Table of contents


Justification


A stamp collection is usually put away safely in beautiful books or vaults of a bank, and is therefore only accessible for a happy few. The purpose of this site is to make public a little part of the Belgian postal history, so that as many interested people as possible can enjoy our collection, and through their reactions make an enrichment for our knowledge. Therefore we are going to try to make updates when our collection and our informations grow; therefore also this site wil never be completed, like a collection is never completed.

We hope you enjoy as much going through this site, as we had by collecting the stamps and making the site.


Contact



Born in 1959 and collecting stamps from the age of seven, I have been interested especially for the set of Mérode stamps the last few years. Because my second hobby is history, I always try to give as much attention as possible to the historical content and the time spirit of this set.

Damen Guido E-mail (guidodamen59@skynet.be)

André Luyckx.

Genesis


When in april 1912 the first stamps with the portrait of the new king Albert 1 where sold, it was not a great success, everybody complained about the mediocrity of the quality and the bad portrait of the king. It was stamp nr 111 of 10 c who came out first, and departing september stamp nr 123 of 25 c with an adapted portrait, but this was not much better. The complete ''Pellens" set consists of twelve stamps of which nine with the portrait of king Albert 1.
Therefore work was started immediately on the preparation of a new set of thirteen stamps, of which also nine with the portrait of the king; This would be the most used stamps namely from 1 cent until 40 cents. The other stamps of the set would become much greater, like the ''Vloors'' type,who where still in use.
-The highest value , the 5 fr, would remember the Belgian dynasty,namely the portrait of king Albert 1, in medaillon, framed by the portraits of king Leopold 1 and 2.
-With the 2 fr one would commemorate a great economical fact of the century; The occupation of Congo: an officer repells an Arabic slave driver for the Belgian flag, while a slave shows his ruptured chains and a negro woman shows her liberated child.
-The 1 fr would commemorate the opening of the river Scheldt.On the forplan one sees the port of Antwerp, while on the horizon a ship sails by with the inscription in two languages: ' the Scheldt liberated '.
-The stamp of 50 c would commemorate our nationale independence: a volunteer of the war against The Netherlands of 1830, dressed in a blouse, falls wounded while he passes the tricoulored flag to another combattant.This was an evocation of the death of count Fréderic de Mérode,deathly wounded in Berchem in 1830.
During the preparations for these set of stamps, war broke out and the work was interrupted. The Red Cross of Belgium was mobilised and prepared itself to do its duty. To meet the financial needs of this organisation, the government decided to the publication of a set of stamps with an additional charge to support its humanitary works.
An ministerial arrest was published on 30/9/1914 and allowed the making of stamps of a type that was already in preparation and the manufacturing was granted to a private printing-office in Antwerp,while the production factory of stamps in Malines was not available.
Because the purpose of the 50 c stamp was to commemorate the patriotism of the nation, it was entirely fit for the purpose,and the decision was taken to make a new set consisting of three stamps. And this was the start of the set " Red Cross de Mérode."

BIOGRAPHY MAC DONALD

  After W. Van Riet
  Since 1879, one was studying in the stamp factory of Mechelen the system of 'Taille-Douce'' or copper plate printing, delivered among others by the firm Maroni Paris. It was mr Mac Donald of Brussels,delegate of mr Bernard-Paris, allowed to place a printing machine for copper plates of the type Dujardin, for six months on trial.To make a test of the printing machine mr Mac Donald would make, under the control of the administration, drawings , stamps and of a motherplate for printing. These proofs would be made in the stamp factory of Malines by Mac Donald . The Dujardin printing press would be in function at last at 10/6/1914.Delays in the deliverie of parts of the machine caused more delay in the making of the proofs. The project was stopped the 4/8/1914.
Mr John Mac Donald, living Boulevard Botanique nr 40 Brussels, was industrial and representatif of the copper plate firm Dujardin of Paris. In his correspondance of 28/5/1913 he referred to a deliverance of a printing machine to the Russian Government and one in Rome to the''Stablimento Poligraphico Italiana'. After months of negotiations a contract was signed with the minister of postal offices.

After several difficulties with the installation of the press and the delays of deliverance mr Mac Donald acknowledges 15/7/1914 that printing only could start at the end of september 1914.
The reproduction of the portrait of the king, engraved in wood, was placed in the copper print of the frame by Mac Donald. While doing this the portrait was slightly damaged, what caused more delays, so the first day issue of 1/10/1914 was delayed.
On 11/7/1914 nine proofs in different colours were presented to the director general, to choose the colour fot the three new stamps of 1, 2 and 5c. The day of issue would be 20/10/1914.
On 4/8/1914 the first world war started . All activities were stopped, and only the plates with the portrait of the king were available. These typografical plates were probably used to make the red cross set little Albert, but then in Antwerp by Verschueren.
The second design of Mac Donald, ''The statue de Mérode'' was available as a drawing. It was placed in the frame according to the same procedure as the portrait of the king. In the edges on the left and the right side stood originally a heraldic lion, who was replaced by the red cross and the value.

In this part we want to give a survey of the designs of Mac Donald with some remarks.
Due to the circumstances of war he was forced to work on different places, but he always remained loyal to his original designs.
The classification below is based on his different fields of activity and the stamps produced there.

1) ACTIVITIES IN MECHELEN.
From February 1914 until August 1914 Mac Donald was working in Antwerp with a double task:
  a) As representative of the firm Maroni Paris he had to promote a new printing-press.
b) As designer he had to prepare a new serie of stamps, with the effigie of king Albert 1,
and a number of other designs ; of this two stamps were nearly ready and were ment
to be produced in engraving.
  a) Effigy of king Albert 1
    Stess nr B 122 is the most elaborated fase of this theme, with
    - portrait of the king looking at the left.
- frame with squares for the values at the bottom.
  b) Statue de Mérode
    Stess B 184 -B 227 made in engraving, thus at Mechelen:
    - values in cartouches at the bottom and above.
- statue looking at the left.
- Q virtually closed.

2) ACTIVITIES IN ANTWERP.
After the capture of Mechelen the need occured to make stamps with surtaxe for the Red Cross,
and therefore one adapted the designs of Mac Donald, who were already far advanced.
  a) Effigy of king Albert 1
In the catalogue Stess we find proofs whereby a red cross is painted by hand
in the original two frames where the values should have come. Apparently
there were two possibilities:
    - red cross painted in the two cartouches
- red cross painted in the right cartouche
  These adaptations were done on stamps printed in engraving. The next proofs were made in lithografie, probably by Verschueren in Antwerp.

3)ACTIVITIES IN ENGLAND
  A) 2/01/1915
After the capture of Antwerp Mac Donald went to England where by the firm Waterlow
Bros and Layton Ltd a new series was produced, based on the original designs of Mechelen :
    Type 1:
Frame originating from the Mérode stamp with Q closed, = type 3 of the De Mérode stamps.
Portrait of king Albert 1 in the middle
.
    Type 2:
Adapted type
Frame originating from the type 2 of the De Mérode stamps, Q open.
Larger portrait of king Albert 1.
 
B) 15/10/1915
The firm Waterlow and Sons produces stamps with the effigy of king Albert 1 departing from the mother plate
engraved by Mac Donald in 1914:
 
type 1914:
type 1915:
portrait orientated to the right on a shaded background.

stamp is higher.

the two scrolls in the upper corners don't touch the frame.

under the upper decoration there is a serie of four pearls.
portrait orientated to the left on a horizontal striped background.

the upper part of the stamp is shortened.

the two scrolls in the upper corners touches the frame.

the pearls have disappeard.

Biography of count de Mérode and description of the statue


de Mérode Louis,Fréderic,Ghislain ( born Maastricht 9/6/1792- died Malines 4/11/1830) was a member of a noble family. He married in 1811 with the daughter of the french count Ducluzel, and lived in France.
After the return of Napoleon from the island Elba, he volunteered in the grenadier regiment of the French Royal Household. He became a volunteer and a leader of the Belgian army who fought the army of Holland in oktober 1830. He was hit with a bullet in his right thigh fighting at the "Posthof" at Berchem-Antwerp 24/10/1830.
The day after he was operated and his right leg was amputated.Nevertheless he died in the army hospital at Malines.
In 1905, when the 75 year of independance of Belgium was commemorated, a statue was erected by the municipality of Berchem. It was a work of art by Josué Dupon, known also from making several statues at the zoo of Antwerp.
The statue gives an impression of the moment when count de Mérode , injured, is sustained by two Belgian Volunteers. At the sides of the pedestal one can see episodes of the Battle, and before the pedestal the Belgian lion lies. Also stands a sign with the words 'Belgium free'..

