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General Philatelic/Identify This? : Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

 

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okstamps
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12 Jun 2016
07:23:51pm
The cover pictured below (front and back) was part of an early European collection that I purchased about 15 years ago. This was the only cover included in this collection. The seller mentioned it and pictured it, but made no claim that it was authentic.

Image Not Found

Image Not Found

After just setting it aside all this time, I finally got it out and started looking closely at it a couple of months ago. I did this because I started working on breaking down the portion of this European collection containing French stamps, with the first I worked on being a set of used France 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 or 9 in either red brown or brown carmine shade. I was looking at the catalogue values for these stamps and noticed that they jumped up a bit for the Scott 8 and 9. Scott 8 and 9 are both 1 Franc stamps, with the difference being a whole slew of shades. After looking at the shade on this particular stamp, the closest match that I could come up with was the Scott 8a described as an orange red shade. I might have been goaded into that determination by the listed catalogue value of $30,000 for one of these as a single franking on an envelope. I purchased two color guides (Stanley Gibbons and one called the Wonder Color Gauge) and also searched the web and found a couple of sites that gave examples of many color shades. The red to orange shades have always given be trouble since there are so many named shades and I can never keep them straight.

I then gave the stamp and the cancel and close look.

Image Not Found

Not being familiar with French stamps and their possible forgeries, I couldn't make any judgment regarding the stamp itself. However, to my eye it looked like the stamp might have been applied to the envelope after a cancel had already been applied to the envelope. I base this on how these dots of black ink on the envelope on the right edge of the stamp seem to lie under the stamp itself. I also have no idea about the insignia on the bottom left of the envelope (why it was applied), but having the center portion scratched out also made me suspicious.

So I decided to go ahead and send this cover to the Expertizing Service at the American Philatelic Society. I asked if the stamp and cover where authentic and what shade this stamp was if authentic. I had to send the maximum fee because of the high catalogue listed value, but figured I would get it back anyway since this will turn out to be a fake (neat valuable things like this never find there way to me).

I got a very quick response after a few weeks, but it was a response that I did not expect. See the notation on the bottom right side of the returned expertizing form below.

Image Not Found

Now I have no idea what to think. If it was an obvious fake, I would have expected that to be the opinion. Did I ask the wrong questions of the expertizing committee? The last issue of Linn's that I just received contained an article by someone who expertizes and he states that the committee will only do what is asked of them. But I have also asked the expertizing committee before for determinations of a color shade and have had stamps returned without an opinion.

Any suggestions of who else to ask for an expert opinion? I am thinking of contacting Sismondo Stamps and asking if they would take a look.


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CapeStampMan
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Mike

12 Jun 2016
10:02:03pm
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

Well what the heck are they there for if they do not do what you paid them to do? I certainly hope they refunded your entire fee, without comment. Certainly someone should have had an opinion since they offer the service for that very reason. I've heard or seen comments about collectors that do not accept certificates from the APS, so maybe this is one of the reasons why. Since you have already established the fact you want to know the authenticity of this item, I think you should send it to someone else, even though the APS is probably more reasonably priced than some of the others.

Please keep us informed of the continuing saga of this great cover.

Mike

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rrraphy
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Retired Consultant APS#186030

12 Jun 2016
11:56:26pm
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

On a quick look over, and also using http://stampforgeries.com/forged-stamps-of-france-album-weeds/ I must admit that the stamp looks genuine on surface...but I am not an expert...and I cannot judge the paper or the finer details.
I agree that the cancellation looks suspect.

I am curious about the expert mark on the cover. Have you looked into it? I cannot make out the name.
To get another expert opinion, Sismondo is a good choice.
That is strange from the APS Expert committee. Hope your money was refunded.
rrr...

