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Europe/Other : Tuscany #17

 

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mengel419

06 Jul 2013
09:34:14am
I have this valuable stamp in quite nice condition--no thins, tears, and relatively clear margins (a bit close on the left side). There is an expertization mark on a rear corner in red: J. A. Stolow. I am familiar with the Stolow name--but is that a reliable expertization? In other words, can I count on this being genuine?
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TheBlueDude
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To error is human -to really fowl things up takes a computer

06 Jul 2013
09:51:09am
re: Tuscany #17

The Stowlow mark has been forged many times. You should really get a new cert to be sure what you have.

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michael78651
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06 Jul 2013
02:03:25pm
re: Tuscany #17

Expertization marks, as stated for the Stolow mark, have been forged so much that you can't rely on them. Italian States, German States and many other areas like that have had stamps reprinted and forged so much to where the fakes and reprints are far more numerous than the originals.

Your description, "stamp in quite nice condition--no thins, tears, and relatively clear margins (a bit close on the left side)", is one element that should lead you to believe you have a reprint or forgery until you get a bonafide certificate (a mark on a stamp is insufficient). The genuine stamps are very often found with faults.

If you post a good, large picture of the stamp, it might be possible to discern what it is, or give a good guess from which you can decide if you want to submit it for a certificate.

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DRYER
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06 Jul 2013
10:35:48pm
re: Tuscany #17

Thanks for a helpful comment, Michael, one from which we can all learn.

John Derry

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Rhinelander
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07 Jul 2013
06:30:51pm
re: Tuscany #17

Hello Michael (mengel419),

Let me offer a different take.

1) Michael (78651) is correct. If you want to know if your Tuscany #17 is genuine, or not, you need to show us a picture of the stamp. Moreover, if you are unsure about the Stolow marking, you need to show us a picture of that as well.

2) With everything else that has been said thus far I -- politely-- partially disagree.

I believe the J. H. Stolow (it has got to be an H, not an A in the name) marking is primarily not an expertizing mark, but a dealer or ownership marking. The marking establishes provenance. The stamp at one time was sold by the well know Stolow firm. While you may have some assurance that reputable dealers will not sell obvious fakes, dealers actually do sell forgeries all the time. If you consider if someone truly can be an expert in everything, plus consider the obvious conflict of interest of stamp dealers acting as their own expertizers, you will come to the conclusion that the J. H. Stolow marking cannot be the most trustworthy (add the Maluku Selatan affair into the mix and you may actually think that the Stolow name has been forever tarnished in the stamp community as unethical).

While Ross and Michael78651 report that the J. H. Stolow marking has been forged, I'd be surprised. But of course, it is possible. If there is a list of markings that have been forged, it would be helpful for all of us. A priori, if I were to forge a marking, I would not put a dealers' mark on it, but go for a reputable AIEP, BPP etc. name.

In general, the comment "Expertization marks, as stated for the Stolow mark, have been forged so much that you can't rely on them" is plain simply wrong in its generality. This is mongering panic. Yes. There have been incidents of forged expertizing marks, but there are no known counterfeits of most (almost all?) expertizing marks. Generalizations do not help a bit. Even if a specific expertizing mark is know to exist counterfeit, it is possible to distinguish real and fake expertizing marks much like it is possible to distinguish genuine and fake stamps. Please think about it: forgers put a fake expertizing mark on a stamp to fool those that blindly trust expertizing marks. As a consequence, actually fairly lousy fakes tend to give away fake expertizing mark.

The statement

"Your description, "stamp in quite nice condition--no thins, tears, and relatively clear margins (a bit close on the left side)", is one element that should lead you to believe you have a reprint or forgery."

I completely disagree with as well. (Sorry, Michael78651, disagreeing a lot this time. Don't take it personally -- differences in opinion, you know.) The condition of the stamp gives absolutely no indication if it is real or fake, in my opinion. To the contrary, most collectors will send stamps in good collectible condition for expertizing, but not damaged stamps that are not worth the expertizing fee. Moreover, consistent with a genuine marking, Stolow Bros. should be quite unlikely to sell and put their name on a seriously damaged stamps. Finally, while forgeries of Italian States abound and various official reprints exist as well, I do not think that reprints of Tuscany #17 exist.

