Dragons: 48 Mon and 1/2 Sen Brown
Issued 1871 & 1872 Scott #1 & 5 and Sakura #1 & 5.
Size is 19.5 x 19.5 mm.
48 Mon, Plate 1
48 Mon, Plate 2
1/2 Sen, Plate 1
Vignette plate same as 48 mon, plate 2. Only center value new.
1/2 Sen, Plate 2
Completely new plates (Both vignette and value),
Characteristic of 48 mon
and 1/2 sen Plates
Found on all except 7 of the 120 positions of the 48 Mon and 1/2 sen Dragons
Dots in shippō: 48 mon plate 1 only
Circles in shippō: 48 mon plate 2 and all 1/2 sen plates
Genuine Stamps without the secret mark:
- 48 mon, plate 1, positions 3, 18
- 48 mon, plate 2, positions 2, 12, 13 & 26
- 1/2 sen, plate 1, postions 2, 12, 13, & 26 (same vignette as 48 mon)
- 1/2 sen, plate 2, postion 27 (whole new plate)
Characteristics and Photos of the Genuine Seven Positions Without Secret Mark
48 Mon, Plate 1, Position 3
48 Mon, Plate 1, Position 18
48 Mon, Plate 2, Position 2
Same vignette used for 1/2 sen, plate 1, position 2
48 Mon, Plate 2, Position 12
Same vignette used for 1/2 sen, plate 1, position 12
48 Mon, Plate 2, Position 13
Same vignette used for 1/2 sen, plate 1, position 13
48 Mon, Plate 2, Position 26
Same vignette used for 1/2 sen, plate 1, position 26
1/2 Sen, Plate 2, Position 27
The Wada forgeries of the 48 mon and 1/2 sen brown
There are three plates of six of Wada forgeries on the 48 mon dragons: A, B, & C. and two plates of the 1/2 sen.: A & B. Wada would use the same plate and erase a sankō or mozō and put is in a different position or remove it altogether. He did whatever suited him at the moment. New information about his forgeries can still being discovered. His Pate A 48 mon is found with sankō in four different positions, mozō in one position, and with no sankō or mozō. As far as we can determine, his plate B & C were always without and “signed” markings. The 1/2 sen, Plate A had a sankō in 4 positions, while Plate B did not have any “signed” markings. All plates are engraved.
Wada “signed” forgeries
Wada: 48 Mon, Plate A: Black sankō in very high position above central value characters
Wada: 48 Mon, Plate A: Black sankō – high, on either side of top central value characters
Wada: 48 Mon, Plate A: Black sankō – low, on either side above bottom value character.
Wada: 48 Mon, Plate A: Black sankō – low, on either side of bottom value character.
Wada: 48 Mon, Plate A: Black mozō, high above value character.
Wada: 1/2 sen, Plate A: Black sankō – large and high, above central value characters
Wada: 1/2 sen, Plate A: Black sankō – low and small above central value characters
Wada: 1/2 sen, Plate A: Black sankō, wide apart and below central value characters
Wada Plates with no Sankō or Mozō
Wada: 48 Mon, Plate A
Wada: 48 Mon, Plate B
Wada: 48 Mon, Plate C
Wada: 1/2 Sen, Plate B
Maeda “signed” forgeries
Maeda: 48 Mon, Sankō in black
Maeda: 48 Mon, Sankō in color of stamp
Maeda: 1/2 Sen, Sankō in Black
Maeda: 1/2 Sen, Sankō in color of stamp
Maeda Types with no Sankō
Maeda: 48 Mon, top NE dragon’s claw resembles a reversed E
Maeda: 48 Mon, with 4 dots in shippō
Maeda: 1/2 Sen, with 4 dots in shippō
Unknown Forger: “signed ” with Sankō. Identified by Incorrect Corner Ornaments
While it seems that all these forgeries with the incorrect corner ornament are signed with “sankō”. The sankō, in black, is very small and almost always carefully hidden under a fake postmark making it impossible to see. However the incorrect corner ornaments can be used to identify these stamps as forgeries. There is still more to learn about these forgeries and research continues. The 100 mon, 1 sen, 200 mon, 2 sen values are unknown with these incorrect corner ornaments. The 48 mon, 1/2 sen, 500 mon,and 5 sen have these characteristics.
