This page last updated: 5 June 2001


::: NUMERAL ISSUE - Broken "E" Numeral Forgeries :::

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1 Spiro period bkn E 1200

A clue to some frequently seen forgeries of the Numeral Issue may be found in the "E" of "POSTAGE" in the left side panel. These forgeries emanate from the prolific Spiro Brothers forgery factory in Germany and were made sometime in the 1860's to 1870's. Close examination of the "E" shows a break in the top arm of the "E." In all genuine Numerals, the "E" is unbroken. The Spiro Brothers produced their facsimiles from lithography in sheets of ten or fifteen subjects. In a way it is interesting to note the Spiro forgeries are themselves quite "platable." The only 5 broken "E" forgery produced was of the "HAWAIIAN POSTAGE" variety. In addition to producing forgeries of the 1, 2 and 5 values, the Spiro Brothers also produced an entirely bogus 13 numeral.

MISSING PERIODS:

Spiro's 1 and 2 Numeral fakes copied the layout of Settings 1 to 8. In genuine stamps from Settings 1-8 there is a period following "HAWAIIAN POSTAGE" in the left panel, "UKU LETA" in the right panel and "Cent" or "Cents" in the bottom panel. Most of Spiro's 1 stamps omit the period in the bottom and left panels, leaving a period only in the right panel. Most of Spiro's 2 stamps omit all the periods. Thus, in the 1 and 2 stamps, the omission of the period is an easy mark of the forgery. Spiro's 5 value imitates Setting 9 and most of his fakes have periods in all three panels. However, genuine stamps of this Setting have no periods at all. Thus the presence of periods in the 5 value gives away the forgery.

Nothing is simple in the world of fakes and the missing periods are no exception. Spiro must have realized the periods were wrong so he produced fake 1 and 2 stamps with all the periods where they should be and omitted all the periods from the 5 stamps, thus making them correct imitations. Query whether he touched up the stone or entered a new stone. The commonest form of each forgery is the bogus kind (periods where they do not belong and periods omitted where they should be). In any event, the Broken E remains the clear mark for all of these forgeries.

GALLERY OF SPIRO FAKES

1 VALUE

Without the periods, Spiro's 1 fakes are known in black ink on white wove paper or blue-gray paper (most are on wove paper but a few were printed on horizontally laid paper) and in blue ink or dark blue ink on white wove paper, blue paper or blue-gray paper (a few are on horizontal laid paper). With periods, the 1 fakes are recorded in blue ink or dark blue ink on white wove paper (some vertically laid), blue-gray wove paper or blue wove paper (some horizontally laid) and in black ink on gray wove paper. I have only wove paper examples of the 1 fake with periods.

Spiro 1 period

Periods are in the right, left and bottom panels as in the genuine stamp; blue ink on bluish wove paper

Spiro 1 no period

A period is found only in the right panel; dark blue ink on white wove paper

Spiro 1 no period Tpanel

Spiro 1 no period Lpanel
Spiro 1 no period batnum
Spiro 1 no period Rpanel
Spiro 1 no period Bpanel

Details of the Spiro forgery


Spiro 1 used no period

"Used" with fake red Honolulu postmark; blue ink on white wove paper

Spiro 1 used

"Used" with fake black Honolulu postmark; black ink on white wove paper

Spiro 1 sq grid

"Used" with fake square grid; black ink on horizontal laid blue-gray paper


2 VALUE

Without the period, Spiro's 2 fakes are known in blue or dark blue ink on white wove paper, blue wove or vertically laid paper, blue-gray wove or horizontally paper or in black ink on blue-gray wove or horizontally laid paper, or white wove paper.

Spiro 2 period

Periods are in the right, left and bottom panels as in the genuine stamp; blue ink on blue wove paper

Spiro 2 no period

No periods in any of the panels; blue ink on white wove paper

Spiro 2 used

"Used" with fake Honolulu postmark; black ink on gray wove paper


Spiro 2 Islani - 300

Spiro 2 Islani

Poor printing caused the "D" in "ISLAND" to show only the left shaft, making it appear to be the "ISLANI" variety known in genuine stamps


5 VALUE

With periods, the Spiro 5 fakes are known only in blue or dark blue ink. Paper used was white wove or blue gray laid either vertically or horizontally. Without period, the 5 value also is known only in blue ink. Paper use is blue-gray wove or laid horizontally, white wove, blue or bluish wove or laid vertically or horizontally.

Spiro 5 no period

No periods, as in the genuine stamp; blue ink on bluish wove paper

Spiro 5 period

Periods in the right, left and bottom panels; blue ink on blue vertically laid paper

Spiro 5 used

"Used" with fake Honolulu postmark; blue ink on blue vertically laid paper


Spiro 5 ring used

"Used with fake ring cancel; blue ink on blue vertically laid paper


13 Bogus Value

Spiro Brothers bogus 13
Spiro Brothers bogus 13 numeral. This bogus has periods in the left, right and bottom panels. Seen only in blue ink. The paper noted is white wove, blue-gray wove or laid, either horizontally or vertically, or blue wove or laid, either horizontally or vertically.

SHEETS OF SPIRO FAKES

Sheet of the Spiro Brothers 1 forgery
Sheet of the Spiro Brothers 1 forgery, period in right panel only. Ten subjects were in the layout for this value.
Sheet of the Spiro Brothers 2 forgery
Sheet of Spiro Brothers 2 numeral forgery, no periods. The layout of the 2 sheet was fifteen subjects.
Sheet of the Spiro Brothers 5 forgery
Sheet of Spiro Brothers 5 no period forgery. The ten subject layout was used for this value.

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