Ok, how to proceed, Michael? -- Number one: check that the stamp has the appropriate watermark, if not, don't bother, you have your answer. If yes, then, show a picture. A useful book on the forgeries of Tuscany is Otto E. Stiedl & Fritz Billig, Grosses Handbuch der Fälschungen, Band 22, Toskana (1935). It is in German, but easy to use. The Stiedl/Billig Handbooks on Forgeries are excellent. I don't have the volume on Tuscany, as I do not collect this area. If the stamp checks out after you consulted the standard references (Serrane etc.), then you may want to consider getting a new cert. Whether you actually need a new certificate or not, primarily depends on what you plan to do with the stamp. But I cannot really speak to the need to get a new certificate or not, until I actually see an image of the stamp.

Well, you came here for reassurance and certainty, and what you get is conflicting opinion. What a great hobby.

Arno


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michael78651
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08 Jul 2013
03:47:38am
re: Tuscany #17

Arno, I take no offense, and appreciate hearing your additional information. We have a member here who has good knowledge of expert marks. It is Kim. He has posted about them many times while he was on BidStart. It will be good to hear what he has to say on this. He, too, will want to see a picture of the stamp and the mark.

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Rhinelander
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08 Jul 2013
07:16:02am
re: Tuscany #17

Michael,

Yes, let see if Kim or others can weigh in here as well.

My broader point, I believe, is that in many discussions we are really quick to call for expertization: -- "This stuff has been faked a lot, you need to have this expertized." "Color varieties are difficult, you should send this for expertization." "This could be valuable if real, you should ask an expert." etc etc.

Yes, once in a while you will need expertization. However, the reality is that expertization is expensive and calling for an expert as the answer to all queries is not economical. Moreover, constantly calling for an expert sends the message that philately is this black magic where insiders monopolize that secret knowledge and we are small and helpless and must turn to our gurus at every turn. Finally, I would say that in fewer than 5% where we tell a member to go and get an expert opinion -- as the only way to answer his/her question -- the stamp is actually sent in for expertization. I assume so, because of the zero response rate from members that come back and let us know about the outcome of an expertization.

Accordingly, the advice to get a certificate has to be last, not first. There is so much that one can do before getting an expensive expert opinion: Is the stamp watermarked, the correct printing method, the correct paper, correct perforation, correct cancellation for the period, check a few reference books etc. etc. All of these things are not secret science, but common sense stuff ranging from what any beginner can do, to what a more advanced collector certainly should be able to handle. In many, many cases, with the proper research, you can get to the right answer. In the remaining cases, since you ruled out a lot of possibilities, you now have a real shot at your stamp being the real deal and your expertizing fees are a wise investment.

To get off a tangent: There is a real lack in the sharing of philatelic knowledge which adds tremendously to the aura of advanced philately as a secret science. In my opinion, very little new, and yet less important, has been published on stamps (and in particular on forgeries) in the last fifty years. The books mentioned in this thread on Tuscany are from 1935 (Stiedl) and 1926 (Serrane). There has been a tremendous growth in the literature on postal history, of course. But -- to get away from Tuscany #17 which most of us will never touch in their life time -- in general, where can you get solid information on fakes and forgeries? The Seebeck reprints? The ubiquitous reprints and forgeries of Persia? I would think that an online community such as Stamporama, with now 3,000 members, has tremendous potential to facilitate the creation of new philatelic knowledge, to disseminate timeless philatelic knowledge, and to aid members' learning, much beyond the beginner level of identifying obscure countries and tips on how to soak stamps.

Arno


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BobbyBarnhart
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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin

08 Jul 2013
08:27:38am
re: Tuscany #17

Since joining SOR in January of this year, I have more and more often grown to rely and seek information here first. I have collected stamps for over 50 years, but have never really been into the research aspect, not do I desire to do so now. I just like the collecting, hoarding and displaying (mostly to myself) part of the hobby. But there are times I need to know more.