Technical specifications of the stamps


GENERAL
  Type: statue de Mérode
Design:Mac Donald
Printing : Lithografie by J.Verschueren Antwerp
First day issue:saturday 3/10/1914
Perforation: 14 or unperforated
Sheet: 75 stamps in three panels of 25 stamps
End of use:14/8/1920
Postage: only valid for domestic use
Remains: burned in stamp printing miil Mechelen 1928

LITHOGRAPHY

Lithography or 'writing on stone' was discovered and used for the first time by Alois Senefelder in the year 1798. It is a type of printing by which the printing and the not-printing parts lay beside eachother in the same level of the stone. This gives a great accuracy of reproduction,and is the father of the offset-printing.
The used stone is a light-poreus limestone,who takes water easely and is found in Italy, Austria. The blue-grey stones are the hardest and are very well apted to fine work.
The stones have to be prepared to be flat on both sides, 6 to 10 cm thick and always at all sides approximately 4 cm wider than the drawing who is put on it. A new or used stone can be polished by rubbing two stones or using a file.
To bring a picture on the stone the process is as follows; the principle is based on the fact that water and fat reject one another. A fatty part of a picture doesn't take water, and a wet part doesn't take fat. This fat can be applicated with ink, a piece of chalk, autographificaly.
After bringing a drawing on a stone, this could be printed immediately, but doing so the picture will lose in clearness. Therefor it is necessary to prepare the stone so the picture will stay clear also after several times of printing. At first the picture is protected by applicating resin on it. At second the stone will be etched to make it possible that the fat of the printing inkt can better go into the stone. This happens with Arabic gum, nitric acid, and water. By doing this the stone is protected against grease with a thin layer so on the parts that have to stay not-printed, the inkt will not attach. At third the drawing on the stone is reinforced by drying the Arabic gum, and by washing out the drawing with terpentine or petroleum. By doing so the whole drawing can disappear or only be visable in a brown form on the stone. The greace of the drawing has fully retracted in the stone. After inking the stone the drawing will reappear. The greasy parts of the stone can take fatty ink now, and the clean parts of the stone won't.

DIFFERENT COLOURS

To make a printing in more than one colour, you have to take as many stones as the colours you need. To bring the different colours on the same drawing, one uses needless of approxymately ten centimeters with a piece of wood on one side. Than in the margin of the sheets one places marks in the form of a cross, to match the different colours. The method is the following: with a bodkin one makes a little hole in the stone where the crosses are. The second stone is than inkted in the desired colour. Than one takes the printing in the first colour, who has to be very dry, and one makes a hole in the crosses. Than you have to put two needles through the crosses on the under and upperside of the drawing, placing them on the back side. Than you have to put the needles in the little holes of the stone with the new colour so you can print it. AUTOGRAPHIE

This term means the transfer of an already existing printform to a stone to prepare and print it. Normally all the forms of printing of which one can make a copy in fat printing inkt on autographic paper, can be used. Autographic paper is threated on one side so that it doesn't take any grease, so the printing who is copied on this side can't penetrate in the paper. Also they can repeat one image, for example a stamp, as many times as needed on a stone, to reproduct it very fastly. To put an etching on a stone, tone can use the following procedure: print the etching several times on ordinary paper, cut the pictures out and stick them side by side; Then make a copy with autographic paper. The printing on the autographic paper is positive, with a negative picture on the stone.

THE PRINTING MACHINE..

The drive shaft sets the marble wagon in motion with the stone in the middle and in front the inkttable and at the back the wettable.
Accordingly to the thickness of the stone these is put in place by screws. The stone is moisterd and subsequently inkted, than a sheet of paper is placed upon it and a cilinder presses it on the stone. The paper is pulled into the machine by a cilinder with protuberances, therefore the little points in the margins of the sheet.

SPEED OF PRODUCTION.

When the printing machine works very well, the machine can produce between three hundred and five hundred sheets an our, approximately one every seven seconds.

CIRCULATION

There is no certainty about the ammount of stamps produced, because the data about this are lost in the war. Therefore we publish several figures accordingly the source.
The planned circulation:
5c:
600.000
 
10c:
600.000
 
20c:
75.000
 
The Official Belgium Stamp Catalogue used to give the following figures, but nowadays gives the same numbers as those of the Red Cross.
5c:
23.214
   
10c:
14.650
 
20c:
8.663
 
Estimation of Soebert:
5c:
24.000
 
10c:
30.000
 
20c:
12.000
 
Accordingly to the red cross(presumably these are the fabricated numbers,not the sold ones):
5c:
150.000
   
10c:
150.000
 
20c:
50.000
 
Our own collections:
5c:
1305
 
10c:
2065
 
20c:
536
 

PERFORATION:

The sheets were perforated by comb-perforation. This is the most used form of perforation, and it is done by an apparatus resembling a comb with one large side and several short sides, who are implanted in a right angle on the longer side.This apparatus perforates three sides of a stamp in one time, thus forming an open rectangle;The fourth side of the stamp is perforated by the progressing of the machine. The sheets are fixed in the perforation machine using the crosses in the margins t as markings. When the machine is working good the corners will be placed right. Sometimes there is a little difference in space between two perforationpassages of the comb, and this can give a "thick tooth" in two corners, does revealing the direction of the passing of the comb. In a whole sheet one can always see the perforation of the comb in one margin of the sheet.

PAPER :

The paper is special apted for the printing procedure namely lithographie. It has to be very soft, the glue in the paper may not be to strong, but strong enough to prevent pulling off small bits of paper during the printing.
Very important is a good rigidity of the paper, this means that shrinking and extension must be minimal by pressure. Hand-made paper is the best, while this has no extension at all. When it is wettend, it will expand equalised in all directions.

INSCRIPTIONS AND SIGNS IN THE MARGINS OF THE SHEET :

DÉPOT-IMPRINT
DÉPOT 1914 in a frame. These imprint was put as a proove that the printed sheet was approved and was taken in depot. The imprint was not put in the same place each time, and can appear in the left undercorner, left uppercorner, in the middle of the upper margin, reversed in the right undercorner, reversed in the right uppercorner.

FITTING CROSSES

These are crosses placed in the margins of the sheet and used as markings for the printing and perforation machine.
Sheets of five centimes:
   colour of the cross is green.
   
Sheets of ten centimes:
   colour of the cross is red.
 
Sheets of twenty centimes:
   colour of the cross is purple.
 
Using the position of the crosses one can identify the place of the sheets in the panel, but only with the 10 c and 20 c sheets.The left sheet has a cross on the left side,upper side and under side; The sheet in the middle has a cross on the upper side and the under side; Th right sheet has a coss on the right side ,the upper side and the under side.

PULLINGS

These are little round points in the margins of the sheets by the sides. Sometimes they are completely perforated, sometimes only elevated from the backside of the sheet to the picture side; They are caused by the "pulling" of a cilinder with protuberances,used to pull the paper in the printing machine.

Number: five in left and right margin.
Placement: seven milimetres adjacent the stamp.
Distance between the "pullings" 4,6 centimetres, sometimes 3,6- 3,8 centimetres.

WHOLE SHEET

Here we try to make a reconstruction of the dimensions of the whole sheet using an article by Soebert, published in:
''Le revue du collectionneur-spécialiste'' page 206-207.

At first we will remark that differences can occur in the width of the sheets for three reasons:
1) The paper used for printing was cut from a longer sheet (or role?) what can give aberrations.
2) During the printing the position of the sheets on the printing machine can be slightly different, and the panels are not always placed on the same place, which also can give aberrations.
3) The imprinted sheets are put together and cut in pieces, but the sheets underneath can shift which also produces aberrations.

In this article we find the following picture:



This picture represents a part of a sheet called ''waste of printing'',a sheet who had already been printed with stamps of the serie little Albert, and was used a second time when putting in operation the printing machine.Apparently this machine needed a few times of printing, before producing perfect stamps, wherefore one used sheets who were already printed ( and rejected?) to economise paper.
Whe have here a part of panel two and of panel three of the 5 c de Mérode stamp, with an interpanel distance of 3,6 cm.
Now we give some measurements of the complete panels in our possession.
-5 c panel 1
Left margin: 14 mm three times, 13 mm two times.
Right margin: 14 mm three times, 13 mm two times.
Total width of the panel: 16,2 cm five times,with a width of the stamps of 13,4 cm each time.
-5 c panel 2
Left margin: 14 mm six times, 13 mm once, 11 mm once.
Right margin: 14 mm four times, 13 mm three times, 11 mm once.
Total width of the panels: 16,2 cm seven times, 16,6 cm once, with a width of the stamps of 13,4 cm each time.
-5 c panel 3
Left margin: 12 mm once, 13 twice, 14 mm five times, 15 mm once.
Right margin: 13 mm seven timres, 14 mm once, 15 mm once, 19 mm once, 21 mm once. Total width of the panels: 16,1 cm three times, 16,2 cm six times, 16,6 cm two times, with a width of the stamps of 13,4 cm each time.

