Archive for September 2004

Quana-Cross Serie

Reprint from Lebanon Philately Mon Sep 27, 2004

There is an important feature for the Cana set that is not shared by other
rare/scarce lebanon material. It is a regular issue of stamps. It is not
a souvenir sheet and it is not an imperf or an error. If it becomes
accepted in all catalogues, anyone who wants completion of a basic
Lebanon collection, would have to get it. This is not the case for souvenir
and errors. So my point is that it has a larger buyers base.

But as I pointed out there a few hundreds sets at least and there aren’t
that many collectors of Lebanon who are willing to pay a lot.

A set that is similar to Cana is the Grand Zero. In the 1950′s it was sold
for $100 (that is what an old time collector told me). It was really
scarce at that time. While it is still difficult to find (especially MNH),
its price is nowhere near Cana. The grand zero (50p) has a printing
of 50,000 and was heavily used: I have seen copies used from Ain Zhalta,
Beirut, and Karoun. The remaining ones cannot be that numerous.


Forgeries on Ebay. Buyers beware.

Reprint from Lebanon Philately Sat Sep 25, 2004

Here is my take on the Qana cross set price/hoarding question. First of
all demand and supply rules. However in any free market, it is easy for
someone to manipulate the market unless the market has rules for proper
behavior. What are the rules in the Lebanese stamps market and who is
enforcing them?

Is it OK for dealers to bid on each other’s auctions? As long as they are
using their own names and there is no collusion, why not? I am in buying
mode today. If I start selling tomorrow does this mean that I have to stop

Second, is someone hoarding the Qana cross set in order to artificially
inflate the price? The answer depends on who. If the hoarder is an
official with access to governmental supply of stamps who purchased the
stamps at the time at face value and knew before the public that the set
was going to be withdrawn, then there is insider knowledge ethics violation.

This becomes furthermore a criminal matter if the insider/hoarder stole the
stamps from the official depot where the withdrawn stamps are held. In a
transparent government (which ours isn’t) the government would clearly
state how many stamps were withdrawn and keep accounting of
them. Furthermore the withdrawn stamps should either be destroyed by the
government or locked in a government vault like the central bank to control
access to the storage. There is little difference between stamps and
monetary notes. It’s all paper printed at relatively little cost with a
monetary value exceeding the printing cost.

[If you read rec.collecting.stamps.discuss there is a big hoopla about the
US government wanting to destroy a government huge hoard of Revenue stamps
in its possession to control its inventory. Collectors want the government
to sell these stamps on the collectors market instead of destroying them.]

If the Qana-cross set hoarder is someone without connections and without
insider knowledge and simply lucked out or made a shrewd decision to buy
the Qana cross set before it was withdrawn then good for him or her. I
don’t see a problem with this nor do I see any obligation for the hoarder
to sell at a lower price.


Quana-Cross Serie

Reprint from Lebanon Philately Sat Sep 25, 2004

Hello everybody
Also the analysis of Elie is very interesting, but we still are not answering the main question … How much of this stamp are available … And let us once “AS LEBANESE” forget the conspiracy theories …. Let’s talk facts … NO one knows how much of the Qana stamp were overprinted … The most reliable figure that I’ve got from a trusted person is around 3000

Quana-Cross Serie

Reprint from Lebanon Philately Sat Sep 25, 2004

Dear Friends
First: Qana 1100LL with cross quantity = 35000 pieces
it was used for 2 month at all post office at Lebanon
1100 LL used for Europe and Registered letter to Arab country in the
mean time,it was used in holiday seasons.
I thing or I am sure it wasn’t withdrawn and all stories about
Iranian Ambassy or Hisb Alla are not true .
two month are more than enough with buying buying by collectors and
dealers to finish the quantities .
Second : if more than 5 sets and one block of 4 will be offerd the
price will fall down but because NO body has large quantities it
will never be offered.
So it’s a dream to see the price is falling down .

Lastly NO BODY obliged any one to buy it upon request and offer.

have a lovely week-end .

Forgeries on Ebay. Buyers beware

Reprint from Lebanon Philately Fri Sep 24, 2004

I do not think it is really hard to define what a forgery is.
During the process of printing some errors are made. This can
include double or inverted overprints in addition to other more minor
errors such as missing letters, broken letters, displaced letters and the like.
Some of these reach the public through the post office (the inverted jenny
is an example of an error that reached the public). So, unintentional errors
occur even if they seem quite dramatic.

