A Short Introduction To The Philately Of Palestine

Fake Stamps and Forgeries: Pope John Paul II & Benedict XVI

FLASH NEWS NEWLY DISCOVERED SEPTEMBER 2006 FLASH NEWS
These fake sheetlets appeared on Ebay recently, matching the graphic style of other ******* ***** fakes. The seller has quickly reacted to reports and stopped all auctions; he had bought these "stamps" in good faith in Poland. I will therefore not publish full Ebay details. Similar products purport to come from Somalia and Benin; and Im sure others will surface as well. Mr. *****' production is running on full speed I reckon!

fakepope21 (34K) fakepope22 (38K)
fakepope23 (30K) fakepope24 (28K)
fakepope20 (34K) fakepope25 (32K)
fakepope3 fakepope4 fakepope5 fakepope1 fakepope2
fakepope9

BEWARE OF FORGERIES!

A number of stamps (blocks or sheetlets) have recently appeared on Ebay and in the philatelic trade commemorating the 85th birthday and the death of Pope John Paul II. THESE ARE ALL FORGERIES.

Note the different inscriptions: Palestinian National Authority instead of the correct The Palestinian Authority, the missing currency Fils, also the false ordinal 85. and several other errors! The printed postmarks also bear little relation to official first-day cancellations used by the PNA. Official stamps of Palestine bearing the Pope's portrait were issued in 1995 and 2000. Only these are real postage stamps!

A number of similar products exist commemorating the Pope's 25th anniversary, first seen in 2003, purporting to be "stamps" from Palestine (note the correct inscriptions!), Kirgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Rwanda, The Congo, Benin, Tadjikistan, Mauretania, and Côte d'Ivoire. Fellow collector Thomas Schubert showed me examples that were (in my opinion) apparently produced explicitely for the Polish market. Other "states" issueing such fake stamps (apparently by the same graphic designer) include Gagauzia, Tatarstan, Karelia, Mordova, and others.

According to the PWO website and Motor Filatelisten Nederland the persons reponsible for these fake stamps include a certain ******* ***** from *******. I personally cannot prove this connection, but numerous websites make exactly that inference.

Most sellers remain vague in their descriptions, solely Long Beach Philatelics Inc. (lbphilatel, a powerseller) initially explicitely says (later offers don't contain this claim any longer):

NEW APR '05. This is a beautiful complete set of 2 sheets, containing a total of 2 postage stamps, issued in 2005 by the Palestinian National Authority, having the Holy Land commemorate the Anniversary of the birth of Pope John Paul II. The sheets are Post Office fresh, mint never hinged.

Source: Ebay 5590236767.

fakepope3 fakepope4 fakepope5 fakepope1 fakepope2
fakepope9

If you bought these sheetlets, e.g. won an auction at Ebay, in the belief they were official postage stamps, you should cancel the bid and not make any payments. I appeal to buyers to report to me the reaction by the vendors. Long Beach Philatelics Inc. has refunded at least one buyer. You should also notify Ebay (eg. via http://pages.ebay.com/help/contact_us/_base/index.html or your local ebay domain + /help/basics/select-RS.html, e.g. http://pages.ebay.de/help/basics/select-RS.html). Please also do not hesitate to contact me directly!

I agree not knowingly to sell, trade, produce, or advertise repaired, reperforated, 
regummed, altered, or otherwise modified philatelic items unless that condition is 
clearly stated. I further agree that forged stamps, fakes, facsimiles, and 
reproductions are allowed to be sold provided:
  1. their sale does not violate applicable laws or copyrights,
  2. the item is clearly and indelibly marked as a forgery, fake, facsimile or reproduction on the front or back, and
  3. the seller's listing clearly states that the item is a forgery, fake, reproduction, or facsimile and includes an image of the marking.