Since the advent of the world wide web in the 90s, I have been wired into the vast sum of knowledge available to anyone with a hook up. But not until joining SOR did I really find almost instant access to the freely shared knowledge and considered, intelligent opinions of collectors who, like Arno and Michael, actually enjoy assisting fellow collectors.

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michael78651
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08 Jul 2013
01:09:54pm
re: Tuscany #17

Arno, you are right that little has been written on forgeries lately. I think the last who was doing that regularly was Varro Tyler until he passed away. I'm afraid that those who were most expert in this have field passed away as well, and there doesn't seem to be too many who are into the deep study of this area any more.

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khj
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09 Jul 2013
12:37:22am
re: Tuscany #17

Sorry for chiming in late. Interesting read. A picture of the mark would be nice. Until then, just a lot of useful and interesting facts thrown around but ultimately just guessing on your specific stamp.

If the mark on the back is in red ink, it is very unlikely to be an expertizer mark and unlikely an attempt to forge any of the Stolow marks. The great majority of expertizer marks are in indelible black ink.

I am unaware of any "J. A. Stolow", so it is most likely just an owner's mark.

I can confirm much of what Arno has already posted regarding the Stolow mark -- the Stolow brothers mark was both an expertizer mark and their business mark. So having the mark does not necessarily mean it was expertized -- it might simply mean they sold it. They did issue a "CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY", in which case those items should be considered expertized. The manufacturing of fake overprints and the Maluku Selatan bogus stamps put a real hit on the value of their "mark"/certificates.

The mark of the Stolow brothers comes in 3 flavors (that I am aware of): J. H. STOLOW, J&H STOLOW, and STOLOW underscore STOLOW. The marks basically represent Julius and Henry Stolow. There also exists an F.S.R. STOLOW mark, but I do not know the history of that mark. These can all be found at the Filatelia website.

Although I wouldn't doubt that somebody somewhere might have forged the Stolow mark, I would probably say the more accurate/proper statement is that the Stolow mark can be found on forged stamps -- this having to do with the Stolows selling stamps with forged overprints.

I would still like to see the mark (as well as the front of the stamp), if you can post it. Thanks in advance!

Happy k

{EDIT: converted the mark descriptions into links to the pictures on the Filatelia site}

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TheBlueDude
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To error is human -to really fowl things up takes a computer

09 Jul 2013
02:43:15pm
re: Tuscany #17

Here are the Notes on Stolow from the website "PHILATELIC EXPERTS, STAMP FORGERY GUIDE"-
http://www.filatelia.fi/experts/sitemap.html

This site contains a ton of good information on experts forgers and forgeries. the site indicates there are several marks for the brothers- Stolow, J.H.,-J.H Stolow, -,Stolow, and in Berlin F.S.R. Stolow. It even shows one of there certificates.

The brothers Henry (1901–71) and Julius, originally from Riga, were stamp dealers in Berlin 1920s to 1933, after which they moved to Brussels for a few years, before emigrating to the USA. In New York they (mainly Henry) were famous as stamp auctioneers and wholesale dealers. The company was also engaged in e.g. bogus overprinting on WW2 stamps the 1945 Greenland overprints, Maluku Selatan phantoms and new issues for African republics. Some time after the war Henry returned to Germany. The Henry Stolow company's shop in Munich was still active in 2005. Gregory Stolow (USA) is son of Julius.


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khj
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09 Jul 2013
03:44:26pm
re: Tuscany #17

Thanks for the additional info, TheBlueDude!

I will go back to my post and convert the mark descriptions into links to the actual pictures.

"If the mark on the back is in red ink, it is very unlikely to be an expertizer mark"



I just wanted to clarify my original statement. There ARE some expertizer marks in red; in fact, more than just a couple. For example, the mark of August Drahn. However, they are few and are the exceptions.

