George C. Baxley
Complete Block 8 Forgeries w/ White Sky Variety (Pos 76)
Positions 65-66, 75-76, 85-86 & 95-6
This is a block of 8 of the 1973 "Ito Forgeris" of Scott 16. The stamps are mint, never hinged and there is no writing on the back. The block contains position 76, the White Sky variety of Scott 8.
8 Point Setting - Smaller Type Font A1 - The bottom gap in the backward five is relatively closed (Kai). A2 - The diagonal downstroke in the adjoining character enters the bottom gap in the backward five (Kai). B - The long curved diagonal stroke passes under the base of the backward five and extends approximately 80% the length the base of the C - The "J" type stroke is smaller and has a very small bump (almost flat) at the end of the upper horizontal stroke (Tei).
9 Point - Larger Type Font A1 - The bottom gap in the backward five is relatively open (Kai). A2 - The diagonal downstroke in the adjoining character stops before entering the bottom gap in the backward five (Kai). B - The long curved diagonal stroke passes under the base of the backward five and extends approximately 90% the length the base of the (Kai) C - The "J" type stroke is larger and has a large bump at the end of the upper horizontal stroke (Tei).
Not identical to 8 point or 9 point found in 16 or 16A. A1 - The bottom gap in the backward five is relatively open (Kai). A2 - The diagonal downstroke in the adjoining character barely enters the bottom gap in the backward five (Kai). B - The long curved diagonal stroke passes under the base of the backward five and extends approximately 20%~30% the length the base of the (Kai) C - The "J" type stroke has a large bump at the end of the upper horizontal stroke (Tei).
A1 - Outside of the Top and Bottom Thin Bars.
A2 - Inside of the Inner Thick Bars.
B - "1" and "0" using the Vertical Stroke of the 1.
C - Bottom of the "Tei" and highest point on the Yen character.
While well known counterfeits (to defraud the Postal Agency) of Scott 16 had been recognized for years (aka Gushikawa forgery/counterfeit - two types), it was not until December of 1973 that forgeries (to defraud the stamp collector) of mint stamps of the Scott 16 series surfaced. These stamps were sold by a "certain" but unnamed United States dealer to the Sun Philatelic Center in Tokyo and ended up in the hands of Dr. Yoshimi Ito who quickly recognized that these "New Type 10 Yen Overprint" stamps were not genuine despite the excellent printing quality and ink color "not much different" from the three genuine printings. Dr. Ito actually concluded that on the "New" 16s, as he called them, the printing quality was "better" than the genuine stamps. Because Dr. Ito was the first philatelist to document and publicize these forgeries within the Ryukyu philatelic community, they have been dubbed the "Ito Forgeries."
The original cachet of "New" 16s obtained by Dr. Ito is discussed and recorded in detail in From The Dragon's Den, Volume 6, No. 3, October 1974, at pages 57-65. This holding contained 140 copies of the forgery. Of this amount, there were eight blocks of 8. Dr Ito was able to plate the stamps against the basic stamp, Scott 8. He concluded that the stamps were manufactured in vertical units of 8 (2 across by 4 down). Seven blocks of 8 in the holding, along with a block of 7, a block of 5 and a block of 4, accounted for the vast majority of the stamps in rows 3-10 of a sheet of 100 of Scott 8, the basic stamp that was overprinted. He believed that rows 1-2 were forged in blocks of 4.
Dr. Ito's study demonstrated that the forgeries consisted of 8 different overprint settings.
The forger was obviously well aware of three basic printings, as well as the type fonts used on them, as there was an effort to replicate the characteristics of these on the forged stamps.
Numbering the stamps across and down you find:
Mimics 1 (a) 1st printing (Scott 16A) 2 (b) 1st printing (Scott 16A) 3 (c) 2nd printing (Scott 16) 4 (d) 2nd printing (Scott 16) 5 (e) 2nd printing (Scott 16) 6 (f) 2nd printing (Scott 16) 7 (g) 3rd printing (Scott 16B) 8 (h) 3rd printing (Scott 16B)
I find very little in the philatelic literature about these forgeries since the initial report in 1974. This changed in 2012 when a new RPSS catalogue was published (see below). In From The Dragon's Den, Volume 14, No. 2, April 1982, a comprehensive catalogue of the 16 series is provided. The article concludes with comments regarding forgeries in these terms:
A small number of good quality forgeries, printed in block of eight stamps, in which all three printings are depicted (two of the FIRST, four of the SECOND, and two of the THIRD; 2x4) were discovered in 1973. (FTDD, 14:2, at page 61)
This article also noted the Gushikawa counterfeits (type I and II) and good quality forgeries of 16Bb (Kai omitted) and others of a supposed inverted surcharge are known."
The forgeries were again noted in From The Dragon's Den, Volume 15, No. 2, April 1983, at pages 43-44 by Dr. Robert Weiner. In an article titled "The 10y on 50s Kai Tei Provisional Issue of 1952 (Part 2)," Dr. Weiner discussed the forgeries previously reported by Dr. Ito. Dr. Weiner described these as a "dangerous forgery."
In distinguishing items a-f, from genuine stamps Dr. Weiner focused on the "reversed 5" of the Kai and it's relationship to the diagonal stroke that normally sweeps under it.
In this article, Dr. Weiner's descriptions were not illustrated by close-ups of the stamps. He did provide a picture of a reconstructed block of 8 but because of the size it is hard to relate his comments to the particular stamp. Below I have provided detail pictures of each stamp, with my descriptions of the key points on the forged stamps. These are the exact stamps that formed the basis of Dr. Weiner's article.
