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Valira Torrent:   Contents | Subject index

Perforation image from Serif Art Gallery. © Serif Inc, 1996

Valira Torrent - bulletin of the Andorran Philatelic Study Circle. Issue 29, pp6-7 (Mar 1989).

Copyright notice

Spanish Bureau - The 1972 Europa Forgery

by Alec Jacques

In Bulletin No.28, brief mention was given of the existence of forgeries of this scarce stamp (News and Information, page 7). Further details are now available, thanks to an illustrated article by Wilhelm van Loo, published in November 1988. All illustrations are from this source, but the comments and descriptions are a combination of the original author and my own.

Genuine and forgery showing perforation

The genuine stamp is printed by photogravure, whilst the forgery is produced by offset litho. The perforations are helpful too as the forgeries seem to be line 12.95 whilst the original is comb 13,10. From this it can be seen that the genuine stamp must always have neat and equal corner perforations - the forged stamp will often have irregular corners. There are differences of paper and gum, but unless you happen to have one of each then these differences are not of too much significance, although the forgery is said to give a blue fluoresence under the UV lamp.

By far the most significant difference to my mind, and to the collector who only has only the one stamp to look at, is the style of lettering. The words EUROPA and ANDORRA are (where possible) quite heavily serifed on the original, but the forgery shows indistinct serifing and, in some cases the serifs are missing altogether, particularly on the tops of the R and P of EUROPA; the Rs of ANDORRA; and the serif at the top of E in CORREOS. The lettering of the forgery is generally much less bold and some letters are noticably thin, especially the PA of EUROPA, and the lower serifs on the latter letter at left are weak. The curve of the P is distinctively thin both at top and bottom where it joins or approaches the upright.

Detail of PA


Detal of PTAS

As can be seen from the illustration above, the PTAS on the forgery is in thinner, weak and ill-defined letters, some of which appear to be broken. Another rather curious difference is shown below; the "star" at extreme right on the forgery is more substantial than on the genuine, and is much more solid with colour.

Detail of star

It is hoped the above notes will be of benefit to members and provide them with enough data to check out their copies. The forgery seems to be of fairly recent vintage and anybody who purchased at time of issue should be OK. However, it must be mentioned that, according to the Editor of our sister society in Germany, Mr K-H Liedel, these forgeries have also been "used" to facilitate First Day Covers, thus bearing a faked FD cancellation of 2 May.72.

You have been warned!

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Updated 21st March 1999