Postage Stamps used in the German Marshall Islands
Fournier Forgeries
by Dirk H.R. Spennemann


Fournier forgeries are among the most famous items in the stamp world. François Fournier (1846-1917), operating out of Geneva (Switzerland) produced large amounts of false postage stamps between 1900 and 1914. To avoid prosecution for forging legal and valid stamps, Fournier concentrated on reproducing obsolete stamp issues for sale by tobbanocists, book dealers and stationers. He issued a catalogue and pricelist of facsimiles which contained over 3600 entries.[1] From 1910 to 1913 Fournier published a journal Le Fac-Simile where he discussed these issues.[2] He saw himself as a producer of stamps for those who could or would not afford the real item. His assistant, Karl Hirschburger, carried on the business for a while, but without much success. After Hirschburger's death the remaining stock was bought by the "Union Philatelique de Geneve, which subsequently issued 480 albums of Fournier's stamps for reference purposes, each stamp overprinted "Faux" or "Facsimile."[3]

The German Philatelic press became aware of the Eagle series stamp facsimiles in 1905. As stamp, overprint and cancel were forged, many collectors mistook them for real. Friedemann in an article exposing the Fournier forgeries goes to great pains to state that the actions of Fourbier were legal, but that on-sellers were palming off Fournier forgeries as originals.[4]

Further details are provided on seperate pages for the Eagle and Yacht issues.

In his 1914 catalogue, Fournier listed the following items of German Pacific colonies[7] :

NosIlesAnneeno.F. C.
562.Carolines18993 au 50 pfennig62-
691.Mariannes (Iles)18993 au 50 pfennig63-
695.Marschall (Iles)1896 3 au 50 pfennig63-
696.Marshall (Iles)19003 au 50 pfennig62-
747.Nouvel. Guinèe allem.18963 au 50 pfennig62-
750.Samoa19003 au 50 pfennig62-
Forged overprint used by Fournier to date his creations. Actual imprint from a Fournier Album [8]

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Bibliographic citation for this document

Spennemann, Dirk H.R. (2002). Postage Stamps used in the German Marshall Islands. Fournier Forgeries
URL: http:/

Dirk H.R. Spennemann, Institute of Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, P.O.Box 789, Albury NSW 2640, Australia.

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