We all know the difficulty in collecting Confederate States stamps. The world of CSA collecting is fraught with forgeries and fakes, and that discourages a lot of collectors. Personally I find the brief history of the CSA postal service fascinating and have slowing been collecting the stamps over the last couple of years.
Interestingly my first CSA turned out to be a Springfield forgery/facsimile, but that didn't deter me.
Recently I was on line searching for Confederate stamps and I was discouraged, on one site, by the plethora of facsimiles listed. I sometimes wonder if there shouldn't be a separate area on these online auction sites just for these things.
But I noticed most of the fakes I was seeing were from a single dealer, so I checked him out. No pun intended, but the rest is history.
Not only did I find a wide variety of Springfield fakes (these were printed from the 1930s on, by the Tatham Stamp Co. of Springfield Mass. for use in their books about CSA postal history. They are a story unto themselves), but I also found many others that looked, well, absolutely terrible! I realized these weren't Spingfields, they were real forgeries.
Confederate forgeries date back to the Civil War itself, and after, when everybody who could tried to make a few bucks here and there scamming the post office or stamp collectors, or both. I recognized several of the crudely produced stamps from articles and websites I'd seen.
So, I was intrigued. And I bought! For literally pennies a stamp (or believe me I wouldn't be wasting my time) I was able to, first, complete my Springfield Facsimile collection.
The variety of quality in the Springfields is amazing. Some show amazing detail while other look as if they've been photocopied over and over again. The later editions have 'facsimile' printed on the back, and some are numbered. This collection is a combination of early and later editions. The second stamp from the left on the second row is the first CSA I bought, but I thought I'd include him here with his new friends.
As mentioned above, these were created by H. E. MacIntosh, owner of the Tatham Stamp and Coin Co. to be used in his Tasco booklet. The booklet gave a history of the Confederate postal service, and the stamps were created to supplement the text. But MacIntosh's images were not taken from the original stamps, but from images published by Confederate expert August Dietz. The images were used without permission, and eventually Dietz confronted MacIntosh and informed him of his copyright infringement. The Tasco stamps were then marked on the back with the word 'Facsimile' and later still numbered, to avoid a lawsuit.
These stamps were printed in full sheets of 25. The booklet containing singles sold originally for 35¢.
Still of little monetary value, and widely available on eBay
and other sites, but they make an interesting side story to Confederate postal collecting.
In my next installment, we'll see how horrible some of the forgeries looked. It's hard to believe they could fool anyone.