Postal History from Finland 1889 - 1918

Fake stamps from Russian period - Fournier
François Fournier (1846-1917) operated as a forger in Geneva from 1904 onwards.

According to Varro Tyler's Philatelic Forgers, Their Lives and Works, Fournier, unlike many of his contemporary forgers, did not seek to defraud the public. He described his material as facsimiles and promoted it to collectors who could not afford to purchase genuine items and to uneducated collectors as a preventive measure against their being deceived by dishonest stamp dealers.

After his death, his former employee, Charles Hirschburger, continued the business until his own death in 1927. In order to prevent the stock from falling into unscrupulous hands, l'Union Philatèlique de Genève purchased the entire lot, some 400 kilograms in weight, from Hirschburger's widow.

After printing the word 'FAUX' on the front or the word 'FAC-SIMILÉ' on the back of the forgeries, representative selections were mounted on album pages by students from the Geneva School of Arts and Crafts. These pages were housed in 480 special loose-leaf albums which were sold in 1928 to interested individuals and organisations for about $25. The balance of the stock was burned. Over the years many of these albums have been broken up to satisfy the demands of collectors of individual countries and the current value of a complete album has risen to around $6,000.

In some instances a few more pages with forgeries mounted on them were produced than were needed to make up the 480 albums. These recently came to light in the estate of Monsieur E. Friederich, the former President of l'Union Philatèlique de Genève and former President of the Fèdèration International de Philatèlie.
( my source: )

The postmarks
The postmark is very important when you are checking the Finnish Ringstamps and 10 Mark m/1901 for Fournier fakes - there are 4 well known postmarks.

The paper
One of the reasons that Fournier made such good facsimiles was that he used genuine paper from Russian sheet margins of Rouble stamps from the 1889 and 1902 issues.

The genuine Ringstamps were printed on horizontal laid paper - same as the Russian 1889 issue, and the 10 Mark m/1901 was printed on not laid paper.

The perforation
Fournier perforated his facsimiles 13½ or 14 and here it is important to note that he used line-perforation for all issues. The genuine Ringstamps have also line-perforation, but the genuine 10 Mark m/1901 has comb-perforation

The fake issues:
10 Mark

First I show the genuine 10 Mark with margins, the genuine stamp was issued 14. Jan 1901
(Facit nr. 54 / Norma nr. 66 / LaPe nr. 54 / Michel nr. 54)

same from back - note especially the comb perforation. All the Fournier stamps have line perforation.

Genuine to the left with circles and Fournier to the right

Fournier stamps printed on vertical laid paper.
Postmark HELSINKI 5 III 00 to the left and to the right KUOPIO 1 IV 98

also printed on vertical laid paper with WIBORG 3 V 02 postmark.
I have never seen or read about other Fournier stamps this postmark. Note the date bridge is upside down on the right stamp.

Fournier stamps printed on horizon laid paper.
Postmark TAMMERFORS B 8 V 98 to the left and to the right WIBORG 11 XI 97

Fournier stamp imperforated and without postmark.

3,50 Rbl Ringtype

On top a Fournier and below a genuine stamp.
Note the position of the upper left ring, the single frameline and the blurred pearls of the fake.

Two 3,50 Rbl stamps with only single frameline, both printed on vertical paper and postmarked KUOPIO 1 IV 98.
The right stamp is with very weak embossing and with bluish grey color.

This stamp has double frameline and have been printed on horizontal laid paper. HELSINKI 5 III 00 postmark

Imperforated version with single frameline on horizontal laid paper.

3,50 Rbl Ringtype; Colour error: black and yellow

Two examples of the wrong colored 3,50 Rbl in different shades, both with double frameline. The left with WIBORG 11 XI 97 and the right with KUOPIO 1 IV 98 postmark. These two are not from my collection and I donot know the paper type.

and a copy with only single frameline, postmarked WIBORG 11 XI 97 on vertical paper.

7 Rbl Ringtype

7 Rbl with double frameline, on horizontal laid papier with KUOPIO 1 IV 98 postmark

and with single frameline, on vertical laid paper with TAMMERFORS B 8 V 98 postmarks

Imperforated version with single frameline on horizontal laid paper.