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THE UNAUTHORIZED REPRINTS AND MODERN FORGERIES OF THE MONTSERRAT 1985 LEADERS OF THE WORLD AUDUBON BIRDS STAMP ISSUES

I have discovered that there is an unauthorized reprint version of the 1985 Birds issue that is very different from the original versions. I have also recently discovered that modern forgeries of this issue are also being flooded onto the market. Before showing these I wish to assure all who read this that the unauthorized reprinting was done under legal grounds. After some read this they may start calling them fakes or forgeries. In essence they were unauthorized reprints made by a stamp dealer named Clive Feigenbaum. I can tell you that real dangerous fakes or some call forgeries are being flooded on the market as I rewrite this page in July of 2015.

The first section will be on the unauthorized reprints. the second section will be on the newly discovered forgeries.

SECTION 1 THE UNAUTHORIZED REPRINTS

According to the reprint agreement started in 1987 the artwork and all other materials including the Format Printers Company Logo were still held under the legal ownership of Clive Feigenbaum who had the reprinting done. The reprint agreement gave sole right to the owners of said materials to reprint at their descretion even under a different companies name. Even though the reprinting was done long after the Format Printers closed their doors the Company Logo found on the panes of the reprints was legally applied.
The ownership extended beyond the time of the Format Printers existence. Is it ethical or moral to do such a thing? Absolutely not!

The reasons why the unauthorized reprinting was done at a later date is a mystery. One rumor has it that it was out of revenge for the originals being suspiciously sold outside the liquidating procedures at the time of the liquidation of the Format Security Printers. There was certain animosities between the owner, Mr. Clive Feigenbaum, and certain stamp dealers associated with Philatelists Ltd.. It is only rumor and we will leave it at that. It is interesting though as the stamps at the time really did not have a huge selling record and plenty were already available. Thus....why reprint them? Of course birds on stamps is a popular thematic and possibly they were reprinted for the purpose of future sales of thematics.

Unlike the Saint vincent Elvis and Michael Jackson unauthorized secondary reprints at this time there is no evidence that these reprints are "secondary". They were reprinted after Format closed the doors but at present there is no evidence that the Format Printers ever reprinted the set. Therefore, very few original proofs, progressive color proof sets, etc; exist. The majority come from this unauthorized reprinting.

So to finish the story for this set the original plates were used (and I note have never been found to this day) and thus they are very difficult to define at first glance except for one thing! The perforations differ and many other factors are different as you will see.

TO THE SELLERS

I present this page so all stamp collectors and sellers will know what to look for accordingly and will price and describe the reprints accordingly. I do not have information on the quantities produced but do know that it is at least as large as the originals due to percentages offered on the market. Most of the errors, progressives color proofs and proofs themselves are from the reprinting. Without full comparison to the following defined descriptions, you as sellers should take the responsibility of describing these unauthorized reprints with accurate descriptions and stop selling them with vague and/or no description. You need to describe the issues as either the originals or the unauthorized reprints. If you do not, and you are selling them, it is unethical and unfair to collectors and dealers in stamps as a whole.
Members of the APS, PTS etc. could find their reputations tarnished should it be found that you are selling under suspicious behavior and breaking Codes of Ethics in the trade by not describing these unauthorized reprints properly simply because of your lack of knowledge or because of greed.

TO ALL AUCTION SITES

Please, police these issues and the sellers who are not describing these correctly need to be stopped. If they do not describe them accurately, they need to have their lots removed from sale until corrections are made. They are easy to define as you will see below just by the images. If the seller uses blurry or very small images they should not be trusted and should be warned. It will take time for the problem to be corrected but it can be done as long as the collecting community works together as a whole. This problem spans over almost thirty years now! Don't you think it is time to stop the problem?

TO THE BUYERS

Please be aware before purchasing this issue. If you purchase it, be sure to compare them as soon as you receive them to be sure the seller did not fool you with an image of the originals and then sends you the unauthorized reprints. This has happened to many collectors because some dealers are just plain out to rip you off! Request a refund and return them. If the seller continually does this then they need to be reported and exposed. I am sorry to say, but because of the immoral actions of one person, it is up to you as a buyer to make sure you don't get ripped off! Apparently most dealers, leaders of stamp societies, auction sites and so called "experts" want to ignore the problems caused by this individual and so now over 50% of this issue offered on the market are either unauthorized reprints or forgeries of bad quality printing in all regards.

