How can you tell the difference between fake and real stamps?

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A forgery of one of Hannover's first stamps.

So you have your new stamp, and you're ready to mount it, but you find out its fake! How can you find out beforehand whether the stamp you want to buy is real, or fake? What are some warning signs? Should you always take your questions to an appraiser?

There are a few types of fake stamps, and it helps to know the difference. One is just a simple fake stamp, which are real stamps altered to look like a more valuable stamp. Forged stamps are stamps that are created to fool collectors, and counterfeit stamps are those that are made to defraud collectors.

One way to protect yourself is to become familiar with the popular type of fake stamps out there. Knowing what the most commonly fake stamps are may help you not to buy one. Remember, if a stamp is selling for a price that is too good to be true, it probably is. Always have stamps with high asking prices appraised before you buy.

Fake stamps have hallmarks, though, and a few of them are easy to spot. For example, regumming is common often because the gum has degraded due to poor preservation. If there are different colors of gum on the back of a stamp, it's likely the stamp's a forgery. If for some reason you can't look at the back of the stamp, you can also look for stamp curling, thinning, or sharp perforation tips. Replacing torn bits is common, too, but that can be spotted by looking for an application of a false cancel mark over the area. Usually, though, stamps are altered by putting perforations on the edges of real stamps that originally didn't have any. Use a magnifying glass to look for misaligned holes or even misshapen holes.

There are other less obvious ways to fake it, like cancels and overprints. Knowing correct dates is helpful, and being able to compare the stamp to other cancels or overprints will help you figure out what's going on with your stamp. Sometimes cancels are painted in, and discrepancies with printing are also a clue.

The best way to make sure your stamp is not a fake, though, is to have it examined by a reputable appraiser who's an expert on your stamp type. Some imperfections can only be found under high powered microscopes or scanners, so if you're not sure, call an appraiser.

Photo Credits: NobbiP

Originally posted 2010-08-15 03:25:12.

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Fake Stamps, Stamp Collecting, Tips and Tricks

Posted by Collectible Stamp on November 18, 2014 in Fake Stamps, Stamp Collecting, Tips and Tricks.

 
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