The world’s most scientifically tested philatelic Gem

The faking under investigation in this case is whether there was fraudulent manipulation of the paper fibres and the application of an offending ink in order to form the right-hand ‘7’.  For this to be carried out it is essential that the original ink be removed, the area rendered colourless and then an offending ink applied to form a figure ‘7’.

It is clearly evident from the following images, which have been obtained form a wide variety of scientific equipment, that all the number ‘77’ are completely original.

1- The paper fibres in the areas of the right hand 7s have not been touched or tampered with.

2- The areas of the right-hand 7s have not been painted or coloured or any pigment or ink applied in any way shape or form.

3- The areas of the right-hand 7s do not fluoresce in the Infra red or ultra violet.

4- The stamps have not been bleached or oxidised in order to render the required area colourless.

5- There are no ‘7’s from other stamps from this issue stuck on to mimic a ’77’!!!


The following scientific equipment was used:


1- Foster Freeman VSC6000 comparator

2- Conventional UV and IR light examinations

3- Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in both topographic and back-scattered modes

4- Raman spectroscopy

5- X-ray fluoroscopy (EDXRF)

6- Profilometry and surface topography

7- Confocal microscopy

8- Light microscopy

9- FT-IR (Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy)


Below is a small selection of images from  the over 120 pages of scientific reports and letters:


1- Infrared light examinations: Clearly no fluorescence can be seen.

Page 6- Image 6

Infra red image at 695nm of stamps SK and SL from the Victor Hugo cover.


2- Ultraviolet light examinations: Clearly no fluorescence can be seen in the 7s area.

Page 6- Image 7

Ultraviolet image at 365nm of stamps SK and SL from the Victor Hugo cover.


3- Depth composition and paper fibre analysis using a Keyence VHX600E digital microscope: This examination has confirmed that there is no paper fibre disturbance, no addition of any pigment and that troughs in the shape of 7s exist. No evidence of any 3s has been found using this method.


Image 1: Micrograph showing right-hand side ‘7’ from stamp RL(inverted). Note that the colourless paper fibres are completely clear and untouched, show no evidence of painting and run in and out of the fibre matrix and certainly no evidence of a pre-existing number. The fibres can even be traced as they change in colour from colourless to red. Magnified x250.

Page 5- Image 4


Image 2: Micrograph showing top section of magnified ‘7’ on RHS of stamp SL from the Victor Hugo cover. Note that the paper fibres are completely clear and untouched, show no evidence of painting and run in and out of the fibre matrix. Magnified x1000.

Page 5- Image 3


Image 3: Micrograph of ‘7’ from stamp RL showing depth composition clearly in the shape of a figure ‘7’. Note that the paper fibres are completely clear and untouched, show no evidence of painting and run in and out of the fibre matrix and certainly no evidence of any pre-existing number.

Page 6- Image 8


Image 4: Depth composition analysis of the top of the right-hand ‘7’ from stamp SL. Such a recess of a  colorless area can only be produced through intaglio printing. Again note the completely clear and intact paper fibres.

Fig 11


4- Scanning electron microscopy- topographic mode: Has confirmed that the paper fibres have not been disturbed

Page 6- Image 9

SEM image of the paper fibers on stamp RL.


4a- Scanning electron microscopy- back scattered mode: Has confirmed that the paper fibres have not been disturbed and that there is no evidence of a previously existing number.


Page 5- Image 1


Back scattered SEM image of stamp SK from the Victor Hugo Cover. Note that all the colourless areas which are devoid of ink, appear completely dark on the image, ie the border lattice-work and the 7s.  The inked areas appear bright.

This image confirms that the perfect right-hand number ’7′ has not been altered from a previously existing number. Had there been a pre-existing figure 3, then the coloured parts marked by the yellow arrows in the lower image that would have crossed the figure 7 would have appeared bright white.


5- Raman spectroscopy: Has confirmed that the ink that printed both the 7s is identical.

Fig 12- Abed compare Raman 7 with standards - Copy

Raman spectra comparison diamond area around second “7” by Professor Gene hall, Rutgers University.

These analyses revealed the red pigment in the printing ink was composed of HgS (vermillion) and red lead (Pb2O3). The chemical compound associated with Ba that was determined by EDXRF could not be identified. Chromium was identified as lead chromate; according to Professor Gene Hall, this was “not homogenous or part of a faking ink”.

No other compound was detected other than the above mentioned two compounds that printed the stamps.


6- Light microsocopy: The image was obtained from a printed area of stamp SK at a magnification of x100. As is clearly evident, the paper fibers are matted and very much interwoven and any tampering, abrasion, scraping or removal of these fibers would undoubtedly be clearly seen under this magnification.

light microscopy

7- Foster Freeman VSC6000 Comparator: Examinations by Robert Radley using this sophisticated equipment under UV and IR revealed no evidence to support any faking. Please see Mr Radley’s report under ‘Forensic Testimonials’.


8- Examination of the cancellation ink: In view of the fact that the cancellation ink lies over the right-hand figure ‘7’ to be altered then this ink must somehow also be removed to allow for faking and then re-applied. The Philatelic Foundation of New York examined the cancellation inks throughout the stamps using a VSC6000 and found them all to be identical eliminating the fact that any offending cancellation ink was applied.


9- Eliminating the fact that a bleach or an oxidising agent was applied in order to remove or render colourless the existing ink : Following extensive examinations using Raman and EDXRF by Professor Gene Hall of Rutgers University, the following was his conclusion: ‘After reviewing both my archive Raman and XRF spectra of the suspect 7, I conclude that there was no bleaching or treatment with hydrogen peroxide of the suspect 7 to reprint over the 7 with an offending ink.’.





As a point of interest, illustrated below on the left is a reversed image of stamp SK from the Hugo cover next to it is the Tapling stamp BA. The identical nature of these simple images visually demonstrate the fact that the right-hand 7s on the Victor Hugo stamp SK have not been altered.


ks with flaw

77 BA - Copy