TO THE STAMP CATALOG MAKERS

You need to define these in your notations about their existence. At present you do not even note they exist thus your catalogs do not help the collecting community to figure out what they are nor how to define the differences. Stanley Gibbons notes the unauthorized reprints for the St. Vincent Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley issues but does not note it for this issue and other issues I have discovered.
Scott catalog does not even note them at all! Probably because most of the unauthorized reprints were sold to American stamp dealers. I guess they are trying to save face or something by not noting their existence, possibly because of influence by these same dealers who wish to continue to rip off collectors like you and me.

I must state at this point, that on the quantities of this unauthorized reprinting the standard would probably be the same as on the Leaders of the World Automobiles and Locomotives series. Basing on the Format Printers practices at the time for reprints.
1.) The reprinting would be 21,000 sets perforated.
2.) 5,000 sets of imperforate proofs.
3.) 2,000 sets perforated with specimen overprint.
4.) 1,000 sets imperforate with specimen overprint
5.) 3,000 sets of Progressive Color Proofs.
6.) A possibility of made for collector errors as in missing colors or misperfs, of which standard practices would produce 3,000 of a given value or values.

It is probable that the same standard of quantity production has been followed with the reprinting after the Format Printers closed their doors forever for this issue.

LET'S GET STARTED!

ALL THE FOLLOWING IMAGES WERE SCANNED AT 600dpi AND RESIZED IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY WITH NO COLOR ALTERATIONS.
Unauthorized Reprint Set of Montserrat 1985 Audubon Birds
Scott Catalog Number 580-583, Stanley Gibbons Number 657-664
The Unauthorized Reprint Montserrat 1985 Audubon Birds Stamp Set
Marquee for Golowe's Reference Site on the Format International Security Printers

How to Identify the Unauthorized Reprint Montserrat 1985 Birds Stamps

This guide was written with the purpose of:
(i) Helping buyers to identify the unauthorized reprint stamps which have been on the market for over 25 years now;
(ii) Protecting the interests of genuine dealers everywhere who don't sell fakes or forgeries or reprints without defining them as such;
(iii) Protecting the integrity and interests of the Montserrat Philatelic Bureau.

It is unknown at this time when these unauthorized reprint stamps first appeared. Because they have the exact same characteristics as the unauthorized reprints of the St. Vincent Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley stamp sets, there is a 100% probability they came onto the market in the same timeframe. Clive Feigenbaum had access to the original artwork transparencies and printing plates separations and for this set the original plates so the unauthorized reprints are of fair quality. The stamps are more than capable of not being detected by all dealers, stamp collectors, and now, Bird Topical collectors. There are however, a number of distinguishing features on the unauthorized reprints (that are illustrated below), which make them easy to identify from the original stamps.

By the way, the stamps illustrated above are all unauthorized reprints!

Also these are found as imperforate proofs, progressive color proofs and in some cases as "errors" with misperfs etc;.No inverts were ever made by the Format Printers nor by Clive Feigenbaum for this issue.

These unauthorized reprints should not be valued by anyone! They were created by a stamp dealer intent on ripping you off!
This newly discovered reprinting will now cause the original stamp sets to become more valuable as demand for them will rise.
I would value the reprints at nothing. This is true "wallpaper". At the time of this webpage creation approximately 50% of sales on the market contain the reprints. Others may try to disagree, but as time will tell it will be according to what the market decides....not the sellers nor "experts" as obviously there are none or this would have been known long ago.
I guess you could say....I am the expert on these now.

(1) Scott 580 15c Se-Tenant Pair
Black-throated Blue Warbler and Palm Warbler (Yellow Red-poll Warbler)

The Unauthorized Reprint Birds Scott 580 Pair with Original Pair for Comparison
When compared side-by-side with the original stamps, the unauthorized reprint stamps look very good and use a richer set of colors allowing for more contrast in the photographs. However, don't let the colors fool you!

The Unauthorized Reprint Montserrat 1985 Birds Perforation Comparison
Rule Number One (and probably the only rule needed unless comparing proofs) when identifying the unauthorized reprints is to COUNT THE PERFORATIONS! As most of these stamps are sold in se-tenant (joined) pairs, count the number of holes along the vertical join. For the original stamps, there are 24 Holes (i.e. 25 Perforations), whereas the unauthorized reprints have 27 Holes (i.e. 28 perforations). The holes in the unauthorized reprints are thus noticeably smaller, and there is a tendency for all holes to not be completely punched out.

The Unauthorized Reprint Birds Scott 580 Printing Comparison
In addition to the perforations being different, the unauthorized reprint stamps have a honeycomb pattern throughout the image and the details are blurred (see above); while the originals do not have a pattern and are much more detailed.

