Learning the Three R's Part 3 - Reperforated Stamps

Learning the Three R's
Part 3 - Reperforated Stamps
By Peter Mosiondz, Jr.

The detection of reperforated stamps is often a very diffi cult task owing to the profi ciency of the fakers and their improved methods. Even experts will occasionally differ in their opinions as to whether or not a stamp contains its original perforations.


This gorgeous copy of Scott No. 106 is so striking in appearance (unused with original gum, by the way) that an expert’s eye is immediately attracted to the perforations to determine if some fakery might have occurred. At fi rst glance, the perfs at top or bottom might seem suspect. But not so at all: the stamp carries a Philatelic Foundation certificate.


Reperforating is done, as in the case of regumming, for the sole purpose of making a stamp more valuable.

But this stamp is a different story. The even nature of the perforations along the left side are a clear indication of reperforating. Notice how the tops of the perforations are very even with few tiny random fibers.

By reperforating the natural straight edge of a fl at plate printed stamp it can be offered as the more expensive fully perforated version. Have you seen many straight edged stamp lately? Sometimes a row of thort or uneven pers will be cut away and then reperfed to improve the stamp's appearance. These are the two main reasons among many that stamps are reperforated.

To detect reperforated stamps, one must have some necessary tools. These include a good perforation gauge. For U.S. issues the Precision U.S. Specialty Multi-Gauge is highly recommended. Keep in mind though that the expert faker has gotten very good in gauging the correct measurements. A 10x or higher lens is also required.

As we mentioned in Part 2 of this series (Regumming), an excellent tool to have is your own reference file. A 1¢ Trans-Mississippi will have the same hole size and gauge as that of the other denominations of that Issue. Simply place the genuine stamp on top of the stamp in question. The holes and gauge must match.

Even though the faker has become more profi cient in using the correct gauge, the perforation holes are quite another matter. many straight edged stamps lately? Sometimes a row of short or uneven perfs will be cut away and then reperfed to improve the stamp’s appearance.

All government printed stamps have been perforated on one type or another of a rotary perforator. This type of perforator cuts at a slight angle resulting in a hole that is slightly oval as opposed to being perfectly round. During this cutting process the 
perforator pulls the paper and then cuts the hole itself.

As a result of the rotary perforator’s cutting method, the inner edges of the genuine perforation hole will show several ragged fi bers. If you notice that the stamp you are examining features perfectly round perforation holes and is devoid of ragged paper fi bers, my bet is that you are examining a stamp that has been reperforated. The reperforator uses a pin-type perforating device which results in a clean, round hole.

Flat plate printed stamps are the usual suspects for reperforating because of their natural straight edges and, often, their high monetary value. In addition, an imperforate flat plate stamp can be spuriously perforated to represent a more expensive perforated stamp.

Flat plate printed stamps were fed into the rotary perforating device one direction at a time. The perforation holes at the top and bottom will be slightly ragged to their left or right whereas the perforation holes at the left and right will display raggedness at the top or bottom of the hole. The left and right side perforation holes should be parallel to each other. Likewise for the top and bottom.

On rotary press printed stamps an overlay comparison should be made and they must match in both hole size and gauge measurement. Be very careful when evaluating your coil waste issues. These can be faked from either coil or booklet stamps, depending on the issue.

We hope you found our three-part mini-series on the Three R’s useful and informative.