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Monday Morning Brief | Counterfeit Love stamps

February 13, 2017 08:11 AM

Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman reports on counterfeit panes of the 2015 United States Love stamps and the 2015 Rose and Heart stamps that are being sold on eBay.

Full Video Transcript:

Good morning and welcome to the Monday Morning Brief for February 13.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. If you plan to send last-minute Valentines today using the Love stamps you bought on eBay recently, you might want to look at those stamps carefully. They might be counterfeit stamps.

In the Feb. 27 issue of Linn’s Stamp News, managing editor Charles Snee reports that highly deceptive counterfeit panes of the 2015 United States Love stamps and the 2015 Rose and Heart stamps are being sold on eBay. The story also can be found online at Linns.com.

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Linn’s first learned of the counterfeit 2015 Love stamps’ existence Jan. 30, via a post on the Stamp Collecting Forum website. The poster, a collector in New York, brought the counterfeit to the attention of the forum’s followers. Snee put on his investigative reporter’s hat and contacted the poster, requesting that he send a pane to Linn’s for examination. We received in our offices one intact pane of the Love counterfeit.

The poster told Linn’s that he purchased a total of 16 panes of 20 counterfeit stamps (four 2015 Love panes and 12 2015 Rose and Heart panes) from a seller on eBay. The eBay seller used counterfeit Rose and Heart stamps on the envelope to send the panes to the collector.

The quickest way to determine if the panes are genuine stamps or counterfeits is to turn the pane over and examine the text on the back. In the last line of text in the ruled box, the word “news” on genuine panes is misspelled “new” on counterfeit panes. This same typographical error also is found on the backs of counterfeit 2015 Rose and Heart panes.

Single stamps from the pane have tell-tale characteristics:

Genuine stamps have gauge-11 serpentine die cuts; counterfeits are gauge 11¼.

Genuine stamps of both designs have a clear “2015” year date at top right; the “2015” on the counterfeit red stamp is barely visible, even under magnification.

The letters of “USA FOREVER” on genuine stamps are thin, while the letters are thick on counterfeit stamps.

If you have an ultraviolet lamp handy, the genuine stamps are tagged and glow yellow-green under shortwave UV light; counterfeits are not tagged and appear bluish under shortwave UV light

Other differences exist as well.

Postal counterfeits are highly collectible items, and U.S. postal counterfeits are listed in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. Just don’t use them on your mail unless you want postal inspectors to come knocking at your door.

For the most up-to-date stamp news, visit Linns.com and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. For Linn’s Stamp News and Scott catalogs, I’m Donna Houseman. Enjoy your week in stamps and have a happy Valentine’s Day.