Confederate States of America
Postal History
Fakes, Phonies, Forgeries

CSA 10c Type I (AD) Fake Perfs

The above cover which was described as an 1864 triple use cover with the third usage being a perforated 10c (AD) Type I stamp is a FAKE which has fooled a number of prominent people over the past few years. The cover resided in a Gold Medal Exhibit unrecognized as a fake. The exhibit was sold by a prominent auction house where this cover was sold as an individual lot described as an 1864 perforated usage again unrecognized as a fake. Analyzing this cover is a true exercise in how postal history can be researched with just a little knowledge and a good reference library.

The first usage of the cover is illustrated above and is perfectly legitimate. At upper left is a manuscript "Hill Grove (Va) 27 May" and to the right is a pen-cancelled 10c Blue (AD) Type I. Full Military Address to Lieut Joseph M. Moses, Comp G 53rd Va Regt, Armistead's Brigade, Pickett's Division, Richmond City, Va. Notation at left reads "I hope this letter will go straight as the last letter that I have written has not come to him at all."

The second usage was described as Handcarried from Richmond, Va to Gordonsville, Va.

The third usage shown above was described as the 10c Blue (AD) Type I stamp perforated from Gordonsville, Va 12 JUN (presumed to be 1864) to Mrs Kate S. Moses, Hill Grove, Pitts, Va. Here is where we start running into trouble.

The 53rd Va Regt, as the address states, was part of Armistead's Brigade in Pickett's Division and took part in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. The usages and the Military Address (Hill Grove to Richmond to Gordonsville) exactly traces the movement of the regiment from the Richmond area to Gordonsville in JUN 1863 during the month before Gettysburg. By JUN 1864, the Armistead name designation had been dropped as Gen Armistead was killed at Gettysburg in Pickett's Charge. In JUN 1864, the 53rd Va was part of Barton's Brigade and was in the Petersburg, Va area. Therefore, everything about the usages of this cover are compatible with 1863 and not 1864. Originally describing this cover as an 1864 usage was totally erroneous and not compatible with the historical research. Why is this important? It is important because the Earliest Known Usage of a genuine CSA perforated stamp is 13 JUL 1863. If this cover's perforated stamp usage was totally genuine, then it would predate the EKU by a full month. With all the current documentation on the CSA perforated stamps, finding a bona fide cover predating the EKU by a full month while not impossible would be extremely unlikely -- sort of like winning the lottery. Also, Lieut Moses of the 53rd Va could be researched through the National Archives to see if any information on him is available. I have not as yet done this.

In studying the above enlarged scans of the perforated stamp, there is also something not right with the stamp itself. The postmark appears to be Gordonsville, Va clearly datated 12 JUN. However, the postmark on the stamp and on the cover do not quite line up. The lettering and spacing do not quite match what I would expect in a Gordonsville, Va postmark. But Gordonsville did use several different postmarks, and by the visible letters, this is really the only mark that it could be. So I am sure that the Gordonsville usage is correct. But under magnification, the stamp is not tied at all within any of the perfs. One would expect the stamp to be tied within the perforations particularly when dark ink on the stamp surrounds the perforation. Below the stamp is an old gum outline which appears to correspond with the original placement of the stamp. The original gum on these CSA stamps was so heavy that a visible stain is almost always left whenever a stamp is lifted off the cover. The stamp once lifted must be replaced perfectly, otherwise part of the stain will show as it does here.

But the real nail in the coffin on this cover is the fact that the perforations on the stamp measure out clearly as Gauge 12. The genuine CSA perforated stamps are all Gauge 12 1/2. It seems that prior owners either missed this entirely or did not measure the Gauge.

Here is what I believe happened to this cover -- Someone took a real genuine turned cover with the wonderful military address and lifted the Gordonsville, Va stamp off the cover and applied phony perforations to the stamp in a direct attempt to enhance its value. In so doing, the faker applied the perforations in the wrong gauge (he either did not know the correct gauge or did not care). In adding the perforations, he also decreased the width of the stamp probably by applying the perforations as complete holes along the left side and trimming them back. When he replaced the stamp on the cover, he did not replace it exactly as it was. The shortened width of the stamp left some of the old gum stain visible. This would also account for the fact that there are no ink ties between the perforations. I have no idea who may have done this or how long ago it was done. But whoever did it got away with it as it fooled a number of very knowledgeable people all because no one apparently looked closely at the stamp and the history or simply measured the perforation gauge until now. I admit that I was also initially taken in by the cover and for awhile had it for sale on my net price list. I was blinded by the cover's pedigree before I decided to take a closer look. It is a real shame because the cover if it had remained in its original condition and had not been messed with would have been an excellent addition to any collection because of the Gettysburg connection.

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