Austria #1b - Forgery?


The stamp pictured above, to my eyes, appears to be a forgery. For comparison, see the following examples of what I believe to be authentic examples of Austria's first stamp series. The 2 Kreuzer stamp (the first one below) has been authenticated by an expert. Note the much sharper printing in the following three examples compared to the very muddled printing in the above example.




Another question that I have always had is color definitions. Scott lists the #1 pictured first as being printed in yellow, orange (my pick), brown orange and cadmium yellow colors. If machine-made paper with Type III printing (two thinner lines around the bottom of the shield rather than one thicker line) then yellow ocher, golden yellow, mustard yellow and lemon yellow are also available as color choices. Yikes!

To me, yellow is the color of a ripe banana and orange is the color of a ripe orange. There are many issues that Scott lists as yellow that to me look much closer to orange. Do yellow printing ink pigments tend to age to a more orange-like color with time? Yellow by itself is a terrible color for a stamp because the contrast of this color is so poor against the background color of the paper.


  • 12 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • The Serrane Guide states that forgeries of this issue were badly done. With that, an 1870 reprint of the stamp has blurred printing, and is on thick glossy paper with thick yellowish gum. The color of the stamp is stated as being sulfur. An 1884 reprint is in orange, and an 1887 reprint is dull orange.

    The quality of the printing on your example is rather bad. If you can rule out a "blurry" printing, then you have a forgery.
  • Thanks, Michael. Your information is very helpful.

    I will set this stamp aside for now and perhaps send it off for an expert opinion from the APS sometime down the road. I have too many other stamps that I need expert opinions on to spend any funds on this particular stamp at this time. There are so many issues from the 1800's and early 1900's that have forgeries to make it a very difficult chore to make sure the items one is selling are genuine.
  • The stamp is genuine, orange shade on handmade paper with Agram, Hungary cancel. There are lots of printing varieties on this issue. Each stamp in the sheet is a little different. A different cliche was used for each stamp. The cancel looks genuine, although struck twice.
  • Thanks for your comment, William. I will now definitely send it off for an expert opinion sometime in the near future.

    I never worked with the first issue of Austria before to any extent. My experience with this issue, therefore, is very limited. That's what happens when one collects and sells worldwide. But I definitely did not want to list it for sale when it looked a bit fishy to my inexperienced eyes with just a 'caveat emptor' to any potential buyer.
  • Your welcome Richard! Your comment on the yellow colors are noted but in the specialized Austrian catalogs there are many more shades of yellow in this issue. Most of the paper used to write letters in the 1850's were shades of blue, so the yellow color would stand out a lot more than a blue 9 kr stamp.
  • edited January 12 0 LikesVote Down
    austria-- 1i

    found these in the "not a clue drawer" :-) big difference in the print quality. i assume at least one is fake? :-)
  • edited January 12 0 LikesVote Down
    On the left, the very large margins identifies this as a forgery. The horizontal spacing between stamps was no more than 1.3 mm.

    On the right, unless the scan shows an inaccurate blue color rendition, there is no black stamp of this type.
  • Hi Ted, yes definitely is Black
  • Besides counterfeits, there were reprints produced in 7 different years, with many of them diverted straight to the collector market.
  • edited January 12 0 LikesVote Down
    LOL... sounds like an insane collecting area! this one is sound but older paper i think been in someone's collection i'm sure. back looks good but certainly not modern but i guess the faking was done mostly back in the old days.
  • An old Minkus catalogue states that "Die proof reprints were made (1907) in black on white or thick yellowish paper."
  • Thanks Jerold. sounds similar in a sea of reprints.. :-)
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