US Stamps

Counterfeit U.S. 2005 Disney, 2006 Children’s Book Animals, 2013 Lighthouses stamps discovered

Apr 1, 2024, 10 AM
This pane of 20 of the four United States 2005 37¢ The Art of Disney: Celebration stamps is a convincing counterfeit that recently came to light.

By Charles Snee

In early March, Linn’s Stamp News learned of three older United States stamp issues that have been counterfeited.

The affected issues are the four 2005 37¢ The Art of Disney: Celebration stamps (Scott 3912-3915), eight 2006 39¢ Children’s Book Animals stamps (3987-3994), and the five 2013 nondenominated (46¢) New England Coastal Lighthouses stamps (4791-4795).

Robert Thompson of Texas, a modern U.S. counterfeit specialist, told Linn’s he discovered and purchased the three fake issues from three different online sources.

According to Thompson, he purchased the counterfeit items in late 2023: the Lighthouses on Oct. 7, the Disney stamps on Nov. 4, and the Book Animals stamps on Dec. 4.

Illustrated above is a complete counterfeit pane of 20 of The Art of Disney: Celebration stamps that Thompson sent to Linn’s. Thompson also provided intact panes of the counterfeit Book Animals and Lighthouses stamps.

When examined under shortwave ultraviolet light, all three panes show tagging that is very similar to that seen on genuine panes.

Overall, the three bogus panes convincingly mimic their genuine counterparts.

During the past few years, the number of U.S. stamps being counterfeited has exploded. In addition to creating fake stamps of current issues, the counterfeiters are now targeting stamps issued during the past two decades.

Almost without exception, the quality of these counterfeits is remarkably close to the real thing.

The counterfeiters have solved the challenges associated with printing stamps: paper, ink and printing quality, die-cutting and, most recently, tagging.

Collectors can still spot the bogus issues, but the typical purchaser of stamps cannot. That might explain why counterfeiters aren’t concerned about producing a larger version of a genuine issue, as happened with the 2010 44¢ Love stamp (Scott 4450).

Counterfeit stamps are widely available on the internet at substantial discounts (often up to 50 percent) below face value.

In many cases, the ads feature the U.S. Postal Service’s familiar eagle logo to make it look like the stamps being sold are products of the nation’s postal service.

Beginning in 2021, the number of counterfeit issues began to accelerate. Because of this unfortunate development, the Scott editors decided to stop listing counterfeit forever and nondenominated postcard-rate stamps issued from 2007 to date in the Postal Counterfeits section of the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers.

Complete listings of all U.S. counterfeits are now provided in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Counterfeits, first published in 2022.

The 2023 edition is available from the Amos Advantage website. An updated edition is scheduled for publication later this year.

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