Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands?

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Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands?

Post by tooler »

Multi-million Euro stamp fraud in the Netherlands

by arnonl on Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:37 am

Dec. 27, 2011

A large-scale trade in fake postage stamps has cost Dutch mail carrier PostNL several million euros in turnover.

The fake stamps were sold for six months through several websites, below postal rates.

The fraud was discovered by PostNL’s 'authenticity systems'.

The fakes were mainly used on registered and international mail and also packages.

The spokesperson said that to his knowledge this was the first-ever large scale stamp fraud in the Netherlands.

Link to the fake stamps

http://www.postnl.nl/voorthuis/postzegels/valse-postzegels/
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Re: Multi-million Euro stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by AMark »

I wonder if any members have those fakes so they can show them to us.

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Re: Multi-million Euro stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by steevh »

Modern Dutch stamps are very boring. I'm glad someone found a way to liven them up!
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Re: Multi-million Euro stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by mikeg »

Interesting :D

Another postal forgery I will have to look out for.
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Re: Multi-million Euro stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Global Administrator »

Anyone have photos of the fakes stamps to add?

The link in post #1 has a lot of stamp pix, but pretty certain most of them are NOT fakes! i.e. surely these are long obsolete -

Image link inactive. Removed

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Page publication date: 27 December 2011 at 12:00 CET

PostNL intercepts large series of counterfeit stamps sold through websites Estimated damage of several million euro

27 December 2011 at 12:00 CET- PostNL has intercepted a large series of counterfeit postage stamps offered through public websites for a price well under face value.

PostNL could have incurred several million euro in damage. PostNL's authenticity recognition system identifies the counterfeit stamps after which shipment of the postal item will be stopped.

Under Article 216 of the Dutch Criminal Code, anyone who counterfeits postage stamps or uses counterfeit postage stamps can be sent to prison for up to six years.

The series of counterfeit stamps can be identified because these were always stuck on a blank sticker sheet and sold on the websites specified below. To the untrained eye these stamps are otherwise indistinguishable from real stamps.

For experts, however, they can be identified as false because they lack a number of PostNL-specific authenticity features, such as phosphor tagging. The sheets of stamps have been encountered mainly on registered letters and parcels, and have been used for both domestic and international mail.

PostNL has informed the police and justice about these fraudulent practices and will collaborate fully in possible investigation executed by the prosecution.

Commercial Director at PostNL, Ger Jacobs: "At first sight, these stamps are almost indistinguishable from real stamps issued by PostNL. So I'm glad to see that our security system was able to identify these counterfeit stamps and that we were able to stop shipment of the mail items concerned.

We would like to emphasise to our customers that stamps may not, under any circumstances, be sold under their face value: by law stamps are considered securities. This is why we have included a number of visible and invisible authenticity features in the design of our postage stamps."

PostNL advises its customers who suspect they are in the possession of counterfeit stamps to report the fraud via the special email address or by means of a letter to the PostNL security department. PostNL will then make sure the police will receive these notofications.

About PostNL
Annually PostNL processes 8.8 billion addressed postal items (including 100 million parcels) and delivers to more than 88 million addresses in the Benelux, Germany, the UK and Italy. PostNL's main business is mail, parcels and e-commerce. The company also provides services in the area of data and document management, direct marketing and fulfilment. PostNL employs some 77,000 people. In 2010 the company generated a turnover of nearly 4.3 billion euros. More information about PostNL can be found on its website .

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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by librarianc »

The series of counterfeit stamps can be identified because these were always stuck on a blank sticker sheet ......... To the untrained eye these stamps are otherwise indistinguishable from real stamps.

For experts, however, they can be identified as false because they lack a number of PostNL-specific authenticity features, such as phosphor tagging. The sheets of stamps have been encountered mainly on registered letters and parcels, and have been used for both domestic and international mail.
These are the examples shown on the PostNL website:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by GlenStephens »

John ... yes but my point was they are all GUILDER denominated and are long obsolete surely?

Euro currency being the go for a decade of so!
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by steevh »

Very odd that the stamps are guilder-denominated. Maybe it means that the Dutch PO has only just discovered what is a very long-standing fraud.

Also they say the following:
We would like to emphasise to our customers that stamps may not, under any circumstances, be sold under their face value: by law stamps are considered securities.
Does this mean you can't buy Dutch postage below face on eBay?
And of course not all securities have a fixed price.
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Global Administrator »

If I wish to sell a 100 Euro note for $A100 as I do not need it, that is my affair.

I sell foreign currency, and foreign stamps all the time under face.
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by librarianc »

There is at least one EURO value in the mix, but I also was curious about some of the older issues used. I understand how no one overseas would notice, but to get the parcels sorted and shipped in the internal system should have attracted some attention.

Actually, I suppose since it has been reported, it did attract some attention!! :roll:

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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by mikeg »

As they imply that several million euro of these have been used, they have been a bit slow to catch on :lol:

Or they are exaggerating just a little bit :shock:
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by mikeg »

None of the websites they link to are working.

I assume those are the websites that were selling the fake stamps.
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by fromdownunder »

The issue (sorry for the pun, well no. I'm not :mrgreen: ) may be that pre-Euro stamps are still valid in the Netherlands (as they are in France, Belgium, Italy and who knows where else).

So it really does not matter what currency they were produced in, as long as they are valid for postage. In fact it is less likely that "older" stamps would be picked up as faked with modern technology than "new" stamps.

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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by stampchris »

As I have more than a passing interest in Dutch stamps, here's my two cents worth. Perhaps some Dutch members can provide some more information.

Are these forgeries or not? They are extremely good forgeries if they are, as the perforations and colours look very close to the originals (and some of those designs are very complicated). I haven't counted the number of holes to see if the perforation measurements are the same as the originals, but they appear to be.

Also if you were forging stamps, why would you choose a whole range of stamps to forge - why not just forge a couple of stamps, and get them spot on? There's at least 21 different designs there, with the suggestion that there's probably more. Also, why not forge current stamps instead of guilder denominated stamps - wouldn't that create less suspicion?

The images Glen has posted are examples of how the stamps have been used to make up the various rates.

It appears the stamps have been stuck on self-adhesive labels. Again why go to all that work it the forgeries are on gummed or self-adhesive paper (as the 44 eurocent stamp should be)? No doubt this was done to make it easier for the buyers, but it is more work for the suppliers. Perhaps what has happened is these stamps have passed through the mail uncancelled and been soaked off, and then stuck down on a self-adhesive label and sold that way?
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by pitronix »

As far as I know from experience guilder denominated stamps are still valid for postage in Netherlands, I think so because I received numerous packages from Netherlands with this pre euro stamps.

Lot of EU countries still allow use of pre euro stamps so it is most probably case with Netherlands too!

Maybe there is some member from Netherlands to clear this for us!?
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by librashares »

stampchris wrote:
It appears the stamps have been stuck on self-adhesive labels. Again why go to all that work it the forgeries are on gummed or self-adhesive paper (as the 44 eurocent stamp should be)? No doubt this was done to make it easier for the buyers, but it is more work for the suppliers. Perhaps what has happened is these stamps have passed through the mail uncancelled and been soaked off, and then stuck down on a self-adhesive label and sold that way?
Chris has hit the nail on the head. The initial article/report is probably written by a non-philatelist, who confuses irregular usage with forgery.With the way things are going in Europe, perhaps they will be using Guilden again one of these fine days!
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by mikeg »

That is what I was starting to think :idea:

These are not forged at all- simply discount postage.

If that is the case, then it will make the postal people look rather foolish :roll:
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Hendriks »

As a Dutch guy following this closely, it is still difficult to figure out what exactly happened. Everyone is just copying the same article with the same text it seems. So to answer a couple of questions, things that I do know.

Yes, you can still use stamps with Guilder denominations, and you can mix them with Euro stamps.

Stamps from 1990-2000, from collectors or stamp dealers, are usually sold under face value to use for postage. Usually 60 to 80% of face value. Sometimes Guilder-denominated values go as low as 40%.

It's a pain to convert Guilders to Euro's, and it can take many small value stamps to get to the required amount. That's where these people came in. They pre-compiled the right amount on a label, and sold these as a convenient solution under face value.