These unauthorized reprints are much better quality than the Elvis and Michael reprints as the images and everything are in proper proportions. Because of this they are harder to detect without looking very closely at them. If one does not have a set of originals to compare they can easily slip by.

Some other subtle differences to look out for are:
1.) Weaker / lighter Font for all inscriptions on the unauthorized reprints;
2.) The white background has a light bluish hue on the unauthorized reprints versus very white on the originals;
3.) The grayish color between the bars where the country name and denomination are on the unauthorized reprints is darker than on the originals
The Unauthorized Reprint Montserrat Birds Scott 580 Color Comparison

(2) Scott 581 30c Se-Tenant Pair
Bobolink and Lark Sparrow (Lark Finch)

The Unauthorized Reprint Birds Scott 581 Pair with Original Pair for Comparison
Again use RULE #1 (Count the Perforations) as above. Again, the unauthorized reprints have 27 holes compared to the original pair's 24 holes.

The Unauthorized Reprint Montserrat Birds Scott 581 Printing Comparison
Again in addition to the perforations being different, the unauthorized reprint stamps have a honeycomb pattern throughout the image and the details are blurred (see above); while the originals do not have a pattern and are much more detailed. Other similar features as noted above are also on this value.
In addition the the framing colors are gold and brownish on the unauthorized reprints versus tan and pinkish on the originals.

The Unauthorized Reprint Montserrat Birds Scott 581 Color Comparison

(3) Scott 582 55c Se-Tenant Pair
Chipping Sparrow and Northern Oriole (Bullock's Oriole)

The Unauthorized Reprint Birds Scott 582 Pair with Original Pair for Comparison
Again, the unauthorized reprint stamps are instantly recognizable by the number of perforations (27 Holes instead of 24) and demonstrate the same features of printing as the closeup shows.
Noting on this value that the original frame color is a much lighter greenish color than on the unauthorized reprint.
The Unauthorized Reprint Montserrat Birds Scott 582 Printing Comparison
The Unauthorized Reprint Montserrat Birds Scott 582 Color Comparison

(4) Scott 583 $2.50 Se-Tenant Pair
American Goldfinch (Yellow Bird) and Blue Grosbeak

The Unauthorized Reprint Birds Scott 583 Pair with Original Pair for Comparison
Here again on the $2.50 values we have similar differences. The Unauthorized Reprint Montserrat Birds Scott 583 Printing Comparison
The Unauthorized Reprint Montserrat Birds Scott 583 Color Comparison
This sums up the demonstration on how to identify the unauthorized reprint Montserrat 1985 Audubon Birds stamps. As you can see, you do not have to be an expert philatelist to be able to do this. You do not even have to be a collector at all! The differences between the original stamps and the unauthorized reprints is quite obvious.

I hope that this reference page on the Montserrat 1985 Audubon Birds unauthorized reprint stamps will assist all collectors, dealers and memorabilia collectors in defining and chosing which sets they have or are buying.

Please refer this page to all of your stamp collecting friends and acquaintances to help get the word out.

Here are links to all the other LOTW issues that were discovered to have been reprinted without authorization in the early 1990's after the Format International Security Printers went Bankrupt.

LEADERS OF THE WORLD UNAUTHORIZED REPRINTS PRODUCED AFTER FORMAT BANKRUPTSY
THE NEVIS 1985 AUDUBON BIRDS UNAUTHORIZED REPRINT STAMPS
THE SAINT VINCENT 1985 ELVIS PRESLEY UNAUTHORIZED REPRINT STAMPS
THE SAINT VINCENT 1986 KING ARTHUR CAMELOT UNAUTHORIZED REPRINT STAMPS
THE SAINT VINCENT 1985 MICHAEL JACKSON UNAUTHORIZED REPRINT STAMPS
THE SAINT VINCENT BEQUIA 1985 DOGS UNAUTHORIZED REPRINT STAMPS
THE SAINT VINCENT UNION ISLAND 1985 AUDUBON BIRDS UNAUTHORIZED REPRINT STAMPS
THE SAINT VINCENT UNION ISLAND 1985 BUTTERFLIES UNAUTHORIZED REPRINT STAMPS
THE TUVALU 1985 AUDUBON BIRDS UNAUTHORIZED REPRINT STAMPS
THE TUVALU NANUMEA 1985 CATS UNAUTHORIZED REPRINT STAMPS
THE TUVALU NIUTAO 1985 AUDUBON BIRDS UNAUTHORIZED REPRINT STAMPS
THE TUVALU NUKULAELAE 1985 DOGS UNAUTHORIZED REPRINT STAMPS