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"E. Rutherford: All science is either physics or stamp collecting."
vinman
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13 Jun 2016
08:00:12am
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I do not collect France but that cover looks suspect to me. The cancel does not tie the stamp to the cover. It also appears from your scan that the marking on the lower left side had the center erased but am not sure because I don't have the cover in hand.
The APS is not the only expertizing authority that will give no opinion. I have never used Sismondo but you might give him a call and see what he thinks.
Vince

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okstamps
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13 Jun 2016
08:03:52am
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

APS returned the cover on April 27. So far no refund. I asked them by phone about it in mid-May and was told that refunds were done once a month. They will be getting another reminder by the end of this week if I do not see the refund by then.

I thought of Sismondo myself for several reasons. One, they have an advertisement on the first page of the France section in the Scott Classic catalogue. Two, Sergio Sismondo has been authoring articles in Linn's on early French-area stamps. So Sismondo it will probably be, but I will first contact them and see if they are willing and able to analyze this cover and stamp for authenticity.

I have no idea what that mark is in the far bottom left corner. If it is an expert mark, that is news to me.

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vinman
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13 Jun 2016
08:12:05am
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I am referring to the oval marking with "Gildemeenter" in it.
I found your experts mark Calves, R on this site. http://www.filatelia.fi/experts/

Vince

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okstamps
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13 Jun 2016
08:37:45am
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I was typing my response when you sent your comment, so I didn't see your comment until after mine was posted. Thanks for identifying the expert marking.

The center of that marking in the lower left corner has had its center scratched out rather than erased. I have no idea what the marking itself is for or why it was applied.

Sismondo will be my next step. I will post the outcome here once there is something to report.

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..

13 Jun 2016
09:41:14am
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

QUESTION::

If held up to a bright light is there any indication that there are any marks concealed beneath the stamp >

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".... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
okstamps
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13 Jun 2016
10:32:30am
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I just did, thanks for the suggestion. I still can't tell anything definitively as it looks like there are not any additional cancelation marks behind the stamp on just the envelope paper.

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StampCollector
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13 Jun 2016
11:01:33am
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I didn't want it to be the first one, but the cancellation looks suspicious to me. At the top right seems like the stamp is over the cancellation, half a dot showing, and at the bottom left the huge smudge should have been transfer to the envelope as well. I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but even if the stamp is genuine, I believe the association of stamp and envelope isn't.

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smauggie
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13 Jun 2016
12:09:43pm
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

Here are things that look odd about the cover:

The cancel is the oddest part of this cover. It has no particular shape and the dots are all different sizes and shapes.

It is also strange that the town name has been scratched out of the merchant hand-stamp.

The paper of the stamp seems in the picture to be very thick, almost thin cardstock.

The margins of the stamp seem unusually wide. if I recall these stamps didn't have much white space between them.

At the left margin towards the top of the stamp there are two cancellation dots partially covered by the stamp. Most curious.

Cheers.


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canalzonepostalhistory.wordpress.com
Jopie
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13 Jun 2016
12:33:29pm
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I noticed that the handwriting had some old fashioned Dutch lettering; I ggoled 'Gildemeester &Bossevain" - there was a person named Gildemeester (Master of the Guild)and he married a lady named Bossevain - the lived in Amsterdam. The scratched portion of the handstamp stats with an"A" -- did the move to or had an office in France?

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okstamps
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31 Jul 2016
05:05:35pm
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I may have just discovered the reason that the APS Expertizing Committee returned my cover without a determination.

In looking through the latest issue of the American Philatelist, I came across an article by Mercer Bristow, the Authentication Department Director. The article's purpose was to ask for expert examiners in certain areas, one of which was France and French colonies. In the article, he says that "...occasionally, we have to return a "no opinion" for an item simply because we no longer have qualified people available."

A couple of other items that I submitted recently took anywhere from two to nearly four months before they were returned with their new certificates. This cover was returned in less than a month with the "no opinion" comment. Due to the quick return, I believe it may have been a lack of experts who were willing to render an opinion on this item that caused the "no opinion" result. It would have been helpful if they would have stated this reason on their response.