Starting with a maximal width of the left margin of panel 1 of 1,4 cm,a width of the stamps of three times 13,4 cm, an interpanel distance of two times 3,6 cm and a maximal width of the right margin of panel three of 2,1 cm we can make the following calculation: 1,4+13,4+3,6+13,4+3,6+13,4+2,1 =50,90 cm.

Now follows the same measurements and the same calculation for the 10 c.
Striking are the differences between the panels.Apparently the panels were not cut equaly. -10 c panel 1
Left margin: 13 mm two times, 16 mm five times, 17 mm once.
Right margin: 12 mm once, 13 mm five times, 14 mm once, 15 mm once.
Total width of the panels: 15,9 mm once, 16,3 mm five times, 16,4 mm once, 16,5 mm once.
Total width of the stamps 13,4 cm each time.
-10 c panel 2
Left margin: 14 mm four times, 15 mm seven times.
Right margin: 11 mm three times, 14 mm seven times, 16 mm once.
Total width of the panels: 16,3 mm ten times,16,4 cm once, with a width of the stamps of 13,4 cm each time.
-10 c panel 3
Left margin:14 mm once, 15 mm once, 16 mm six times.
Right margin: 13 mm six times, 14 mm once, 15 mm once.
Total width of the panels: 16,3 cm seven times, 16,4 cm once, with a total width of the stamps 13,4 cm.

Starting with a maximal width of the left margin of panel 1of 1,7 cm, a width of the stamps of three times 13,4 cm, an interpanel distance of two times 3,6 cm, and a maximal width of the right margin of panel three of 1,5 cm we can make the following calculation:
1,7+13,4+3,6+13,4+3,6+13,4+1,5=50,60 cm.

Now we give the measurements of the 20 c whole sheets in our possession:
-20 c panel 2
Left margin: 15 mm.
Right margin: 15 mm.
Total width of the panel 16,4 cm
-20 c panel 3
Left margin:15 mm
Right margin :15 mm
Total width of the panel 16,4 mm

Here we can make the same calculation:Left margin panel 1 1,5 cm, two times the Interpanel distance of 3,6 cm, three times the width of the stamps of 13,4 cm and the right margin of panel 3 of 1,5 cm.
1,5+13,4+3,6+13,4+3,6+13,4+1,5 =50,40 cm.

Now we give an example of another part of 'waste of printing'with a different position of the Mérode stamp 20 c accordingly to the 5 c Little Albert.
Apparently the stamps were produced in several times, first a part of Mérode stamps and Little Albert stamps to cope the need of 3/10/1914 first day of appearance.Later another number of stamps was produced to cope the intended number of circulation while the printing was still going on the 7/10/1914 at the beginning of the shelling of Antwerp.

Proofs
(Catalogus Stes uitgave 2001)


Design Drawings


AFBEELDING 1

Number 1 in the right under corner.
Dimensions of the paper : 20,5 cm --22,5 cm.
               of the drawing : 10,4 cm--13,7 cm
Charcoal or greasy pencil on drawing paper.
Compostion: several triangles. Piéta-like composition..
In this drawing four figures are visible:
   - carrier of the flag
   - soldier with a gun looking at soldiers(standing en and lying down) in the right under corner
   - count de Mérode.
   - not-well-drawn figure which supports the count de Mérode.

Remarkably is the contrast light-dark between the figures to put forward the main figure.We can decide that this is a composition-, perspective-,and contrast study.

AFBEELDING 2 Number 2 in the right under corner.
Dimensions of the paper : 20,1 cm--24,6 cm.
               of the drawing : 10,3 cm--13,5 cm.
Pencil drawing on drawing paper.
Here also four figures are visible:
   - carrier of the flag who looks down at the count.
   - soldier with a gun.
   - count de Mérode who sits more upright than in afbeelding 2.
   - more clearly drawn fourth figure. is

AFBEELDING 3

Two drawings placed on one paper.
Dimensions of the paper : 22 cm--28 cm
               of the drawing at the top : 10,1 cm--11 cm
               at the bottom : 11 cm--12 cm
Pencil drawing on thick paper.
Little drawings with details in the right margin.
The drawing on the top is placed upon another, which looks like afbeelding 1 and 2.

AFBEELDING 4

Complete design of the stamp.
Dimensions of the paper: 16 cm--13,1 cm
               of the drawing : 14,6 cm--16,1 cm.
Pen drawing and brush in East-Indian inkt on cartboard.
In the margins little holes, placed at random, caused by neadles?
Little pencil lines are visible for example in the shields with the numbers, and also in the numbers themselves.



AFBEELDING 5

Photocopie ?
Remarkable: left 50 centimen: right 50 centimes

AFBEELDING 6

Thick cardboard.
Dimensions of the paper : 16,5 cm-- 21 cm.
               of the drawing : 11 cm--13,3 cm.
Pen drawing and brush.
Cut-out medaillon.
In the margins little holes from needles and little pencil lines for example in the numbers.

AFBEELDING 7

Thick cardboard.
Dimensions of the paper : 16,1 cm--21 cm.
               of the drawing : 9,9 cm-- 12 cm.
Further identical to afbeelding 6.


Concerning afbeelding 1,2 and 3 we can ask ourself the following question: are these really drawings made by Mac Donald ?
Why would he make composition and light studies with even four figures when he could have taken the statue at Berchem as an example. Whas it his purpose to use another image for the stamps? Or are these drawings made by Josué Dupon as designs for the statue itself ?
Who will give us the answers ?

Unperforated


Since the introduction of perforated stamps, it was the custom to make a sheet of 50 or 100 stamps, who where send to the ministery of railroad, post and telegraphie. These stamps where not ment to be sold to the public, and none of them where even sold in a post-office.They were ment as a gift by the minister to official persons, who received one example each; But it happened that some of these stamps were given to colllectors,who sold the stamps.

Reprints of 1929


In 1929 one has made a reprint from the 50 c de Mérode stamp on a minister sheet, departing from an at that time still existing original mother plate . The reason for doing this could be a question from postmuseums in other countries to obtain facsimiles of Belgian stamps to complete their collection.

A minister sheet is a sheet of paper of 150 x 175 mm provided with a special mark in the right edge below (spectators vieuw) which says:
Ministère de chemins de fer, Marines, postes et télégraphes Ministerie van spoorwegen, zeewezen, posterijen en telegrafie.
These sheets were numbered from 1 to 18 in the left upper corner and were ment to be given to the king, his family and his ministers, whereby the king received the number one, and the other in order of importance. There exist also sheets without a number. Departing the first stamps of Belgium, these minister sheets where made (exept the war years 1914-1918 and 1940-1945.)

Characteristics of the stamp shown are:
1) the stamp was rejected at the last moment because of an error in the writing of the Dutch word ' centiemen'.
2) The position of the group of figures is positioned to the right.
3) The printing of the stamp is surrounded with cloudes in the background.

Authenticity of the stamps


During the decades we have collected and studied these stamps, especially the de Mérode stamps, we were always surprised to see how many forgeries were presented by traders and on (even well-established ) auctions. Even the relatively easy detectible false stamps with closed Q in the word BELGIQUE are presented as being authentic , and referred by as " the second print of Antwerp, while those forgeries with open Q are referred to as "the third print of Antwerp".

What is the reason for all this?
There are so little authentic stamps that traiders can't offer them in sufficient quantities to cope the buyers.
- A lot of collectors are to quickly satisfied and want simply to fill in the preprinted frames in their albums without searching themselves for the authentic stamps.

.

Why are the two forgeries not real stamps and how do we obtain the criteria to say that the stamps are authentic ?
1) Only stamps, printed with the original lithografic stones under control of representatives of the Belgian postal autorities, and ment to serve as payment for postal services, are authentic stamps. They were send to the different postal offices and used on authentic stamped envelopes. Furthermore an additional charge per stamp was committed to the Red Cross.

2) To obtain the criteria for distinguishing the real stamps from the forgeries, we depart from letters who have really been posted and delivered. Hereby we take notice of all the verifiable details of the letter to establish the authenticity of the letter and therefore of the stamps put on it.
Using the characteristics of the authentic stamps as described by Vervisch and co, we can inspect each single stamp and put forward new characteristics like gum, placing of the stamps in the sheet etc. Using these principles one can recognise without any doubt the real stamps, exception made for the 10 c little Albert.