Source: http://www.stamps.org/ebay/ebay_code.htm

1. Ich versichere, keine reparierte, nachgezähnte, nachgummierte oder anderweitig
veränderte philatelistische Lose anzubieten, es sei denn, dies ist ausdrücklich
vermerkt. Ferner versichere ich, dass ich Verfälschungen, Fälschungen, Faksimiles
oder Neudrucke nur dann anbiete, wenn
a. Ihr Verkauf nicht gegen Gesetze des Copyrights verstößt
b. das Material deutlich und unzweideutig als
   Verfälschung, Fälschung, Faksimile oder Neudruck auf der Vorder- oder Rückseite
   gekennzeichnet ist
c. in der Verkaufsbeschreibung eindeutig vermerkt ist, dass es sich um eine
   Verfälschung, Fälschung, ein Faksimile oder einen Neudruck handelt und
   zusätzlich die Kennzeichnung als solche abgebildet ist.

2. Ich versichere, philatelistisches Material nach besten Wissen und
Gewissen und keinesfalls in betrügerischer Absicht anzubieten. Ich vermeide
insbesondere irreführende Aussagen zur Seltenheit, zum Wert oder einer möglicher
Wertsteigerung des angebotenen Loses.
							
3. Ich versichere, kein philatelistisches Material anzubieten, auf das andere einen
Erstanspruch haben.

4. Ich versichere, den Erstehungspreis umgehend dem Bieter zurückzuzahlen, wenn von
einem von ebay autorisierten Experten festgestellt wurde, dass das Los von mir
falsch oder nicht eindeutig, also irreführend, beschrieben wurde.

5. Die Kürzel „o.O.“ (ohne Obligo), „Wie besehen“ oder vergleichbares werde ich
nicht benutzen.

Source: http://pages.ebay.de/briefmarkenratgeber/kodex/index.html

Ebay Item Vendor Buyer Price Status
5576850565 5 o marlen-stamp -- $12.95 unsold
5576850605 3, 4 ** marlen-stamp -- $19.95 unsold
5588732339 1 ** bentley1stamp -- £2.25 unsold
5589633383 4 o mar-max rolherzog €3,40
5590236767 3, 4 ** lbphilatel qatar64 $6.25
5590236803 15 ** lbphilatel qatar64 $5.00
5590236804 5 ** lbphilatel qatar64 $6.50
5590236819 1, 9 ** lbphilatel qatar64 $6.00
5591546078 1 o mar-max hanichris €2,40
5591546079 9 o mar-max tevje2002 €1,90
5591546677 5 o mar-max tevje2002 €1,90
5591549549 4 o mar-max tevje2002 €1,90
5591549550 3 o mar-max tevje2002 €1,90
5591549551 5 o mar-max tevje2002 €1,90
5592128098 1, 9 ** lbphilatel ****** $6.00 Money returned
5592128099 15 ** lbphilatel ****** $5.00 Money returned
5592128110 9 ** lbphilatel ****** $7.00 Money returned
5592128122 3, 4 ** lbphilatel ****** $6.25 Money returned
5593965152 5 ** lbphilatel karim66 $6.50
5593965158 15 ** lbphilatel karim66 $5.50
5593965175 3, 4 ** lbphilatel karim66 $6.25
5593965176 1, 9 ** lbphilatel karim66 $9.00
5595790602 15 ** lbphilatel $5.00 offers can no longer be traced, apparently Ebay has stopped these three auctions
5595790606 5 ** lbphilatel $6.50
5595790609 3, 4 ** lbphilatel $6.25
5603769559 3 ** stamps2buy -- £3.25 unsold

fakepope3 fakepope4 fakepope5 fakepope1 fakepope2
fakepope9

In the following I document some of the replies I received after making enquiries. First an official confirmation by the Palestinian Post, then letters from official printers Bundesdruckerei GmbH, Berlin, and official distributor Philagentur. Next come answers from Ebay sellers. One seller, Long Beach Philatelics Inc., has not yet reacted. I have also alerted, apart from sellers and buyers on Ebay, Ebay itself, the German philatelic society BDPh (news report, in German) and the Universal Postal Union.

