eUSC Logo 6.2.  The Florida Forgers

6.2.  The Florida Forgers

From late 2000 a spate of forged overprints began emanating from Hialeah, Florida. They were for the most part poorly done, however they were being offered as classic forgeries for reference, and people were buying them.

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Wallis and Futuna Hialeah forgeries

The sellers used the IDs atdinvest, unlimitedstamps, futete and cclan.

Board member dbenson was vocal about them, and invited bidders to the chat board so that they could learn more about "yesterday's forgeries" as they were often called. sheryll-oswald came to the board in early May 2001, looking for information on these forgeries for publication in an article, and worked with dbenson and others to educate bidders, report listings and to have the sellers suspended from eBay, with occasional success.

Investigations by a group of concerned board members showed that these forgeries were being sold (and made?) by Mercy and Juan Canoura of Hialeah. In June, sheryll-oswald published an online educational article detailing the known operations of the "Florida forgers".

In July, 1covers conducted an analysis of the ink used to make the overprints. Later that month, atdinvest came to the board as Juan Canoura Sr and exchanged insults with board members about his forgeries and his "photorotogravure" printing technique from time to time over the course of the next few months. At the time, the sellers were offering fake "Specimen" overprints, and followed these with modern sheets of fake stamps cut up into blocks and singles and offered as mixed lots.

Specimen Hialeah forgeries
Specimen Hialeah forgeries
blocks Hialeah forgeries

Whilst many board members supported the fight to have these sellers removed from eBay, others grew tired of the continual negative postings and a few members left the board. In June 2002 eBay clamped down on board postings, and concerned members risked board sanctions or posted their concerns on alternative boards for a time. In May 2003 a new StampChat board was set up so that these and other fraudulent listings could be discussed without censorship by eBay.

In September 2003, atdinvest revealed the truth about its forgery business by offering for sale on eBay CDs of images used to print the forgeries, rubber cancels and handstamps, perforation equipment and large stocks of sheets, blocks and singles, first at $49,000, then later at $69,000.

On April 14 2004, atdinvest tried again, this time lowering the sale price to $11,999.99. eBay finally made a decision regarding this seller as well as others who resold the Hialeah forgeries, and atdinvest was suspended on April 21.

6.1.  Misdescribed or fraudulent listings        eBay Users' Stamp Club        6.3.  Florida Forgers: Dialogue