Philatelic Pirates
Philatelic Pirates

In the modern world the philatelic piracy is still existing. Philatelic advisers and agencies, as they call themselves, enter into the agreements with some small and tiny nations of Asia, Africa and America, and on their behalf they "publish" a multiple series of "stamps", which are, actually, just a colorful pictures of the most popular motifs: paintings, space, sports, flora, fauna, etc.

A huge number of this kind of stamps is produced for Paraguay, Panama, Bhutan, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, the Gulf emirates (particularly Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm al-Qaiwain, which are now parts of the United Arab Emirates ), etc. Typically, these stamps, that are printed in New York, Tokyo, Rome, Brussels, London, Geneva, Beirut, the Bahamas and other places, in most cases do not even get into the country, whose name they bear, and they are sent directly to the philatelic trade firms that are distributing them all over the world. If among them there are found the postmarked stamps, they were not quenched in their "homeland" and they were never glued on the letters: they are marked by the same companies and agencies, and some of these stamps are quenched directly in the printing process - in the form for printing there is mounted a quenching stamp, so the stamps are printed and marked in the same time. All these issues are not caused by the needs of mail and do not perform their postage functions.


philatelic fakes


Many of these series are accompanied by some small circulations of the airmail stamps, blocks, not perforated editions of the same series and blocks, and various of a commemorative overprints. Some of them are printed on the golden and silver foil. There are also printed stamps of some bizarre forms, long-playing (in the form of small records), with the smell of roses, three dimensional and so on.

Philatelic organizations consider this issues as unwanted, speculative, and are trying to put many barriers, not to let them to be spread. The only way to fight in this case - is a boycott. Federation Internationale de Philatelie (FIP) in 1962 - at it's congress in Prague - had formulated the basic criteria for determining inappropriate and speculative issues and called all philatelists to boycott them. In the future, these criteria were refined and improved. Now there is a rule by which the existence of such stamps in the exhibits is leading to a lower estimates of the latter, and if there is a lot of such stamps - to the disqualification of the exhibit.

With these stamps there has happened several funny stories and incidents.

In order to earn more money, some philatelic agencies are issuing "for" some small countries, expensive stamps, printed on the foil. These stamps were issued on a behalf of Equatorial Guinea. There was found a businessman, who decided to cash in on it. It was 67-year-old crook Dragomir Prodanov, known to the old philatelists for his tricks from the 50's, when in Spain he was publishing and selling stamps of "the kingdom of Bulgaria", he completely "forgot", that from September 15, 1946 this country was proclaimed a Republic.

Unable to make a good profit on the "kingdom", Prodanov moved to Switzerland, opened a printing house and began printing stamps. Among the other stamps he published also some stamps of the Equatorial Guinea, but instead of golden foil he used the plain paper with the "golden" color. He managed to sell a lot of these products to one Swiss magazine for tens of thousands of francs. Magazine in 1973 was celebrating it's 75th anniversary, and those stamps were the suppose to be prizes for the winners of the anniversary contest-quiz. The rude forging was evident even for the novice philatelists. Prodanov landed behind the bars. 

How wide is the flow of the unwanted, speculative issues, can be seen on many occasions, when the authorities of the country, on which behalf there was published this or another stamp, did not even know which stamps were printed.

Thus, in the early 70s. the Republic of Chad ordered several agencies in Lebanon, Belgium and France, to print a series of stamps to supplement it's budget. However, executing the order, the agencies continued to publish "Chad" marks without informing the authorities of the republic. There were released about forty "new" series, many of them - on a golden foil, without perforation, with different overprinting, etc. Finally the Government of the Republic of Chad has issued a special statement with a list of several hundred stamps, which were deprived from "nationality" and which could not be recognized as the stamps of Chad.

Stories like that are known to happen also with the stamps of the Gulf emirates, which continued to be printed and released even after the unification of the emirates, and with the stamps of some other countries.


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