Many Faces of the Die 11 Forgeries

By Bill Lehr

© MAR, 2005


Die 11 (Scott type U12) is the ten cent bust of George Washington, star die, from the 1860 Nesbitt printings.  Die 11 is printed in green on white laid paper and on buff laid paper.  Reprints of Die 11

are known on vertically laid paper only.  A genuine Die 11 measures 20 X 24 mm. and has six-rayed stars; one point of each star appears to touch the inner frame line. Washington has a long throat which measures 2 mm. in length.  Washington’s nose is rounded and the forehead has a slight curve.  The “E” of “TEN” is short.  The base lines of the “A” of “POSTAGE” do not touch.  The throat has a discernable “Adam’s apple”.  Rear of the bust (tip of the queue) points to the “G” of “POSTAGE”.  No working die varieties are reported for Die 11.



                                                            U32                      U33


There is one major type of Die 11 forgeries reported and observed.  Type 1 depicts a bust of “George Washington” and six pointed stars.  Existence of Type 2 forgeries (Benjamin Franklin and five pointed stars) is unknown.  Similarities in the busts depicted on Type 1 forgeries of Dies 9, 10, and 11 seem to indicate a common source for these forgeries.


Both U32 and U33 are scarce as entires and only slightly less scarce as cut squares.  Mint entires of U32 and U33 were featured in the Shreeves Philatelic Galleries sale of the Whitington collection, DEC 13, 2003.  Lot 702, a mint U32 cut square sold for $ 500.00 and a U32 mint entire with light foxing, lot 703, sold for $ 3750.00.  Lot 704, a mint U33 cut square sold for $ 625.00 and Lot 705, a mint entire U33 sold for $ 1, 700.00.  (Auction prices quoted above do not include any buyer’s premium).


Type 1 forgeries:


Common characteristics

Bust of “George Washington” has a grotesque head (long nose, heavy eyebrows).

Back of the head bulges as if swollen.

Neither star touches the inner oval; left star is close to the outer frame line.

Printed on wove paper.

Measures 21 X 25 mm.


The Die 9FGT1 was attributed to Engelhardt Fohl of Dresden by the German philatelic publication Mitteldeutsche PhilatelistenZeitung in the JUL, 1900 issue.  Early literature suggests that a set of the 1860 Nesbitt star die type 1 forgeries was produced for sale to European collectors.


Die 11FGT1-1 (short neck)


No Die 11 Type 1-1 forgeries have been observed.  Reports are ambiguous. Numbers are reserved.


Die 11FGT1-1.1    Hooked nose. Not observed.  Number reserved.


Die 11FGT1-1.2    Big nose.  Number reserved.


Die 11FGT1-1.3    Very big nose.  Number reserved.


Die 11FGT1-1.4    Extremely big nose.  Number reserved.


Die 11FGT1-2 (long neck)


Common characteristics of Die 11FGT1-2

            The neck measures approximately 2 mm.

            There is a discernable bow on the queue.

Front of the bust exhibits a minor upward hook.

Top rear of the head is concave.

Nose is arched.

            Base of the bust differs from the genuine.

The stars, especially the right star, often have a dot of color inside of the star(s).

Neither star touches the inner oval.

“E” of “TEN” is large.

“A” of “POSTAGE” is narrow and appears closed at the bottom.

Known both with and without fake cancels.



                                                            Die 11FGT1-2.1


Die 11FGT1-2.1  There is no dot of color in either star.  Large bow on the queue.  Observed printed in pale green, green, medium blue, slate blue and dark blue.  Also reported printed in red and in blue.  Printed on both white and on buff paper.




                                                        Die 11FGT1-2.2


Die 11FGT1-2.2  There is a dot of color in the right star only.  Observed printed in green, red, and dark blue inks.  Also reported printed in pale green and in slate blue.  Observed printed on white, buff and amber buff papers.


Die 11FGT1-2.3  There is a dot of color in both stars.  Not observed.  Number reserved.



Type 2 forgeries:


No Type 2, Franklin head, forgeries have been observed or reported for Die 11.




Nomenclature for Die 11 forgery identification follows this format:


Die #    F(or)G(ery)-Type-Class-Sub-variety   




Properly speaking, forgeries should be referenced to the genuine Die number.  Design, ink color and paper color may make it possible to ascribe Scott/UPSS catalog numbers to forgeries.  All Die 11 forgeries printed on white paper correspond to UPSS 64/ Scott U32.  All Die 11 forgeries printed on buff paper correspond to UPSS 65/ Scott U33.


Additional varieties or paper colors may be waiting to be discovered.  The author is interested in examining any additions to the forgeries presented above.




My gratitude to collector Steve Dawson for the loan of his collection of U.S. postal stationery forgeries.




In addition to the usual catalogs, the following articles have been of assistance:


Bartels, JM

United States Envelopes - Series of 1860


Vol. 28, No. 4, Whole # 359, p 116


Collin, Henry and Calman, Henry L.

A Catalog for Advanced Collectors

American Journal of Philately

Second series, Vol. XII, JUN 1, 1899, pps 247-248


Dickinson, H.S.

Die Making and Notes on 1860 Second Nesbitt Issue              

American Philatelist  

Vol. 71, No. 6, pps 423-25


Envelope Counterfeits

(reprint from Stamp Journal, Dec. 1909)        

Weekly Philatelic Gossip       

XXV:  250       1937-38          


Haeseler, Rob

Cut Square Forgery Collection Helps Research

Linn's Stamp News     

Vol. 73, No. 3732, p 8 2


Hotchner, John M

Who Made Such Crude Fakes of Cut Squares?

Linn's Stamp News     

Vol. 74, No. 3779, p 6 2


Kinabrew, J.M., Jr.

Correspondence to Varro Tyler

Re:  German? Forgeries of the star dies.

JUN 8, 1977


1860 Types/Forgeries

Pat Paragraphs

No. 39, OCT 1939


Sloane, George B.

Forged U.S. Envelope Issues


JUL 2, 1949


Tyler, Varro E.

Focus On Forgeries # 337, Scott U26

Linn’s Stamp News, 2000


Undersander, Dan

Counterfeits of the Star Dies

Postal Stationery       

Vol. 42, No. 1, Whole # 39, pps 13-14           


Undersander, Dan

USA Envelopes:  Counterfeits of Star Dies II

Postal Stationery       

Vol. 43, No. 2, Whole # 317, pps 29-31         


Undersander, Dan & Starkey, Gary

USA Envelopes:  Reprints of the Nesbitt Issues

Postal Stationery       

Vol. 44, No. 1, Whole # 322, pps 4-6 


Youngblood, Wayne L

Fake Stamps Not Always What They Seem

Linn's Stamp News

Vol. 63, No. 3241, p 44