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Africa/All : Liberia airmail Scott #C2 legitimate or counterfeit?

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keesindy
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10 May 2016
01:34:10am
Does anyone know a source of information for evaluating the authenticity of this surcharge? I’m trying to determine if the counterfeits are easily identified and whether or not I should consider getting a certificate.

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This surcharged stamp is Liberia Scott #C2 — or perhaps a counterfeited version of the surcharge on the Scott #232 stamp. The stamp came from a fairly complete 1950s era collection I purchased in the 1980s, but was missing some of the 1860s regular issues and C1 and C3 stamps and a few other high value stamps that had been removed from the collection pages.

Most of the “AIR” portion of the surcharge and the “S” in SIX were impressed heavily into the thin paper and the impressions are easily detectable from the back of the stamp. The “L” in MAIL is also fairly easy to detect, but the other letters are less clearly impressed. The black ink appears to be very heavy and is very glossy. Numerous black ink spots are scattered across the bottom half of the stamp. It was a messy application of the surcharge. The black bar is clearly visible from the back through the thin paper.

I have found online examples of this stamp, mostly on covers, and I have found examples of counterfeits on the Philately of Liberia website, but I have not found a description of any counterfeits in order to make a preliminary determination of the validity of the surcharge on this stamp. Likewise, I have found no online examples of the NICKLIN, N. Y. dealer’s mark that has been applied to the back of the stamp. I don’t know if that mark is a legitimate or counterfeit mark.

I hope someone here can provide some insight!

John Nicklin information

When John Nicklin applied in 1914 for membership to The National Philatelic Society, W. T. Nicklin was his guarantor. (My quick online search found nothing else about W. T. Nicklin.) In the 1920s John Nicklin was a buyer for Scott Stamp and Coin Co. according to a 2015 Linn’s article. The John Apfelbaum blog says he “was one of the most prominent philatelists of his time.” He edited the American Airmail and Scott catalogs. He produced stamp albums and was the author of the book Fabulous Stamps. According to londonbus1 here on SoR, Nicklin produced publicity labels for the 1950 London International Stamp Exhibition. (This was an interesting discussion I had not yet discovered and it contains the only prior reference to Nicklin at SoR.)

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"I no longer collect, but will never abandon the hobby"
khj
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10 May 2016
09:06:49am
re: Liberia airmail Scott #C2 legitimate or counterfeit?

The difficulty with this issue is that surcharge was crudely made with the positioning of text relative to bar, alignment, unevenness, quality variations all over the map.

All the forgeries that I have seen had the wrong font (e.g., lacking serifs, wrong type of serif...). That doesn't eliminate your stamp from being a forgery, but from that standpoint your surcharge appears OK.

Given the condition of the stamp, I think the only reason to get a certificate is for peace of mind. If it is a forgery, it's not obvious to me.

Regarding the NICKLIN handstamp, that will be a dealer's mark rather than an expertizer's mark. The mark is likely genuine, but unfortunately his mark is known to appear on forged stamps. Dealer marks only have value to the original buyer to get a refund/credit.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod, Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Hi Tech Consultant
10 May 2016
05:22:04pm

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re: Liberia airmail Scott #C2 legitimate or counterfeit?

Was the black bar surcharge made at the same time as the text above it. If it was, then I would be concerned by the misalignment of the surcharge (angled) relative to the bar. Something I would look into.
That being said, I have NO expertise in these stamps.
rrr...

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"E. Rutherford: All science is either physics or stamp collecting."
keesindy
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11 May 2016
09:16:43pm
re: Liberia airmail Scott #C2 legitimate or counterfeit?

"crudely made" is right, Kim! And in this case, ink was splattered all over the bottom half of the stamp. I don't know how the surcharge was applied, but it wasn't a pretty result! Others I've seen on line don't appear to be quite as messy as this one. I suppose this mess can be an exception attributable to over inking. If it is genuine, that's not going to help the value at all. I don't know what an average specimen looks like, but it must be better looking that this.

Thanks for your comments re dealers' vs. expertisers' marks. I hadn't thought about the difference. I've developed an interest in all these marks I'm finding. As I scan stamps to sell, I'm trying to scan all the marks and I hope to fill some voids online if I can.

rrraphy, I wondered about the application of the text and the bar because they're not parallel to one another. I noticed the same was true of at least some of the examples I saw online. Also, in this case, the ink for the bar appears to be much heavier than the ink for the lettering. I.e., over inked, I think. The ink for the bar and lettering appears to be identical as far as my untrained eye can tell, particularly the fact that it is very glossy. I know virtually nothing about the printing processes of that era. So I don't know if printing the lettering and the bar simultaneously was even likely. I suppose there could have been uneven application of the ink if they were printed simultaneously, but my best guess, based on this sole example, is that they were printed separately.

Thank you both for your comments!

I've also got a mint #C47 and was considering getting a cert for it. Since this #C2 might be genuine, I think I'll just send both. Maybe I'll send a #8 as well. I have one copy that appears to be genuine based on the info in Serrane. If I'm going to be paying for Registered Mail, I might as well make the most of it! Happy

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