Now we give THE INSPECTION - TREE FOR DE DE MÉRODE STAMP

Zegels en plating


Sheet reconstruction

Reconstruction of the sheets by using minimal differences in the stamps to determine the position of every stamp in the sheet.
Way of working:
  1)Search the slight defects on the stamp.
2) Is this a constant defect? This means: are the defects accidental or do they repeat themselves on each stamp on the same place.
3)Determination of the position of the stamp by using paires,strips,corner stamps.

On the de Merode set, the 5 c and the 20 c where printed in two different editions. In each of the colours one can find constant defects. The red crosses of the 5 c and 20 c are printed with the same lithografic stone,so when we find a red-coloured constant defect on the 5 c,this also must be found on the 20 c in the same place.
Using this method we can determine the position of the stamps of the 20 c, starting from a known defect of the 5 c.
But several defects came into being during the printing, and are therefore not found on both values.
For example the variety "red rectangle" is only found on the 5 c, so the 20 c was printed first, and later a ' scratch ' was made by manipulating the stone with the red crosses.

Size


AUTHENTIC 5 c DE MÉRODE : SIZE OF THE STAMPS.

PANEL 1 : - Thirteen stamps - large size 3,45 cm :
nrs 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 , 15. Code in the drawing.
  - Eleven stamps medium size 3,43 cm
nrs 4, 5, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24 en 25. Code in the drawing
- One stamp small size 3,41 cm nr 20. Code in the drawing
PANEL 2 : - Twelve stamps large size 3,45 cm
nrs 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15. Code in the drawing
  - Nine stamps medium size 3,43 cm
nrs 1, 6, 12, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24 en 25. Code in the drawing
- Four stamps small size 3,41 cm nrs 16, 17, 21 en 22. Code in the drawing.
PANEL 3 : - Fifteen stamps large size 3,45 cm
nrs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 en 15. Code in the drawing
  - Ten stamps medium size 3,43 cm
nrs 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,21, 22, 23, 24, 25. Code in the drawing.

DISCUSSION IN DETAIL.

Panel 1 position 3 and 4.
The stamp on position 4 is shorter. Furthermore the print left behind by one of the original motherplates on the lithografique stone is sloping in position four in comparison with position 3.

Panel 1 position 14.

Position 14 is a large size stamp. A complete sheet (of three panels) stamps of the real 5 c de Mérode has 40 stamps large size.
Remarque: two different motherplates large size have been used for the compilation of the lithografique stone 5 c, namely:
- one original motherplate with green point on the costume (type 1).
- one original motherplate without the point on the costume (type 2).
On a complete sheet of the 5 c one finds fourty stamps large size comprehensing seventeen of type 1 and twentythree of type 2.

PANEL 1 position 20.
1) Panel 1 has only one Mérode 5 c of small size, in position 20 (height 3,41 cm).
Panel 2 has four stamps small size (position 16,17,21 and 22).
Panel 3 has none.
2) These five copies have been put on the lithografique stone using only one original motherplate.Indeed, these five stamps have the same hight, but also they all have a point on the costume of the Mérode and they all have the left 5 stained with spots.
During the elaboration of the stone, or during the printing proces, varieties have appeared, which enables us to differ these five stamps one another. The original motherplate small size has thus been used five times.

PANEL 2 positions 17 and 18.
Position 17 : small size (3,41 cm).
Position 18 : medium size (3,43 cm).
The difference in height is 0,2 mm , which is easely measurable and visible on sight. Two original motherplates have been used for the realisation of the lithografique stone :
- an original motherplate with a point on the costume (type 1).
- an original motherplate without a point on the costume (type 2).
On a whole sheet of the 5 c one finds 30 stamps of medium size, of which 15 are of type 1 and 15 of type 2.

CONCLUSIONS
1) The placing of the large,medium and small size stamps in a whole sheet is completely at random and doesn't match any mathematic sequence.
These completely at random placing is one of the mysteries of the studie of the making of the lithografique stone of the de Mérode stamp.
2) We can also make the notice that stamps of small size always have been placed next to stamps of medium size and never next to stamps of large size. Between large and small size stamps, the elaborator of the stone has put stamps of medium size. So the completely at random placing of the different sizes is ment to be by the elaborator. The difference between the height of the large and small sized stamps is 0,4 mm. If one had placed a stamp of size 3,45 cm next to a stamp of size 3,41 cm, the difference would be to striking. The aesthetic vieuw of the panels would have been sufferd by doing this.
3) The different motherplates used for the making of the lithografique stone were single, thus 75 copies were placed the one after the other on the lithografique stone.

AUTHENTIC 5 c de MÉRODE : The point on the costume of count de Mérode.

Type 1 : On a whole sheet of the authentic 5 c de Mérode we find 37 stamps out of 75 with a great green point on the costume.
Type 2 : On a whole sheet of the authentic 5 c de Mérode we find 38 stamps on 75 without a point on the costume.

Panel 1
All the 25 stamps of this panel have the point on the costume. This panel is enterily composed of stamps of type 1.

Panel 2
Eight stamps of panel 2 are of type 1 (point on the costume), namely positions 1,6,11,12,16,17,21 and 22. Seventheen stamps of panel 2 are of type 2 (no point), namely 2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10,13,14,15,18,19,20,23,24 and 25.

Panel 3

Four stamps of panel 3 are of type 1 (point on the costume), namely positions 2,10,15 and 20. Twentyone stamps are of type 2 (no point), namely 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,11,12,13,14,16,17,18,19,21,22,23,24,25.



SYNTHESE VAN "HOOGTE" EN "GROEN PUNT".



DE ECHTE 10 C : KLEURPUNT IN DE LINKER MARGE.

24 zegels van de 75 hebben een rood punt in de linker marge, tussen het 2' en het 3' decoratief element (tellend van onder naar boven).
   7 zegels in paneel 1.
   0 zegels in paneel 2.
   17 zegels in paneel 3.




DE ECHTE 10 C : DE HOOGTE VAN DE ZEGELS.

2 formaten :
- Groot formaat : 3,45 à 3,46 cm
- Klein formaat : 3,42 à 3,43 cm.
Paneel 1 : - 15 zegels groot formaat:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 en 15.
  - 10 zegels klein formaat :
16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 23, 24 en 25.
Paneel 2 : = Paneel 1
Paneel 3 : - 8 zegels groot formaat :
1, 3, 4, 8, 9, 13, 14 en 15
  - 17 zegels klein formaat :
2, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24 en
25.



The placing of the large and small size stamps in the third panel is completely at random and doesn't match any mathematical criterium.
We notice that we find in a complete sheet of 75 stamps 38 large and 37 small size formats. This placing can't be a coincidence.It is the result of a presupposed plan by Verschueren before the making of the lithografique stone.

AUTHENTIC 10 c DE MÉRODE : COLOUR POINT IN THE LEFT MARGIN.

24 stamps out of 75 have a red point in the left margin between the second and third decoratif element ( counting from the bottom to the top).
  - Seven stamps in panel 1 : 1,6,11,12,16,17,22.
  - No stamps in panel 2.
  - Seventeen stamps in panel 3 : 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,17,19,20,23,25.
AUTHENTIC 10 c DE MÉRODE : COLOUR POINT IN THE CENTRAL PART OF THE LEFT ARM OF THE U OF BELGIQUE.
Panel 1 : eleven stamps of the 25 have this point: 2, 3, 7, 8, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 24 and 25.
Paneel 2 : no stamp has this point.
Panel 3 : six stamps of the 25 have this point : 1, 3, 8, 9, 14 and 24.





AUTHENTIC 10 c DE MÉRODE : RED COLOUR POINT POSITIONED AGAINST THE LEFT SIDE OF THE MARGIN.

Panel 1 : no point present
Panel 2 : seven stamps out of 25 have the point : 2, 7, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 22.
Panel 3 : two stamps out of 25 have the point: 16 and 21.

THE TWO TYPES OF THE AUTHENTIC 10 c DE MÉRODE.

Type 1 : Interruption or shrinking in the white line along the pearls at the left side, between the 1' and the 2' pearl, beneath the 10 at the left .
If this interruption or shrinking is present, we can always find a colour point on the three colourlines in the lower part of the great scroll at the right.
Type 2 : Neither the interruption/shrinking nor the colour point are present.
A whole sheet of the authentical 10 c de Mérode consists of 27 stamps out of 75 type 1.
Panel 1 : type 1 : 1, 6, 11, 12, 16, 17, 21 en 22.
Panel 2 : volledig type 2.
Panel 3 : type 1: 2, 3,4 ,5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24 en 25.