Eight Types of the 48 mon (same types as 500 mon):
- Types 1,2,5,7 & 8 have incorrect ornaments at the NE & NW
- Type 3, has incorrect ornaments at the NE, NW & SE
- Type 6, has incorrect ornaments at the NE, NW & SW
- Type 4, has incorrect ornament at the NE only
Five Types of the 1/2 sen (different then 5 sen types):
- Types 1 & 2 have incorrect ornaments at the NE, NW, and SW
- Types 3 & 4 have incorrect ornaments at the NE, NW and SE
- Type 5 has incorrect ornaments at the NE & NW
More information about the different types of this forgery is found in the ISJP CD Monograph 1–2nd Edition (see bibliography).
48 Mon, Type 2
Incorrect corners at NE &, NW
48 Mon, Type 3
Incorrect corners at NE, NW & SE
48 Mon, Type 6
Incorrect corners at NE, NW & SW
48 Mon, Type 4
Incorrect corner at NE only
1/2 Sen, Type 1
Incorrect corner at NE, NW & SW
1/2 Sen, Type 4
Incorrect corner at NE, NW & SE
Hirose forgeries – “Unsigned”
Hirose Dragon forgeries are known with a red sankō overprint–see under “Red Sanko”
Hirose: 48 Mon, Die A
Hirose: 1/2 sen, Die B
Spiro Types “unsigned”
Spiro: 48 mon, type 1. This stamp has a star fake cancel often used by Spiro.
Spiro: 1/2 sen, type 3. The top flame on the W dragon looks like an “elephant’s trunk”
Unkown forger – “signed” with mihon
The specific types for this unknown forger were determined by the # of raimon in the N and W borders, not by the size and position of the “mihon” characters. There are 5 raimon on all sides of the genuine stamp. All the 48 mon values have a similar position for the “mihon” characters. While the 1/2 sen position of “mihon” characters is very different from the 48 mon, all the 1/2 sen positions are similar.
Number of raimon in borders (both 49 mon and 1/2 sen):
- Type D, N border: 5 full raimon. Type D, W border: 4 1/2 raimon.
- Type F, N border: 4 1/2 raimon. Type F, W border: 5 raimon.
- Type G N border: 4 1/2 raimon. Type G, W border: 4 raimon.
- Type H, N border: 5 raimon. Type H, W border: 5 1/2 raimon. (Known only on the 1/2 sen value)
48 Mon, Type D
1/2 sen, Type G
Engraved – Most deceptive forgeries
Kasahara?: 48 Mon – very, very deceptive forgery
Kasahara?: 1/2 sen – does not seem as deceptive as the 48 mon
“Unsigned” – some very deceptive
Unknown Forger: 48 Mon – right (east) margin incorrect
No sankō, mozō, or mihon
Unknown Forger: 48 Mon – recently discover forgery in black
No sankō, mozō or mihon
“Unsigned” – ABC Kurabu (ABC Club) – 1950’s-1960’s
More information about the ABC Kurabu Forgeries and Vignettes click here.
Note: Numbers in parenthesis and bold are the catalog numbers found on reverse of the forgeries. State 4 forgeries did not have any numbers on the reverse.
ABC Kurabu (ABC Club) 48 Mon & 1/2 sen – Vignette A
All states of the 48 mon (No. 1) and State 5 of the 1/2 sen (No. 5).
Characteristics of Vignette A:
- Only one dot of the secret mark shows.
- Missing lines in leg of dragon.
ABC Kurabu (ABC Club) 1/2 sen – Vignette F
State 3 of the 1/2 sen (No. 5).
Characteristics of Vignette F:
- Two dots of the secret mark.
- Unfinished lines in leg of dragon.
“Unsigned” – Unknown Forger, 48 mon, Plate 1, Position 1
This imperforate block of 10[5×2] 130 x 60 mm of the 1871 48 mon Dragon is a small souvenir sheet with huge margins. It has 10 copies of a reproduction of the original 48 mon, plate 1, position 1. Genuine 48 mon stamps are in sheets of 40[8×5] with very narrow margins. Each stamp in the genuine sheet was hand-drawn and therefore each stamp is slightly different. In the fake sheet, the back of each fake has the two characters for mokoku [reproduction] imprinted in green.
The paper used to print the fakes is modern white paper without watermarks or laid lines. Genuine stamps are printed on thin “native” paper often with laid lines..
Unknown Forger – 48 mon, Plate 1, Position 1
This unknown forger faithfully reproduced many of the features of the genuine stamp like:
- The spurs on the east dragon’s back
- The large slip through the bottom fire flame on the west dragon
- The “Secret Mark.
But he missed reproducing the:
- The large point below the to claw of the west dragon
- The small point to the east of the slip line in no. 2 above.
Note: All the cut outs In the graphic above are as they appear in genuine copies of plate 1, position 1.