Confederate States of America
Postal History
Fakes, Phonies, Forgeries

Fake Richmond, Va Postmark

The above cover is an extremely dangerous fake with an added 2c Red-Brown Stamp and a FAKE Richmond postmark to make the cover appear as a Richmond, Va Drop Letter. If the cover were genuine, it would have a value of $1,000.00+. This cover was actually submitted to the Philatelic Foundation in 1984 and Certificate #0134105 was issued. The PF certificate states that "It is a Genuine Usage." Even the Philatelic Foundation can be fooled. The fake nature of the cover was recently discovered when the cover was submitted to the Confederate Stamp Alliance Authentication Committee in 1999 where the counterfeit postmark was recognized. CSA Certificate #3562 was issued in 1999 correctly identifying the added stamp and the phony cancellation.

The enlargement on the left shows the rubber stamp quality of the fake postmark. The illustration on the right is a copy of Dietz' original tracing of this particular phony Richmond postmark.

There are a number of known fake Richmond cancellations which are described in the 1986 edition of the New Dietz Confederate States Catalog and Handbook. This particular fake cancellation was initially described years ago by August Dietz. I first found reference to this fake cancel in the 1945 edition of the Dietz Catalog. But I do not know who faked the postmark or exactly when it was done. Cover collecting became popular in the early part of the 20th Century. A number of these fake postmarks do date back to the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's. The postmark is actually a type-set rubber stamp (dates can be changed). Genuine postmarks are not rubber stamps but rather metal rim cancellers. The spacing and style of the lettering in the phony postmark are similar to the real thing, but there are enough differences so that it can be recognized as a fake. But you really have to know exactly what to look for.

These phony Richmond postmarks are mostly seen on the 20c Green stamps and occasionally on the 2c Red-Brown stamp. Fake cancels on ordinary Richmond covers are not very often seen. There are more CSA covers from Richmond than from any other Confederate city, but relatively few of these covers have fake postmarks. It is the 2c and the 20c covers that one has to be particularly careful with. Since these are expensive covers to begin with, expertization is recommended.

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