Varieties


Curiosities


Forgeries


Between March 1915 and Oktober 1916 printer Verschueren produced an enormous amount of forgeries. Real forgeries, while they were not made using the original printing stones.
After the beginning of the shelling of Antwerp on 7/10/1914, the printing was stopped, the lithografic stones were destroyed and the remaining paper was burnt in a nearby bakery.But some original autografies and some not-used autografies ( who had defects) remained in the printing-office. Using these Verschueren made new lithographic stones
There are two types of forgeries:
1)The forgeries who have the Q in BELGIQUE closed. These are made by using a rejected autografie.
2)The forgeries with the Q in Belgique open, using original autographies wihout defects, also used to make the original stamps.

The easiest way to distinguish the real stamps is as follows:
1) Q closed in BELGIQUE: forgerie
2)The four upper lines in the section above the word "BELGIÓ" consist of little squares,who are always clearly visible.The type 2 forgeries has filled up lines.
We now give a replication of the booklette : ' The Red Cross stamps of 1914' by the study group of counterfeitings with as president mister Roger Vervisch, which offers an excellent overview of these problems.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE REAL STAMPS

Perforation: 14 or not-perforated. Perforated stamps have the same characteristics as the non-perforated.
Paper: granular, cream-coloured (5 and 10 cent) or rosy-purple (20 cent). Influenced by light or water the latter becomes cream-coloured.
Gum: thin, a little bit shining, with little craquelures who form a pattern of sloping strips (the gum of the falsificated stamps is either lightly cracked with vertical stripes, or cracked very explicit, thick, spread irregular or to shining.)



1. The letters B and E of BELGIQUE don't touch one another.
2. The sloped line at the bottom of the L of BELGIQUE is short.
3. The cedilla in the Q of BELGIQUE is drawn very clearly.
    It has a different form in all three values.

12
4.
5.










6.

7.

The lines are drawn clearly and regularly and show very little irregularities and interruptions.
The form of the curls before and after BELGIQUE is different in all the three values.



In general the crosses have right angles and the compact pale-red colour covers the whole surface very well, without lacks or crackx. Concerning the 10 cent the cross is printed in the same colour of the rest of the stamp.
The four upper lines in the section with the words BELGIË consists in fact of little squares, visible even in the thick-printed stamps. The false stamps have full lines.
13

The genuine 5 centime.
 

1.


2.
3.
4.
5.

6.

The descending line of the left 5 is slightly bend and thinner on the upper side but not broken. Enlarging the right scroll of this figure, we can see one, two or sometimes more points. The foot is also thinner but not broken.
BELGIQUE in the middle of the section.
The leaf above the first E of BELGIQUE is not attached to these letter.
The letters E-L and U-E of BELGIQUE touches one-another on the upper and the under side.
Second E of BELGIQUE is closed.
A white line joins the right upper side of these letter and the scroll before the figure 5.
The letters of BELGIË are touching each-other at the foot.
14

The easy falsification of the 5 centime.
 

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.


The descending line of the left 5 has no thinning.
Belgique closer to the upper line of the section.
The leaf above the first E of BELGIQUE almost touches this letter.
The stand -up line of the L of BELGIQUE is too long.
Q of BELGIQUE has no cedilla, is in fact an O.
The second E of BELGIQUE and the scroll before the 5 are not attached one-another with a white line.
The letters of BELGIË are free from each-other.
The shaded lines above and left of BELGIË are not drawn clearly.
15

The dangerous falsification of the 5 centime.
 

1.

2.
3.
4.
5.


The descending line of the left 5 is broken. The foot is also frequently broken.
Shorter or broken line in the volute above the 5 at the right.
Bent line almost disappeared in the little circle above right.
Printing not-well-done, especially between the legs of the standing figure.
The shaded lines above and left of BELGIË not well printed.

The rest of the characteristics are the same as the real stamps.
16

The genuine stamp of 10 centime.
 

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.


BELGIQUE closer to the top of the section.
A leaf almost touches the first E of BELGIQUE.
Semi-circular line in the scroll above the L of BELGIQUE.
The part of the leaves above the letter Q of BELGIQUE almost forms a straight line.
Second E of BELGIQUE is open.
Semi-circular line in the scroll above the 10.
Two lines or two rows with points (sometimes difficult visible) in the 0 of the 10 at the right.
The letters of BELGIË are touching each-other at the bottom.
White line under the second E of BELGIË.
17

The easy forgery of the 10 centime.
 

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.


BELGIQUE in the middle of the section.
The leafs are further away from the first E of BELGIQUE.
The stand-up-line at the foot of the L of BELGIQUE is too long.
Q of BELGIQUE is actually an O.
The leave above the U of BELGIQUE has a curly appendix.
Second E of BELGIQUE is closed.
Scroll before the 10 at the right as by the 5 centime.
No white line under the second E of BELGIË.
Letters of BELGIË are separated from each other.
The shaded lines above and left of BELGIË are not drawn clearly.
18

The dangerous falsification of the 10 centime.
 

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Multiple interruptions in the ribs of the leafs.
No line or a barely visible line in the scroll above the L of BELGIQUE.
No point or only one point in the 0 of the 10 on the right.
No line or an interrupted line in the globe at the top right .
Lines in the leafs interrupted (continuous in the real stamps).
Printing not-well-done between the legs of the standing figure.
The shaded lines above and left of BELGIË not well formed.

The rest of the characteristics are the same of these of the real stamps.
19

The real 20 centime.
 

1.

2.


3.
4.
5.

6.

7.

8.

BELGIQUE closer to the top line of the sector. The letters BEL are closer to the top side than the other letters.
20 at the left: little notch in the scroll of the 2;Little excavation in the ornamental leaf opposite to the beginning of the foot of the 2;
Coloured point in the right part of the 0.
Only the letters UE of BELGIQUE are touching each other.
Second E of BELGIQUE is open.
Little coloured point (sometimes barely visible) in the middle of the 0 of the 20 at the right.
The line in the scroll to the right of the second E of BELGIQUE is broken in the middle, but not more than that.
The beginning of the foot of the 2 in the 20 at the right attaches the scroll or attaches it almost, but the globe-formed extremity of this scroll doesn't touch the 2.
The letters of BELGIË are attached one-another.
20

The easy falsification of the 20 centime, type 1.
 

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

BELGIQUE in the middle of the section.
The beginning of the foot of the 2 at the left doesn’t penetrate in the leaf ornament.
E and L of BELGIQUE are Touching each-other.
The stand-up-line of the L of BELGIQUE is too long.
Q of BELGIQUE is an O.
Second E of BELGIQUE closed.
Scroll before 20 at the right is like the 5 centime.
The 2 in the 20 right doesn’t touch the scroll.
Shaded lines above and left of BELGIË not well-printed.
21

The easy forgery of the 20 centime type 2 and 3.
 
 
Same characteristics as the type 1 but:


Type 2:
Type 3:
the 2 at the right touches the globe-shaped extremity of the scroll, but not the base of it.
Q of BELGIQUE with cedilla.
22

The dangerous falsification of the 20 centime.
 

1.
2.
3.
4.

5.

No point in the 0 or notch in the 2 of the 20 at the right.
Ribs of the leafs not well-formed.
No point in the 0 of the 20 at the right.
The line in the scroll at the right of the E of BELGIQUE is broken in three pieces, is shorter or has disappeared completely.
Shaded lines above and left of BELGIË not clearly printed.

The other characteristics are the same as these of the real stamps.
23

POSTMARK TYPE AND TARIFF


TYPE OF STAMP
The order of service nr 22, published on 19/10/1910 introduced the use of bilingual stamps.
Technical characteristics:
  single circle stamp with he name of the post-office in the crown
date piece in the middle on 4 lines:



the hour in 2 numbers from 0-24.
the day in Arabic figures.
the month in Roman figures.
the year in four figures.

The name of the post office who could be translated was put in the under side of the crown. The language of the part of the country the post office was situated was put first.When the name of the postoffice couldn't be translated, the underside was fillled with a number of points; seven for the greater offices,13 for little post offices.When there where more postoffices situated in one county, the name of the street or county was not used anymore, but each received a number. These numbers who identified the different post-offices in one county, were mentioned in the stamps, to the left and the right of the postoffice name . These could change accordingly to the hour and the employee, and gave a form of control.The stamps of arival were the same as the stamps of the departing post.
All Belgian offices where equiped with at least 2 date stamps , to have one in reserve when the other was defected. Each stamp was made by hand, therefore little differences exists between the postmarks.
TARIFICATION

The set 'de Mérode' stamps could only be used in the internal mail traffic in Belgium. Nevertheless they are found frequently on courrier to foreign countries, but then they are used more as a 'vignet' to support the Red Cross and as a tribute to the Belgian war effort.In the internal mail traffic a correct tarification is also seldom, here too we find exaggerated tarifications.