The Bundesdruckerei has promptly alerted the German philatelic press: the very first magazine to publish the warning was Briefmarkenspiegel in its August issue (27.07.2005, p.125: "Dubiose Papst-Marken"). The Pope stamps were also mentioned in a larger piece on modern fakes and forgeries in their September issue. Next came an article in Deutsche Briefmarken-Revue (28.07.2005, p.65: "Falsche Palästina-Marken im Internet!"). BDPh members magazine philatelie printed a letter by fellow collector Thomas Schubert in its August issue (29.07.2005, p51: "Phantasie-Ausgaben"). There it was reported that talks are underway to strengthen Ebay's rules. Belatedly, DBZ/se Deutsche Briefmarken-Zeitung published a short notice in its issue 17 (19.08.2005, p29: "Vorsicht bei Papst-Marken Palästinas"). Other, international magazines may follow. I have also written a concise piece (in German) for the Israel-Philatelist (Switzerland), which will appear in issue no.156 (September 2005).

Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005 09:36:42 +0200
From: "jamal bakeer" <jbakeer@gov.ps>

Dear Sir:
Thanks four you're interesting in our stamps and website.
About your inquiry of stamps "commemorating the death of pope john Paul II,
According to my knowledge there are no PNA stamps about this subject, and also
the same about the FDCs

With best regard
Jamal Bakeer
Manager of philately

Source: E-mail sent to me by Mr. Jamal Bakeer, Manager of Philately,
General Administration of Post, Ministry of Telecom & Information Technology, Gaza, Palestine.

Date: Mon, 4 Jul 2005 14:46:36 +0200
From: "Zerbel, Hans" 

Guten Tag Herr Zywietz,
wir bestätigen ausdrücklich, dass die sechs von Ihnen gezeigten Blocks zum Tode
des Papstes nicht von der Postverwaltung der Palästinensischen Autonomiebehörde
herausgegeben worden sind. Es handelt sich um Fälschungen zum Schaden der Sammler, 
private Machwerke vor deren Kauf gewarnt werden muß.
Vertragsgemäß ist nur die Bundesdruckerei Berlin berechtigt – nach Autorisierung
durch die Autonomiebehörde – diese Wertzeichen zu drucken.
Offizielle Briefmarken werden sie nach Ausgabe in den Postämtern in Palästina.
Wir versichern, dass die in Rede stehenden sechs Blocks nicht bei uns hergestellt
worden sind und wir erst durch Ihre Internetseiten darauf aufmerksam geworden sind.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Dipl.-Ing. Hans Zerbel
Senior Consultant Philatelic Industries

Translation:
We explicitely confirm that the six blocks on the death of the Pope you show were not issued by the postal administration of the Palestinian National Authority. They are forgeries to the detriment of collectors, private concoctions on whose purchase must be warned. According to contract, solely the Bundesdruckerei Berlin is entitled—subject to authorisation by the [Palestinian] National Authority—to print such stamps. They become official postage stamps after being issued in post offices in Palestine. We affirm that the six blocks in question were not produced by us and that we were made aware of them only by means of your internet pages.

Source: E-mail sent to me by Hans Zerbel, Senior Consultant Philatelic Industries,
Bundesdruckerei GmbH, Berlin.

Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 12:07:28 +0200
From: "Zerbel, Hans" 

Sehr geehrter Herr Zywietz,
aus aktuellem Anlaß erklären wir auch die neuerlich aufgetauchten Papst-Blocks
der Palestinian Authority zu Fälschungen zum Schaden der Sammler und versichern,
dass keinerlei Blocks mit der Abbildung des Papstes - zu welchem Anlaß auch immer - 
offiziell in Palästina herausgegeben wurden.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Dipl.-Ing. Hans Zerbel
Senior Consultant Philatelic Industries

Translation:
With regard to recent events we confirm that the newly surfaced Palestinian Authority Pope-blocks [referring to nos. 12, 13, and 15] are forgeries to the detriment of collectors. We affirm that no blocks showing images of the Pope—irrespective of whatever occasion—were officially issued in Palestine.

Source: E-mail sent to me by Hans Zerbel, Senior Consultant Philatelic Industries,
Bundesdruckerei GmbH, Berlin.

Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2005 10:24:32 +0200
From: "Ralf Krostitz" <krostitz@philagentur.de>

Sehr geehrter Herr Zywietz,
die Problematik gefälschter Briefmarken ist ja kein Phänomen von einem Land, sonder
sie ist Grenzübergreifend.
Deshalb hat Herr Albertino De Figueiredo, Präsident der Afinsa Gruppe, der auch 
Philagentur angehört, schon vor ein paar Jahren es sich zur Aufgabe gemacht, den
illegalen Briefmarken den Kampf anzusagen.
Hierzu wurde extra eine Kommission ins Leben gerufen, die sehr eng mit der UPU
in Verbindung steht.
Wenn wir als Agentur solche Marken auf dem Markt entdecken bzw. uns dieses 
mitgeteilt wird, setzen wir uns mit der UPU in Verbindung, die dies wiederum auf
ihrer Web-Seite und per Brief veröffentlicht.

Im Falle Palästina, wäre hier der richtige Ansprechpartner aber die Bundesdruckerei,
die direkt die Verträge mit Palästina und auch die Kontakte hat.

Ich hoffe ihnen mit meiner Ausführung ein wenig geholfen zu haben und verbleibe 
mit freundlichen Grüssen
Ralf Krostitz

Summarizing translation:
The problem of fake stamps is worldwide. The president of Afinsa Group, owners of Philagentur, is actively fighting such issues and a commision was formed which is closely cooperating with the UPU. When we discover or are made aware of such stamps, we inform the UPU which then publishes this information. In the case of Palestine the right contact is the Bundesdruckerei, which is under direct contract with Palestine.

Source: E-mail sent to me by Ralf Krostitz, Philagentur, Oberursel.

fakepope3 fakepope4 fakepope5 fakepope1 fakepope2
fakepope9

Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 02:37:19 -0700
From: "eBay-Mitglied: bentley1stamp" <member@ebay.de>
Reply-To: filastamp@aol.com

5588732339
TRIBUTE TO POPE JOHN PAUL II; SOUVENIR SHEET; PERF;MINT

We cannot advise yet, but we have written a letter with a sample to the Palestinian
National Authority Embassy in London requesting confirmation of legality.

Source: an E-Mail sent to me by one of the vendors.

Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 08:28:32 -0700
From: "eBay-Mitglied: mar-max" <member@ebay.de>
Reply-To: mar_max@web.de

5589633383
Palästina Block gest. Johannes Paul II/Rose, selten !

Die Palästina Werte sind ein Teil von der Papst JP II Sammlung !

Translation:
"The Palestine values are a part of the Pope PJ II collection"

Source: an E-Mail sent to me by another vendor.

Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2005 03:22:53 -0400
Subject: The Palestine Authority & Pope John Paul II

Dear Sir,
Thank you for your timely advice regarding the validity of certain postal material
supposedly issued by The Palestine Authority. I have contacted the seller (Long
Beach Philatelics Inc.) of the material in question and was promptly and courteously
refunded my purchase price.
Your vigilance is appreciated.


Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2005 13:00:24 -0400
Subject: Re: The Palestine Authority & Pope John Paul II

Please remove the record of my purchase from Long Beach Philatelics Inc. from
your website. As stated in my previous e-mail, my payment was returned when
requested and the transaction was closed in a professional manner.
The stamps may have been offered for sale in good faith; I have no complaint
against Long Beach Philatelics Inc.

Source: E-Mails sent to me by a buyer who wants to remain anonymous.

fakepope2 (38K) fakepope15 (46K)

fakepope1 (34K) fakepope9 (42K)
fakepope3 (27K) fakepope4 (25K)
fakepope5 (52K) fakepope13 (62K)
fakepope12A (44K) fakepope12B (40K)
Images from Ebay and Thomas Schubert. Large scale images.

Be notified of
page updates
I provide a listing of all changes to my pages. It also provides a free notification service by e-mail:
Log of Changes

Back to the Introduction

Back to the Zobbel Homepage

[Created 25.06.2005, last revised 4.07.2015]
[www.zobbel.de – Dipl.-Bibl.(FH) Tobias Zywietz – all rights reserved]