Mercury & Iris Forgeries

WWII Forgeries

During World War II, the British printed propaganda leaflets and newspapers and inserted them into the French postal system using counterfeit French postage stamps printed by the British Political Warfare Executive.

The stamps exist in perforated (“A” suffix” and imperforate (“B” suffix) varieties.

The counterfeit stamps are of four designs — Mercury, Iris, Pétain with hat, and Pétain without hat.

The Mercury designs can be distinguished from the originals by the presence of two horizontal “cuts” across the forehead of the forgeries.

MiNr 37 (MiNr 36 has same distinguishing characteristics)

MiNr 37 (MiNr 36 has same distinguishing characteristics except for perforation)

In addition, the 30 cent value can be distinguished by its perforation.

The Iris design can be distinguished from the original by the lack of an accent over the first “E” in “RÉPUBLIQUE”, a series of five dots in a horizontal line under the lip of the torch, and different perforation.

MiNr 38

MiNr 38

For more on this issue, see Propaganda and Espionage Philately, by SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.).