Inland port (departing from 1/07/1909):
5c:
   postcard
   
10c:
   inland letter from 0 until 20 grammes.
 
20c:
   inland letter double port (20 until 40 grammes).
 

Recommended post:
25c:
   25 centimes fixed right on top of the normal tariff.
 

Port to foreign countries (departing from 1/10/1907):
25c:
   etter from 0 until 20 grammes. + 15 centimes per 20 grammes more.
 

Preferential port:
   to Luxemburg 10 centimes (until 20 grammes)
   to The Netherlands 20 c (until 20 grammes)

Border port : used for mail between post-offices on both sides of the border who had a distance of not more than 30 km between them : port to Germany, France, The Netherlands : 10 centimes (until 20 grammes).

On the basis of the exterritoriality principle the mail-office in Le Havre was considered to be Belgian territory and all mail delivered to that office and payed for with Belgian stamps was considered belonging to the Belgian territory. So mail from Le Havre to other parts of the Belgian territory was considered to be internal mail and an ordinary letter, until 20 grammes, has to be payed for 10 centimes.All buildings in Le Havre belonging to the Belgian administration were considered to be Belgian territory, and were subject to the internal Belgian tariffs.


Real Postmarks - Antwerp


-ANTWERP
The use of the postmarks in the city of Antwerp is situated between 3/10/1914 and 10/10/1914, namely between the appearance of the de Merode set and the dispossession of the city.

LIST OF THE POST OFFICES:
  -ANTWERPEN 1: Groenplaats, first class perception count characters: A-F,A-L,V-V,B-B,E-E,S-S,W-W.
-ANTWERP 2: Doks, third class perception count characters:A-A
-ANTWERP 3: Dam
-ANTWERP 4: Kiel, under-perception first class count number: 4 without characters.
-ANTWERP 5: Palace, count characters:A-A,C-C.
-ANTWERP 6: Central Sation; first class perception. count characters: B-B,D-D,K-K,L-L,Q-Q,J-J, P-P.
-ANTWERP 7: Industrielaan; second class perception. count characters: a-a,b-b,c-c,d-d,e-e. count number 7 without characters.
-ANTWERP 8: St.Jansplein; second class perception: count characters: D-D,H-H.
-ANTWERP 9: Dageraadplaats:third class perception count characters: B-B.
-ANTWERP 10: Jezusstraat : count characters a-a,b-b,d-d,e-e,f-f,g-g,h-h,j-j.
-ANTWERP 11: Charlottelei, fourth class reception

The cachet 1 A-L

One can find Antwerp cachets on the de Mérode stamps with dates between 3/10/1914 and 10/10/1914, namely between the first day of issue and the fall of the city.
Apparently a few cachets were stolen and used at a later date to postmark stamps, real and false.
Now we're going to give an inventarisation of the number of cachets in our collection, with a few remarks, and we pay attention to the cachet 1 A-L, the most common falsification.

1) The date most found on the stamps is 7/10/1914 , the day of the beginning of the bombardement on Antwerp.
By this we give a summing up according to bureau and date, without the 1 A-L cachet.
  1 B-B
7 12-13 X
1914
 2
 
    E-E
9-10 4 X
1914
 2
 
      11-12   7 X
1914
 1
 
    S-S 9-10 6 X
1914
 1
 
    V-V 9-10 7 X
1914
 18
 
    V-W 9-10 7 X
1914
 1
 
    W-W 2-3 7 X
1914
 1
 
      8-9 7 X
1914
 6
 
      7 X 2-3
1914
 5
 
      18-19 7 X
1914
 4
 
      18-19 8 X
1914
 10
 
             
  2 A-F 6-7 7 X
1914
 4
 
      7-8 7 X
1914
 3
 
      20-11 7 X
1914
 5
 
    A-A 16-17 6 X
1914
 1
 
             
  5 A-A 11-12 7 X
1914
 3
 
    C-C 5-6 7 X
1914
 6
 
             
  6 B-B 9-10 7 X
1914
 3
 
    D-D 9-10 7 X
1914
 1
 
    L-L 19-20 7 X
1914
 1
 
    P-P 6 X
1914
 3
 
    Q-Q 6 X 
1914
 2
 
      7 X 8-9
1914
 1
 
           

  7 B-B 14-15 5 X
1914
 2
 
      17-18 6 X
1914
 1
 
      8-9 7 X
1914
 3
 
    C-C 7-8 7 X
1914
 22
 
      15-16 5 X 1914  1  
    D-D 10-11 7 X
1914
 1
 
             
  8 B-B 16-17 7 X
1914
 2
 
    D-D 10-11 5 X
1914
 3
 
    H-H 15-16 7 X
1914
 27
 
      17-18 7 X
1914
 1
 
 
SUMMARIZED:

  op 179 stempels komt de datum
    4 x 1914    is found 2 times
    5 x 1914    is found 6 times
    6 x 1914    is found 7 times
    7 x 1914 is found 154 times
    8 x 1914    is found 10 times
  therefore the date 7 X 1914 is found in 154 cachets on 179 , hence 86 %.

2) The cachet 1 A-L
  a) on real Mérode stamps :
     
9-10 7 X
1914
 24
 
     
12-13 7 X
1914
 6
 
     
12-13 9 X
1914
 4
 
     
7-8 7 X
1914
 1
 
  b) on closed Q falsifications:
      11-12 X 7
1914

 
        on 5 c 4 times ( 2 times with centre part reversed )
on 10 c 5 times ( 2 times with centre part reversed )
on 2 0 c 2 times
     
9-10 7 X
1914

 
        on 10 c 1 time
on 20 c 1 time
  c) on open Q falsifications:
      9-10 7 X
1914

 
        on 5 c 3 times
on 10 c 3 times
     
11-12 7 X
1914

 
        op 5 c 1 maal

Our conclusion can be that the cachets 9-10 and 11-12 7 X 1914 are always suspicious, also on real stamps.
Only the cachet 12-13 7 X 1914,12-13 9 X 1914 en 7-8 7 X 1914 can we declare as real until now.
 

REAL POSTMARKS DURING THE RETREAT OF THE BELGIAN ARMY.


-DURING THE RETREAT OF THE BELGIAN ARMY.
IN OUR COLLLECTIONS:
  GENT 1: A-A, C-C, L-L.
GENT 3: J-J, F-f, G-G.
GENT 5: without character
GENT 6: B-B.
GENT (telegraph postmark) : C-C.
CAPRYCKE: 12-10-1914.
INGELMUNSTER: 8-10-1914
MELLE: 5-10-1914
EECLOO C-C : 5-10-1914.
KORTRIJK 1 A-A: 11-10-1914.
ST. MICHIELS: 8-10-1914.
COUCKELAERE: 8-10-1914
BRUGGE 1 D-D: 3-10-1914
BRUGGE 3 E-E : 14-10-1914.
HEYST-AAN-ZEE C-C: 14-10-1914
KNOCKE: 14-10-1914.
OOSTENDE 1 G-G: 7-10-1914.
OOSTENDE 1 H-H: 9-10-1914, 12-10-1914, 6-10-1914.
BLANKENBERGHE : 5-10-1914, 14-10-1914, 7-10-1914.
GERAARDSBERGEN C-C: 5-10-1914, 6-10-1914.
KNOCKE 9-10 6X1914
LEDEBERGH 9-10 12X1914

Military Postmarks



-Military postmarks
  Nr 1 until 6: division of the army with the same number
Nr 7 :cavalery division
Nr 8: headquarters at Houthem.
This was the situation before 2/1915. After that date the numbers were separated from the divisions for military safety. Also appeared a postmark without a number.
Starting from 3/1915 the postoffice in the headquarters was overworked, and it was divided in two,one with the number 8,situated in Calais, the other with the number 8bis,situated in Coudekerque-Branche.










REGISTERED LETTER TO LONDON.
STAMP : POSTES MILITAIRES BELGIQUE BELGIE LEGERPOSTERIJ 8.
STAMPS NR 126,127,128 and 145. NR 126,127,128 USED AS VIGNET , NR 145 USED AS PORT.
NORMAL PORT = 25C, REGISTER RIGHT ONLY ( FREEDOM OF PORT FOR SOLDIERS.)

