FORGERIES
The overprinting of the Austrian stamps was completed by the middle of January 1919. All the typographic components from the overprinting form should have been destroyed, but the components of the bottom half of the overprinting form were not destroyed. Instead, they were unofficially reset and used to overprint half sheets of the Austrian stamps. Mikstein called these forgeries, Form 5.

In February of 1919, new unofficial typographic components were cast, and a new overprinting form was assembled for the overprinting of full sheets of 100 of the Austrian stamps. Mikstein called the top half of this new form - Form 6 - and the bottom half - Form 7. After the overprinting of sheets of the Austrian stamps, the typographic components were disassembled, but were reassembled in the latter part of 1919 and once again used for the overprinting of the Austrian stamps, thus creating new variations and Forms.

In early 1919, new unofficial typographic components were cast and another new overprinting form was assembled for the overprinting of full sheets of 100 of the Austrian stamps. However, in this form, the height of the overprint was between 8.75 and 9 mm rather than 9 to 9.25mm of the genuine overprints. These overprints are usually referred to as Mueller forgeries.

These are the major forgery forms recognized and characterized by Mikstein. The typographic components used for the assembly of all of these above printing forms are identical to those used for the overprinting of the authorized overprints. Careful measurements and exhaustive examinations of the details of the component parts of the overprints are required to separate the forgeries from the genuine overprints. With perhaps a few exceptions, the plate position of a genuine overprint can be determined with a high degree of certainty.

Other printing forms have been assembled and used for the overprinting of the Austrian stamps. Currently, new forgeries are appearing on the market which are the products of the utilization of computers, scanners, printers and software programs.

Some of the characteristics of the various forms are detailed below.

Form 5. The height of the overprints of the 1st, 2nd and 5th rows are greater than 9.25mm - actually close to 9.5mm - and thus these overprints are easy to identify. The height of the overprints of the 3rd and 4th row, however, are the same as those of the genuine overprints and the positioning of their component parts are similar to those of the genuine overprints.

The overprint on the above stamp is Form 5, position 57. The POLSKA portion of this overprint originated from Form 1, position 82. The extracted overprint is displayed in the top right. The overprint from Form 1, position 82 has been overlaid (in pink) on this extracted overprint and the composite is displayed in the lower right. The increased height of this Form 5 overprint is now readily apparent.

Forms 6 & 7. In the top half of this new overprinting form, the Z in the word POCZTA of positions 4, 5, 14, 15, 24, 25, 34, 35, 44 and 45 were cut to simulate the thin Z's of the genuine overprints from those positions. The heights of these overprints are correct and the positioning of the component parts of 60 of these overprints are similar to those of the genuine overprints. The overprint components have few defects. Some of the overprint positions show a partial vertical line between the O and C of POCZTA.

The overprints on the above pair of stamps are Form 6 position 45 and Form 7 position 55. Note the cut Z in POCZTA in the extracted overprints to the right.

Mueller Forgeries. These overprints are readily identified by a measurement of the overprint height.

The overprint on the above stamp is the Mueller copy of the double point of Form 1. The extracted overprint is displayed at the above right. The overprint from Form 1, position 73 - double point - has been overlaid (in pink) on this extracted overprint and the composite is displayed in the lower right. The decreased height of this Mueller overprint is now readily apparent.

Others. Over the past 82 years various attempts have been made to simulate these Krakow overprints, some by typographic methods and others by lithographic methods or possibly even rubber stamps. Below I have displayed 4 of the many variations.

Current Forgeries. Today, accurate copies of these overprints can be obtained using current software such as Adobe Photoshop. These copies can then be used to produce printing dies by using such techniques as those used for producing printed circuit boards or rubber stamps. Examples of current forgeries are reproduced below. The inking characteristics clearly indicate the overprints to be forgeries.