This article published in:
Postal Stationery, Journal of the United Postal Stationery Society, Vol. 50 # 351, NOV-DEC 2006, pgs 170-172
Many Faces of the Die 9 Forgeries
By Bill Lehr
© MAR, 2005
revisions: JUN, 2007
Die 9 (Scott type U12) is the three cent bust of George
Washington, star die, from the 1860 Nesbitt printings. Die 9 is printed in red on white laid paper
and on buff laid paper. Reprints of Die
9 are known on vertically laid paper only.
A genuine Die 9 measures 20 X 24 mm. (except Die 9T8 which is 24.5 mm.
tall) and has six-rayed stars; one point of each star appears to touch the
inner frame line.
U26T3 U27T5 U27T8
There are two major types of Die 9 forgeries. Type 1 depicts a bust of “George Washington” and six pointed stars. Type 2 depicts a bust of Benjamin Franklin and five pointed stars. Similarities in the busts depicted on Type 1 forgeries of Dies 9, 10, and 11 seem to indicate a common source for these forgeries.
Type 1 forgeries:
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 in red on wove paper.
Measures 21 X 25 mm.
The Die 9FGT1 was attributed to Engelhardt
Die 9FGT1-1 (short neck)
Common characteristics of Die 9FGT1-1
The neck measures approximately 1 ½ mm. long.
There is no dot of color in either star.
There is a large bow around the queue.
Front of the bust exhibits an upward hook.
Known both with and without fake cancels.
Sub varieties of the Die 9FGT1-1 can be differentiated by
the shape of “
Die 9FGT1-1.1 Hooked nose. Observed on buff wove paper.
Die 9FGT1-1.2 Big nose. Observed on white wove paper.
Die 9FGT1-1.3 Very big nose. Observed on white wove paper.
Die 9FGT1-1.4 Extremely big nose. Not observed. Number reserved.
Die 9FGT1-2 (long neck)
Common characteristics of Die 9FGT1-2
The neck measures approximately 2 mm.
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.
Die 9FGT1-2.1 There is no dot of color in either star. Not observed. Number reserved.
Die 9FGT1-2.2 There is a dot of color in the right star only. Reported. Not observed. Number reserved.
Die 9FGT1-2.3 There is a dot of color in both stars. Not observed. Number reserved.
Type 2 forgeries:
Common characteristics of the Die 9FGT2:
Bust of Benjamin Franklin facing the wrong way (right).
Bottom front of the bust points between “A” and the “G” of “POSTAGE”.
Head is poorly embossed.
Bottom of the bust touches the inner frame line at the front.
Poorly formed five pointed stars not touching either frame line.
“C” of “CENTS” is small.
“N” of “CENTS” is very wide at the top, narrow at the bottom.
Frame lines are irregular, especially the inner frame line.
Printed on wove paper.
Known with and without fake cancels.
George B. Sloane suggests, in the
Die 9FGT2-1.1 Not observed. Reserved for printings in red.
Die 9FGT2-1.2 Printed in
magenta. Top of
Die 9FGT2-2.1 Printed in
Die 9FGT2-2.2 Printed in
Nomenclature for Die 9 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 9 forgeries printed on white paper correspond to UPSS 48/ Scott U26. All Die 9 forgeries printed on buff paper correspond to UPSS 53/ Scott U27.
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
In addition to the usual catalogs, the following articles have been of assistance:
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,
Die Making and Notes on 1860 Second Nesbitt Issue
Vol. 71, No. 6, pps 423-25
(reprint from Stamp Journal, Dec. 1909)
Weekly Philatelic Gossip
XXV: 250 1937-38
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.
No. 39, OCT 1939
Sloane, George B.
Tyler, Varro E.
Focus On Forgeries # 337, Scott U26
Linn’s Stamp News, 2000
Counterfeits of the Star Dies
Vol. 42, No. 1, Whole # 39, pps 13-14
Vol. 43, No. 2, Whole # 317, pps 29-31
Undersander, Dan & Starkey, Gary
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