Forgeries on ebay

I do not often browse the ebay listings anymore. While you can find genuine material, it takes browsing through an overwhelming amount of forgeries and uninteresting stuff.

Here some highlights of the bad kind.

All cancels fake. Most of the base stamps forgeries.


I can see one genuine overprint.

Quite high price tag.


I think there is not a single stamp with a genuine overprint.

And you can spend a lot of money on worthless forgeries.


Posted in Ebay, Delcampe and Co, Forged | 2 Comments

Crude Forgery – Postcard with added stamps

A reader sent me this picture of the latest work of the forgers. Not nice. And the card is wasted too.

This card is listed at and got a price tag of 1.500 rubles. I guess this is one of the cheaper forgeries.

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The 100r HH overprint on an unperforated 5 Ruble stamp – more examples

The discussion about the stamp brought two more scans from blog readers.

Here is an example in a rather grayish ink.


All characteristics of the genuine overprint are present.


I think this overprint is genuine.


Here is the scan of the second example. The base stamp is perforated, so it is not really the same rare combination.100rhhon5r

The overprint should be the same though.


While I can find a lot of correct details the overall impression is irritating. It looks like the HH part is optically disturbed like being seen through a lens. There are also details I don’t like (second zero not smaller). For a final decision I need  a better scan or the stamp in my hands. When I get the stamp itself I can take measurements and rule out alterations resulting from the used hardware (scanner etc.).

So keep it coming. This is free “scan opinions” for your stamps.

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The 100r HH overprint on an unperforated 5 Ruble stamp – a rare combination

Recently I did an opinion for a stamp which is now in the Corinphila auction:


This is a rare stamp. Other collectors know this too and one wrote me when he saw the stamp listed at the auction. Included within the email was a scan with several similar stamps – some from his collection. It is always interesting to get feedback like this. For instance, I can get a “feeling” how much of those stamps exist. Sometimes all overprints have a similar appearance, which hints that perhaps only one sheet or part of sheet was used for overprinting. The scan showed four examples of the 100r HH overprint, three times on unperforated 5 Rubles stamps.

The first stamp from the scan


The overprint looks genuine. The ink is different in comparison to the stamp from the auction. Less fluid and a bit weak. For a last judgement I need a better scan or the stamp itself.

The second stamp from the scan


A nice multiple. The appearance is different in comparison to both of the other examples. The ink seems to be very fluid when looking at the HH part. All the finer details are washed away. Still the 100r part looks rather sharp. The 100r part also shows the characteristics of the genuine overprint (raised “0”, tiliting).

The overprint is not genuine. I will discuss the major flaws with the help of this enlarged fragment. Arrow indicate the interesting points.


  1. No gaps. All characteristic details of this point where the lines of the two characters meet are missing.
  2. The top of the line is too thick.
  3. There is a horizontal gap in the line (additional to the distance between the two characters).
  4. The foot of the “1” is too thick and strong.

The third stamp from the scan


A little bit weak but clean looking overprint. The 100r part has the raised “0” and correct tilting. But the HH part shows errors.


  1. The left end of the “S” is wrong. Not round enough and too much space to the “hook” of the line above.
  2. The hollow line of the “S” shows characteristic narrowing at the point were it crosses the lines of the other character. This narrowing is missing here
  3. Same, perhaps even more prominent here.

The forth stamp from the scan


The ink is stronger and fluid here, making a smudgy impression. The 100r part again shows the correct characteristics. The HH part is hard to tell. I would not rule out a genuine overprint here. For a final conclusion a better scan and taking measurements is necessary.

That leaves us with just one genuine stamp from this scan.

Compared to other collecting areas, you are able to buy the rarities of Armenia for little money, it seems. I am looking forward to learn what the auction will achieve as price tag for this stamp.

PS: I got scans from another reader. Way to go! 🙂


Here are two more stamps. The left one with a very fluid ink the right one with weaker ink but still a quite clear impression.

I think the left one has definitely a fake overprint while the right one looks ok to me. When comparing both overprints one beside the other it is possible to see the differences quite easily. All of them are not due to the different ink or manual applying (human factor as Ashford/Tchilinghirian called). Click on the image and then on “full size” to get an enlarged view.


  1. The horizontal line of the genuine overprint is not straight, but goes down in the middle.
  2. The hollow space in the upper part is to wide on the fake overprint and the top line is not hooked enough.
  3. The bulge of the genuine overprint goes up quite a lot. The fake overprint fails to do this correctly.
  4. The “tail” on the genuine overprint starts more to the left (in comparison with the fake one) and the bends more and ends in the distinct shape.

There are more differences in the 100r part but not as clear to see. The second “0” shape is wrong, also the foot of the “1”. The latter one could also be due to the ink being so fluid.

