This article published in Postal Stationery, Vol. 47, No. 3, Whole # 342, MAY-JUN, 2005, p 64


Die 12 Counterfeit Entire #2

Bill Lehr, © JUN 2003



Discovery of the original Die 12, the 1¢ blue, Franklin, star die with a period after “POSTAGE”, counterfeit entire was reported by Rob Haeseler in Linn's Stamp News, Apr. 1, 2002, Vol. 75, Issue # 3881, pgs. 1, 33 and by this author in Postal Stationery, Vol. 44, No. 3, Whole # 324, p. 53.  The article in Postal Stationery generated a response from a postal stationery collector in the U.S. mid west reporting a second Die 12 counterfeit entire.  This author has since had the opportunity to examine that second counterfeit entire of Die 12.


A report on the examination of the second Die 12 counterfeit entire (a comparison to the original discovery):




                                                                                    Original Discovery                    Second Discovery  


Stamp imprint:


Overall measurement of the stamp is 20 ¾ X 25 mm. (same as the original discovery).

Color appears to be slightly darker than the original discovery.

Imprint is located 3 mm. from the top and 4 ¾ mm. from the side (same as the original discovery).

Lettering appears to be worn with damaged letters and missing serifs:

Especially obvious are the “O” and the “N” of “ONE”, the “N” of “CENT” and the “A” (broken cross bar) of “POSTAGE”.

The embossed bust evinces damage to both the bridge of the nose and to the tip of the nose.

Bridge of the nose appears to be deeper with pronounced flat spots.

Tip of the nose lacks the very distinctive sharp, rounded tip of the original discovery.

Jacket buttons on the second discovery appear more pronounced due to the presence of some blue ink in the impressions.


Original Discovery

Second Discovery


Envelope Knife:


Size and knife appear to match the original discovery exactly based on an overlay comparison.

Gum exhibits a “square end” on the left with some thinning into the left side of the tongue.

Termination of the gum on the right end is indistinct.

The envelope is folded with the side flaps over the bottom flap.

Overall size of the envelope is 151 X 82 mm.


            Second Discovery




Un-watermarked diagonally laid buff colored paper with the major lines spaced 25 mm. between and angled at 52° counterclockwise from the lower, front edge.  Minor laid lines are approximately 1 mm. wide and are spaced 1 mm. between.

There are numerous inclusions in the paper.

Color appears slightly darker (due to toning or light soil?) than the paper color of the original discovery.

Neither the original discovery nor the second discovery match any paper color of any known genuine printings from the Nesbitt second printings that have been used for comparison.




Corner fold at the lower left and a minor bend along the right edge.

A smudge (10 X 13mm.) in the lower left appears to be an erased pencil notation.

There is what appears to be an erased ink notation at the lower right.

Numerous small pin holes are scattered throughout.

A very minor tear (3 ¼ mm.) exists along the flap fold at the left.

There is a paper adhesion (8 X 16 mm) on the rear left side flap.

A minor abrasion (12 mm.) of the top flap exists near the left side of the tongue.

Some minor residual adhesive appears on the right side flap.

Typical minor edge soiling occurs along the top and the bottom edges.

Both bottom corners of the envelope are rounded from wear.

There is a faint fingerprint located at the upper right below and partially into the stamp imprint.




The second counterfeit Die 12 entire is identical to the original counterfeit Die 12 entire discovery except for an apparent difference in the ink color of the stamp imprint and in the apparent damage to the working die.  The minor color difference and the wear to the die would seem to indicate that many more than the two reported Die 12 counterfeit entires were produced.  One variety of the Die 12 type 1 cut square forgeries (six pointed stars/embossed on laid paper) appears to have been cut from these counterfeit entires.




Nesbitt Stamped Envelopes & Wrappers of the United States of America with Illustrations of the Various Dies

Harrison & Bacon

Castle (as supplement to London Philatelist), 1895


Stamped Envelopes and Wrappers of the United States, the Nesbitt Issues 1853-1869, 1st edition


Bartels Company, 1929


Thorp-Bartels Catalogue of US Stamped Envelopes, Century Edition

Thorp, Prescott Holden

Bartels Company, 1954


Forged U.S. Envelopes

Casey, Joseph J.

The Stamp Journal

Vol. 5, No. 58, Oct. 1879


Catalog of the 19th Century US Stamped Envelopes and Wrappers of the United States, second edition

Mintz, Allen, editor

United Postal Stationery Society, Inc., 2001


Fake U.S. envelope entire found:  rumored to exist for a century

Haeseler, Rob

Linn’s Stamp News

Vol. 75, No. 3831, pps 1, 33


Who Made Such Crude Fakes of Cut Squares?

Hotchner, John M.

Linn’s Stamp News

Vol. 74, No. 3779, p6


Forgeries of the 19th Century US Stamped Envelopes

Kinabrew, JM, Jr.

Postal Stationery

Vol. 20, No. 4, Whole # 191, pps 115-123


US Envelope Die 12 Forgery Revisited

Lehr, Bill

Postal Stationery

Vol. 44, No. 3, Whole # 324, p 53


United States, Forgeries of the Star Die Issue Envelope Stamps

Lurch, E Norman

Postal Stationery

Vol. 4, No. 4, Whole # 72, p 49


Focus on Forgeries:  US 1860 1c Benjamin Franklin envelope cut square, U19

Tyler, Varro, E

Linn’s Stamp News

25 SEP, 2000, p 6, Focus on Forgeries # 336


Counterfeits of the Star Dies

Undersander, Dan

Postal Stationery

Vol. 42, No. 1, Whole # 310, pps 13-14


Fake Nesbitt cut squares came from Europe

Undersander, Dan

Linn’s Stamp News

28 AUG, 2000, p 8


USA Envelopes:  Reprints of the Nesbitt Issues

Undersander, Dan

Postal Stationery

Vol. 44, No. 1, Whole # 322, pps 4-6


Forgeries and Imitations of US Embossed Envelopes

Wells Leighton E.


29 DEC, 1945, pps 524-525


Catalogue for Advanced Collectors

Collin, Henry & Calman, Henry L.

American Journal of Philately

Second Series, Vol. VII, pps 247-248