SECTION 2

THE MONTSERRAT 1985 LEADERS OF THE WORLD AUDUBON BIRDS FORGERY STAMPS

Montserrat 1985 Leaders of the World Audubon Birds Forgery Set

My research into the printer has enabled me to discover modern fake stamps have been created in 2014!! They are being spread across the world through online auction sites like ebay and Delcampe. Everything about them is fake except for one dangerous fact, they have the correct perf size. The gum type is different in it being clear in color and very shiny. This gum type was not used until much later years, long after Format went bankrupt thus proving they were not produced by the Format International Security Printers. Obvious differences will be shown below. So far I have discovered fake normal issues of the Montserrat Birds issue. Recently inverted frame error sets have appeared and they too are forgeries. Also missing denomination errors and imperforates are being faked. All are being offered online right now as I write this on July 18, 2015.

I have found documented proof dated April 2015 that at least 10,000 perforated forgery sets have been moved onto the market!

I can also tell you that I have discovered that many more "modern" issues for Montserrat and other countries are being forged. Mainly varieties and "errors" of the issues which bring in higher profits although normal issues like this one are also being faked in some cases. All are being produced by the same source which is unknown at present. All are dangerous forgeries because the perf sizes are correct. Images shown on auction sites cannot be trusted because they cannot be defined by counting perforations and unless you have a comparable image of the originals they cannot be recognized by the images given by sellers. This includes Audubon Birds issues including inverted frames, Dogs inverts, Flowers inverts, Michael Jackson inverts, and many more.

ANY INFORMATION TO TRACE THE SOURCE OF THESE FORGERIES WILL BE POSTED TO THE PROPER RESOURCES

At present sellers on ebay, Delcampe, Bonanza, and Amazon are offering them. I am sure other sources are now selling them also. A list of these sellers is being compiled and at some point the source may be revealed. At this time unless the sellers stop selling them (which is doubtful) it is up to you as a buyer to refuse to buy them without proper identification. In other words, make the seller send you 1200dpi images of the front and back of the stamps and then compare them with my images. I have posted more pages on the issues I have discovered to be forged and have included an index page listing them with links.

New information is welcome and you may contact me through this website anytime.

Recently I noticed sales of the Montserrat 1985 Audubon Birds issue being sold at the 99c start bid on ebay in lots of 4 sets from panes. I purchased several and was amazed to find it is from a completely different printing than the original and reprint shown above! The colors, screens, fonts and gum completely differ.
Here are gum comparisons.

Gum Comparison of a Fake with Original
This gum appears to still be PVA but without the greenish tint. It has been noted that other British issues like some of the Machin issues have this type of gum. The problem is it was not used until the late 90's. The gum is shiny though which conflicts with the description of the gum known as PVAI (Layflat) used on the Machins. Oddly the stamps of this issue (unlike other fakes I discovered) are bending similar to originals which have a light bending from aging.
The gum appears almost clear versus other fakes produced by the same source that are very white in color.
This is evidence showing even a later creation and since these did not appear on the market until 2014 in bulk lots, it proves these to be modern forgeries of the stamps.
Montserrat 1985 Leaders of the World Audubon Birds Forgery with Original Gum Comparison

Example showing the opacity of the fake gum. Noting you can see the image of the bird and such through the gum whereas on the original you can barely see it.
Montserrat 1985 Leaders of the World Audubon Birds Forgery with Original Full Stamp Gum Comparison

Gum Comparison of the Original, Unauthorized Reprint and Forgery of the Montserrat 1985 Leaders of the World Audubon Birds Stamps
Again there is an obvious difference in color and texture.
Montserrat 1985 Leaders of the World Audubon Birds Forgery, Unauthorized Reprint and Original Gum Comparison

Screen and Color Comparison of the Forgery Stamp with Original Stamp
Note the difference in the thickness of the black bar lines. The crosshatch dot patterns are completely different. The forgery uses a coarser screen. A lot of the detail that is on the original stamp is not there on the fake stamp. Note the black lines around the beak.
Montserrat 1985 Leaders of the World Audubon Birds Forgery with Original Screen and Color Comparison

Screen and Color Comparison of the Forgery Stamp with the Unauthorized Reprint Stamp
This is another reason why these are such dangerous forgeries. You can see that the fake stamp uses a better screen pattern than the unauthorized reprint from 1991. Please note the extreme difference in color on the forged stamp. The thicker black bar lines. The dot patterns.
The forgery stamps are kind of like a photocopy of the originals but use a lower quality screen and have a glossy surface over the face.
Montserrat 1985 Leaders of the World Audubon Birds Forgery with Unauthorized Reprint Screen and Color Comparison

You can see that there is a lot of differences between the three printings.