FRONT SIDE OF THE LETTER.
1) BLUE CROSS : This is the English indication of an registered piece and originates from the time there were no special stripes to do this. We also find the blue colour of this cross on the English strips later, in contrast with other countries where the strips were painted in red.

 2) R GATA : N° 372 : French strip 'registered' ( under it 'recommandé' written by hand).
  G : Group
A : Administrative
T : (of the) Troops
A : (of the) Army

 3) S M : Service Militaire. This notation had to be put on by the Belgian military on all their letters send in portfreedom. The latter was introduced on the seventh of August 1914. On registered pieces the notice S M usually was omitted ( the exception proves the rule.)

 4) Addressee :
  Henri Just
10 Powlette place
Chalk farm London
England N W

BACK SIDE OF THE LETTER.
 1) OVAL STAMP : AU 16 LONDON. The oval stamp was only used for registered pieces . REGISTERED in the top ; In the middle the date of passing the post office : ? Augustus 1916 ; Beneath : LONDON.

 2) RIGHT LOWER CORNER : # D 28/30 REG FPO. In Anglo-Saxon countries the sign '#' has the meaning of 'number' . REG means registrated and FPO field post office. So this letter passed through the English field post office and has received a number ( like all registrated pieces) . Here it was number D 28/30

 3) ENVOI DE P. MAECK B 183 2' Cie A.B. Thus the letter was posted by P.MAECK of the 24' company of B 183 of the Belgian army. Concerning the notation "B 183" : Each part of the army was not mentioned by name, but received a code, consisting of a letter and a number, obviously for reasons of security. This code changed every year:
A = 1915
B = 1916
C = 1917
Z = 1918
The code mentioned here B 183 matches with the code C 58 and stood for: Premier groupement du corps des travailleurs Auxilliaires du Génie . Soldier P. Maeck belonged to the 24 ' company of this part of the Belgian Army.

With thanks to Arille Tassin.



Real Postmarks - Not occupied territory


-NOT OCCUPIED TERRITORY.
24 post offices remained in function for a shorter or longer time, some even for the complete duration of the war. Their names:Adinkerke,Alveringhem,Bizet,Coxyde 1,Elverdinghe,Veurne,Houthem(Veurne),Kemmel,Panne,Leysele, Loo,Nieuwkerke,Oost-duinkerke,Oostvleteren,Ploegsteert,Pollinckhove,Poperinghe,Reningelst,Rousbrugge-Haringhe, Vlamerthinge,Watou,Wulveringhem,Yper.

Real Postmarks - Le Havre


  -Le Havre
On 10/10/1914 the Belgian government obtains the permission to settle itself in France in Le Havre.
Mister Dufayel,owner of the 'great shops Dufayel ' from Paris, was the promotor of Nice-Havrais where he constructed a large building for his workers to use as a holiday resort. Here were a hotel,villa's and a large building.The Belgian minister and his family stayed in this "Hotellerie du Nice-Havrais" , place Fréderic Sauvage nr 4,with a Belgian post-office on the ground floor, who started its work on 14/10/1915. Before this date the Belgian post-office was situated in the assistant-post office of Nice-Havrais, beside the French post office, avenue des Régates.

-FIRST TYPE OF POSTMARK:
A worn out cachet of Le Havre,donated by the French central post office of Le Havre, with a fractured ring above the E of LE, which is not rectangular,but slanting towards the E. The our is indicated on the first line, followed by a star with six arms.
This postmark was in use from 18/10/1914 until 22/10/1914, and was then send back to the French post-office.

-SECOND TYPE OF POSTMARK
Departing from 23/10/1914 one uses a special for the Belgian office fabricated postmark:LE HAVRE (SPECIAL) SEINE INFre. This was used until 14/10/1914.
Three models:1] Hour of departure placed beside a star with six arms, placed on two points. A point (.) between SEINE and INFre. The distances between the words who form the lines are not important. Cross section: 27 mm (French type)

Why these different types? 1) and 2) could be used by two different groupes of employees , 3) could be of a later date. These postmarks can have several differences: without a line between day and month; without the hour ; without the month-indication; the line between month and day is interrupted.

-THIRD TYPE OF POSTMARK
Departing from 15/10/1915 one uses the postmark "SAINTE-ADESSE / POSTE BELGE / BELGISCHE POST until 22/11/1918.
This postmark consisted of three lines:
  - The hour of departure
- The date
- The year
Two models :
  1) Hour of departure without a star
Month in Roman figures, seperated from the day by a point.
A line drawn through the B of BELGISCHE crosses the D of ADRESSE.


2) Star with six arms, placed on two points, adherent to the hour of departure.
Month in Arabic figures, seperated from the day by a line.
A line drawn through the B of BELGISCHE crosses the R of ADRESSE.


-COMMEMORATION POSTMARK
Probably in January 1915 a likely postmark of the first postmarks of LE HAVRE SEINE INFre was used, but without the defect in the ring and with the date 18/10/1914 . This was done to commemorate the opening of the Belgian post-office in Le Havre. The Belgian government had asked for the original postmark, but received another.
The postmark does not mention the hour of departure, which is replaced by a star with six arms, placed on a point.

Real Postmarks - Baarle-Hertog



-BAARLE-HERTOG

Belgian territory, surrounded by Dutch territory, and therefore inaccessible for the German occupiers,while Netherland stayed neutral in the war.
POSTMARK: one circle, crosssection 27,5 mm.
Two types:
  1) The under side of the word BAARLE is defected. The two A's are missing the under part of the second leg. The character L becomes almost an I, the character E is an F. The year is shifted to the left.
2) The characters of BAARLE are well formed. The year is placed right beneath it.



Counterfeit Postmarks


Counterfeit postmarks on real stamps

Real postmarks on counterfeit stamps

Counterfeit postmarks on counterfeit stamps

Literature


De Bast Jean : Le gouvernement et l'armée Belges au Havre durant la guerre 1914-1918
De Keyser Pierre en Van Damme Theo : De invoering van de tweetalige stempels FISTO-STUDIE nr 21 sept 1989
Denut E. :Belgische postbureaus in Frankrijk 1914-1918
Denut E. Stempels van onbezet België 1914-1918 WEFIS-STUDIE nr 17 october-december 1977
De Postzegel blz 77-84, 1970 (blz.129-131),1971 ( blz. 35-37),1971(blz. 91-92), 1971 (blz. 147-148 )
Gelli en Tani : Catalogue illustré de Timbres-Poste et Télégraphe de Belgique et du Congo-Belge 1921
Gailly Louis :Les faux de Belgique
Grubben Willy : Catalogue illustré des essais des timbres de Belgique et Congo-Belge 1933
Hubinont Raoul :La guerre 1914-1918 et la philatélie Belge
La Belgique judiciaire blz 433-436
Le code pénal interprété blz 350-355, blz 518-542
Ministère des affaires économiques, inspection de l'industrie, Monographies industrielles : la lithographie,la gravure et leurs industries connexes 1920
Nationale kataloog Postzegels van België en Europa gespecialiseerd
Postmuseum Grote Zavel 40 1000 Brussel : fotocopiën van alle daar beschikbare documenten i.v.m. Rode kruis reeksen 1914
Silverberg René : La poste Belge durant la guerre de 1914-1918
Slagmeulder Maurice-G. : Les Timbres Belges Faux et Truqués
Soebert R. Revue du collectionneur-Spécialiste nr 1 01/1949 blz 1-3,blz 44-45,blz 144-145,blz 181-183,blz 206-207.
Stibbe Jacques : Dictionnaire des bureaux de poste de Belgique 1830-1914
Toulieff S. :World Wars periodique trimestriel nr 43, 44, 46
Tolli M. Monographie des Faux et Falsifications De Belgique 1938
Van Der Mullen M. : De post te Antwerpen tijdens de Duitse bezetting 1914-1918 k.v.b.p. studiekring sept-okt 1997
Van De Veire Hugo : De datumstempel type 1910 WEFIS-STUDIE nr 20 okt-dec 1978
Van Riet Willy : België 1914 Het Beleg Van Antwerpen
Vervisch R. en R. Van Rompaey : De vervalsingen van de Rode Kruiszegels van 1914

S. Toulieff


The work done by mister S.Toulieff, Place Matteotti nr 6, 4630 Soumagne, concerning the de Mérode stamps, is very detailed and is a testimony of his profound knowledge of the matter. His findings about the different types of stamps, his description of the proofs are unique.
Therefore we are very proud and grateful that we have received the permission of this excellent philatelist to reproduce his work completely on our site.
The following articles come out off the periodical :''World Wars 1914-1918 1939-194, groupe d'Etudes philatéliques des deux guerres mondiales Périodique trimestriel'' . For the moment these publications are only available in French, but we're going to translate them in English as soon as possible.
Now some practical information:

The whole document in pdf format (11Mb)

  - In the right upper corner of the sheets we have put the letters WW followed by the number of the periodical in wich it appeared. Beneath this we have made a new classification in pages, to give a better survey.
  - The following division into categories refers to the different topics discussed and is meant to facilitate the search.


