Counterfeiters mimic foil, other special treatments
By Jay Bigalke
Reports of new counterfeit varieties of United States stamps arrive almost weekly at the Linn’s Stamp News office. The quality of these knock-off stamps has taken yet another twist with the application of foil and gloss. Plus, counterfeits of ordinary offset-printed issues continue to turn up.
As of the publishing of this article, Linn’s has counted approximately 40 new counterfeit issues (180 stamp designs).
Pictured nearby are three examples of counterfeit forever stamps with foil effects closely mimicking that of the originals: the four 2019 Spooky Silhouettes stamps (Scott 5420-5423), the 2020 Celebrate stamp (5434) and the four 2020 Thank you stamps (5519-5522).
When compared to the authentic stamps, the counterfeits appear shinier. This is likely because of the lack of a taggant coating that sometimes mutes a stamp design.
The other new twist is the use of a special glossy coating that provides texture to the counterfeit stamps. Examples of these have been reported for two issues: the eight 2017 Sports Balls forever stamps (Scott 5203-5210) and the 10 2021 Star Wars Droids forever stamps (5573-5582).
The gloss on both counterfeits seems thicker than that on the authentic stamps. Also, the offset printing of the counterfeits has a grainier appearance.
While the back printing, die cutting and roulette reverse die cuts are very close to those of authentic stamps, there are subtle differences. However, those differences are difficult to see quickly even for a serious philatelic student.
Scott catalog editors continue to track U.S. stamp issues that have been counterfeited for notation in the 2023 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers.
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