PPS: I add a comparison of the overprint of the multiple. If you see the HH overprint remember it is made from two Armenian characters laid one over the other. When following the lines of each character (red and blue) you can easily see where the forger failed. There are even gaps in the character lines.


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Cover with doubtful Erivan d cancel at Raritan

This cover is being offered at the current Raritan auction.

321When the stamp is placed so clean and nice away from the text I am always curios: was it added later? Because the scan is really low res I will give it the benefit of doubt but I am quite certain that cancel is fake. It also looks more like a revenue document then a letter. But since I cannot read the text I am not sure about this.


You can see how bad the resolution is. In my opinion the auction houses should offer good scans as part of the service so here is some room for improvement. But back to the cancel. The serial character “d” is not showing its typical form with thickening of lines where the “up strike” and the main bode touches. Also the “swing” at top is too thin and missing its thickened part. The dot between month and year is missing too and since the impression is quite clear it should show.

Now I need a high res scan.


Posted in Ebay, Delcampe and Co, Forged | Leave a comment

Fake Cover at Feldman Auctions Nov/Dec 2016

Once and again Armenian items find their way in large auctions. Here is an example of a cover in the current David Feldman auction:  feldmann-fake-cover-2016

While the cancel looks nice and clean (it is fake too) the 100r HH ruble overprint is a very crude forgery.


When I check the 100r HH overprint the first thing to look at is the base line of the “100r” part of the overprint. The genuine overprint always shows a raised second “0”. You can easily detect 80-90% of all the 100r forgeries with this. Of course there are more errors. The zeros are not tilted, the foot of the “1” is wrong and the shape of the “r” is also wrong.  But fake is fake, there is no need to go into more detail once you find the first error.

For more information see my article about the 100r HH overprint in this blog.

Besides this, the lilac “Z” overprint beneath the 100r HH actually looks good. A pity the forger destroyed this nice stamp.

Now that it is clear the cover is fake, let’s check the cancel more thoroughly.feldmann-fake-cover-2016-detail

It looks clean and nice. Only detailed inspection shows it is a dangerous forgery. The characters “ERIVAN” are to narrow, the line of the date is not even (it goes up to the right side) and the dot between month and year is missing. Not easy to see if you cant compare directly with a genuine one. I got another card with this fake cancel and a single stamp (charity issue) with an identical 100r HH fake overprint and this fake cancel. I think there are also differences in the upper hook of the serial character compared to the genuine cancel, but I need a better scan or the item itself to really check this.

The description of the auction lot mentions a Holcombe certificate. This is either fake too or another case of the “universal experts” entering terrain there are not really familiar with.

Posted in Ebay, Delcampe and Co, Forged, Ruble | 1 Comment

Corrected Overprints

When stamps got overprinted by hand errors or mistakes occur. I think about mistakes that are not what Ashford/Tchilinghirian describe as “human factor”, like: more or less pressure, angle variations, different mixtures or more or less diluted inks used. I also do not think about the Serebrakian “freaks” like putting four identical overprints on one stamp. What I am having in mind is putting a 3r HH overprint on a stamp were normally only 5r HH overprints would be. Done by a clerk who just used the wrong overprinting device by mistake. Back then, rules (T&A call it schemes) applied which basic stamp was used for a certain overprint. One example is the use of the 3r HH overprint on stamps with 3 Kopeck and 5r HH on stamps with 5 Kopeck face value. This changed sometimes since each time a new issue was prepared they checked the stamps in stock and decided on what to use and they had also to use the stamps were the face value did not respond to a new overprint value. Over the period of the HH  Monograms (Ruble overprints) seven (7!) different issues were produced – according to Ashford/Tchilinghirian. There are several known cases of corrected overprints described by T&A and Ceresa. These stamps are not listed in Michel but you can find them in the Liapin catalog with quite high price tags. A last remark: you can also find rare so called OTC (over the counter) productions were overprints would (for a fee) be put on stamps where they did not normally belong. Since this was done officially, the OTC stamps could be used postally and are “legit”, so to speak.

Recently I bought (for quite a lot of money) two stamps of the 3r HH on 5 Kopeck stamp, corrected to 5r HH.

5r on 3r on 5 kop corrected

The overprints are clear to see, the 5r beeing of type 2. This stamp is part of the second HH monogram issue. Type 1 and Type 3 of the 5r HH overprint were introduced later.

T&A report that a small quantity of the 5 Kopeck stamps were mistakenly overprinted with the 3r HH monogram but the error was detected and no false stamp was allowed to leak out. Even if the quantity was small they obviously decided not to destroy those stamps but to correct the mistake and use them anyways. There must have been a real shortage of stamps since they valued them so much.