In regards to the lack of a refund, I finally sent the APS a letter about ten day ago asking about this. I received an email reply from Mr. Bristow two days later that they had messed up and would get the refund out to as quickly as possible. The very quick and polite response I received was the one positive part of this transaction.

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dollhaus

31 Jul 2016
06:47:40pm
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

Thanks for the update. I collect France, and was curious to see how this one came out. Actually, I suppose it hasn't 'come out' yet since we still don't know real vs. fake. I hope it's real.

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JF0505

31 Jul 2016
07:36:17pm
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

"I got a very quick response after a few weeks, but it was a response that I did not expect. See the notation on the bottom right side of the returned expertizing form below."



Rule of thumb
If you have a German stamp - send it to a known German expert or the GPS
If you have a China stamp - send it to a known China expert or the CPS
If you have a french stamp .........

These all encompassing certifying services do not have the experts for all situations.

As for the stamp itself ... see the items below

Image Not Found Image Not Found

Notice the cancels are identical
Yours on the left - Sperati forgery on the right

In other words a Sperati affixed to the letter after the original was removed to possibly augment its value or to keep the original & fake the cover

You can also tell it is a Sperati by the uneven pearls and some specific large spaces between them.
The lettering also has faults and the background has issues that indicate it is a Sperati

No charge for this oneHappy


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JF0505

31 Jul 2016
08:19:47pm
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

The Genuine one
Image Not Found

As an added note - the Roger Calves along with Brun expert marks are extensively forged.
This one is similar to his mark
It might be left from the original cover but also part of the forgery

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okstamps
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31 Jul 2016
08:31:24pm
re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

Wow, thanks for your quick and detailed description! I didn't believe myself that it could be authentic, it just didn't look right. Just happy to have an answer.

So when are you going to submit your application to the APS for the assistance that they need with their stamp authentication? It's obvious that you are either an expert in this area or have the appropriate background information available to tackle this so quickly.

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okstamps

12 Jun 2016
07:23:51pm

The cover pictured below (front and back) was part of an early European collection that I purchased about 15 years ago. This was the only cover included in this collection. The seller mentioned it and pictured it, but made no claim that it was authentic.

Image Not Found

Image Not Found

After just setting it aside all this time, I finally got it out and started looking closely at it a couple of months ago. I did this because I started working on breaking down the portion of this European collection containing French stamps, with the first I worked on being a set of used France 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 or 9 in either red brown or brown carmine shade. I was looking at the catalogue values for these stamps and noticed that they jumped up a bit for the Scott 8 and 9. Scott 8 and 9 are both 1 Franc stamps, with the difference being a whole slew of shades. After looking at the shade on this particular stamp, the closest match that I could come up with was the Scott 8a described as an orange red shade. I might have been goaded into that determination by the listed catalogue value of $30,000 for one of these as a single franking on an envelope. I purchased two color guides (Stanley Gibbons and one called the Wonder Color Gauge) and also searched the web and found a couple of sites that gave examples of many color shades. The red to orange shades have always given be trouble since there are so many named shades and I can never keep them straight.

I then gave the stamp and the cancel and close look.

Image Not Found

Not being familiar with French stamps and their possible forgeries, I couldn't make any judgment regarding the stamp itself. However, to my eye it looked like the stamp might have been applied to the envelope after a cancel had already been applied to the envelope. I base this on how these dots of black ink on the envelope on the right edge of the stamp seem to lie under the stamp itself. I also have no idea about the insignia on the bottom left of the envelope (why it was applied), but having the center portion scratched out also made me suspicious.

So I decided to go ahead and send this cover to the Expertizing Service at the American Philatelic Society. I asked if the stamp and cover where authentic and what shade this stamp was if authentic. I had to send the maximum fee because of the high catalogue listed value, but figured I would get it back anyway since this will turn out to be a fake (neat valuable things like this never find there way to me).

I got a very quick response after a few weeks, but it was a response that I did not expect. See the notation on the bottom right side of the returned expertizing form below.

