ABC Kurabu (Club) Forgeries 1950’s – 1960’s

ABC Kurabu (ABC Club)

Beginning in the 1950’s, a large number of offset-printed forgeries were sold in department stores in Japan. These forgeries were produced in great numbers from the early 1950’s until the 1960’s. The first advertisement known was in June 1954. The first group consisted of eight dragons and 37 Cherry Blossoms. They were placed in small transparent envelopes with a folded sheet of paper. These forgeries were printed in se-tenant blocks of all designs, four such blocks comprising the original printing sheet 15 1/2 x 21 inches. Early forgeries were on gray-white paper and bore a catalog number and the denomination printed in gray ink on the reverse. Later printings were on white paper and show only the catalog number on the reverse side.  One group without numbers was all cancelled with the same date. They are not very deceptive, but the number sold must have been very large.

They are poorly printed by offset-lithography from photographs of genuine stamps. Despite the poor quality of the printing, the designs were faithfully copied from the genuine. In the case of the Dragon forgeries it has been possible to identify the plate and position number of the genuine stamp copied.  These fakes differ from genuine stamps in color and perforations as well as paper and printing method.

The ABC Club forgeries were produced in a few different design types and in a number of different formats. Initially they were distributed as sets of 45 single stamps, but were subsequently sold both as singles and in sheets. ABC Club forgeries exits both with and without perforations.

The states represent the known changes over time with the numbers or lack of numbers on the reverse.   All except state 4 are uncancelled and have JSDA catalog numbers on the back.  State 4 does not have a catalog number and is known only cancelled with a small circular fake cancellation dated ‘35.4.1’ (1 April 1960). This seems to be about the time state 4  was produced.  It is believed that the numbers on the back are the same as the catalog numbers found in the Japanese Stamp Dealer Association (JSDA) catalogs.  The JSDA catalog numbering system changed during the period of time that these stamps were produced.  For instance the 48 mon dragon stamp is no. 1 in all states, but the 1/2 sen brown cherry blossom with crossed branches is no. 11 in state 1, but no. 9 is states 2, 3 and 5.

More detailed information about these forgeries can be found in ISJP CD Rom Monograph 1 – 2nd Edition, and in Japanese Philately. 1997. Vol. 52: pp 111-112.

Dragon Forgeries by ABC Kurabu (ABC Club)

A vignette letter designation is assigned to identify the different ABC Kurabu club forgery vignettes found.
Note: “Unavailable” in the table below means that the forgery exists, but no graphic is available at this time.

Reverse of the Stamps for the Different States

State 1

  • On reverse:
    • First Line: Number in Roman type face. 
    • Second Line: Arabic numeral for denomination in Roman type face followed by Japanese for mon or sen as appropriate
    • Third & Fourth Lines: The dragon stamps have three lines and the third line is the color of the stamp. The cherry blossom stamps have four lines. The fourth line is the color of the stamp. The third line, in parentheses, gives the following information:
      • A: On stamps #9-20, the characters read native paper.
      • B: On stamps #21-30 & 34-42, the characters read foreign paper.
      • C: On stamps #31, 32, 33,,the characters read bird.
      • D: On stamps #43, 44, 45, the characters read without syllabic.
  • Uncanceled
  • Mon dragons imperforate.
  • Sen dragons perforated approximately 10 1/2 x 10.
  • Cherry Blossoms with ragged perfs.
ABC Kurabu State 1: Reverse of Dragons
ABC Kurabu State 1: Reverse of Cherry Blossoms

State 2

ABC Kurabu: State 2 - Reverse
  • Only the number in san serif type face on reverse
  • Uncanceled
  • Mon dragons imperforate.
  • Sen dragons and cherry blossoms rouletted.

State 3

ABC Kurabu: State 3 - Reverse
  • Only the number in Roman type face on reverse
  • Uncanceled
  • Mon dragons imperforate.
  • Sen dragons perforate approximately 10 1/2 x 10.
  • Cherry Blossoms with ragged perfs.

State 4

ABC Kurabu: State 4: Reverse
  • No numbers on reverse
  • Small circular fake cancellation dated ‘35.4.1.’ (1 April 1960)

State 5

ABC Kurabu: State 5 - Reverse
  • Only the number in Roman type face on reverse
  • Uncanceled
  • Mon dragons imperforate
  • Sen dragon perforated approximately 10 1/2 x 10
  • Cherry Blossoms with ragged perfs

Cherry Blossom Forgeries by ABC Kurabu (ABC Club)

The design numbers are arbitrary and used as a designation to identify the different ABC Kurabu forgery designs found. The numbers in bold are the numbers found on the reverse of the stamps.

