Notes from the Past

Stock Exchange Forgery

One of the most famous examples of the use of forged stamps to defraud a postal administration was the so-called Stock Exchange Forgery.  It was also one of the most successful, since the individuals involved were never caught. Indeed, the caper was not even discovered until 25 years later in 1898, when London stamp dealer Charles Nissen came upon some copies of the British 1/- stamp of the 1867 issue used on telegram forms.

The British Post Office also ran the telegraph service, and thus regular postage stamps were used in payment.

Nissen felt that there was something wrong with the stamps.  They were blurry in appearance, and some of the corner letters were in combinations that should not exist on genuine stamps.  He reported the matter to the Post Office, and an investigation was begun, but after so many years it was impossible to find the culprit or culprits.

Since all of the forged stamps were canceled at the Stock Exchange Post Office in London, they became known as the Stock Exchange Forgeries.

Apparently, a post office clerk would take the forged stamps to work and during the day would either sell them over the counter or affix them to telegram forms and pocket the money. 


- Kenneth A. Wood
This is Philately - Volume Three Q-Z
Van Dahl Publications 1982
Posted October 27, 2000
Editor's Note:  This note expands the material from a previous Note from the Past.

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