One buyer of these forgeries purchased a large lot from one of the biggest and most reputable stamp sellers on ebay. He bought what he thought was the complete print run of one "newly discovered" error in full panes in packets of 200 panes which were unopened.
I am sorry to say that there are several ways proving these were never produced by the Format Printers.
Firstly the packaging is wrong. Here is the image he sent me.
Packets of Forged Stamp Panes

The plastic wrapping is a flexible plastic used today. Format packaged all stamp panes in very brittle hard plastic that tears easily when opened. The separation paper is brown. Format always used pink/red paper to separate and protect the panes and souvenir sheets.

The perforations on the panes are wrong

Here is an image of the Montserrat 1985 Audubon Birds stamp panes from the original printing.
Montserrat 1985 Leaders of the World Audubon Birds Original print Stamp Panes

Now here is an image of a corner block from the forged Montserrat 1985 Audubon Birds Stamp pane.
Montserrat 1985 Leaders of the World Audubon Birds Forged 5c Value Corner Pair

Now look at the image of the panes and the image of the forged stamp block with selvage shown above. Can you see the difference?
The perforations run through the selvage on the original panes on all sides. There are no perforations on the selvage of the forged panes!
Also I have found forgeries with completely different pane numbers than the originals!!

Because of the fact that a major portion of leaders in the stamp community wish to turn a blind eye on these forgeries. Because of dealers and buyers who are afraid to "step up to the plate" because of fear of being ridiculed by self proclaimed "experts" or because they don't want to get involved, the forgers will continue to forge more and more sets. They have already effected other issues that have nothing to do with Leaders of the World issues such as Nauru 1982 Scouts, Barbuda 1983 Manned Flight and others showing us the wide range of stamps they are capable of forging and possibly have already forged. Soon you will be the victim when you buy that fake high valued Orchid stamp or that high priced definitive set you have dreamed of getting or what you thought to be a genuine error or variety which in the end only turns out to be fabricated by these forgers and nobody wants it when you go to sell it or your children go to sell it.

You have a choice.

Continue to ignore this problem that the majority of stamp leaders and editors seem to be trying to do just like they have with unauthorized reprints and "illegal" stamps in the past. Or spread the word and complain to your contacts and leaders that these problems need to be exposed and described in magazines, newspapers and catalogs before every stamp issue made in modern times from the 1970's onward falls victim to being a suspected forgery and in turn you or your friends or associates will fall victim to it when trying to buy or sell them. These forgers are professionals and have been here for decades unseen. They will continue to harm us unless people like you stand up and take notice!

This problem effects everyone because now instead of the value being based on a set quantity of the issued stamp, we now have double, triple or even more in quantity placed on the market. It will therefore depreciate the stated value of them in the catalogs simply because they will not research them and "assume" there are tons available when in reality for many sets the originals are and have become difficult to find.

I am simply the one who discovered them because of my research on the printer.
Indeed several issues that I have researched and obtained the original varieties of are effected. Mainly these fake imperforates. I am a professional tradesman and have never depended on stamps to live on. There are many that do depend on stamp sales though and it is for them also that I have created this section of the website.

You can now define the Montserrat 1985 Leaders of the World Audubon Birds forgery stamps easily and can now possibly avoid being ripped off! Sorry to say this, a lot of you already have been fooled and more of you will be until the right people get serious about it!

Here are links to images of each stamp with an original next to a forgery. All are scanned at 1200dpi so the files are large. All were scanned at the same time with the same settings and nothing is enhanced. Please be patient with downloading them because each file is around 2.5 megs.

MONTSERRAT 1985 AUDUBON BIRDS FORGERY STAMPS WITH ORIGINALS
Scott 580a Black-throated Blue Warbler Bird Stamp Scott 580b Palm Warbler Bird Stamp
Scott 581a Bobolink Bird Stamp Scott 581b Lark Sparrow Bird Stamp
Scott 582a Chipping Sparrow Bird Stamp Scott 582b Northern Oriole Bird Stamp
Scott 583a American Goldfinch Bird Stamp Scott 583b Blue Grosbeak Bird Stamp

Your friend and fellow collector and researcher,
JLowe RETURN TO TOPRETURN TO TOP

Visit or return to the Modern Fake Stamps Introduction Page with Links to other Forgeries Here!!

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UPDATED LAST ON: 25-Nov-2016 12:41 PM