All stamps that I saw must have phosphor (as it was introduced at the end of the 1960s, I think), but they probably have less complicated security features than modern stamps. Making it easier to forge.

It might still be that only part of these stamps have been forged.

I can't wait to get my hands on some. If I find out more, I'll post it here.

Edit: there are rumors that this is a way to get rid of all the Guilder stamps (by the Dutch post). There are companies that pre-compile labels with real Guilder stamps. As of a few days, stamps on any label are no longer accepted for postage at all, even if all the stamps are real. This is ridiculous of course.
Last edited by Hendriks on 31 Dec 2011 03:29, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by librarianc »

hendriks wrote: All stamps that I saw must have phosphor (as it was introduced at the end of the 1960s, I think)
Is the phosphor used in the Netherlands something that easily washes off when stamps are soaked? I just went through a couple stock books of used Netherlands I recently picked up and although more of the modern issues have tag bars, some of the mid 70's - 90's issues appear to be full phosphor face (either phosphorized paper or applied phosphor wash to the full front of the stamp). Some of those I found do not have any residual of the tag, which leads me to think it may wash off when soaked.

If that is the case, then the scam may be reused stamps (as mentioned above) and not newly produced forgeries??
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Upstairsnl »

I have the same opinion as Hendriks, just 2 replies above.

The Dutch post have told on television that after half a year they are able to recognize the differences between the original Dutch stamps and the look-a-likes.

They have not told how they can see it. Customers do not know how to recognize original and look-a-likes.

The only thing the Dutch post told that they will not deliver post, which is sent with the look-a-like stamps.

I suspect that they hope that people that bought these stamps at one of the twelve sites, will not use them.

Today there was nothing in the papers about this subject.

To be continued.
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Stamp Culture »

I think it has to do with PostNL wants to demonitize the guilder stamps. Since I checked the pictures I could not see anything odd. The size of the pictures won't help to compare anything.

What I remember what was going on in 2001 was that the guilderstamps from 1977 up and till 2001, including the definitive juliana issue of 1969 would be at least vallid for 10 years, as that was the romour going. Simple maths show 2001 + 10 = 2011!

Since there was not made any anouncements in the postal laws with the introduction of the Euro value stamps in 2002 we have to dig back into the postal laws and I end up back in 1989. In 1989 the postal laws have written that all the stamps from 1977-present including the Juliana definitive issue of 1969 are still vallid for postage. Since this part of the postal law is not changed therefore it is still the current law!

Since the stampmarket for guilder stamps from 1977-2001 is completly on it's side, due to over flooding of these stamps, the only way to sell them is to companies which use those stamps on their parcels. These companies can basically make their wishes to the dealers when it comes down to how to supply. Looking to the point of quick franking it does not surprise me that the stamps are placed on lables. As a non stamp company you don't want to loose Euro's on time licking stamps. It is good possible that stampdealers receive a extra 10-15% on the sale value if they place the stamps on labels. Mostr of these dealers have somone who likes to earn a extra euro or pay out in stamps to well trusted collectors. This way all of involved parties earn something extra.

If PostNL does not realy supply real evidence to the outside world all of this is a marketing move to see profit go up.

The next step is at PostNL to show real proof :!:
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by fromdownunder »

Let's assume for the sake of the discussion, that these stamps are neither forged or uncancelled stamps which have previously been through the post (a whole other issue), but simply unused stamps from the past.

A Postal entity selling stamps is entering a contract that these bits of paper are valid for a purpose. Mailing a letter or parcel. I find it very difficult to accept that the Governing authority can simply invalidate that contract, at some point in time, because people want to actually use the stamps for their original purpose, or because somehow they think that they are losing money.

They are not losing money, simply because they have had the use of that money for years, and sometimes decades, and have never, ever had to provide the service they contracted to provide. Demonetising is another word for theft.

