations. It is very likely based on or made with the printing plates that can also be found in an illustration in the catalogue of Torres "Album Illustrado para Sellos de Correo" of 1879 (information passed to me thanks to Gerhard Lang, 2016). The Gold Coast stamp appears on page 153 of this catalogue.


Here the actual (defaced) printing plate of this forgery. Left as it appears. Right mirror image as it would have been printed.

 

18 c red Image from a Torres catalogue
Hawaii 18 c genuine stamp (first image) Forgery (second image), note the different '8's in the upper circles. A similar image appears in the the catalogue of de Torres "Album Illustrado para Sellos de Correo" of 1879 (third image).

Probably genuine
Newfoundland 3 p first issue. Genuine stamp (first image). Forgery (second image). Primitive forgery with perforation (third image). The design of this forgery is identical to the image given in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray (1870, page 126, fourth image). A similar image appears in the catalogue of Placido Ramon de Torres of 1879 on page 226 (fifth image above). It looks like both forgeries were based on the Gray/de Torres design.

Scan from Le Timbre Poste by Moens of 1866 Image from a Gray catalogue Image from a de Torres catalogue.
Newfoundland codfish design; genuine stamp (first image). Is the second image a Moens forgery? Moens, or someone taking the Moens design, seems to have made a forgery of this stamp (1866 issue), it can easily be recognized, because it is black instead of green. Furthermore the numerals are larger than in the genuine stamp. The third image shows an image from Le Timbre Poste by Moens No.38, February 1866, page 9. The design of this forgery is identical to the image given in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray (1870, page 127, fourth image). A similar image appears in the catalogue of Placido Ramon de Torres of 1879 on page 227 (last image above).

With BPA certificate Image from the Gray catalogue
Genuine New South Wales 2 p blue of the first issue. The second image shows a mystery item 2 p in color red, which is presumably a forgery. The design of this forgery is identical to the image given in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray (1870, page 160, see third image). This forgery can also be found in the catalogue of Placido Ramon de Torres of 1879 on page 243 (fourth image). It appears that de Torres copied the image from Gray, since the 'cut and paste' lines can still be seen. The other three images were probably made by de Torres himself (since the Gray catalogue does not have these images).

Image reproduced with permission from: http://www.sandafayre.com Image from a Gray catalogue Part of a page of a de Torres catalogue of 1879; page 242
Reunion 15 c of the first issue; first image genuine stamp, second and third image: forgeries. Outer framelines too far apart from each other and "R" of "Reunion" touches the circle below it. The design of this forgery is identical to the image given in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray (1870, page 94, see fourth image above). A similar image appears in the the catalogue of de Torres of 1879 (page 242, fifth image above).

Image from a Moens catalogue of 1875
Genuine stamp of Sarawak and forgery, the lettering is different (for example the bottom right "S") and the face of Brooke as well. The third image shows an image of Le Timbre Poste by Moens of No 145 January 1875 on which the forgery was apparently based. This forgery can also be found in the catalogue of de Torres (page 157 under Africa, while is should be Asia!). So presumably this forgery was inspired by the Moens catalogue, and then copied by de Torres. Further proof of this is the fact that the 'perforation' design is cut off at the top and bottom by de Torres.

6 p olive With part of 'pence' missing.
St.Christopher genuine 6 p stamp (first image). All the next stamps are forgeries, the Queen has a very hooked nose and looks very 'sour'. Also the inscription in the 3 p reads 'Three Pence' instead of "THREEPENCE". Note that the word "SIX PENCE" in the green and brown forgery are written much larger than in the orange ones. A similar image appears in the catalogue of Placido Ramon de Torres of 1879 on page 211.

Genuine stamp
St.Lucia first issue, genuine stamp (first image). All other stamps show a set of primitive forgeries with very thick lettering; note for example the right hand side of the "A" of "POSTAGE". There is also a break in the outer shape of the ellipse just before the 'P' of 'POSTAGE'. The last one with "2 1/2 PENCE" does not have this break, which might indicate that the other forgeries were made after the overprint was erased. A similar image appears in the catalogue of de Torres of 1879 on page 218. The de Torres stamp does not have the break in front of the "P".

De Torres illustration
Two 'SW' forgeries from Victoria (1853). These corner letters do not appear in a genuine stamp in this combination. Two slightly different types, made by the same forger? A similar image appears in the catalogue of de Torres on page 249.

5 Sh blue on yellow Cut from a Gray catalogue of 1870 Scan from a de Torres album
Victoria genuine 5 Sh stamp of 1868 and a Senf forgery with printed perforation. I have seen it with the perforation 'cut out' and the word "FALSCH" overprinted with a manual cancel (see: http://stampsofvictoria.com/laureates.php). The curly design at the bottom of the stamp is inverted. Also the ornament at 10 o'clock is missing. This image appears to have been copied from an illustration in the magazine Le Timbre Poste by Moens, No.68, page 58, August 1868 (the same image also appears in the same journal in Nr.63, March 1868, page 19).. The design of this forgery is identical to the image given in "The illustrated catalogue of postage stamps" by J.E.Gray (1870, page 174, see fourth image). A similar image appears in the catalogue of Placido Ramon de Torres of 1879 on page 251 (last image).


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