Image Not Found

Now I have no idea what to think. If it was an obvious fake, I would have expected that to be the opinion. Did I ask the wrong questions of the expertizing committee? The last issue of Linn's that I just received contained an article by someone who expertizes and he states that the committee will only do what is asked of them. But I have also asked the expertizing committee before for determinations of a color shade and have had stamps returned without an opinion.

Any suggestions of who else to ask for an expert opinion? I am thinking of contacting Sismondo Stamps and asking if they would take a look.


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CapeStampMan

Mike
12 Jun 2016
10:02:03pm

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

Well what the heck are they there for if they do not do what you paid them to do? I certainly hope they refunded your entire fee, without comment. Certainly someone should have had an opinion since they offer the service for that very reason. I've heard or seen comments about collectors that do not accept certificates from the APS, so maybe this is one of the reasons why. Since you have already established the fact you want to know the authenticity of this item, I think you should send it to someone else, even though the APS is probably more reasonably priced than some of the others.

Please keep us informed of the continuing saga of this great cover.

Mike

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rrraphy

Retired Consultant APS#186030
12 Jun 2016
11:56:26pm

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

On a quick look over, and also using http://stampforgeries.com/forged-stamps-of-france-album-weeds/ I must admit that the stamp looks genuine on surface...but I am not an expert...and I cannot judge the paper or the finer details.
I agree that the cancellation looks suspect.

I am curious about the expert mark on the cover. Have you looked into it? I cannot make out the name.
To get another expert opinion, Sismondo is a good choice.
That is strange from the APS Expert committee. Hope your money was refunded.
rrr...

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"E. Rutherford: All science is either physics or stamp collecting."
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vinman

13 Jun 2016
08:00:12am

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I do not collect France but that cover looks suspect to me. The cancel does not tie the stamp to the cover. It also appears from your scan that the marking on the lower left side had the center erased but am not sure because I don't have the cover in hand.
The APS is not the only expertizing authority that will give no opinion. I have never used Sismondo but you might give him a call and see what he thinks.
Vince

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"The best in Big Band and Swing Music WRDV.org"

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okstamps

13 Jun 2016
08:03:52am

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

APS returned the cover on April 27. So far no refund. I asked them by phone about it in mid-May and was told that refunds were done once a month. They will be getting another reminder by the end of this week if I do not see the refund by then.

I thought of Sismondo myself for several reasons. One, they have an advertisement on the first page of the France section in the Scott Classic catalogue. Two, Sergio Sismondo has been authoring articles in Linn's on early French-area stamps. So Sismondo it will probably be, but I will first contact them and see if they are willing and able to analyze this cover and stamp for authenticity.

I have no idea what that mark is in the far bottom left corner. If it is an expert mark, that is news to me.

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vinman

13 Jun 2016
08:12:05am

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I am referring to the oval marking with "Gildemeenter" in it.
I found your experts mark Calves, R on this site. http://www.filatelia.fi/experts/

Vince

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"The best in Big Band and Swing Music WRDV.org"

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okstamps

13 Jun 2016
08:37:45am

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I was typing my response when you sent your comment, so I didn't see your comment until after mine was posted. Thanks for identifying the expert marking.

The center of that marking in the lower left corner has had its center scratched out rather than erased. I have no idea what the marking itself is for or why it was applied.

Sismondo will be my next step. I will post the outcome here once there is something to report.

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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
13 Jun 2016
09:41:14am

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

QUESTION::

If held up to a bright light is there any indication that there are any marks concealed beneath the stamp >

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".... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
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okstamps

13 Jun 2016
10:32:30am

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I just did, thanks for the suggestion. I still can't tell anything definitively as it looks like there are not any additional cancelation marks behind the stamp on just the envelope paper.

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StampCollector

13 Jun 2016
11:01:33am

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I didn't want it to be the first one, but the cancellation looks suspicious to me. At the top right seems like the stamp is over the cancellation, half a dot showing, and at the bottom left the huge smudge should have been transfer to the envelope as well. I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but even if the stamp is genuine, I believe the association of stamp and envelope isn't.