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Author/Postings
mengel419

06 Jul 2013
09:34:14am

I have this valuable stamp in quite nice condition--no thins, tears, and relatively clear margins (a bit close on the left side). There is an expertization mark on a rear corner in red: J. A. Stolow. I am familiar with the Stolow name--but is that a reliable expertization? In other words, can I count on this being genuine?

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To error is human -to really fowl things up takes a computer
06 Jul 2013
09:51:09am

re: Tuscany #17

The Stowlow mark has been forged many times. You should really get a new cert to be sure what you have.

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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
06 Jul 2013
02:03:25pm

re: Tuscany #17

Expertization marks, as stated for the Stolow mark, have been forged so much that you can't rely on them. Italian States, German States and many other areas like that have had stamps reprinted and forged so much to where the fakes and reprints are far more numerous than the originals.

Your description, "stamp in quite nice condition--no thins, tears, and relatively clear margins (a bit close on the left side)", is one element that should lead you to believe you have a reprint or forgery until you get a bonafide certificate (a mark on a stamp is insufficient). The genuine stamps are very often found with faults.

If you post a good, large picture of the stamp, it might be possible to discern what it is, or give a good guess from which you can decide if you want to submit it for a certificate.

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"Author: Seasons of Fantasies and Dreams, The Whitechapel Fog"

www.hipstamp.com/sto ...

The past is a foreign country, they do things different there.
06 Jul 2013
10:35:48pm

re: Tuscany #17

Thanks for a helpful comment, Michael, one from which we can all learn.

John Derry

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Rhinelander

Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
07 Jul 2013
06:30:51pm

re: Tuscany #17

Hello Michael (mengel419),

Let me offer a different take.

1) Michael (78651) is correct. If you want to know if your Tuscany #17 is genuine, or not, you need to show us a picture of the stamp. Moreover, if you are unsure about the Stolow marking, you need to show us a picture of that as well.

2) With everything else that has been said thus far I -- politely-- partially disagree.

I believe the J. H. Stolow (it has got to be an H, not an A in the name) marking is primarily not an expertizing mark, but a dealer or ownership marking. The marking establishes provenance. The stamp at one time was sold by the well know Stolow firm. While you may have some assurance that reputable dealers will not sell obvious fakes, dealers actually do sell forgeries all the time. If you consider if someone truly can be an expert in everything, plus consider the obvious conflict of interest of stamp dealers acting as their own expertizers, you will come to the conclusion that the J. H. Stolow marking cannot be the most trustworthy (add the Maluku Selatan affair into the mix and you may actually think that the Stolow name has been forever tarnished in the stamp community as unethical).

While Ross and Michael78651 report that the J. H. Stolow marking has been forged, I'd be surprised. But of course, it is possible. If there is a list of markings that have been forged, it would be helpful for all of us. A priori, if I were to forge a marking, I would not put a dealers' mark on it, but go for a reputable AIEP, BPP etc. name.

In general, the comment "Expertization marks, as stated for the Stolow mark, have been forged so much that you can't rely on them" is plain simply wrong in its generality. This is mongering panic. Yes. There have been incidents of forged expertizing marks, but there are no known counterfeits of most (almost all?) expertizing marks. Generalizations do not help a bit. Even if a specific expertizing mark is know to exist counterfeit, it is possible to distinguish real and fake expertizing marks much like it is possible to distinguish genuine and fake stamps. Please think about it: forgers put a fake expertizing mark on a stamp to fool those that blindly trust expertizing marks. As a consequence, actually fairly lousy fakes tend to give away fake expertizing mark.

The statement

"Your description, "stamp in quite nice condition--no thins, tears, and relatively clear margins (a bit close on the left side)", is one element that should lead you to believe you have a reprint or forgery."

