You would have to question the sanity of people who choose to forge stamps. One only has to consider how many things have to be done to make a stamp look like the real thing. The design has to match up in color, paper type, perforations if any, and a myriad of other factors. Unless the stamp is incredibly rare, it doesn’t look like a good money making proposition.
Be what it is some people do forge stamps for whatever gain they hope to receive. Some of the characteristics of the fake stamps make them difficult to identify from the real stamp. Here a couple of examples:
• A narrower stamp--To get from a perforated stamp to an imperforate stamp of the same design, the forger carefully slices away the line of perforations. If a stamp that is obviously narrower than the “good” stamp results, the forger has failed. when the stamp being sliced is a little wider than the average in the first place, the forger has a better chance of producing a plausible finished product. As a new stamp collector, you may not spot the difference.
• Uneven perforations--If the perforated stamp is more valuable than the imperforate version, the forger will then trim the imperforate stamp to the proper size and proceed to add perforations. “Reperforating” as the method is called, is a meticulous process requiring a steady eye and hand. Most attempts are so crude that even a newbie collector can recognize the stamp as a fake. Other attempts require the aid of an expert to identify. Reperforations tend to have perforations that are uneven. The more even the perforations are, the better the forgery is.
Overprints, including surcharges, are another forger’s excel at. Often the overprinted stamp has a higher value than the same stamp without the overprint. A good forger will stock up on the original stamps and begin to apply a fake overprint. Detecting fake overprints is difficult, particularly if the original stamp is recent and the forger is using contemporary printing methods.
Early attempts tend to be much cruder. Although there are some good examples of fakes around that masquerade as the real thing. Even though you can often detect a fake overprint by comparing it to a “good” one printed in a catalog or similar medium, you have no guarantee that the stamp pictured is accurate.
Merely transferring the image of an overprint from a real example to a catalog illustration can bring enough of a change to cause all kinds of misunderstandings. If you compare a legitimate copy of an overprint to a printed guide and notice a difference, do not jump to conclusions and assume you have a fake stamp due to the seeming differences, get a second opinion you can trust.