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The Barbuda 1983 Graffic Zeppelin Imperforate Souvenir Sheet Forgery
Scott Catalog# 581 Stanley Gibbons# MS666
Barbuda 1983 Graffic Zeppelin Imperforate Stamp Souvenir Sheet Forgery

I have recently discovered that modern fake stamps of this issue are being flooded onto the market. I can tell you that real dangerous fakes or some call forgeries have and are being flooded on the market as I write this page in November of 2015.

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 for this issue in that it is yellowish in color. Very closely resembling the original gum if you do not have an original to compare with. I theorize that this issue was forged at an earlier date than the many forgeries I have written about in the past few months. I theorize they were "held" until just recently when they were released with many other forgeries. Most of the new forgeries have gum that is 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 forgeries of the souvenir sheet as imperforates. They are being offered online right now as I write this on November 14, 2015.

I have found documentation that 3,000 were released on the market back in April of 2015.
They were sold in Gaertner's 30th auction in lot number 21438A.

I have not found if the stamp issue or the perforated version of the souvenir sheet have also been forged but suspect they have. This souvenir sheet is very popular for zeppelin collectors and many other types of collectors.

I can also tell you that I have discovered that many more "modern" issues for many 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 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 Audubon Birds issues including inverted frames, Dogs inverts, Flowers inverts, Michael Jackson inverts, 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.

As of September 2017 I have updated sections of this page and added the ultra-violet detection section.

The main movers of this junk now since 2014 and still to this day in 2017 are eBay sellers: armi777 based in Latvia.
asrm10 based in Latvia.
balticamber2011 based in Latvia.
kamalmedicine based in India.
kamalthematic based in India.
alphaomegaphilately based in India.
stampbank_of_london based in the United Kingdom.

I note that apparently some as you can see are the same seller using different user names.

These sellers are spamming and have been spamming eBay lots for several years now. They offer this junk at 99c start bids. Or they offer fake color proofs and fake inverts and fake imperforates for amounts that would not relate to true value of the genuine stamps. Namely because for most the genuine material was either destroyed or only found on archival press sheets of which very few were saved in the archive. Therefore, this junk offered by these sellers (which you can see nobody appears to care in the philatelic community) should be avoided because all you are doing if you buy it is to:

1.) Enable the producer of these fake reproductions to continue to rip you off!
2.) Enable sellers like these to continue to rip you off!
3.) Enable the flooding of the stamp market with these fake reproductions to the point that now over 50% and in some cases much more are now being sold to unknowing collectors and thus you are ripping off other collectors!

Months ago I noticed sales of the Barbuda 1983 Graffic Zeppelin souvenir sheet being sold as imperforates on eBay from users asrm10 and armi777 located in Latvia in lots of five or ten sheets starting bidding at 99c! I noticed just from the image that something was wrong but could not put my finger on it. Recently through tracing I found the Gaertner major lot sold to the Latvian dealer and in the list of issues was the Barbuda 1983 Bicentenary of Manned Flight souvenir sheets!
Back to eBay I go and won one of the lots from armi777 containing 10 souvenir sheets. I then chose a dealer who was selling the perforated version and purchased it. I just got it and immediately compared it with the imperforates I just received and sure enough the imperforates are from a completely different printing than the originals! The colors, screens, fonts and gum completely differ.

I found immediately that the forgeries are smaller than the originals! Here is an image to show it.
Barbuda 1983 Graffic Zeppelin Fake with Original Size Comparison of the Souvenir Sheets

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


I have discovered another way to detect many of the forgeries. Use an ultra-violet light on them!
In many cases with all the forgeries I have posted the now many pages for, I have found that many sets glow brightly like the fluorescent papers used on many, for example, Canadian stamps in the past. A word of caution on this though. Many forgeries I have found, which all have the yellowish gum, do not glow or have lower grades of brightness or have numerous fibers in the paper that glow. In quite a few cases I have found the sets to have mixed papers, as in , several values glow and several are either less bright or do not glow at all!
There are only two answers to this oddity that are possible. It is either the forger is so lazy that he just grabs whatever paper is handy or....there are numerous different printings of the forgeries and this has been going on much longer than my discovery of the early 2014 massive movement of the forgeries onto the market.

The basic rule to follow with all stamps produced by the Format Printers is,
The Format Printers used basically all the same type of paper on all the stamps they produced in the 1980's as did they use the same gum type except for a couple sets they produced in 1989 when newer types of gum were becoming popular in the stamp printing business.

For the imperforate forgery of this issue that I have acquired, the forgery glow brightly as this image shows.
I use a genuine perforated souvenir sheet for the comparison.
Are perforated forgeries of this souvenir sheet out there or perhaps the stamp set has also been forged? Perhaps you have the answer to that question.....
Barbuda 1983 Manned Flight Graffic Zeppelin Comparison of Souvenir Sheet Forgery with Genuine Souvenir Sheet Under Ultra-violet Light
The gum is very important to note here. You can compare the original with tons of other original Format produced issues and find it is exactly the same no matter what country it was made for. The fakes are not. Here are the differences.

Here are gum comparisons.

Close up Gum Comparison of a Fake Souvenir Sheet Gum with Original Souvenir Sheet Gum
This gum appears to still be PVA but with a flat appearance compared to original Format gum. The forged souvenir sheets are "curling" much worse than the original one I received which has a natural "bending" from age and the type of gum Format used.
Barbuda 1983 Graffic Zeppelin Fake with Original Gum Comparison

Gum Comparison of the Original and Fake 1983 Graffic Zeppelin Souvenir Sheets
Again there is an obvious difference in color and texture. Note how can see through the forgery much more than the original.
Barbuda 1983 Graffic Zeppelin Souvenir Sheet Fake and Original Gum Comparison

Screen and Color Comparison of the Fake Souvenir Sheet with Original Souvenir Sheet
the following images taken at 1200dpi and not enhanced.

First let us look at the stamps on the souvenir sheets. This one compare's the zeppelin. Note the extreme difference in color on the fake stamp. The loss of much of the details. The inferior screen pattern. Most of all note that the image is smaller on the forgery.
Barbuda 1983 Graffic Zeppelin Fake with Original Screen and Color Comparison of Zeppelin Stamp

Now here is a section of the side of the zeppelin on the souvenir sheets.
Again the same faults as described above.
Barbuda 1983 Graffic Zeppelin Fake with Original Screen and Color Comparison of Zeppelin Side

Now here is a comparison of the left star in the row of stars.
You can see that the original has a larger star and that it is more red.
Barbuda 1983 Graffic Zeppelin Fake with Original Star Comparison

Now here is a comparison of the fonts.
Here you can see the original has larger and bolder fonts. Note the difference of the paper as well.
Barbuda 1983 Graffic Zeppelin Fake with Original Font Comparison

Comparison of the Fake Souvenir Sheet with the Original Souvenir Sheet
Now that you know what to look for you can see a stunning difference yes?
Barbuda 1983 Graffic Zeppelin Fake with Original Souvenir Sheet Comparison

Which one would you want in your collection?

You can now define the fake Barbuda 1983 Bicentenary of Manned Flight Graffic Zeppelin souvenir sheet easily and can now possibly avoid being ripped off! Sadly, many have been ripped off already!

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: 01-Oct-2017 06:19 AM