US Stamps

New counterfeit warning: high-denomination stamps

Sep 18, 2021, 11 AM
Shown here are counterfeit examples of the United States $7.95 Castillo de San Marcos Priority Mail stamp (Scott 5554) and the $26.35 Grand Island Ice Caves Priority Mail Express stamp (5430) that turned up in August.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

It seemed inevitable to me, but counterfeiters have moved on to producing fakes of some high-denomination United States stamps. I was surprised it took this long.

Convincing counterfeits of the $7.95 Castillo de San Marcos Priority Mail stamp (Scott 5554) and the $26.35 Grand Island Ice Caves Priority Mail Express stamp (5430) turned up in August in panes of four, like the genuine issued examples.

Pictured nearby are counterfeits of these two stamp issues. They were first found by a collector who received one used on a Priority Mail package. Mint examples were found after collectors bought examples on an online auction website.

Additionally Linn’s has seen examples of a counterfeit nondenominated ($1.30) Chrysanthemum global forever stamp (Scott 5460).

I have said it in my column before: If it seems to be too good to be true for the price you’re paying for the stamps, they are probably not genuine.

Unfortunately these high-value stamps don’t go through the usual process of a machine reading the stamp and canceling it. It is left up to postal employees to know if a stamp is counterfeit, and outside of a few small details that I won’t go into in this column, they are hard to differentiate from the real stamps.

Perhaps some holographic foil or other printing technique is needed on high-denomination stamps the Postal Service might issue in the future.

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