As T&A also writes, the 5r HH overprints was applied in a way, that the 5r part of the new monogram was placed gap of the 3r HH monogram and the new HH as less visible as possible. Probably so that the appearance of the corrected stamp was as clean as possible. This matches to the scan of my stamps.

I wonder how scarce this stamp really is. What was the small quantity in numbers? Does someone own a used copy of this stamp? Did it got used? Was it worth the effort to correct this small quantity of stamps?


Ray, it is great to hear from you. I checked the picture of the block of four from you book and made a scan. If you compare the position of the 5 regarding to the horns and bolts my impression is that this is a different stamp. Also the ink at the border seems to be missing on your stamp. It would be something if some of those stamps have found their way to me 🙂

5r on 3r on 5 kop comp ceresa

Also the 5 does not touch the 3 like on the lower two stamps.

Posted in Ruble | 1 Comment

Fake Cancels – Some Examples

While browsing a collection a dealer sent me to check I found a couple of forged Erivan cancellations. It is always useful to have some examples in order to train the eye and for comparison.

Type 1 Erivan 30 9 20

The first one was quite prominent in the collection. The date figures are way to big and the ink is unusual, too watery. I found no impression where the type character was readable. Where the date was readable it showed always 30.09.1920. All overprints beneath the cancel are fake too. It looks like the ink of overprint and cancel are identical.

fc 5 erivan 30 9 20_1

fc 4 erivan 30 9 20_1

fc 7 erivan 30 9 20_1

fc 6 erivan 30 9 20_1

Some forgers love to produce cut out pieces to make the forgery more convincing and probably also more valuable for selling.

Type 2 Kohl-Type Erivan

This forgery matchs the so called Kohl type forgeries. The clear outlines of the overprint and cancel are typical.

fc a 28 7 20 erivan_1

Type 3 Smudgy Erivan

The cancel is very unclean and ugly. It is easy to see that this is a forgery. The date figures are wrong too. The overprint is one if the “better” forgeries with the second zero not raised above the “ground line” being the easy giveaway.

fc b erivan 31_1

 Type 4 Thin Erivan

A dangerous forgery. Overall impression: thin lines, watery ink. The date figures show the characteristics of the genuine cancel. The 100r HH overprint is fake too. The 100 Rubles are not bad, just the feet of the “1” tilts to the wrong side, but the HH part is totally different from the genuine one.

fc c erivan 20 a_1

 Type 5 Unkown Cancel Type k?

At first the cancel does not look that bad. Especially the left part which is easy to see on the plain background.

100r HH 2x cancel erivan k small

But the overprint is fake and that means the cancel can not be genuine.

100r HH 2x cancel erivan k detail lines

The zeros (“0”) tilt to the wrong side and the second zero is not rised enough. The “r” is too wide open.

Posted in Forged, k60k, Ruble | 1 Comment

Nice Stuff At Raritan

Raritan is one of the auction houses were you can find Armenian items almost every time. The current auction #70 hold some interesting lots. Most prominently three collections to which I will give some remarks.

Lot #250 Surcharges on the Soviet issue Collection

Nice stamps with no obvious forgeries. 47 items with starting price 475 USD is 10 USD per item which seems not too expensive. Some uncommon variants are included, also some stamps with cancellation.

Lot #254 Surcharges on the First Constantinople issue Collection

A really interesting Lot with many uncommon stamps, lots of readable cancellations and also my personal highlight: 15 Goldkopeck narrow on 250 Rubles stamp. When Ashford and Tchilingharian wrote there books back in 1960 they did not list this stamp. Ceresa did describe it in his books and today is the first time I have seen one with a genuine looking cancellation. This means the stamp has been used and is not “only” some OTC (over the counter) or back office production that never has seen real postal. I would happily pay 100 USD for this stamp alone. The cancel is also one of the more uncommon ones making the item even more “adorable”. With a starting price of 700 USD for 50 items the price for each item is a bit higher then in Lot 250, but given the amount of interesting and not common stamps there is, to my mind, room for some bidding.

254F raritan lot 2016

Lot #255 Collection on Album Pages

This collection of 162 stamps is priced with only 200 USD which gives a kind of low rate of 1,23456 (LOL) USD each item. While browsing the pages of the collection I could see a lot of forgeries but also genuine overprints. The low starting price shows the auction house detected this too and decided not to go with some fantasy starting price like some others do from time to time.

All together a good job of Raritan on those lots and I am looking forward to see how much each lot will achieve in the end.

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The Erivan Pictorials

I am working on a sub page presenting the stamps and overprints of the Erivan Pictorial Issue. You can find it on the mene right under Stamp Issues or you follow this link: The Erivan Pictorial Issue

This is work in progress.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments