Stamp Collectors Against Dodgy Sellers
October 27, 2004:
The remaining forgery selling ID of the Hialeah forger, unlimitedstamps, has been suspended by eBay. This selling ID had not been used since mid-2001.
July 19, 2004:
The new eBay seller princesstamps has not relisted and appears to have gone to ground after the first flurry of listings, which received one bid. After initially being friendly and helpful when responding to enquiries, the seller has become more reserved and has put off answering further questions.
Meanwhile, a new U.K.-based seller spacelady00, registered on July 10, has taken over the listing of the modern forgeries of reseller mailbyrail. On July 13, the seller listed 16 Hialeah forgery blocks and singles in the eBay.uk "Replicas/ Repros/ Forgeries" category. All the forgeries carry the description:
"This is a modern reproduction and is printed by the wrong printing process, on the wrong paper and has 'repro' stamped on the reverse in order to comply with eBay and International regulations."
June 16, 2004:
The new eBay seller princesstamps, which was initially suspected of being a new ID spawned by the suspended seller atdinvest, is apparently the new owner of atdinvest's forgery business, and plans to list about 100 lots per week. Registered on June 9, this Florida-based ID listed 18 private auctions of modern fake imperforate blocks three days later.
Although atdinvest advertised on each lot that "in compliance with eBay policy all items are permanently marked repro (reproduction) on reverse", this was never carried out. princesstamps has stated that the reverse side of each stamp sold on eBay is to be printed in blue ink with the word "Repro" italicised in 12 pt arial font.
May 10, 2004:
A new article explaining the characteristics of the forgeries produced by the Florida seller atdinvest has been prepared by Richard Warren, whose website shows several Burma forgeries offered by the seller.
The article gives an overview of the seller's activities, then discusses the overprints, cancellations, perforating equipment and the characteristics of the printing method used to create these computer-generated reproductions, with illustrations of the various devices used, type of paper, etc. See http://www.bilston73.freeserve.co.uk/atd/atdreport.htm
April 29, 2004:
The U.K.-based forgery reseller lotus194 was suspended shortly after eBay staff posted the following warning to him on the eBay.uk category change thread:
As you may know you are under extremely close scrutiny by the US category team at the moment. Perhaps it is time to find another way to make money.
The other major U.K.-based forgery reseller mailbyrail continues to list Hialeah forgeries using generic descriptions similar to the following:
These forgeries appear to be modern confections due to printing process used. The Paper is wrong. The printing process is wrong and even the perfs could be wrong. These forgeries/fakes are from a recently purchased collection.
April 21, 2004:
The Florida seller atdinvest was suspended from eBay, a week after relisting his business for sale on 14 April. This time the asking price had dropped down to $11,999.99. Interestingly, the suspension occurred shortly after the tactics of this seller had been posted on an eBay.uk category change thread, in a long discussion of the problems these modern reproductions pose for the hobby, even when listed in the new "Replicas/Reproductions" category.
The seller has again listed the business on auction.com, this time for $24,000, with the description:
Successful company established for eight years specializing in the reproduction of high valued classic stamps worldwide. Gold mine business with unlimited potential. Business includes over 6000 regular customers worldwide (large amount of dealers), website with domain, ebay account (over 1800 feedback established 99% positive), inventory of over 20,000 sheets (different worldwide), rubber stamp cancellations, surcharges, overprints (worldwide) 1886 in total (includes French Colonies and Offices, German Colonies and Offices, British Colonies and the period of WWI & WWII, etc.), data base on 86 CD's with hundreds of Proofs and documents necessary to make the plates for printing, the heart of the business database of over 6000 regular customers with accounts. Mail order operation with monthly catalog, perforation equipment and tools. Supply of Arabic Gum for gluing sheets, software required for operations included. Technical support and training. This company is the leading business in the classic stamp reproduction right now with no competition. Great opportunity for the ambitious entrepreneur. Selling due to health problems. Will be accepting reasonable offers.
April 2, 2004:
The Florida seller atdinvest is now attempting to auction off the tools used to make the forgeries, including the 87 CDs of images ($899), perforating equipment ($5,000) and rubber cancels ($799), complete with photos of the equipment used. There were no bids on these, however note that there was a taker for the accompanying auction of a large lot of sheets, blocks and single stamps for $899.
March 18, 2004:
After failing to sell his forgery business on eBay, the Florida seller atdinvest has been offering it on other auctions sites. Last November and December it was seen on the sell.com, auction.com and auction-warehouse.com sites. It is currently listed in the sell.com classifieds, with a negotiable asking price of US$34,000. The description reads:
Profitable part time business home base operated.Specialized in Reproduction of Classic High Values Worldwide Stamps for the International Philatelic Community.Great potential for expansion with unlimited income as full time,stablished since February 1999,with over 6,000 regular customers worldwide,making up to $60,000 a year as part time.Business include: huge inventory(millions)of classic stamps all diferent ,only the highest values,perforation equipment,gumming technique and supply,ebay account with status of power seller,high rate of feedback,99% positive feedback;customers data over 6,000 regular customers and dealers;the library of the business(87 CDís with thousand of proof and plates)require for printing sheets ,rubber stamp cancellations worldwide by hundreds,etc.Owner willing to sell or take a partner energetic willing to take full charge of the business,and bring new ideas to create a franchise networking operation worldwide to expand the business with new associates.We are the only ones in the highest quality reproduction of classic stamps,the market is huge just waiting for new stamps.This business is operated now for one person,is time for expansion.More information could be supply on request.
October 14, 2003:
Florida seller atdinvest is attempting to sell his forgery "business" on eBay. Among the paraphernalia offered are thousands of sheets and blocks, hundreds of handstamps, perforation equipment and over 80 CDs containing "data of proofs and documents". When the first listing did not sell at $49,900, the price was raised to $69,900. Both auctions completed with no bids.
After years of trying to pass off the forgeries as classical, having been the creations of forgers both well-known and fictitious, or of having come from old European collections, this about-face shows the deceit practiced by this seller, and validates the efforts of concerned collectors who have worked to expose this seller's products as recently created.
June 2, 2003:
The Florida seller atdinvest is now trying to boost sales by offering customers a range of perforated forgeries. The promotion reads:
New merchandise available from "atdinvest"
Dear eBayer: We have the privilege to announce that we now have available forgeries perforated. We invite to look at our site on eBay "atdinvest" and see the quality of the product we are offering. As we state in our descriptions 'there is no limit to what ATD can do for the Philatelic Community'. Many customers have asked for perforated stamps and we are now offering them in blocks and collections coming up (perforated and imperforated).As always we appreciate your business and look forward to dealing with you again.
Listings of perforated blocks of four and singles since late May have attracted bidders, with some lots selling for over $20.
February 24, 2003:
The Florida seller atdinvest, currently with 1585 unique feedback points, merged the previously suspended account cclan and the inactive accounts jcsr. and futete into its feedback in September last year. The other known user IDs used by this seller, mogc and unlimitedstamps, are still dormant.
February 23, 2003:
As sales of the sheets of modern forgeries slow, the Florida seller atdinvest has now batched them up into groups of six sheets. The seller denied this was the case on the eBay Stamps chat board, and indicated that there were more amazing items in store for the collecting world, in the following post excerpt:
Sorry,but my sales are not waning,in order to offer a great opportunity to the little guys I made the decission to offer big lots at a little price,in order to stimulate the collectors,and also because I have an inventory in classics that you have'nt see in your life.This is nothing,more surprises are on the way,as I said some time ago :"collecting classics and expensive stamps is not a privilege anymore for a few",everyone have the right to fill that space in their albums at little cost.
January 23, 2003:
This time the Florida seller atdinvest makes front page news in the January 28 issue of Canadian Stamp News. Journalist Ian Robertson's third article on the activities of this seller tells the story of a second attempt by atdinvest to offer imperforate sheets of forgeries of Canadian stamps on eBay. This in spite of having previous sales cancelled in August due to complaints by Canada Post to eBay through its VERO program, which protects against copyright violations. Canada Post were quick to report the seller this time, and the lots, which were first listed on Christmas Eve, were cancelled.
Consider what could happen if other postal authorities followed Canada Post's lead, and lodge complaints to eBay about breaches of copyright. . .
August 13, 2002:
As promised, atdinvest has returned. After being reinstated by eBay, this seller began listing auctions of the imperforate sheets of modern forgeries. The IDs 'futete' and 'unlimitedstamps' are still presently NARU'd.
August 11, 2002:As of August 10, eBay user futete, an alternate ID of the previously NARUed Florida seller atdinvest, was also NARUed, terminating another series of auctions of the so-called "Hialeah Forgeries." This refers to a series of fake overprints and modern forgeries of sheets of stamps, which may have been produced very recently, in spite of the seller's claims to the contrary. A full discussion of the Hialeah forgeries can be found here.
Today, stmp-man, a self-identified sock puppet and lesser-known shilling ID of 'atdinvest', issued a terrifying (?) manifesto to the stamp chat board, vowing vengeance on his enemies and threatening to flood the stamp world with newly produced forgeries. The screed is reproduced here in full:
THIS IS AN OPEN STATEMENT TO ALL THE RATS LIKE BENSON AND HIS "CUATES" atdinvest has been NARU also futete,with no reason,just because a bunch of rats,and unspeakable human trash like benson and others.Well guys let me tell you something,I am patient and more important I have money,just to wait,because the stamps will be showing on the market for thousands not to say millions,and guess what,this is to the experts,no only imperforated sheets,also this is the surprise "PERFORATED AND WITH WATERMARKS"how about that guys,you didn't want a cup,well I'll give you four.Every valuable stamp in the catalog will be showing perf,imperf,and with watermark if need it.Went I said that this revolution in the hobby nobody wil be able to stop it,I mean it,every collector has the right to have the expensive and rare stamps in their albums,and this is my task.You piss me off and now you guys will suffer the consequences,this is not a BS,is a reality,and if I tell you who is the artist you'll be in shock,but no yet,the time will come that every collector will have the privilege of knowing who is the artist.Now benson and comparsa be prepare for the storm.atdstaff.
Fakes and Forgeries