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Madame Joseph Forgeries - an Update


by Chris Georgallis - (Cyprus Study Circle)




It has been impossible to find a Madame Joseph (MJ) forgery of the Cyprus 6 May 1935 Silver Jubilee First Day Cover (FDC). I have seen the fake MJ 6 May 1935 Nicosia Registered cancellation on stamps at a Stampex Exhibition many moons ago but have never seen a fake FDC. It is known that fake MJ 1935 Silver Jubilee FDCs for the Commonwealth countries exist and are often addressed to the City Stamp Shop in London EC4.


One such Cyprus cover was illustrated in the “Flagstaff”, the journal of the Silver Jubilee Society and having seen a scan, sent to me, I can say with some certainty, that it is not a fake but a genuine FDC.




Here we have three covers, with Registration labels

issued from a Nicosia Post Office and cancelled at

the same time of day, 5pm. To these we will overlay

the transparent overlays of the forged MJ cancellations,

which were made pretending to have been cancelled

at the same Post Office and at the same time of day,

5pm, as the covers here.






(Cover A).














Virtually identical cover in my collection. Cover B.

Cover illustrated in issue 49 of the Flagstaff journal. Cover A.

Another cover in my collection.


The overlays, which are from fake MJ cancellations, would be expected to completely and perfectly cover the cancellations on the covers, if the covers are MJ fakes. If they do not, then the covers are genuine covers and genuine FDCs.


Below we see close-ups of sections of each cover with the overlay superimposed over the cancellation on the covers.


The dash in the 5 of 5pm is longer on the cover than the MJ cancellation.

The stop after the 5 of 5pm is present on the cover but not on the MJ cancellation.

The width of the cancellation oval on the cover is wider than than on the MJ cancellation.

The text on the cover does not coincide exactly with that of the MJ cancellation.

The D of Registered on the cover doesn’t superimpose exactly with that on the MJ cancellation.

The 6 on the cover is more flat than on the MJ cancellation, which is more curved.

There are further differences but the major points that one should note as ways to determine whether a cover is genuine or not are those given above.


The same points also apply to this cover.


For the above three covers, I have used the MJ No 133 cancellation from the book: Madame Joseph Revisited, by Brian M. Cartwright, (Royal Philatelic Society London, 2005).


There are two forged 6 May 1935 cancellations in the book, but the first example No.132 is not relevant as it has No stop between Nicosia and Cyprus, whereas the three covers and No.133 do have a stop between Nicosia and Cyprus.


An illustrated FDC of 6 May 1935 for Cyprus was sold on Ebay some time back and was meant to be a MJ Fake. Having examined a scan of it, it has the stop after the 5 in 5pm so had to be a genuine cover.


So far I have not been able to find a MJ forgery of the FDC, and those that are said to have been forgeries are not.


It is therefore, not possible to know whether, if fake covers exist, and if they do, whether they bear the No.132 or No.133 fake MJ cancellation.


Below are the two fake cancellations illustrated in the book:


There is an oddness about the above Covers A and B.

The registration labels cover the cancellation. Having looked at several dozen covers of the period, these two and only one other cover have been treated in this way. The label is always away from the stamps and cancellation. However, if we look at the covers A and B, there was no room to place the label other than where it has been placed due to the positioning of the stamps and address. The registration number follows a logical sequential order when registered covers of the same period following the 6th May are examined.


With the covers below, a more sensible treatment of the cancellation and label has been carried out.

Cover scan sent in by CSC member

The above is an update to the detailed examination of the genuine and forged examples of these cancels in my article, "Cyprus Cypher", still available as a PDF on this site.


