Among fakes of Lithuanian rarities it is not unusual to come across forgeries of one of the 1922 surcharges, namely, the 1 CENT. black surcharge on 30 sk. stamps of the Vytis design in orange colour.
Forged surcharge 1 CENT. on 30 sk. orange (Mi 141F)
During the late 1922 process of revaluation of Auksinas/Skatikas to Litas/Centas, it was the buff (light brown) 30 sk. stamp from the Fourth Berlin Issue that was still available in large quantities (289 000) and was submitted to the printery to be surcharged as 1 CENT. Scott lists it as No. 127, and Michel as No. 141.
However, among the sheets delivered to the printery for overprinting there happened to be at least one (?) sheet from the Third Berlin Issue with the stamps in their normal orange colour. (According to pre-war specialist Stasys Biržiškis, the surcharged quantity could no longer be clarified.) As a result, the 1 CENT. surcharge on 30 sk. orange could have been treated as a variety but Scott adhered to its principles and gave it a regular number, No. 126. (Michel, by contrast, did not) Scott’s listing implicitly meant that for a collection of Lithuania to be complete it had to include that stamp as well. As the orange stamp was hard to come by, it became a rarity.
The very simple design of the surcharge invited forging. It seems that the earliest forging of Scott No. 126 (the orange stamp) started before the war, but post-war productions exist as well. It is likely that smart computer and copying facilities will keep producing new forgery versions as well.
How to distinguish the genuine Sc 126 (Mi 141F) from a forgery?
- By analyzing the printing ink (ink components) of the surcharge 1 CENT. This, of course, requires special equipment which very few collectors have access to.
- By comparing the details of the surcharge. For this procedure there are no general rules, as the forgeries come from different “workshops”. Taking a not infrequent example, attention must focus on the top hook at the top of the numeral 1, also on the position of the middle bar of the E in CENT. These features can be noted by the naked eye.
- A dependable method is to compare the surcharge with a multiple, as large as posssible, of the surcharge on the common values of the Vytis design. But note that for the surcharging of 1 CENT. there was more than one cliche. For example, the cliche is different for the overprinting of the 50 sk. stamps of the Sower Issue.
Multiples of genuine 1 CENT. on 30 sk. light brown (Sc 127, Mi 141) for comparison (click to enlarge)