The Lavender Hill Mob were a gang of forgers who printed over £50 million of fake currency during the 1980’s and early 90’s. They managed to inject over £30 million of fake cash into the economy, some of which is still circulating to this day. Although specialising in fake currency, the gang also printed Postage, Gas, and TV Licence stamps.
The focus of this brief study is the forged 24p Machin Head Definitive Postage Stamp ...
The gang chose to forge the 24p Rust Machin Head stamp, as 24p was the current inland letter rate at the time. They printed the stamp in offset Lithography. They used a Genuine half-sheet of 100 as their template. The forged postage stamps began to appear in the summer of 1993 in mail posted from London and Essex. Above is an example of the forged stamp alongside a genuine stamp for comparison. Clearly the colour is an excellent match to that of the genuine stamp, enabling the untrained eye to be fooled. To the trained eye, however, the forgery clearly stands out as a fake. For one, the perforations are much larger at 11 as opposed to 14 or 15. The perforations are also Line Perforated, not Comb Perforated.
|Large Forgery Perfs 11|
|Genuine Perfs 14 or 15|
A close look at the gum also reveals a striking difference. The Deegam Catalogue further elaborates: “The gum ... is very thin and shiny, with no green or blue dye. It does not appear to be gum arabic since there is no 'crazy paving' appearance under magnification … ” Deegam further suggests, “It maybe a variant of Polyvinyl acetate (PVAc).”
Until next time...