How To Spot a Fake Stamp

One of the most collected items in the world are stamps.  They are also some of world’s most faked items as well.  A term commonly used to describe a fake stamp is to refer to it as being “regummed.”

The process of applying new gum to a stamp is called regumming.  Their are large debates on whether or not applying new gum should be considered a significant argument for describing a forged stamp because few people ever care to see the back of the stamp, meaning they only see the front.

Keep in mind that there are different kinds of fake stamps.  Fake stamps are considerably different in placement then forged stamps, which are labels that are used to scam collectors, or counterfeit stamps, which are labels that are used to scam stamp sellers.

Aside from being regummed a fake stamp may have been repaired.  The most common repairs are cleaning stains and patching holes and tears.  Other signs also include smoothing creases and repairing thins.  Thins are places where some of the stamps fibers have been removed, making the paper thinner.  Most repairs are made by creating a false cancel mark over the repaired stamp.

A third commonly used method of stamp forgery is validity replacement, and cancels on the overprint of the stamp. These are done because they generally raise the sell value of a stamp.  Try comparing the cancel marks of original cancels and those of suspected frauds, and look for inaccurate dates in cancels that appear to be painted in, and other mishaps that may seem strange in ones collection.

Many stamp collectors unknowingly have forged stamps in their collection.  Even still, some collectors intentionally allow forged stamps into their own collections. Keep in mind that a stamp collector is affected by forgeries in two different ways.  One, the collector has to be aware that such a thing exists in order to make some sort of action against it, or for it in some cases.  And finally, many fakes as well as forgeries, when well spotted, can make an interesting addition to a stamp collection.  Most collectors that acquire forged stamps and keep them within their collections do so to study the more unusual side of stamp collecting, in an effort to further understand how these forgeries are created.  Like most things it is considered a common cultural investigation.


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