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postal forgeries, use of ( "Operation Cornflakes"),

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Postal Forgeries

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  American forgery of German stamps was first made public with the sale of President Roosevelt's stamp collection after the war. The examples in this collection were accompanied by a letter from OSS head General Donovan saying they had been "printed in Switzerland by O.W.I. representatives" and used since November 1942 in cross-border mailing of the Frankfurt Zeitung and other propaganda material.
   
  These forgeries are rather poor in quality and easily distinguished from the originals by a great difference in perforation, a poor cloth match, and in the case of the 12-pfennig stamp by the fact that they were done by photolithography while the originals were recess printed (engraved). In one case the reproduction was reportedly so poor that a second printing was necessary before it could be used.
        
Italian and Dutch Stamps
        
  Only one forgery of an Italian stamp is known; details of its production suggest that it is British. It is an unwater-marked reproduction of the 25-centisimi green of the 1929-42 regular issue bearing the portrait of King Victor Emanuel. It is extremely deceptive, being readily distinguishable only by sheet size (20) and the lack of a watermark. Like the original, it was produced by photogravure, and its perforation differed only very slightly from the original. In 1941 the only printers among the allies with facilities and experience in the photogravure process were Harrison and Sons, the owners of the faulty perforation machine. The absence of further Italian issues is probably accounted for by Italy's early surrender.
        
  There was a very poor forgery of unknown origin of the 11/2-cent stamp of the 1934-46 Netherlands issue, used during the war to mail printed papers. The reproduction was presumably intended for propaganda papers and leaflets. Its poor technical quality suggests that it may have been done by the Dutch underground in the Netherlands itself or with makeshift facilities abroad. The color, paper, perforation, and even size are wrong. The ink is a bluish gray, not the clear gray of the original, and sunk into the paper. It could have passed in a dim light, but it is doubtful that any postal clerk used to handling the genuine article would be deceived.
        
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Posted: May 08, 2007 09:01 AM
Last Updated: May 08, 2007 09:01 AM