Introduction p. 1-4

  Série Monument de Mérode.
  Qui était de Mérode?
  Quelques remarques importantes.
    1. série destinée pour la service intérieur.
2. série émise au profit de la Croix-Rouge.
3. le roi Albert 1.
4. Mac Donald et Verschueren pas des artistes de premier plans.
 
Le 5 centimes authentique de Mérode p. 5-41.

  Les caractéristiques d'authenticités p.5-21
  Le point dans le costume du comte de Mérode type 1 + 2 p. 22-26
  La hauteur p.27-35
  Les variétés p.36-41

Le 10 centimes authentique de Mérode p 42-82

  Les variétés p.44-48
  Reproduction de la planche p.49-63
  Type 1 et type 2 p.64-70
  Le point de couleur en marge gauche p.71-73
  La hauteur des timbres p.74-76
  Le point dans la partie gauche centrale du u de Belgique p.77-79
  Point de couleur contre la ligne de cadre inférieure p.80-82

Le 50 c de Mérode non émis p.84-122

  Introduction p.84
  La genèse du 50 centimes de Mérode non émis p.85-122
  Les épreuves du premier coin p.85
La genèse du cadre p.86-110
    …preuves du 2ème coin gravé non adopté p.86-93
Le 3ème coin gravé en creux p.94
…preuves clandestines faites en 7/1914 du 2ème coin gravé non adopté p.96-100
…preuve du 3ème coin gravé, adopté dans un premier temps, puis refusé au dernier moment p.101-110
  La genèse du monument p.111-122
    Stade 1 monument non achevé p.111-115
2ème stade p.116
3ème stade p.117
      1ère modification p.118
2ème modification p.119
3ème modification p. 120
    Esquisse de la dentelure + retouches des 2 grandes volutes p.121
Réimpression de 1929 en noir p.122
       
Les variétés du 20 c panneau 1 de Mérode authentique p.123-138
  Variétés p.123-136
    La variété collective 'appendice' p.137
La variété collective 'points dans la lettre Q du mot Belgique' p.138


The whole document in pdf format (11Mb)

Piet Van San




De Vos Rudy - Verzameling


STANDBEELD DE MERODE,

UITGIFTE 1914 - BELGIE

PLAN.

                        Blad     Titel
01 Titel - Plan. 02 Genesis. 03 - 05 Algemene echtheidskenmerken van de zegels. 06 Poststuk. 07 Maakwerk. 08 - 09 Kenmerken van de echte 5 centiem zegels. 10 - 11 De plaatfouten op de 5 centiem zegels - paneel 1. 12 - 13 De plaatfouten op de 5 centiem zegels - paneel 2. 14 - 15 De plaatfouten op de 5 centiem zegels - paneel 3. 16 De officieel erkende plaatfouten (vari-teiten) op de 5 centiem zegels. 17 Kenmerken van de gevaarlijke vervalsing - 5 centiem zegels. 18 Kenmerken van de grove vervalsing - 5 centiem zegels. 19 - 24 Voorbeelden van vervalsingen van de 5 centiem zegels. 25 - 26 Poststuk. 27 - 29 Afstempelingen op de 5 centiem zegels. 30 - 31 Kenmerken van de echte 10 centiem zegels. 32 - 33 De plaatfouten op de 10 centiem zegels - paneel 1. 34 - 35 De plaatfouten op de 10 centiem zegels - paneel 2. 36 - 37 De plaatfouten op de 10 centiem zegels - paneel 3. 38 De plaatfout -kleurpunt in de linkerrand- op de 10 centiem zegels. 39 De plaatfout -kleurpunt in de letter U- op de 10 centiem zegels. 40 De plaatfout -kleurpunt aan de onderste kaderlijn- op de 10 centiem zegels. 41 De officieel erkende plaatfouten (vari-teiten) op de 10 centiem zegels 42 Kenmerken van de gevaarlijke vervalsing - 10 centiem zegels. 43 Kenmerken van de grove vervalsing - 10 centiem zegels. 44 - 48 Voorbeelden van vervalsingen van de 10 centiem zegels. 49 - 51 Afstempelingen op de 10 centiem zegels. 52 Kenmerken van de echte 20 centiem zegels. 53 - 54 De plaatfouten op de 20 centiem zegels. 55 Kenmerken van de gevaarlijke vervalsing - 20 centiem zegels. 56 Kenmerken van de grove vervalsing - 20 centiem zegels - type1. 57 Kenmerken van de grove vervalsing - 20 centiem zegels - type2 58 - 62 Voorbeelden van de grove vervalsing van de 20 centiem zegels. 63 - 64 Afstempelingen op de 20 centiem zegels.


Z.M. KONING ALBERT I,

UITGIFTE 1914 - BELGIE

PLAN.

                          Blad     Titel
01 Titel - Plan. 02 Genesis. 03 - 05 Algemene echtheidskenmerken van de zegels. 06 Poststuk. 07 Maakwerk. 08 - 09 Kenmerken van de echte 5 centiem zegels. 10 - 11 De plaatfouten op de 5 centiem zegels - paneel 1. 12 - 13 De plaatfouten op de 5 centiem zegels - paneel 2. 14 - 15 De plaatfouten op de 5 centiem zegels - paneel 3. 16 De officieel erkende plaatfouten (vari-teiten) op de 5 centiem zegels. 17 Kenmerken van de gevaarlijke vervalsing - 5 centiem zegels. 18 Kenmerken van de grove vervalsing - 5 centiem zegels. 19 - 24 Voorbeelden van vervalsingen van de 5 centiem zegels. 25 - 26 Poststuk. 27 - 29 Afstempelingen op de 5 centiem zegels. 30 - 31 Kenmerken van de echte 10 centiem zegels. 32 - 33 De plaatfouten op de 10 centiem zegels - paneel 1. 34 - 35 De plaatfouten op de 10 centiem zegels - paneel 2. 36 - 37 De plaatfouten op de 10 centiem zegels - paneel 3. 38 De plaatfout -kleurpunt in de linkerrand- op de 10 centiem zegels. 39 De plaatfout -kleurpunt in de letter U- op de 10 centiem zegels. 40 De plaatfout -kleurpunt aan de onderste kaderlijn- op de 10 centiem zegels. 41 De officieel erkende plaatfouten (vari-teiten) op de 10 centiem zegels 42 Kenmerken van de gevaarlijke vervalsing - 10 centiem zegels. 43 Kenmerken van de grove vervalsing - 10 centiem zegels. 44 - 48 Voorbeelden van vervalsingen van de 10 centiem zegels. 49 - 51 Afstempelingen op de 10 centiem zegels. 52 Kenmerken van de echte 20 centiem zegels. 53 - 54 De plaatfouten op de 20 centiem zegels. 55 Kenmerken van de gevaarlijke vervalsing - 20 centiem zegels. 56 Kenmerken van de grove vervalsing - 20 centiem zegels - type1. 57 Kenmerken van de grove vervalsing - 20 centiem zegels - type2 58 - 62 Voorbeelden van de grove vervalsing van de 20 centiem zegels. 63 - 64 Afstempelingen op de 20 centiem zegels.

De Vos Rudy - Article concerning nr 130


                                 
SYNTHESIS
The red cross stamp nr 130 has easy and difficult recognizable forgeries. The dangerous forgeries have identical drawings as the genuine stamps. To distinguish real from forged, one can use the following criteria : 1) The gum : thin,dull and smooth with the real stamps, shiny with the forgeries. 2) The varieties that we find only on the genuine stamps we can use to control the authenticity of whole sheets. A famous collector ( Vervisch) recommended to use the distance between the lines of the frame to distinguish genuine from false: - dangerous falsification nr 1 : type 1 : 22 mm type 2 : 22,2 mm real stamps : type 1 : 22,4 mm type 2 : 22,6 mm - dangerous falsification nr 2 : type 1 : 22,4 mm type 2 : 22,4 mm BUT using computermeasurements of the real stamps there is also a difference in hight between 22,3 and 22,8 mm for the both types, so we can't use this criterium to distinguish genuine and falsificated stamps