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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by sensrule »

I find it hard to believe that millions of Euros worth of fraud was committed by selling forged stamps on auction sites. That is a real lot of money. How could they have not discovered this earlier. I noticed up to... millions of Euros. Millions of Euros is a whole lot of 50 or 100 Euro purchases, still very many 1000 Euro purchases. Unless there was someone supplying a very large online book store or other online business that does a huge amount of parcels I just can't see it amounting to millions of Euros. If hundreds and hundreds of businesses or individuals were doing this how could the postal authorities not find out? Or if a few larger businesses that do many parcel shipments how would they not find out?

I call massive exageration of the level of the fraud. I bet it turns out to be maybe 50,000 or 100,000 Euros... or even less. I really think they must be overstating or at minimum talking worst case scenario.
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Hendriks »

I agree that this whole things smells. I'm not the person to believe every conspiracy theory, but I find it very hard to believe that people forged all of those stamps - including the low face value ones - so well that it took 6 months to find out.

They are claiming they could have missed a couple of million of euros in income, but they don't know for sure. They haven't shown how to recognize the fakes, only that they're missing the phosphor layer (which, as was said above, washes of pretty quickly because it's applied separately, so they could be non-cancelled stamps, washed off, and re-used).

All (10 or so) web stores that were selling the labels have been taken offline. They all claim to have been supplied by the same company, that is now under official investigation.

My take on it is that they have reacted too quickly and unjust, because they feel entitled to the money that has been paid for all these old stamps (that should have stayed in collections), and that these "forgeries" they keep talking about aren't fakes at all. They have now killed a couple of companies, and instilled fear in the average person for ever using the old guilder stamps again.

I think there should be a good story for a journalist here somewhere, and I hope we'll see some real proof of the forgeries, or uncover the conspiracy and serve justice to the Dutch post for abusing their power to try to get rid of valid stamps.
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by stampchris »

sensrule wrote:I find it hard to believe that millions of Euros worth of fraud was committed by selling forged stamps on auction sites. That is a real lot of money. How could they have not discovered this earlier. I noticed up to... millions of Euros. Millions of Euros is a whole lot of 50 or 100 Euro purchases, still very many 1000 Euro purchases. Unless there was someone supplying a very large online book store or other online business that does a huge amount of parcels I just can't see it amounting to millions of Euros. If hundreds and hundreds of businesses or individuals were doing this how could the postal authorities not find out? Or if a few larger businesses that do many parcel shipments how would they not find out?

I call massive exageration of the level of the fraud. I bet it turns out to be maybe 50,000 or 100,000 Euros... or even less. I really think they must be overstating or at minimum talking worst case scenario.
I would tend to agree that the numbers seem to be exaggerated - its a lot of stamps to stick on self-adhesive labels.

When you consider that printing numbers for some recent issues are as low as 85,000 sheetlets of 5 46c stamps (that's 195,500 Euro face value), could these 12 websites sell more than a million Euro's worth of stamps?
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Allanswood »

From what I have read and I guess the story will develop; the stamps are fake and are stickers not traditional gummed stamps.

Also looking at the examples posted above even with the white background, the perforations look wrong.

But to the average person sending some mail, they would never notice.


If they are "old" stamps being sold off and used up, where did the millions of stamps come from?
Who stockpiles millions of stamps to sell later?
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Hendriks »

Hi Allenswood,

These are traditional stamps stuck on stickers / labels for ease-of-use. Could you point out which perforations look wrong, because I looked and counted in detail, and couldn't find anything wrong, or different with real stamps (that I bought at the post office my self back in the 80s and 90s).

Thanks, Hendriks
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Upstairsnl »

Allanswood wrote:From what I have read and I guess the story will develop; the stamps are fake and are stickers not traditional gummed stamps.

Also looking at the examples posted above even with the white background, the perforations look wrong.

But to the average person sending some mail, they would never notice.


If they are "old" stamps being sold off and used up, where did the millions of stamps come from?

Who stockpiles millions of stamps to sell later?
What you see in the Netherlands is that in the eightees many non-collectors bought many stamps, because they suspected that the stamps would increase in value as they did before.

Lots of people used a contract to get every month all the new stamps, for example for their children.

Unfortunally because of all these people buying extra stamps and trying to sell them later on, the stamps did not increase in value. Now a days most of these stamps are of much more value to use them and not for selling them.

