WARNINGS - Fight against fakes.
All kind of collectables are subject to be copied, faked and reprinted. This plague extends to all collectable fields, everywhere, and Spanish Civil War stamps and postal history are not the exception. In this section, we are going to give guides to allow collectors to avoid deceptive items.
FIRST RULE. Common sense.
If something smells bad, it's probably bad.
SECOND RULE. Bargains do not exist.
Except if someone does not know what is selling, bargains are usually out of range.
THIRD RULE. If something does not ressemble anything already known, probably it's an invention.
Have a look on practical examples:
Type I, Manipulations. Dangerous if you do not have enough information.
See this postcard, advertised on Delcampe.net:
The postcard is an original item printed by the Red Cross during the Spanish Civil War in the Republican side, and the stamps and postmarks are original too. Where is the problem, then? Well, it mixes Republican and Nationalist issues. The 10c local from Ciudad Rodrigo is a Nationalist local from Salamanca province. It is impossible that somone had attached it on a postcard sent from and to Barcelona in 1938. More likely, someone with access to the cancel made this manipulation many years after the war. So the postmark is original, but it was not stamped on December 3, 1938, as it shows, but many time after. The seller is asking 50 € for this manipulation without noticing it is so. He even probably does not know that it is a fake.
We have a piece with this problem listed in our store, noticing it is a manipulation, but in the contrary way: a Republican political label on a post war cover:
It came from a reputable Spanish auction house, and even more, from the collection of an expert. See the description of this item here (priced 20 € in our store, as it does not deserve much more being a manipulation).
Type II. Inventions. Not dangerous at all. If you buy them, you deserve to be scammed!
Ebay is full of these nonsenses. Just a few examples:
They call them "necessity coupons", "ration coupons", "poster coupons", etc. They claim they were printed during the Spanish Civil War by both sides. Unexplanably using identical designs, of course. THEY ARE ALL INVENTIONS. None of these items was printed during the war; they were printed during the 1970's only to decieve collectors. Specially non Spanish collectors, who may be less familiar to original SCW items. Beware of these sheets (well, shits, directly) as Ebay is full of them, with bids starting at a few dollars.
There is a variety of this, the so called "paper money stamps" or "carton coins". The Republican Government certainly issued round cartons with a stamp attached on them to avoid the currency shortness near the end of the war. In Spanish they are called "cartón moneda" (carton coin). See an original one:
Originals share all the same obverse design: the Republican coat of arms. They are not colourful, but austere. They were not designed to be attractive, just because not enough coins were available. On the reverse there is a stamp attached, giving to the carton its value, to be used as currency.
Now see some inventions based on these originals:
They are the contrary of the originals: colourful, strange and attractive designs and mention of place of issue, as if they were locals. They are not! Just inventions that came out of the same print than the "necessity coupons" in the 1970's to scam collectors. Beware of them too, as Ebay is also full of them.
This is the less dangerous group as it is obvous, even with any kind of knowledge about Spanish Civil War stamps, that they are spurious inventions. But it looks that this is not obvious enough to many people, as these items still have bids on Ebay. Someone fails applying the First Rule of this article: common sense.
Type III. Reprints. Quite dangerous if you do not have proper information.
Fortunately only a few issues have been reprinted, but catalogues beware of them.
Type IV. Overprints.
Possibly, the most dangerous group, but avoidable if you know what you are handling. During the War the most common way to print surcharges was using typography, and for this reason a pressure mark must be seen on the overse of the stamp with the same shape of the overprint of the front. This is the simpliest rule to avoid being scammed with overprints, and the most effective.
We hope this guide may be useful for you but, If anyway you have any doubt about any Spanish Civil War stamp or cover, we can help. Contact us here and we'll do it our best to help you.