In 2012 the Ryukyu Philatelic Society published a catalogue which included the Scott 16 series (See Note Below) which provided an extensive illustrated discussion of these forgeries at pages 131-145. The catalogue notes the forgeries were made using stamps from the second printing of Scott 8 (RPSS 8:2). The catalogue records that Dr Ito recorded a total of 140 forgeries and of that there were eight blocks of 8. At page 145 a partial reconstructed sheet of 100 of the forgeries is presented. There is no mention in the RPSS catalogue that the quantity of recorded forgeries (ie 140) has increased over the years. The RPSS catalogue section on these forgeries included much of the information/pictures which I first recorded in 2009 on this page.
Reversed "5" () in Genuine 16 & 16A(a) Short diagonal stroke stops at & touches bottom of inside vertical stroke of reversed 5 Long diagonal stroke stops before arching under the reversed 5. Top thin bar close to second thicker bar and sometimes merges with that bar at the left. (b) Short diagonal stroke stops at & touches bottom of inside vertical stroke of reversed 5 Long diagonal stroke arches under approximately 40% of bottom of reversed 5. Top thin bar very close to the second thicker bar and in some cases merges with that bar.Forgeries Mimicking Scott 16 (Second Printing, wide spaced bars)(c) Short diagonal stroke stops at & touches bottom of inside vertical stroke of reversed 5 Long diagonal stroke arches under approximately 40% of bottom of reversed 5 (d) Short diagonal stroke extends into the gap & touches bottom of inside vertical stroke of reversed 5 Long diagonal stroke arches under approximately 70% of bottom of reversed 5 (e) Short diagonal stroke stops at & touches bottom of inside vertical stroke of reversed 5 Long diagonal stroke arches under approximately 40% of bottom of reversed 5 (f) Short diagonal stroke extends far into the gap & touches bottom of inside vertical stroke of reversed 5 Long diagonal stroke arches under approximately 95% of bottom of reversed 5Forgeries Mimicking Scott 16B (Third Printing) Reversed "5" () in Genuine 16BStroke arches under and stops approximately 30% the way under the bottom of the reversed 5. (g) Short diagonal stroke stops at & touches bottom of inside vertical stroke of reversed 5 Long diagonal stroke joins the bottom of the reversed 5. Copy examined had ink offset on the gum which is not a characteristic of the genuine stamps. (h) Short diagonal stroke stops at & touches bottom of inside vertical stroke of reversed 5 Long diagonal stroke joins the bottom of the reversed 5. Copy examined had ink offset on the gum which is not a characteristic of the genuine stamps.The forgeries appear to be type set as you can often seen the indentation of the type on the gum side.
Based upon the recorded information (above), the following 16 series stamps are not suspect:
Based upon the recorded information (above), the following 16s fail the giggle test (ie you laugh when you see them) and are forged:
Based upon the recorded information (above), the following 16s are most likely forged:
Characteristics of Ink on Forged 16s. On the eight forgeries that I have examined, the ink appears lighter and more translucent/transparent than on genuine copies. While this may not be consistent across all forgeries, it is a factor to consider. With a focus on the large center bar, the forgeries allow you to see more of the underlying stamp than the genuine overprints.
The partial plating of these 72 forgeries is shown at page 145 of the RPSS Catalogue (see note below). It appears that the stamps were created in blocks of 8 (2 across and 4 down) using the bottom 8 rows of a sheet of 100. The only stamps in the top 2 rows of the sheet mimic the Scott 16 (positions c-f, shown above). However, only a block of 4 (positions 1-2 & 11-12) is recorded in the top 2 rows. Positions 3-10, 13-20, 23-7, 43-4, 53-4, 63-4 & 65 (28 stamps) are not accounted for on the partially reconstructed sheet. Blocks of 8 (2 x 4) should be relatively easy to plate as there are no places on a sheet of 100 where 8 contiguous stamps lack unique identify characteristics. Of course, it is possible that the overprint would obscure a unique characteristic.
Reconciling the total. Dr. Ito worked with a total of 140 stamps. He was able to plate 72. These were mostly in blocks of 8. He plated the following:
7 blocks/8 = 56 stamps 1 block/7 = 7 stamps (upper left position a (16a) missing) 1 block/5 = 5 stamps (upper right positions a & b (16a) and lower right position h (16b) missing) 1 block/4 = 4 stamps (top two rows positions a & b (16a) and bottom two rows positions e & f (16b) missing) 72 total stamps plated 140 total stamps reported 68 total stamps unplatedObviously 2 or more sheets of 100 were overprinted by the forger. Thus far, I have seen no evidence that more than 2 sheets were overprinted. Two theories have been advanced in the RPSS catalogue as to how the forgeries were manufactured. The first is that a complete sheet was overprinted using a series of the fake overprint strikes. A second theory is that a sheet was broken down into units of 8 and then each unit overprinted. This is the method that the RPSS catalogue presumes to be most likely.
Note. Handbook and Specialized Catalogue of the Postal Issues of the Ryukyu (Liu Ch'iu) Islands (Issued Under United States Administrations), Part IV - Postage Stamps of the Central Governments B-Yen Issues---Fascicle 2 --- 10 Yen and 100 Yen Overprinted Kai Tei Provisional Stamps, 1952, First Edition, With information provided by Arthur L-F. Askins and George Maclellan, Jon B. Kawaguchi, The Ryukyu Philatelic Specialist Society, LTD, Alameda, CA, 2012.
|Scott 16||Scott 16A||Scott 16B||Scott 16,16A,16B|
|Second Printing||First Printing||Third Printing||All Three Printings|
Forgeries Discovered in 1973