Philosateleia
Kevin Blackston
PO Box 17544
San Antonio TX 78217-0544
United States of America

Fake Canal Zone overprint will fool virtually nobody

While in the local stamp shop a few weeks back, I was flipping through stock cards when I found what was labeled as a Canal Zone Scott 92, the 20¢ Golden Gate fourth Bureau issue stamp with a Canal Zone overprint. Except for the overprinted 14¢ American Indian stamps from the same issue, Canal Zone stamps are not something in which I’ve ever taken much interest, and I almost certainly would have passed on this one except for one thing.

The overprint is fake. I mean really and truly fake, the sort that you don’t have to be an expert to spot. I thought it might be of interest to you, so I bought it so I could share it here.

20¢ Golden Gate stamp with fake Canal Zone overprint
Fake Overprint

Why do I say that the overprint is fake? For one thing, the letters in the overprint aren’t in a straight line; for example, look how the “O” in “ZONE” dips down below the vinette, while the other letters don’t. In addition, the “N” in “CANAL” looks like it can’t decide which way to lean—the left leg is bowed in at the top, while the right leg is more vertical but not overly straight—and the top of the “L” in “CANAL” is not far from being as long as the bottom! Yes, it’s a fake, and not an overly convincing one. Finally, the letters in the overprint have a generally smudgy appearance that’s a far cry from the sharpness of genuine examples that I’ve seen.

The basic United States stamp is valued at just over catalogue minimum even in very fine condition, which this stamp is not, but even if the overprint was genuine, it would still have a Scott catalogue value of less than $4. It hardly seems worthwhile to fake! Perhaps whoever added the fake overprint was simply practicing on a cheap stamp; I guess we should just be thankful they didn’t ruin something nicer.

Published 2019-06-20

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