I would like to thank the following for all their help and advice before writing this article on Madame Joseph Forgeries. With their help and direction, I was able to update an earlier article I wrote on the same subject, but I think now this a rather more complete article on this subject. I am not an expert in the field of GV Silver Jubilee but my interest in Cyprus definitive FDCs and their survival has made it necessary for me to tackle the subject of possible forgeries as we have to identify those covers which might influence any research:

Roger B West, Tony Ainscough, Nick Levinge and Neil Donen


CG - December 2017

Some previous articles are available as PDF's by clicking their titles below:


    "Argentinian interference with mail from the Falkland Islands" - by Ralph Riddell-Carre

    “Ceylon Circuit" - Some postmarks of Ceylon

    "Variety Values" - Bruce Davies's campaign to secure values for used examples of varieties

    "Fragmented Fiji" - Some postmarks of Fiji

    "Absentee Rupee" - The Mauritius 1 rupee as a stranger to postal rates

    "Postal Usage of the Egypt Seal" - Nick Levinge looks at the Crowned Circles of the forces bases

    "Over Fifty Shades" - Something wrong with the colour?

    "Ghana Guide" - Some postmarks of Gold Coast

    "Vanuatu Voyage?- A look at Hong Kong used in New Hebrides

    Surfing the Solomon Sea” - The few operating post offices in the Solomon Islands

    “Security Punch” - A look at the Jubilee’s perfins by Jeff Turnbull

    “Morocco Now and Then” - A tour of the British post offices in Morocco

    “Fault lines of the Falklands” - Part two of Ralph Riddell-Carre’s analysis

    “Straddling the Straits” - Some postmarks of the Straits Settlements

    “Set and Match” - Can full set covers be non-philatelic?

    “Boating around The Bahamas” - Some postmarks of The Bahamas

    “Serial Salutes” - Some of the Silver Jubilee’s own anniversaries

    “Mauritius Meanderings” - Some postmarks of Mauritius

    “A Cat among the Penguins” - A suspect Falklands cancel

    “Cycling Cyprus” - Some postmarks of Cyprus

    “Scars of Conflict” - How the Jubilees were affected by war

    “Bech Trek” - Some postmarks of Bechuanaland Protectorate

    “Specimen Specifics” - A look at the various uses of the word SPECIMEN

    “Hong Kong Hike” - Some postmarks of Hong Kong

    “Aden Funnel” - Covers from and through Aden

    “Grenada Guide” - Some postmarks of Grenada

    “In The Frame” - A look at some frame plate flaws

    “Basuto Byways” - Some postmarks of Basutoland

    “Cyprus Cypher” - Chris Georgallis examines the colony’s Madame Joseph forged postmarks

    “Trinidad Tour” - Some postmarks of Trinidad & Tobago

    “Commercial Ceylon” - A look at the perfins of the colony

    “Guiana Panorama” - Some less common British Guiana postmarks

    “Where were they then?” - From the more recent stamp-issuing territories

    “Cautious Mauritius” - A variety of Mauritius perfins

    “Madame Joseph’s Masquerades” - Some examples of forged first day covers

    “Tag Wrestling” - A look at the higher postal rates through parcel labels

    “AR” - An article on Avis de Reception by David Handelman

    “The Fleury Flair” - Hugo Fleury’s designs for the Jubilee

    “Split the Difference” - Some occurrences of bisects among the Jubilees

    “Specimen Fundamentals” - Notes on U.P.U. requirements & some forged examples

    “Windsor Spoofs” - Gerald King’s alternative Jubilees

    “Puncturing Oz” - Some speculations about Australian perfins

    “Perforating the Silver Jubilee Stamps”- An article on GB by Harvey Russell

    “Nauru’s Split Personality”  - Split “B” variety on the 2d value?

    “In Camel’s Clothing” - The Egyptian seal’s booklet

    “Rural Disservice” - The Cyprus low value forgeries

    “Canadian Precancels” - The only precancel involvement with the Jubilee

    “Phoenix-like Sphinx” - Some notes about the Egyptian seal

    “Fag Tax” - Observations on South West Africa’s cigarette duty overprints

    “From the collection of...” - Jubilee items from some illustrious collectors

    “Prize-less Specimens” - Beware of forged specimen stamps

    “Dubious Jubilees” - Spoofs, parodies and bogus overprints