 

  • 1/2 sen brown with crossed branches (1872).
  • 1/2 sen brown with syllabic ロ (ro-2) (1874).
    • Design 111, States 1, 2, 3, & 5 (No. 23); State 4 (no number).
  • 1/2 sen gray with syllabic ニ (ni-4) (1875).
  • 1 sen with crossed branches (1872 & 1875).
    • Design 101-A:
      • Blue, State 1 (No. 9); State 2 (No. 10).
      • Brown, State 3 & 5 (No. 41).
    • Design 101-B:
      • Blue, States 3 & 5 (No.10).
      • Brown, States 1 & 2 (No. 41).
  • 1 sen with syllabics (1874 & 1875).
    • Design 112-A, Syllabic リ (ri-9).
      • Blue, States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 24); State 4 (no number).
    • Design 112-B, Syllabic チ (chi-8).
      • Brown, State 1 & 2 (No. 35).
    • Design 112 C. Syllabic チ (chi-8).
      • Brown, States 3 & 5 (No. 35).
  • 1 sen with tried ribbon (1875).
    • Design 122:
      • Brown, States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 43); State 4 (no number).
  • 2 sen with crossed branches (1872 or 1873).
    • Design 102-A:
      • Yellow, State 1 (No. 10); State 3 & 5 (No.12).
      • Rose, States 2,3 & 5 (No. 11).
    • Design 102-B:
      • Yellow, State 1 (No. 16); State 2 (No.12).
      • Rose, State 1 (No. 16).
  • 2 sen with syllabics (1874).
    • Design 108-A, syllabic タ (ta-16):
      • Yellow, State1 (No. 18), states 2, 3 & 5 (No. 17).
    • Design 108-B, syllabic シ (tsu-19):
      • Yellow, States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 25).
  • 2 sen with tied ribbon (1875).
  • 5 sen green no syllabic (1876).
  • 4 sen with crossed branches (1873, 1874 & 1875).
    • Design 106-A (Type 2 frame).
      • Red,  State 1 (No. 15); State 2 (No. 13).
    • Design 106-B (Type 2 frame).
      • Red, State 1 (No. 42); States 3 & 5 (No. 13);  State 4: (no number).
      • Green, State 1, 2 & 3 (No. 42).
    • Design 106-C (Type 1 frame).
      • Red, State 1,2,3 & 5 (No. 21).
  • 4 sen with syllabics (1874 & 1875).
  • 6 sen with syllabic (1874 &1875).
    • Design 107-A, syllabic イ (i-1).
      • Violet, State 1 (No. 17), States 2, 3 & 5 (No. 18).
    • Design 107-B, syllabic ル (ru-11).
      • Violet, States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 27); State 4 (no number).
    • Design 107 C, syllabic レ (re-17).
      • Orange, States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 37); State 4 (no number).
  • 10 sen without syllabics (1872).
    • Design 103:
      • Green, State 1 (No. 12); States 2,3 & 5 (No. 14).
  • 10 sen with syllabics (1874).
    • Design 114, syllabic ハ (ha-3).
      • Green, States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 28).
  • 10 sen with syllabic in box (1875).
    • Design 119, syllabic ニ (ni-4).
      • Ultramarine, State 1, 2, 3, & 5 (No. 38).
  • 12 sen wild goose (1875).
    • Design 115. syllabic イ (i-1).
      • Rose, States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 31).
  • 15 sen wagtail (1875).
    • Design 116, syllabic ロ (ro-2).
      • Lilac, States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 32).
  • 20 sen without syllabics (1872 & 1874).
    • Design 104:
      • Violet, State 1 (No.13); State 2,3 & 5 (No.15).
  • 20 sen violet with syllabics (1874).
    • Design 109-A, syllabic ロ (ro-2).
      • Violet, States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 19).
    • Design 109-B. syllabic ニ  (ni-4).
      • Violet, States 1,2,3 & 5 (No. 29).
  • 20 sen rose with syllabics (1875).
    • Design 120, syllabic チ(chi-8).
      • Rose, States 1, 2, 3, & 5 (No. 39).
  • 30 sen with crossed branches (1872).
  • 30 sen gray with syllabic (1874).
    • Design 110-A, syllabic イ (i-1).
      • Gray, States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 20).
    • Design 110-B, syllabic イ (i-1).
      • Gray, States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 30)
  • 30 sen violet with syllabic (1875).
    • Design 121, syllabic ロ (ro-2).
      • Violet, States 1, 2, 3, & 5 (No. 40).
  • 45 sen eagle with syllabics (1875).
    • Design 117, syllabic ハ (ha-3).
      • Carmine, State 1, 2, 3, & 5 (No. 33).