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Return To Catalogue - Italy

Note: on my website many of the pictures can not be seen! They are of course present in the cd's;
contact me if you want to purchase them:

Sicily is an island in the south of Italy.

With thanks to Lorenzo, (check his excellent website on Italian States!) who kindly set some of his images at my disposal.


1/2 g orange 1 g olive 2 g blue 5 g red 20 g grey 50 g brown

  1/2 g orange
  1 g olive
  2 g blue
  5 g red
  10 g blue
  20 g grey-blue
  50 g red-brown

For the specialist: there are two plates of the 1/2 g and 5 g stamps, three of the 1 g and 2 g stamps, and only one of all the others (see Lorenzo's website for more information). Furthermore, retouching of the plates created created some varieties. Also, there is a variety of papers, gum and colour shades. There seems to exist a misprint of 1/2 g dark blue (very rare, I have never seen it, don't confuse it with a essay in light blue). These stamps are sometimes referred to as 'Bomba Head' (the nickname of the King was 'Bomba')
The stamps of Sicily were only used from 1859 to 1860. From 1861 onwards the stamps of Italy were used.

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
1/2 gRRRRRRMisprint: 1/2 g blue: RRR
1 gRR 
2 g****** 
5 gRRRRShades of red
10 gRRRR 
20 gRRRR 

Special cancellation (Horse Shoe):

2 g blue 2 g blue

Image thanks to Lorenzo

This cancellation was specially designed, in a way not to touch the face of the king. The face of the king should be in the middle of the horseshoe. However, in most of the cancellations the horseshoe touches the face slightly.

Forgery detection:

According to 'The forged stamps of all countries' by J.Dorn: the lower part of the stamp in the genuine stamps (with the value label) is attached and a line can be seen where it was attached to the upper part of the stamp.

(Bottom of a genuine stamp)

Certified genuine
(Two genuine stamps)

The 'S' of 'POSTA' and the dot below the 'A'

There should be a small dot in the white line just below the 'A' of 'POSTA'. The 'S' of this word has its lower part very thin in the genuine stamps (see the image above).

Album Weeds distinguishes already seven different kinds of forgeries (in the early 19th century). Examples of forgeries:

First forgery of Album Weeds:

Note that the value is not attached in these forgeries. Futhermore the 'R' of 'GR' has a very long 'tail'. Note also the strange cancel ('PD' in an ellipse?). This forgery is rather common, but I've seen many of them being sold as genuine. The 'R' of 'GR' is always very broad at the bottom (compare this with a genuine stamp). Mostly these forgeries are cancelled with the very particular cancel shown above (roughly half a circle with some blotches inside), though I have seen uncancelled forgeries. This forgery is the first one to be described in Album Weeds.

Spiro forgeries:

(Spiro forgeries?)

(Forgeries, reduced sizes)

Spiro has made forgeries of the Sicily stamps. I think the above stamps are Spiro forgeries (by the way, they look quite similar to the first forgeries, could they be the same?). I have seen a whole sheet (5x5) of the 1 gr Spiro forgeries.

Second forgery of Album Weeds

(There is no '.' behind 'SICILIA')

I think the above forgeries are the second ones described in Album Weeds. There is no dot behind 'SICILIA' and the nose is 'hollow'.

Third forgery of Album Weeds

This is the third forgery described in Album Weeds. The background behind the head is solid, instead of composed of lines. The '.' behind 'SICILIA' is slightly too low, level with the horizontal white line below the head. The 'B' of 'BOLLO' is also placed too low. The nose is quite peculiar and the crossbar of the 'A' of 'POSTA' is too low. According to Album Weeds it has a similar postmark as the genuine stamps, but this is badly visible in the above forgery.

Oneglia forgeries:

Oneglia forgery
(Oneglia forgeries, The 'GR.5' is too far to the left in the above forgeries)

Erasmus Oneglia made forgeries of the stamps of Sicily. He offers them in an advertisement in 1895 for 3 Sh (all 7 values, see 'Philatelic forgers, their lives and works' by V.E. Tyler). The forgeries shown above are such Oneglia forgeries. Note that the 'S' of 'POSTA' is different from the genuine stamps in the above forgeries. These forgeries are also often referred to as Panelli forgeries (probably Panelli sold these forgeries as well).

Other stamps, that I do not quite trust (probably made by the same forger?):

(Oneglia Forgeries?)

Note that there is an outline around the whole stamp in the above stamps.

Note that the cancel is different on this forgery
(I've been told that this forgery was also made by Oneglia, though the design and cancel are different from the above forgeries)

Sperati forgeries:

Some very deceptive forgeries were made by Sperati:

(Sperati forgeries, images obtained from Richard Frajola)

As far as I can see, these forgeries obey all the distinghuishing characteristics of the genuine stamps. Luckily, these forgeries are not very common, and quite expensive.

Other forgeries:

(Very large dot behind 'SICILIA' and 'GR' different, note the strange cancel)


(An engraved forgery of the 50 g)

(A very peculiar forgery, offered as genuine on Ebay, with pearls all around it)

A forgery with inscription 'GR.00.' in the colour green

Album Weeds lists seven kinds of forgeries. However, at this moment I don't have pictures of all of these forgeries.

What is this? A stamp in a similar design (embossed center), with 'F.RAGIUOLI' written at the bottom (essay?):

With 'R.FAGIUOLI' written at the bottom

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer

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