During the printing of the Lebanon overprint issues,
some errors were made on purpose by the printing press for the benefit
of collectors. A well known example of such errors from another collecting
is the misperf errors of king farouk. These were made for the king and are
currently collected and are sometimes expensive. So, this type of
errors was prepared using the original lates AND original inks at the
time of issue. Whether someone wants to collect such errors or not
is a personal choice.

A forgery is what has been prepared using modern materials.
For example, if someone has an original handstamp and uses
that to make a cover (the olympics on cover for example) using
modern ink, that is a forgery by any definition of the word.
Whether you want to buy it or not is up to you, but at least
you should always no what you are buying.

If someone makes a new overprint not using the original plates,
then that is a forgery by an definition.

These are the types of forgeries I refer to when I say that there
are forgeries on ebay. You should always be careul what you
buy and you should always ask for an expertzing extension even
if you do not use it. In the past, I asked for an expertizing
extension from Mr. Assad and he was glad to grant me such
an extension. I sent the stamps for expertization and they came
back genuine. You should always ask for that option and if
the seller has nothing to hide they should be glad to grant

Other sellers might not be willing to grant you an extension
and in that case you should wonder their reason for that.
This happened with me in the past.

Below is a message a posted a while ago. It might be


Lebanon overprinted issues.

- According to Yvert 1936 specialized edition, there is
a large number of errors produced in clandestine
printings (supposedely these are prepared using the
original inks and plates at the time of issue). Yvert
1936 states that it only lists errors that have reached
the general public through the post office. Even with this
restriction, there are too many Lebanon errors. I personally
collect all errors that have been produced using original
inks and plates. It should be emphasized that errors
prepared in clandestine printing using original material
cannot be distinguished from other “genuine” errors. The
only source that I know to distinguish them is Yvert 1936
edition. Maury lists errors that are not listed in Yvert
1936. It should be noted here that Yvert 1936 is not exhaustive
and there are errors produced in official printings that
are not listed in Yvert 1936. These have been identified
by later studies done by collectors. Typically, these
are not major double/inverted overprints, but rather minor
errors that have to do with spacing and defects with
individual letters.

- To spot forgeries, you should have reference material.
Forgers typically do not have reference material, the
patience or the knowledge needed to prepare truly good
forgeries. For the GRAND LIBAN and Gd Liban overprints,
forgers do not have in general access to french stamps
without overprints, so forgeries are typically double
overprints rather than inverted overprints (it is easier
to get the overprinted Lebanon stamps, than the orginal
french stamps). This does not mean that forgeries of
inverted overprints were not made (one example is the
Ronsard stamp. One forgery I know has narrow distance between
the arabic 4 and “al-kabir”). Some time ago there was a
number of the french period errors with double and double-one-
inverted overprints that are all forgeries in my opinion.

Assuming you have enough reference material (large blocks
or panes of normal stamps), you can spot forgeries by
comparing the original stamp to the stamp with the error.
Typically, each position has some small defect in the overprint
that can be used to identify it. Also, the base stamp itself
typically has some small variations. The first step is to
identify the plate position of the overprint. Then, you
would want to make sure that the base stamp itself is the
correct plate position. For double overprints the plate
position of the base stamps should be the same as
the same plate position for the overprint. Also, the two
overprints should be the same (have the same defects).
One cannot rule out the possibility that the paper
can shift and that the two overprints do not match, but
this is the exception and very uncommon. For inverted overprints,
the plate position of the base stamp is not the same as that
of the overprint. For stamps that are printed in panes
of 50, the plate position of the base stamp should be 50-x
where x is the plate position of the overprint. In my collection,
I have “expertized” almost all my french period errors using
the method described above. Note that there are other things to
look at like the ink and the impression, but usually, if the
plate positions match, one can be confident. The forger does
not have usually the knowledge or material
to prepare forgeries that take into consideration plate
positions. One should keep in mind that some stamps had
multiple printings in which case one would have to have
reference material for all printings in order to decide
that a particular stamp is a forgery.

Some sellers can be quite obstinate though. In the past,
I have pointed to some sellers on ebay that what they are
selling are forgeries based on comparisons to blocks I have.
For example, I have to panes of 50 of the Ronsard stamps
(of which there was one printing). A seller once told me
that my sheets might be forgeries and his single stamp
genuine. While this is true in principle, in practice,
forging a whole sheet with different defects in every
position is highly unlikely especially for cheap lebanese
stamps (I have seen in the past forgeries of whole
sheets of expensize hong kong stamps).

Hopefully, this is helpful (for some of you, this old news).