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Forged cancel stamps discovered

On 10 June, auctioneer Ulrich Felzmann was rather astonished to be offered over 40 forged cancel stamps from various territories.

A lucky break in the battle against forgeries

Casual in both dress and manner, a man from Düsseldorf in his mid-forties came to Felzmann Auction House offering a plastic case containing over 40 old “post cancel stamps” that he had found walking in a park in Wuppertal. On closer inspection, these were seen to be carefully crafted stamp plates, including ones with a date setting up until 1993, made of zinc, aluminium and hard plastic – and a number of stamp heads made of rubber. Auctioneer Ulrich Felzmann immediately recognised these for what they were: the tools of a counterfeiter’s workshop! The clear priority was to secure the rest of the tools to avoid further forgeries – enlisting the help of the police if necessary. After discussing the situation, the finder obligingly left all the forged plates for further investigation in the interests of the collector community.

Forged cancels from different territories

Axel Dörrenbach, Commercial Director at Felzmann Auction House and a member of German philatelic examiners association Verband philatelistischer Prüfer e.V., took an inventory of the items immediately. These were found to be counterfeit plates of Deutsche Reichspost, Deutsche Post in the Bi-Zone, Deutsche Bundespost, the French Zone and Saarland, Deutsche Bundespost Berlin, Deutsche Post in the GDR, Swiss PTT and the Liechtenstein postal administration. For the most part, they are town cancels with dates, but there are also three cancellations for special events and a number of airmail cancels, mainly from Switzerland. The aluminium, zinc and hard plastic stamp plates have all clearly been used many times and have been heavily inked. By contrast, the rubber stamps are for the most part brand new, particularly “Berlin”. It is likely that the forger recognised that forgeries with rubber stamps do not look authentic, even to collectors with a less experienced eye. In any case, all of the forged cancel stamps were manufactured from the mid-1990s or so.

An extensive list of all forged cancels with illustrations of the cancel impressions can be found here:

German Empire

1:
BERLIN N / 8.1.35.-18 / * 24 h, zinc
2:
BERLIN C 2 / 25.3.37.-6 / c, solid rubber, interchangeable date insert
3:
FRIEDRICHSHAFEN / 18.5.30. 17-18 / * (Lake Constance) b, aluminium
4:
HALVER / 22.9.30. 6-7 V. / ***, zinc
5:
HANOVER / -1 9.28. 18-19 / s 1 p, aluminium (point missing after day)
6:
COLOGNE / … / 11, solid rubber, without date (interchangeable)

Germany after 1945: French Zone

7:
NEUSTADT (WEINSTR.) / 23.4.47.-16 / d, zinc

Germany after 1945: Saarland

8:
SAARBRÜCKEN / 30.-4.53-16 / a, hard plastic

Germany after 1945: Bi-Zone and Deutsche Bundespost

9:
(13a) ASCHAFFENBURG 2 / 21. 5.54.-22 / without distinguishing letter, hard plastic, stamp damage
10:
– BONN 1 – – / “Remembrance Day” / 20 JULY / 1944 – 1964” / 20.7. / FIRST / ISSUE / 1964 / 53, aluminium
11:
(23) BREMEN 1 / 21.10.49-11 / na, solid rubber
12:
(23) BREMEN 1 / 21.10.51-11 / na, Vollgummi
13:
(23) BREMEN 1 / 21.10.51-11 / na, solid rubberi
14:
(23) BREMEN 1 / 21.10.54-11 / na, solid rubber
15:
(14b) FREUDENSTADT / 31.-1.54-16 / y, aluminium
16:
  (17a) KARLSRUHE (BADEN) 4 / 21.6.48-18 / b, zinc
17:
(22c) COLOGNE 1 / 15. 4.55. -20 / mg, hard plastic, stamp damage
18:
(22) M. GLADBACH 1 / 29.-2.52-16 / o, hard plastic
19:
(13a) NÜRNBERG 2 /18.5.55.-10 / o, zinc
20:
(14) REUTLINGEN / 31.-8.50-16 / sa, hard plastic
21:
(14 a) STUTTGART / 14.10. (illustration) 51. -10 /
SOUTHERN GERMAN DOMESTIC WORK / EXHIBITION 10.9.-14.10. 1951, aluminium

Germany after 1945: Deutsche Bundespost Berlin

22:
(1) BERLIN-CHARLOTTENBURG 2 / 19.11.48.-10 / T, zinc
23:
BERLIN-CHARLOTTENBURG 2 / -9.8.56. –11 / bl, aluminium
24:
(1) BERLIN SW 11 / 21.10.49-11 / at, solid rubber
25:
(1) BERLIN SW 11 / 21.10.51-11 / at, solid rubber
26:
(1) BERLIN SW 11 / 21.10.52-11 / at, solid rubber
27:
(1) BERLIN SW 11 / 21.10.54-11 / at, solid rubber
28:
BERLIN 20 / d / 30.-6.93-12 / 1000, hard plastic

GDR / New federal states

29:
LEIPZIG N 18 / 25.5.56. -10 / (without distinguishing letter), zinc
30:
STAAKEN / 1546 / 20.07.90-12 / g, hard plastic

Switzerland

31:
SWISS POSTAL MUSEUM / + / 30. IX. 46 / (Posthorn) BERN, zinc
32:
BERN 1 / + / * 13.VIII.49 -12 * / III / LETTER RECEIPT, zinc
33:
GENEVA 1 / (14 teeth) / 31.V.25.–16 / (14 teeth) / POSTES AÉRIENNE SUISSE, zinc
34:
LAUSANNE 2 / + / * 20.IX.44 – * / II / EXP. LETTRES, zinc
35:
LAUSANNE 2 / + / * 22.V.46 – * / II / POSTE AÉRIENNE, zinc, complete cancel, marked “16”
36:
ZURICH 1 / + / * 31.V.38 – * / VIII / LETTER DISPATCH, zinc
37:
ZURICH 1 / + / * 13.VII.43–19 * / VIII / AIRMAIL, zinc mounted on wood, marked “18”

Liechtenstein

38:
SCHAAN / * 12.IX.44-18 * / IX / (LIECHTENSTEIN), zinc
39:
TRIESENBERG / * -6.V.35 * / IX / (LIECHTENSTEIN), zinc
40:
VADUZ / * 10.XII.4ÿ– * / IX / (LIECHTENSTEIN), zinc, year obscured by hand
41:
VADUZ / * 20.IX.46 – * / IX / (LIECHTENSTEIN), zinc
42:
VADUZ / * 15.X.47-21 * / IX / (LIECHTENSTEIN), zinc
43:
VADUZ / 26.XI.55-15 / IX / (LIECHTENSTEIN), zinc


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