Because of the economic crisis people are looking for all kind of methods to get as much money as possible.

I do not think that the problems of the Dutch post have anything to do with this, but I am sure that there many many stamps at non-collectors.
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by stampchris »

Upstairsnl wrote:
Allanswood wrote:From what I have read and I guess the story will develop; the stamps are fake and are stickers not traditional gummed stamps.

Also looking at the examples posted above even with the white background, the perforations look wrong.

But to the average person sending some mail, they would never notice.


If they are "old" stamps being sold off and used up, where did the millions of stamps come from?
Who stockpiles millions of stamps to sell later?
What you see in the Netherlands is that in the eightees many non-collectors bought many stamps, because they suspected that the stamps would increase in value as they did before. Lots of people used a contract to get every month all the new stamps, for example for their children.
Unfortunally because of all these people buying extra stamps and trying to sell them later on, the stamps did not increase in value. Now a days most of these stamps are of much more value to use them and not for selling them. Because of the economic crisis people are looking for all kind of methods to get as much money as possible.

I do not think that the problems of the Dutch post have anything to do with this, but I am sure that there many many stamps at non-collectors.
Yes, and I would suggest stamp collecting is a popular hobby in The Netherlands - I still remember how many stamp shops there are in Amsterdam (and many in the same street), as well as a weekly market stall in the same street.

I once bought a bulk lot of Dutch MUH stamps from the 1980s in an auction a few years ago for less than 20% face. Picked out the stamps I needed for my collection and now have a ton left over (lots of blocks of ten, booklets etc.) Wonder what the Dutch Post Office would do if I turn up with them and asked to use them for postage to Australia?
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Allanswood »

If they are real mint (unused) stamps from a few years ago then you would have to get them for near to nothing to make it worth the effort of producing what has been sold on those websites. Someone then had to stick them onto the label sheet.

But didn't the authorities say that they have no tagging (or did they not have it anyway)? If so and they are real stamps but have been sourced out of mega bulk kiloware as uncancelled and soaked off, then the same applies with regard to the labour involved in soaking, sorting and then sticking them onto a mini sticker sheet (which also costs money).

Weren't all those sold via the various websites all sourced from the one single company producing the "mini-sheet"? If so they would have had to accumulate all those stamps for themselves first and then made the combinations up.

Unless they sourced them for near to nothing (I doubt 20% be low enough), it would hardly be worth the effort involved.

I know about the 80's boom, it was the same in Australia, but that was many individual collectors buying up sheets and saving them as an investment. This company would have had to go around and buy up all these issues for themselves from everybody else.

If they are valid real mint never used stamps then the Dutch post has lost nothing at all.
If they are real postally used uncancelled stamps then Dutch post has lost money but they are not fake. The same thing is happening everywhere (see the thread on Australia Post not making money).
Or they are actually fake and we wait to find out what they look like and how to tell the difference and Dutch post has lost money again.

For the Dutch post office to lose "millions", even 1 million, you would need to sell about 4-5 million of those stamps. That is a lot of old but valid sheets of stamps to source. If they lost say 5 milion Euro then that's about 20-25 million stamps to source. No one hunts down a stockpile of that size in mint stamps.


So either the Dutch Post has named them "fake" incorrectly as they are real stamps or they are real but "uncancelled mint" soaked off kiloware stamps or they are actually fake reprints of stamps. It's just that after the initial reports from 3 or 4 days ago, I can't find any new references to these items and SB is fast becoming the first hit on google.

Perhaps there is more information from the Dutch newpapers but as their in Dutch my google searches don't give me the results?
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by mikeg »

Greg- Don't underestimate the amount of discount postage out there.

About a month ago, the dealer I usually buy discount postage from asked me if I had any use for $35,000.- in face. :lol:

He had someone who had actually bought that much at the post office and was now looking to cash in his investment :shock:

And about 2 years ago he had someone who had bought $50,000 face of just one issue from the post office :!:

Ouch :cry:
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by stampchris »

mikeg wrote:Greg- Don't underestimate the amount of discount postage out there.
I would agree. It was not unusual for Australia Post to sell 30 million plus domestic rate stamps for issues in the 1980s (some were upwards of 150 million!). Granted many were used for postage, but a lot were saved. By contrast only 250,000 Brisbane Flood sheetlets were printed, and only 67,879 sheets sold (up to 30 June) (see my January 2012 Stamp News article for more information).

