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Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish armada Progressive Color Proof Forgery Set
Scott# 1100-1106 Stanley Gibbons# 1137-1142
Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada Progressive Color Proof Forgery Set
I have found documented proof dated October 2015 that 2,500 imperforate forgery sets and 5,000 progressive color proof sets (including final imperforates) have been moved onto the market!

This discovery is a little different than the many others I wrote about. These are "color proofs" showing us just how far these forgers will go. Not only creating fakes of the normal issues as imperforates or inverts or imperforates but now even as progressive color proofs!

I have discovered that modern fake stamps of this issue have and are being flooded onto the market. I can tell you that real dangerous fakes or some call forgeries are being flooded on the market as I write this page in July of 2016.
All the stamps imaged above are fakes!

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 white 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 complete sets of forgeries of the Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada issues as imperforate progressive color proof sets. Because they exist it is certain that the normal issue have also been forged. All are being offered online right now as I write this on July 29, 2016.

I can also tell you that I have discovered that many more "modern" issues for Saint Vincent and other countries are being forged. Mainly varieties and "errors" of the issues which bring in higher profits although normal issues are also being faked in now many 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 the Audubon Birds issues including inverted frames, Dogs inverts, Flowers inverts, Michael Jackson inverts, imperforates and many more.


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.

I noticed sales of the Saint Vincent Spanish Armada issues as color proofs being sold on ebay by Latvian sellers months ago. I knew there was something wrong because there were only 5 stages of the colors whereas originals have 7 stages.

You see back in 2012 user city-collectables on eBay sold off all the original panes of the progressive color proofs that were originally confiscated by the British Police in 1989 and held until 2008 in their warehouse. The complete stock was purchased by city-collectables in auction and sold to the public on eBay. I was lucky to get a complete set of the panes of all the values at the time.

I knew that they are forgeries because of the many other forgeries I have purchased from these dealers already. I purchased a couple sets (values) around 4 months ago. Before that I was always outbid when they came up. I was outbid on several values that time too but managed to get two sets like the one imaged above. I was waiting for this seller to post more to try to get the other sets but to this day they have not posted them again. Sure enough, when I received them I could see they are exactly the same as all the other forgeries I have written about. I got them for around $3.00 each set like the one imaged showing how easily they have now been filtered onto the market.

This dealer is persisting in selling many other forgeries so without naming names because of defamation retaliation and because eBay could retaliate I will have to leave it up to you collectors and dealers to do something about it.
So far I have alerted the APS, American Philatelic Magazine editors, Scott catalog editors about these forgeries. At this point they are tending to ignore it. Are you going to ignore it also?

I now have everything together to present to you how to detect them and not get ripped off!!

The first and most obvious way to tell is the number of color proofs. If there are only five....something is wrong! All progressive color proof sets made by the Format Printers during 1988 had seven or more color proofs in the set. Here is an image of what a real set looks like!

Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada Progressive Color Proof Genuine Set
Here are gum comparisons.

Gum Comparison of a Fake Stamp 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 very shiny though which conflicts with the description of the gum known as PVAI (Layflat) used on the Machins. Yet the stamps lay perfectly flat on a surface whereas originals have a light bending from aging.
This is evidence showing even a later creation and since these did not appear on the market until 2014 and no such invert errors have ever been on the market nor recorded, it proves these to be modern forgeries of the stamps.
Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada Forgery and Original Gum Comparison of Full Stamps

Screen, Font and Color Comparison of a Fake Stamp with an Original Stamp
Let us use the 75c Ark Royal stamps for high resolution comparisons. I use 1200dpi scans for viewing.
This first comparison shows you how inferior the screens are. I first compare the Armada Medallion.
Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada 75c Fake with Original Screen and Color Comparison of the Armada Medallion

You can see that the screens used on the forgery are coarser. Much of the details are lost on the forgery. Note the difference in color.
The forgeries still are very dangerous because when imaged for sale by sellers they look almost exactly the same as the originals. Buyers will think it is just the sellers scanner making them look "different". To compensate the forger uses a shinier surface on the face of the stamps.

Now here is a look at the center mast and flag.
Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada 75c Fake with Original Screen and Color Comparison of the Center Mast and Flag

Here you can see a big difference in the color and see the difference in the screens used.

Now let's look at the blue proof.
Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada 75c Fake with Original Screen and Color Comparison of the Blue Proof

You can see that the screens on the forgery stamp are completely different.

Now I will show reduced images of the original stamps with the forgeries.

Comparison of the Fake 75c Spanish Armada Stamp with the Original Stamp
Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada 75c Fake with Original Stamp Comparison

Now that you know what to look for it helps yes?
Still you can see that most people will not even notice it which is what the forger wants!

Comparison of the Fake $3.50 Spanish Armada Stamp with the Original Stamp
Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada Fake with Original $3.50 Stamp Comparison

Note the greenish tint on the fakes versus the light brown tints on the originals.

As I noted earlier there are two proofs missing in the fake set. The all colors proof with no inscriptions and the blue-red proof. Here are images of originals.

Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada 75c Original All Colors with no Inscriptions Color Proof

Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada 75c Original Blue Red Color Proof

Now let's look at the blue proofs side by side.
Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada 75c Fake with Original Color Comparison of the Blue Proofs

You can see that the blue is darker on the forgery stamp.

Now let's look at the red proofs side by side.
Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada 75c Fake with Original Color Comparison of the Red Proofs

Note the clarity on the original stamp. The reddish color in the background on the forgery.

Now the yellow proofs side by side.
Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada 75c Fake with Original Color Comparison of the Yellow Proofs

Again noting the clarity on the original stamp. This time the yellow color in the background of the forgery.

Now the black proofs side by side.
Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada 75c Fake with Original Color Comparison of the Black Proofs

Quite a difference! Note the very white paper on the forgery.

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

One buyer of these fakes 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 Fake 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. If panes are packaged like this it is a sign to beware!

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 fake Saint Vincent 1988 Spanish Armada stamps and color proofs 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!

Your friend and fellow collector and researcher,

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

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UPDATED LAST ON: 29-Jul-2016 04:03 PM