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colnect.com/en/colle ...
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smauggie

13 Jun 2016
12:09:43pm

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

Here are things that look odd about the cover:

The cancel is the oddest part of this cover. It has no particular shape and the dots are all different sizes and shapes.

It is also strange that the town name has been scratched out of the merchant hand-stamp.

The paper of the stamp seems in the picture to be very thick, almost thin cardstock.

The margins of the stamp seem unusually wide. if I recall these stamps didn't have much white space between them.

At the left margin towards the top of the stamp there are two cancellation dots partially covered by the stamp. Most curious.

Cheers.


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canalzonepostalhisto ...
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Jopie

13 Jun 2016
12:33:29pm

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I noticed that the handwriting had some old fashioned Dutch lettering; I ggoled 'Gildemeester &Bossevain" - there was a person named Gildemeester (Master of the Guild)and he married a lady named Bossevain - the lived in Amsterdam. The scratched portion of the handstamp stats with an"A" -- did the move to or had an office in France?

Like
Login to Like
this post
Members Picture
okstamps

31 Jul 2016
05:05:35pm

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

I may have just discovered the reason that the APS Expertizing Committee returned my cover without a determination.

In looking through the latest issue of the American Philatelist, I came across an article by Mercer Bristow, the Authentication Department Director. The article's purpose was to ask for expert examiners in certain areas, one of which was France and French colonies. In the article, he says that "...occasionally, we have to return a "no opinion" for an item simply because we no longer have qualified people available."

A couple of other items that I submitted recently took anywhere from two to nearly four months before they were returned with their new certificates. This cover was returned in less than a month with the "no opinion" comment. Due to the quick return, I believe it may have been a lack of experts who were willing to render an opinion on this item that caused the "no opinion" result. It would have been helpful if they would have stated this reason on their response.

In regards to the lack of a refund, I finally sent the APS a letter about ten day ago asking about this. I received an email reply from Mr. Bristow two days later that they had messed up and would get the refund out to as quickly as possible. The very quick and polite response I received was the one positive part of this transaction.

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dollhaus

31 Jul 2016
06:47:40pm

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

Thanks for the update. I collect France, and was curious to see how this one came out. Actually, I suppose it hasn't 'come out' yet since we still don't know real vs. fake. I hope it's real.

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JF0505

31 Jul 2016
07:36:17pm

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

"I got a very quick response after a few weeks, but it was a response that I did not expect. See the notation on the bottom right side of the returned expertizing form below."



Rule of thumb
If you have a German stamp - send it to a known German expert or the GPS
If you have a China stamp - send it to a known China expert or the CPS
If you have a french stamp .........

These all encompassing certifying services do not have the experts for all situations.

As for the stamp itself ... see the items below

Image Not Found Image Not Found

Notice the cancels are identical
Yours on the left - Sperati forgery on the right

In other words a Sperati affixed to the letter after the original was removed to possibly augment its value or to keep the original & fake the cover

You can also tell it is a Sperati by the uneven pearls and some specific large spaces between them.
The lettering also has faults and the background has issues that indicate it is a Sperati

No charge for this oneHappy


Like 
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JF0505

31 Jul 2016
08:19:47pm

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

The Genuine one
Image Not Found

As an added note - the Roger Calves along with Brun expert marks are extensively forged.
This one is similar to his mark
It might be left from the original cover but also part of the forgery

Like 
1 Member
likes this post.
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okstamps

31 Jul 2016
08:31:24pm

re: Cover from France with Scott Number 8a?

Wow, thanks for your quick and detailed description! I didn't believe myself that it could be authentic, it just didn't look right. Just happy to have an answer.

So when are you going to submit your application to the APS for the assistance that they need with their stamp authentication? It's obvious that you are either an expert in this area or have the appropriate background information available to tackle this so quickly.

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