For many Dutch issues in the 1980s 8-10 million were sold, so again probably far in access of how many were actually were used, especially when you consider their recent issues are printed in quantities as low as 500,000.
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Rein »

The newspapers have given us nothing to go on , the Volkskrant did have their own story but based on the PostNL press paper, the NRC just copied that.... I talked to the Volkskrant journalist on the phone telling him that in my opinion it is an unfair attempt to kill the commercial selling of old stamps that are still valid for postal use but have no philatelic interest whatsover as the stamps can be bought for practically zero and then all parties are extremely happy! So it is as my fellow countrymen have already written here....

An extra detail as to their presumed being forged, is the aspect of phosphorescence!

Phosphorescence was introduced in 1967 for automation purposes. Not as an anti-forgery measure! By then the higher face values did not need to have the phosphorescence and that is what remained so until 1981. In 1981 the stamp printers had no access anymore to the quality stamp paper produced in the Netherlands. Paper mills got bankrupt or were swallowed by other (Finnish) paper mills.

The easiest way out then was to buy more stamp paper from their regular provider for the lower values stamps and the commemoratives: Harrison and Sons, Ltd! This stamp paper of course had the phosphorescent coating and so the HS 1630/7% was introduced also for the guilders face values...

The 10 Guilders stamp used as an example of these forged stamps was on sale for 10 years without any phosphorescence! It is quite likely that this fact had been long forgotten by the PostNL people!

So I am afraid this is a million dollar HYPE! But a very painful hype as it is directed against everyone that would sell pre-euro stamp!

Not just the few internet-based sellers of pre-compiled self-adhesive sheets but also the entire group of Dutch stamp dealers [NVPH]. Their official reaction is on its way to PostNL and in the meantime individual dealers are boycotting PostNL...

to be continued ...
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by stampchris »

Let's assume the stamps are real, and as Rein says valid for postage, perhaps the sticking point with PostNL is that the stamps were stuck on self-adhesive labels?

In a way I can see why a post office might have an issue with this. Postage stamps are affixed directly to the item being sent, rather than on another medium, which can then be affixed to envelope or parcel. While, I doubt any post office has this distinction in their postal guidelines, it may look a tad suspicious.

It's almost the equivalent of cutting around a stamp on an envelope and then gluing that onto envelope and then posting it. Post offices don't allow this, so why allow the self-adhesive labels, even if the stamp hasn't been through the mail? Who knows the self-adhesive label might have also be removal, so if the cover escapes cancellation... well you get the idea!
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by GlenStephens »

Rein wrote:
The 10 Guilders stamp used as an example of these forged stamps was on sale for 10 years without any phosphorescence! It is quite likely that this fact had been long forgotten by the PostNL people!
Amazing - these idiots probably never checked that simple piece of FACT!

"The fraud was discovered by PostNL’s 'authenticity systems'."
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by stampchris »

GlenStephens wrote:
Rein wrote:
The 10 Guilders stamp used as an example of these forged stamps was on sale for 10 years without any phosphorescence! It is quite likely that this fact had been long forgotten by the PostNL people!
Amazing - these idiots proably never checked!

"The fraud was discovered by PostNL’s 'authenticity systems'."
If you mean checked a catalogue or checked if the high value was sold without phosphorescence, then perhaps they should've. However, the mail sorting machinery rejected the covers for this reason - this is one way forged stamps, as well as underpaid items, can be detected.

But the same situation would occur in the UK and France (and no doubt elsewhere) where the high values didn't have any phosphorescence/fluorescence applied to them. With postal rates increasing regularly in the UK, no doubt several people have started to use the £1 Carrickfergus Castle stamp from 1988 (and later) on heavier letters mailed within the UK - it would be interesting to see if the mail sorting machinery rejects these covers, and indeed whether they are processed correctly (i.e. as 2nd or 1st class mail).

