Catalog Numbering for Michel, Scott et al.
Printings, Remainders and Scarcity
The Michel  6 Varieties
The Michel  8 Varieties
The Schilling Reprints
Table of Colors, Gum and Paper
Genuine and Imitation Paper
Color Comparison of Originals and Reprints
Maps of Heligoland       Heligoland Cancels
Reprints on Lemberger Pages

Postal History      Postal Rates
Reprint Data Tables
Lemberger and Michel Color Chips
Proofers' Signatures
Proofers: Names and Signature Placement
The Examination of Various Stamps
Higher Value Stamps
The Robert Pollard Study
The Wagner Collection

Heligoland Forgeries



Heligoland forgeries can be divided into five groups: genuine stamps with backdated cancels, genuine stamps with forged cancels, reprints with backdated cancels, reprints with forged cancels, and last and least frequent, forged stamps with or without forged cancels.

The argument can be made that the original sellers intended to pass the reprints off as originals and that we should therefore treat them as forgeries. But by custom we call them reprints, since they were not made to defraud the postal service but rather as souvenirs of discontinued issues for the enjoyment of collectors. Did mens rea (criminal intent) exist? This is hard to prove since fraud is a subtle thing the appearance of which can often be explained away. But of course once a forged cancel is added to a stamp, the ambiguity dissolves and we know we hold in our hand the product of a criminal hand.

With respect to a genuine backdated cancel stamp, intent is less clear because it was something a tourist could do or have done for him when shopping for memorabilia on Heligoland.




There are cases where the forger has combined partly orginal with partly forged material and produced an attractive fake. Here is an example that fooled me completly:

Michel 1 II reprint with forged segment cancel
The postcard is genuine. It is listed as "P6" in the Michel Ganzsachen Catalog. The rare Geestemuende cancel is genuine. The stamp is a cheap Hamburg reprint and the segment cancel is a forgery. If the stamp and segment cancel were genuine, this would be worth a lot. Evidently the forger clipped the postcard to obtain a good cancelled stamp with part of the Geestemuende cancel and used the rest of the card as his canvas for creating the forgery. Fooled me completely.

Here are two examples of pure forgeries.

Mi 6 Total Forgery Mi 9 Total Forgery

The most obvious defect sticks out like a sore thumb: the medallion is not embossed! The embossed head medallion is a chief characteristic and one of the beauties of all the Queen Victoria head Heligolands. It appears that the whole stamp is lithographed. That dull rosy red is also characteristic of the pure forgeries I have seen.

The English circular date cancel on the left is made by the forger rather than impressed from a misappropriated cancelling machine. The segment cancel on the right is a pure forgery according to Karl-Heinz Schulz. I am not a judge of this cancel yet.


Here is an example of a reprint stuck to a postcard and then given false cancels.

Mi 12 with false cancels

This is a Hamburg reprint ( 14 perfs instead of 13½ ) .  If the stamp were genuine it would have been worth in 2002 values $11 unused and $1000 canceled. Plenty of motivation for a forger!

What about the cancel? The cancel must be an English circular date cancel Type I or Type II to correspond to the period of the stamp's use (1875-1880). The cancel is certainly not a Type I. It corresponds to the Type II exactly. It is backdated, or perhaps it would be better to say "after-applied." There also exists a forgery of the Type II cancel stamp but this is not it. The addition of the "FRANCO" stamp gives the piece a busy, postally-handled look which is attractive and seems to assure it was passed through the mails.

CLICK HERE FOR A ROGUES' GALLERY OF FORGED CANCELS AND STAMPS

Forged Signatures

The following chart illustrates the difference between genuine Hellmuth Lemberger Signa and forged Signa on recent eBay offerings. All the current Heligoland offerings from this eBay seller appear to have forged Signa. Please note the too even letters on the eBay examples. (Man hat die Buchstaben zu gleichmäßig gemacht.) An example from another source, highly questionable, is given to show how careful one must be. Of course forged signa are needed to support forged cancels, the cancels being what would make the stamps valuable, if they had been genuine.


Lemberger Signa

Because only an expert can distinguish genuine from forged signa, one should only purchase from sellers who will give a refund in the event the stamp is proven to be a forgery. A buyer and seller should agree beforehand who will examine the stamp.

Catalog Numbering for Michel, Scott et al.
Printings, Remainders and Scarcity
The Michel  6 Varieties
The Michel  8 Varieties
The Schilling Reprints
Table of Colors, Gum and Paper
Genuine and Imitation Paper
Color Comparison of Originals and Reprints
Maps of Heligoland       Heligoland Cancels
Reprints on Lemberger Pages

Postal History      Postal Rates
Reprint Data Tables
Lemberger and Michel Color Chips
Proofers' Signatures
Proofers: Names and Signature Placement
The Examination of Various Stamps
Higher Value Stamps
The Robert Pollard Study
The Wagner Collection

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