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Return To Catalogue - Western Australia - Western Australia miscellaneous - Australia - Railway stamps

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A very useful exhibit on forgeries of Western Australia can be found on the Internet made by Jeff Trinidad (a series of scans from an exhibition, see http://www.jystamps2000.com/WA-Forgeries/). I'll here give a brief summary of the forgeries shown there, added with some more information:

The forgers that made forgeries of Western Australia are: the Spiro Brothers (1864-1880), Francois Fournier (1904-1917), Peter Winter (1986-1987), Harold Treherne (1902) and Angelo Panelli (1923). Some of these forgeries can be found with 'FAC-SIMILE', 'FALSCH', 'FAUX' etc. on the back or frontside (these words all mean forgery of course).

Spiro/Fournier forgeries

The most abundant forgeries are those made by Spiro. They were also sold by Fournier (I think he purchased them from the Spiro Brothers). Pictures of them can also be found in 'The Fournier Album of Philatelic Forgeries'.

Some examples:


Forgery! Forgery!


The 'W' of 'WESTERN' has very pointed bottoms in this forgery (in the genuine stamps it has flat bottoms). Furthermore the 'E' and the 'S' are quite thin compared to the genuine stamps and the 'U' of 'AUSTRALIA' is quite blunt. Note also the typical cancels on these forgeries.

I have seen the following values (some values even in whole sheets!):

1 p black (imperforate)
1 p black (perforated: 12 1/2 x 13 1/4 or 14 x 13)
1 p red (vermillion, imperforate, rouletted or perforated: 11 1/2 x 11 1/2 or 12 x 12)
1 p brown (bistre, perforated: 12 1/2 x 12 1/2)
2 p orange (imperforate or perforated)
2 p yellow (imperforate or perforated)
2 p blue (imperforate or perforated)
4 p red (carmine, perforated)
6 p brown (imperforate or perforated)
6 p violet (perforated)
6 p green (imperforate)
1 Sh green (perforated)
'ONE PENNY' on 2 p yellow (stamp and overprint forged)

Typical cancels on Spiro/Fournier forgeries:

(Cancel similar to the ones used in British colonies, but with a blank center)

(So-called oval killer cancel, mostly found on 1 p stamps and this surcharged stamp, picture obtained from above mentioned website)

This is a typically Spiro cancel, used on many of his forgeries.

(Concentric circles, reduced size, picture obtained from above mentioned website)

This concentric cancel was never used on genuine Western Australian stamps.

(15 bars with '3' in center)

(15 bars with '3' in center, reduced size, these 3 pictures obtained from above mentioned website)

This forged postmark also seems to exist in blue. In the genuine cancel the middle arm measures 2 mm, while it only measures 1 mm in this forgery (information obtained from the above mentioned website).

(Genuine 15-bars '3' cancel)

(A genuine stamp with genuine '3' postmark for comparison, image obtained from the above mentioned website)

(Postmarked with some lines)

(Bo * Tuk cancel?)

The above forgery has the ring cancel which can be found on many forgeries. In addition somebody has added a 'BO * TUK' cancel, probably to make it look more appealing. I have seen the same cancel applied on a forgery of St.Helena.

A page from a Fournier Album containing forgeries of Western Australia (Australie Occidentale in french):

(Part of a Fournier Album, reduced size)

I do not know if the ring cancel was actually used on forgeries of Western Australia (most Spiro forged ring cancels have 4 rings and no dot instead of three rings and a dot shown above).

A Spiro forgery of the 6 p stamp (different design):

(picture obtained from above mentioned website)

I think this is the first forgery of this stamp mentioned in Album Weeds; The swan has two wings, which are pointed (in the genuine stamp only one wing can be seen and this wing is rounded). The background behind the swan is blank (in the genuine stamps there are some coloured dots). The genuine stamps should have watermark 'swan', this forgery has no watermark.


Treherne forgeries:

(Reduced size)

I think a similar forgery in the value 2 p orange is described in Album Weeds. The letters are different from the genuine stamps. The eye of the swan is black (instead of white with a black outline).

(Treherne forgeries? pictures obtained from above mentioned website)

I'm not quite sure if the above forgeries were made by Treherne.

Panelli forgeries:

(Forgery with watermark, I suppose this is one of the Panelli forgeries)

I've been told that the above forgery even has a watermark.

(Forgeries by Panelli, images obtained from the above mentioned website)

(Impressed watermark on this forgery, image obtained from the above mentioned website)

The above forgeries are deceptive. The bottom of the first 'E' in 'WESTERN' is quite thin. The 'G' of 'POSTAGE' has a tail. In the 6 p value, the 'X' of 'SIX' is misshapen in the above forgeries.


Peter Winter forgeries:

The above forgeries with two 4 p stamps (one inverted) were made by Peter Winter, they are quite modern (made around 1980). It seems that the whole letter is reproduced using photo-lithography. The images are obtained from the above mentioned website. Note, that the text is the same in the above letters, only the position of the stamps and cancels varies. These forgeries were sold by the 'Pro Phil Forum' in Germany.

Winter also sold these inverted center forgeries not on letter, example:

Other forgeries

(Another forgery of the 1 p with a numeral cancel)

(Forgery with strange 'S' and 'G' in 'POSTAGE', reduced size)

Other forgery of the 6 p:

This must the the second (and last) forgery of the 6 p described in Album Weeds. The leaves at the right side of the swan are higher than the tail. This tail is divided into two parts at the end and points towards the 'A' of 'AUSTRALIA' (it should point towards the 'T'). This forgery is printed more clearly than the genuine stamps. The 'I' of 'SIX' is placed in front of the breast of the swan in the genuine stamps, here it is placed too far to the right. In the genuine stamps, there are some white lines around the octagonal frame (inside and outside), but there are no such white lines in this forgery. Album Weeds says this forgery is uncancelled, but the above stamps is cancelled with a violet grill cancel.



Other forgeries described in Album Weeds:

There seems to be a forgery of the 1 Sh 1854 issue, it has no watermark (the genuine stamp has watermark swan). In the genuine stamps, the 'G' of 'POSTAGE' looks like a 'C', but here it really is a 'G' with a very long tongue. This tongue almost touches the 'E' of 'POSTAGE'. I have no picture available right now.


Other Forged surcharges:

The surcharge 'ONE PENNY' on 2 p yellow is many times more valuable than the 2 p yellow without this surcharge. It is no wonder that many forgers have tried to increase the value of a genuine 2 p yellow stamp by applying a forged overprint.

This surcharge was only done on stamps with perforation 12 1/2 (watermark 'CC'). So any stamp with the above surcharge on paper watermarked 'CA' or perforation other than 12 1/2 must be a forgery. The above stamp has perforation 14! Therefore it can easily be recognized as a forgery (forged overprint). Some other forged overprints on genuine stamps:

(Forged overprints on genuine stamps, picture obtained from above mentioned website)

(Spiro forgery with forged surcharge, reduced sizes)

For more info on these Spiro forgeries see above.

In 'The Fournier Album of Philatelic Forgeries' an example of a forged '1/2' overprint can also be found (for an image see above under Spiro/Fournier forgeries; to be used for the '1/2' on 1 p yellow probably). I don't know if this surcharge was used much by Fournier, but I have never seen a forgery with such a Fournier surcharge.

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer

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