We also see lots of people using pre-1993 Christmas Island and pre-1994 Cocos stamps on mail within Australia without a problem. Again this should be picked up on.
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by stampchris »

Here's two items of interest from the current Australia Post 'Post Guide':
Image
If I started selling stamps, with the only intention that they are to be used for postage (as seems to be the case in the Netherlands), then would I need to become a licensed stamp vendor? If so, then I would need to sell the stamps at face, and buy them from Australia Post.

Image
I wonder if 'those removed from their presented surround without the aid of perforations.' in the first dot point would cover a similar situation in Australia? Would this include stamps that have been stuck on paper, and then that paper stuck onto another envelope?
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Rein »

Chris suggests that the pre-compiled self-adhesive sheet is illegal! That is what PostNL pertains, but I doubt there is any bye-law here...

Image
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by steevh »

It looks like a simple case of soaking uncancelled stamps and re-using them for postage. Two many types of "forgery" and of too good quality (identical to the naked eye) for it to be otherwise.

The Dutch PO isn't the only organisation that exaggerates the scale of this "re-cycling". The UK Royal Mail also claim to lose millions a year because of it. Yet its my impression that most of the buying and selling of these "recycled" stamps is going on through eBay, and although there is a lot of it, its way off the milllions a year mark.

Also, with UK stamps, save for taking a stamp off the package and examining how it was affixed, there is no way of telling the difference between "recycled" stamps and old "postage".

The Royal Mail have responded by producing security stamps to foil the soakers, and in the process have caused some collateral damage to legitimate collectors who can't stand them.

Why they just don't cancel the damn things in the first place I don't know!
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Rein »

As the stamps are mainly used for packets and registered post, the simplest thing the PostNL could have done is to maintain their rule that such post has to be franked by the parcel postage stamps and the registration postage stamps ONLY since they all have to be taken in by barcode-reading... These special stamps already have their barcodes and are self-adhesive!

Normal postage stamps should be forbidden in the case of parcels and registered mail, and that was the rule introduced years ago! The registered stamps were introduced in 2000 and the parcel postage stamps in 1995:

Image

Image

But it was PostNL [and their pre-decessors] who introduced high face value commemorative stamps for philatelic purposes with the pretext they could be used for registered mail!
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Faust »

Why they just don't cancel the damn things in the first place I don't know!
I agree, for example more than 50% of letters i receive from Australia are not cancelled, post administrations must do there work and not complain afterwards.

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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Rein »

In the Netherlands they closed down all post offices, they are tearing down the distribution centres, they dismiss their personel....

What can you expect?? Some spasms of an ailing organization?!

They were expecting to have some income this year and now all stamps seem to have been sold ages ago and the money they once received, they needed for sending away these useless managers...
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by frimaerker »

For sure, as other members claim in the previous discussion, nothing can be seen from the images of presumably forged stamps on small self-adhesive sheets, as they were provided by PostNL on their home website during the last week of 2011.

However, this does not imply nothing to be wrong with the stamps on these small self-adhesive sheets.

Investigation of one sheetlet of these stamps (the only one in my possession, which was among the stamps that family members gave me for x-mas) yields the following results.

On the sheetlet: 1x 1,50G, 2x 2,50G, and 1x 7G queen Beatrice, 1x 44 eurocent, 1x 50 ct Troelstra from the eighties. Together this makes: 14 G + 0,44 euro = 6,42 + 0,44 euro, slightly above the amount of 6,75 euro, needed to send a standard package to a Dutch destination.

Not as expected:

- none of the Beatrice stamps shows any reaction at all under UV, whereas white phosphoresence is expected,
- none of the Beatrice stamps shows any fibers on the ends of the torn perforation from being torn away from the coil,
- the upper and lower perforation of the Beatrice stamps are exactly the same length and seem punched in one go, maybe for the same reason the 2 stamps of 2,50G on the sheetlet are separate,
- the 44 eurocent stamp shows white phosphor reaction in the phosphor band instead of yellow

The Troelstra stamp seems exactly as expected, though a part of this stamp is missing.