I completely disagree with as well. (Sorry, Michael78651, disagreeing a lot this time. Don't take it personally -- differences in opinion, you know.) The condition of the stamp gives absolutely no indication if it is real or fake, in my opinion. To the contrary, most collectors will send stamps in good collectible condition for expertizing, but not damaged stamps that are not worth the expertizing fee. Moreover, consistent with a genuine marking, Stolow Bros. should be quite unlikely to sell and put their name on a seriously damaged stamps. Finally, while forgeries of Italian States abound and various official reprints exist as well, I do not think that reprints of Tuscany #17 exist.

Ok, how to proceed, Michael? -- Number one: check that the stamp has the appropriate watermark, if not, don't bother, you have your answer. If yes, then, show a picture. A useful book on the forgeries of Tuscany is Otto E. Stiedl & Fritz Billig, Grosses Handbuch der Fälschungen, Band 22, Toskana (1935). It is in German, but easy to use. The Stiedl/Billig Handbooks on Forgeries are excellent. I don't have the volume on Tuscany, as I do not collect this area. If the stamp checks out after you consulted the standard references (Serrane etc.), then you may want to consider getting a new cert. Whether you actually need a new certificate or not, primarily depends on what you plan to do with the stamp. But I cannot really speak to the need to get a new certificate or not, until I actually see an image of the stamp.

Well, you came here for reassurance and certainty, and what you get is conflicting opinion. What a great hobby.

Arno


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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
08 Jul 2013
03:47:38am

re: Tuscany #17

Arno, I take no offense, and appreciate hearing your additional information. We have a member here who has good knowledge of expert marks. It is Kim. He has posted about them many times while he was on BidStart. It will be good to hear what he has to say on this. He, too, will want to see a picture of the stamp and the mark.

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Rhinelander

Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
08 Jul 2013
07:16:02am

re: Tuscany #17

Michael,

Yes, let see if Kim or others can weigh in here as well.

My broader point, I believe, is that in many discussions we are really quick to call for expertization: -- "This stuff has been faked a lot, you need to have this expertized." "Color varieties are difficult, you should send this for expertization." "This could be valuable if real, you should ask an expert." etc etc.

Yes, once in a while you will need expertization. However, the reality is that expertization is expensive and calling for an expert as the answer to all queries is not economical. Moreover, constantly calling for an expert sends the message that philately is this black magic where insiders monopolize that secret knowledge and we are small and helpless and must turn to our gurus at every turn. Finally, I would say that in fewer than 5% where we tell a member to go and get an expert opinion -- as the only way to answer his/her question -- the stamp is actually sent in for expertization. I assume so, because of the zero response rate from members that come back and let us know about the outcome of an expertization.

Accordingly, the advice to get a certificate has to be last, not first. There is so much that one can do before getting an expensive expert opinion: Is the stamp watermarked, the correct printing method, the correct paper, correct perforation, correct cancellation for the period, check a few reference books etc. etc. All of these things are not secret science, but common sense stuff ranging from what any beginner can do, to what a more advanced collector certainly should be able to handle. In many, many cases, with the proper research, you can get to the right answer. In the remaining cases, since you ruled out a lot of possibilities, you now have a real shot at your stamp being the real deal and your expertizing fees are a wise investment.

To get off a tangent: There is a real lack in the sharing of philatelic knowledge which adds tremendously to the aura of advanced philately as a secret science. In my opinion, very little new, and yet less important, has been published on stamps (and in particular on forgeries) in the last fifty years. The books mentioned in this thread on Tuscany are from 1935 (Stiedl) and 1926 (Serrane). There has been a tremendous growth in the literature on postal history, of course. But -- to get away from Tuscany #17 which most of us will never touch in their life time -- in general, where can you get solid information on fakes and forgeries? The Seebeck reprints? The ubiquitous reprints and forgeries of Persia? I would think that an online community such as Stamporama, with now 3,000 members, has tremendous potential to facilitate the creation of new philatelic knowledge, to disseminate timeless philatelic knowledge, and to aid members' learning, much beyond the beginner level of identifying obscure countries and tips on how to soak stamps.

