... Estonian Forgeries ...

Mi #2



The so-called "Flower Design" issues (Mi #1-4) have large variation in colour, and the printing quality of the originals is very poor. There are large numbers of different forgeries on the market, and it is very difficult to be sure that you actually have an original stamp in your possession. Generally, original issues have a more even colour application with fewer spots. The forgeries have more uneven colour application with numerous spots and rather uneven contours of edges and letters [1].

The most important characteristics to distinguish originals of the 15 K issue (Mi #2) from forgeries of Jaan Lubi are described below [1]. Note that the sample pictures do not seem to show a Jaan Lubi forgery!

  1. PAPER: Both original and fake issues are characterised by a compact, slightly glossy surface structure with very few loosely attached fibres.

  2. COLOUR: Both originals and fakes have variations of blue with various amounts of green in it. Colour application of originals is even in fields and lines with few white spots. The colour application of fakes is distinctly more uneven with numerous white spots, and generally richer, which frequently gives a slightly blue shade to figures, lines and letters. Many fake issues also have a blue tone on their backs.

  3. The frame lines between the upper and lower "15 K" fields are uniformly wide, and are mostly separated from the flower petals on original stamps. The forgeries have uneven, generally thicker, frame lines that are mostly connected with the flower petals.

  4. The flower petals are even and symmetrical all over the design, more unsymmetric on the forgeries, with lines frequently wider.

  5. The flower petals are mostly separated from the central "Eesti Post" field and the 15 K fields, resulting in fairly distinct edges. On the forgeries the petals are frequently indistinctly separated from these fields.

  6. The corners of the original stamps are generally sharp, and the frame lines are distinctly limited, while the forgeries frequently have rounded corners and less distinctly limited frame lines.


During his studies, Erik Sjoegren discovered that all the Jaan Lubi forgeries were made of 4 different types with clearly distinct characteristics [2]. The first issues (Flower design) were printed simply in blocks of 4, while the later issues were printed in bigger sheets of 4x4, 4x5 and 4x6 issues, maybe due to increased demand. In all these printings 4 distinct types are found in different combinations within each sheet. These types are designated A, B, C and D in the following.

The Lubi forgeries of the first Estonian issues (Flower design) were printed in blocks of 4 in the following layout:


At present, I cannot show any clear samples of these different types. Sjogrens descriptions are made from blackprints of original plates. The different forgeries in my collection have very uneven colour application, however, and none of them seems to fit his descriptions... More information will follow later!

Type A:

   1. Petals between the two 15 K fields have thick lines and are almost totally joined to the frame.
   2. Narrow even space above central field as no lines of petals touch the central field from above
   3. Distinct petal lines to the LEFT of the central field

Type B:

   1. Point after left "K" below almost invisible
   2. "1" in left "15" above without foot
   3. Very broad petal lines in the left corner below

Type C:

   1. Very broad and frequently joined petal line to the RIGHT of the central field
   2. Figures to the left below are broad and uneven
   3. Small petals in the left corner below have very narrow lines

Type D:

   1. Short middle line in the first "E" in "EESTI"
   2. "S" in "POST" is broad below
   3. "1" in "15" to the left below almost without head and damaged below

Furthermore, here are a couple of other mint forgeries that do not seem to be made by Lubi, either. Both have generally very poor quality:


  1. E. Sjogren: "Distinguishing features of Jaan Lubi forgeries of Estonian stamps I", Eesti Filatelist #28, 1982
  2. E. Sjogren: "Distinguishing features of Jaan Lubi forgeries of Estonian stamps III", Eesti Filatelist, 1987