All of these stamps are valid in their normal form, as are all stamps which appeared after 01-01-1977.

If you received a sheetlet like this on a package from the Netherlands then, please, check whether you can find similar characteristics of the "forged" stamps.

Best regards
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Allanswood »

Frimaerker it may be as I suspected earlier with the perforations looking wrong.

However seeing as you actually have an example could you please post an large scanned image for us to look at! :D
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Rein »

frimaerker wrote:For sure, as other members claim in the previous discussion, nothing can be seen from the images of presumably forged stamps on small self-adhesive sheets, as they were provided by PostNL on their home website during the last week of 2011.

However, this does not imply nothing to be wrong with the stamps on these small self-adhesive sheets.

Investigation of one sheetlet of these stamps (the only one in my possession, which was among the stamps that family members gave me for x-mas) yields the following results.

On the sheetlet: 1x 1,50G, 2x 2,50G, and 1x 7G queen Beatrice, 1x 44 eurocent, 1x 50 ct Troelstra from the eighties. Together this makes: 14 G + 0,44 euro = 6,42 + 0,44 euro, slightly above the amount of 6,75 euro, needed to send a standard package to a Dutch destination.

Not as expected:

- none of the Beatrice stamps shows any reaction at all under UV, whereas white phosphoresence is expected,
- none of the Beatrice stamps shows any fibers on the ends of the torn perforation from being torn away from the coil,
- the upper and lower perforation of the Beatrice stamps are exactly the same length and seem punched in one go, maybe for the same reason the 2 stamps of 2,50G on the sheetlet are separate,
- the 44 eurocent stamp shows white phosphor reaction in the phosphor band instead of yellow

The Troelstra stamp seems exactly as expected, though a part of this stamp is missing.

All of these stamps are valid in their normal form, as are all stamps which appeared after 01-01-1977.

If you received a sheetlet like this on a package from the Netherlands then, please, check whether you can find similar characteristics of the "forged" stamps.

Best regards
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Phosphorescence is not always yellow as the OBA's [optical brightening agents] in the coating are dominant and give you the general impression of white! Only after soaking off the stamps the yellow returns! Or after exposing stamps to sunlight, etc..

As long as the 44c stamps are phosphorescent they are OK! The Week of Cards stamps used to have a red phosphorescence in order to "count" the impact of these stamps on the postal volume, the same goes for the December-stamps.

So far only the "coil" Queen Beatrix stamps are suspect!
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by frimaerker »

Happy New Year!

I do have a large resolution image, however, I do not have access to a public URL to show the picture.
Is it possible for the administrator of this topic to send me an e-mail then I can send the picture to the administrator.
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Rein »

Hello Rein,

Two attachments with scans of the same sheetlet containing the supposedly forged Beatrice stamps.
Thanks for putting them on the stampboards forum.

Groeten, Best regards,

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FRIMAERKER sent me two scans of the same sticker with the details of the perforations emphasized better!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The Queen Beatrix coilstamps are FAKE! The punched-out perforation is the same in all! N.B. the utmost left tooth is somewhat wider than the utmost right tooth! For all!

to be continued...
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Hendriks »

Thanks for the detailed pictures. I have 1,50 and 6,50 Guilder coil stamps in my collection that have the same long perforation tooth at the side. I bought them about 4 years ago from a NVPH dealer, so I'd guess they should be real.

I'm not sure what (NVPH) cat numbers these Beatrice stamps you showed are? I'm always confused with these. Mine have regular gum on the back (no peels). There are no others right (except for the non-coil ones).
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Rein »

Probably just the 1G50, 2G50, 6G50 and 7G00 as coil stamps are fake. I haven't seen anything about the 3G and 4G as sheet stamps so far...

The 44c seems OK and the elsewhere mentioned 10G Queen Juliana is probably OK as well...
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Re: Multi-million Euro postal stamp fraud in the Netherlands

Post by Rein »

As the 24p Machin is a collectable in the UK, the Dutch collectors should be aware of a possible popularity of these fakes in the near future!

PostNL is on the fringe of disappearing or getting swallowed.. so after a while we should not worry about legal consequences too much ... :)
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