Arno


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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin
08 Jul 2013
08:27:38am

re: Tuscany #17

Since joining SOR in January of this year, I have more and more often grown to rely and seek information here first. I have collected stamps for over 50 years, but have never really been into the research aspect, not do I desire to do so now. I just like the collecting, hoarding and displaying (mostly to myself) part of the hobby. But there are times I need to know more.

Since the advent of the world wide web in the 90s, I have been wired into the vast sum of knowledge available to anyone with a hook up. But not until joining SOR did I really find almost instant access to the freely shared knowledge and considered, intelligent opinions of collectors who, like Arno and Michael, actually enjoy assisting fellow collectors.

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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
08 Jul 2013
01:09:54pm

re: Tuscany #17

Arno, you are right that little has been written on forgeries lately. I think the last who was doing that regularly was Varro Tyler until he passed away. I'm afraid that those who were most expert in this have field passed away as well, and there doesn't seem to be too many who are into the deep study of this area any more.

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khj

09 Jul 2013
12:37:22am

re: Tuscany #17

Sorry for chiming in late. Interesting read. A picture of the mark would be nice. Until then, just a lot of useful and interesting facts thrown around but ultimately just guessing on your specific stamp.

If the mark on the back is in red ink, it is very unlikely to be an expertizer mark and unlikely an attempt to forge any of the Stolow marks. The great majority of expertizer marks are in indelible black ink.

I am unaware of any "J. A. Stolow", so it is most likely just an owner's mark.

I can confirm much of what Arno has already posted regarding the Stolow mark -- the Stolow brothers mark was both an expertizer mark and their business mark. So having the mark does not necessarily mean it was expertized -- it might simply mean they sold it. They did issue a "CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY", in which case those items should be considered expertized. The manufacturing of fake overprints and the Maluku Selatan bogus stamps put a real hit on the value of their "mark"/certificates.

The mark of the Stolow brothers comes in 3 flavors (that I am aware of): J. H. STOLOW, J&H STOLOW, and STOLOW underscore STOLOW. The marks basically represent Julius and Henry Stolow. There also exists an F.S.R. STOLOW mark, but I do not know the history of that mark. These can all be found at the Filatelia website.

Although I wouldn't doubt that somebody somewhere might have forged the Stolow mark, I would probably say the more accurate/proper statement is that the Stolow mark can be found on forged stamps -- this having to do with the Stolows selling stamps with forged overprints.

I would still like to see the mark (as well as the front of the stamp), if you can post it. Thanks in advance!

Happy k

{EDIT: converted the mark descriptions into links to the pictures on the Filatelia site}

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To error is human -to really fowl things up takes a computer
09 Jul 2013
02:43:15pm

re: Tuscany #17

Here are the Notes on Stolow from the website "PHILATELIC EXPERTS, STAMP FORGERY GUIDE"-
http://www.filatelia.fi/experts/sitemap.html

This site contains a ton of good information on experts forgers and forgeries. the site indicates there are several marks for the brothers- Stolow, J.H.,-J.H Stolow, -,Stolow, and in Berlin F.S.R. Stolow. It even shows one of there certificates.

The brothers Henry (1901–71) and Julius, originally from Riga, were stamp dealers in Berlin 1920s to 1933, after which they moved to Brussels for a few years, before emigrating to the USA. In New York they (mainly Henry) were famous as stamp auctioneers and wholesale dealers. The company was also engaged in e.g. bogus overprinting on WW2 stamps the 1945 Greenland overprints, Maluku Selatan phantoms and new issues for African republics. Some time after the war Henry returned to Germany. The Henry Stolow company's shop in Munich was still active in 2005. Gregory Stolow (USA) is son of Julius.


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khj

09 Jul 2013
03:44:26pm

re: Tuscany #17

Thanks for the additional info, TheBlueDude!

I will go back to my post and convert the mark descriptions into links to the actual pictures.

"If the mark on the back is in red ink, it is very unlikely to be an expertizer mark"



I just wanted to clarify my original statement. There ARE some expertizer marks in red; in fact, more than just a couple. For example, the mark of August Drahn. However, they are few and are the exceptions.

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