The pictures of the above original lot are admittedly very small and unclear when blown up, so positive ID is difficult using perfs as reference points. But look closely. What are the odds that 10 out of 13 common 10-cent items all purchased by "chickfrdstk" in one lot would have the exact same cancels in the exact same position, with the same side-to-side centering, as 10 extremely rare coils described and sold a short time later by the seller "schuylerac".

USA Lot Washington
Item # 1329420764 closed on 9 Feb 2002

This lot of stamps, shown to the left, was purchased by "chickfrdstk".

36 days later, the first #338 shows up again on eBay, with the top and bottom perfs trimmed to look like a #356.

Stamp 1: Item 1340568549 “356 USED CAT$1250”, sold on 24 Mar 2002 for $9.99

Stamp 2: Item 1346904616 349,51-53,56 USED COILS CAT$1282", sold on 19 Apr 2002 for $9.99

Stamp 3: Item 1351307565 "351,53,56,86,88 USED COILS CAT$1810", sold on 11 May 2002 for $6.99

Stamp 4: Item 1339266510 “356 USED CAT$1250”, sold on 18 Mar 2002 for $9.99

Stamp 5: Item 1338549557 “TREASURES WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED”, sold on 17 Mar 2002 for $31.00

Stamp 6: Item 1340567397 “352-356 USED COILS CAT$1515", sold on 24 Mar 2002 for $16.50

Stamp 7: Item 1339262140 “TREASURES WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED”, sold on 18 Mar 2002 for $20.60

Stamp 8: Item 1340396864 “356 USED CAT$1250”, sold on 23 Mar 2002 for $9.99

Stamp 9: Item 1338554331 “TREASURES WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED”, sold on 17 Mar 2002 for $16.15

Stamp 10: Item 1339938296 “356 USED CAT$1250”, sold on 31 Mar 2002 for $22.51

Original Stamp Image Altered Stamp Image Fraudulent Description
356 USED CAT$1250
Item # 1340568549 closed on 24 Mar 2002 for $9.99

The seller "schuylerac", after making the ridiculous title claim, goes on to describe the item in the ad thus:

"THIS STAMP SHOULD NEVER BE BOUGHT/SOLD AS GENUINE WITHOUT CERTIFICATION. WE ARE SELLING THIS AS IS. !........VIEW THE PHOTO AND BE YOUR OWN JUDGE TO MEET YOUR OWN PERSONAL CONDITION REQUIREMENTS AND PERCEPTIONS."

For a little more "fakes, forgery and alterations" fun, click on the picture above and look at the whole lot that "schuylerac" sold. Do the other stamps in the picture seem right to you?

349,51-53,56 USED COILS CAT$1282
Item # 1346904616 closed on 19 Apr 2002 for $9.99

Once again, the seller "schuylerac", after making the ridiculous title claim, goes on to describe the items in the ad thus:

"EACH STAMP IN THIS LOT MEASURES LESS THAN THE GENERALLY ACCEPTED MINIMUM MEASUREMENT. THIS LOT IS SOLD AS IS!!! ......VIEW THE PHOTO AND BE YOUR OWN JUDGE TO MEET YOUR OWN PERSONAL CONDITION REQUIREMENTS AND PERCEPTIONS."

For a little more "fakes, forgery and alterations" fun, click on the picture above and look at the whole lot that "schuylerac" sold. Do the other stamps in the picture seem right to you?

351,53,56,86,88 USED COILS CAT$1810
Item # 1351307565 closed on 11 May 2002 for $6.99

And for a third time, the seller "schuylerac", after making the ridiculous title claim, goes on to describe the items in the ad thus:

"EACH STAMP IN THIS LOT MEASURES LESS THAN THE GENERALLY ACCEPTED MINIMUM MEASUREMENT. THIS LOT IS SOLD AS IS! ......VIEW THE PHOTO AND BE YOUR OWN JUDGE TO MEET YOUR OWN PERSONAL CONDITION REQUIREMENTS AND PERCEPTIONS."
Time for the educational part

The 2002 Scott Specialized Catalog of US Stamps and Covers states on page 53:

"Beware of stamps offered as No. 356 which may be examples of No. 338 with perfs. trimmed at top and/or bottom. Beware also of plentiful fakes in the marketplace of Nos. 348-355. Authentication of all these coils is advised."

The Experts Book, A Practical Guide to the Authentication of United States Stamps, Washington/Franklin Issues 1908-1923, by Paul Schmid 1990 has a few points to make about the 356 issue as well. I will quote him.

"This issue is often faked. Over 30% of the almost 600 examples submitted to the Philatelic Foundation and APS expert committees proved to be bogus".
How to spot this issue as bogus.   Advice from an FPI*

Bogus Scott 356's, if they have double line watermarks, can be made only from Scott 338's. The Scott 338 in F-VF condition used has a catalog value of $1.40. You can see why fakers like this issue, when a genuine 356 catalogs at $1250 used.

A census of genuine 356 examples show that this issue is usually a tall coil, ranging in height from 25.0mm to 25.2mm. The census also shows that 45% of all genuine examples are centered with bias to the bottom. 30% are well-centered, and the remaining 25% are centered to the top.

The 356 is typically yellow or light yellow. Deep yellow or dark yellow orange such as our fakes shown above are often fakes made from perforated sheet stock such as the Scott 338.

*FPI, Forensic Philatelic Investigator



'Fraud on eBay - exposed!' article