Forgeries of the Great Britain 2s Brown of 1880
By Bob Galland FRPSL & Karl-Albert Louis FRPSL

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The 2s. brown was produced in 1880 with large white rather than large coloured corner letters, despite the latter series being introduced from 1873. Die proofs had already been made for a large coloured corner letter 2s. value in 1872. De La Rue must have thought that it was not worth the cost and effort to produce a new plate for what was always likely to be a stamp with a short working life.

Bob Galland FRPSL & Karl-Albert Louis FRPSL

This book describes our current knowledge of forgeries of the 2s brown stamp of 1880. We have carried out a thorough literature search (figures in brackets in the text refer to numbers in the list of References) and examined institutional and private collections, dealers’ stocks and archives in order to establish as large a database as possible of these forgeries. Based on corner letters, 16 forgeries have been identified; another is mentioned for completeness as it has been described though we have not seen an example. In total more than 150 examples of these 16 forgeries and their proofs are described in this book. More will exist. Nevertheless, they provide an indication of relative scarcity.

Karl Louis, born in 1961, has been a philatelist since the early 1970s as a collector and exhibitor, and since 1986 intermittently as a professional philatelist. He studied business administration as the University of Cologne from 1980 to 1986, his economics thesis being on the ‘stamp market’. From 1986 to 1991 Karl was a professional philatelist with Heinrich Koehler in Wiesbaden. From 1992 to 2006 Karl held various management positions in industry. Since 2006 he has been Managing Director of Corinphila Auktionen AG, Zurich, as well as Affiliated companies in Germany and the Netherlands. Since 2012 he has also been a fellow partner in the Köhler-Corinphila Group ‘Global Philatelic Network’.

His personal collecting area is Great Britain 1840-1901. Since 1988 Karl has built up a card index of all the major items in classical Great Britain philately, comprising both traditional and postal history material.


Bob was formerly a Consultant Surgeon at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. He trained at Manchester University, University of Louisville, Kentucky and Hammersmith Hospital, London.

He is immediate Past President of the Great Britain Philatelic Society and current President of the Postal History Society.

His main philatelic interests are Undeliverable mail, Free and Official mail and Surface Printed Postage stamps.

He has written more than 60 philatelic articles and is co-author of two philatelic books; Great Britain Surface Printed Postage Stamps 1855-1883 (2009) and Great Britain; Failed Free Handstamps of the Franking System (2014).

Exhibiting awards include Large Gold Medals at both national and international exhibitions.

List of Illustrations 
List of Appendices
Chapter 1: European Forgers
Chapter 2: The Genuine Stamp
Chapter 3: The Forgeries

  • BD
  • BH
  • GK, HK, MK, NK, PK
  • JL, KJ, LK, PI
  • Sperati Photo-lithography Technique for Producing Forgeries
  • EH
  • HH
  • PF
  • SA
  • SE

Check List and Index 

Sample Pages