Cherry Blossoms: 6 Sen Orange with Syllabics in Oval Frame
4 February 1875
Scott #44 and Sakura #45 with syllabics (tsu 19), (ne-20), (na-21) or (ra-22) on foreign wove paper.
Size 19 1/2 mm x 22 1/2 mm
The Government made these plates. Only one plate for each syllabic is known.
The only confirmed forgeries of these syllabics were made by Ramsden of syllabic . Tracy Woodward in his great two volume work published in 1928 described what he labeled “postal forgeries” of (tsu-19) and (ne-20). Years and years of discussion about the true status of these items has not yielded any definitive conclusions. Black & white images and a description of these items are included here. Two things seem certain, 1) if you find a copy as described under “Mysterious Postal Forgeries” it is probably worth more than a genuine copy; and, 2) the true status of these stamps is one of the great mysteries of Japanese postal history.
At the time of preparation of this page, only a low resolution copy of genuine syllabic (21-na) was available. Hopefully at some time in the future a better scan will be found.
Reminder: Only 16 petals or florets in the genuine Kiku Crest (Chrysanthemum Crest).
Genuine with Syllabic (tsu 19)
Genuine with Syllabic (ne-20)
Genuine with Syllabic (na-21)
Genuine with Syllabic (ra-22)
6 Sen Orange Secret Mark
The tips of leaves of the northwest curl turns down. On the northeast curl, these tips face each other without a downward turn.
However, this feature is not much help in identifying forgeries because most of the forgeries duplicate this secret mark correctly.
There are no known forgeries of syllabics (na-21) or (ra-22). There are no “signed” forgeries of the 6 sen orange with syllabic in the oval band. There are no genuine violet brown stamps with the syllablic in the oval band. All violet brown stamps with syllabic in the oval band are forgeries.
The only known forgeries are “unsigned” and deceptive. Each is described below.
Ramsden: Syllabic (tsu-19)
- Curls at North mismatched.
- Extra wide wave in center next to oval band.
- No leaf on curl above Southwest corner Cherry Blossom.
- White tops of two wave missing
Note: Ramsden printed the same forgery in the violet brown color. There are no genuine 6 sen violet brown stamps that have any syllabic in the oval band. The Ramsden violet brown stamp is a phantom.
Forgeries Described by A. M. Tracy Woodward
- Leaf missing from first curl north of Southwest Cherry Blossom.*
- Leaf missing from second curl west of Northeast Cherry Blossom.*
- Leaf missing from first curl east of Southwest Cherry Blossom.*
Note: The 6 sen orange forgery Syllabic (tsu-19) could be a postal forgery if the postal marking is genuine. But the 6 sen orange Syllabic (ne-20) is unused and thus can not be a postal forgery. It is unlikely that the forgery in violet is a postal forgery, since the stamp itself is a phantom in the violet brown color. However, all are made from the same single die by a forger that Woodward first described in 1923. For more about Woodward and his studies click here.
*All characteristic information from Varro Tyler’s article in Japanese Philately, vol. 23, pp213-216.
Phantom 6 sen Cherry Blossoms – Orange & Violet
There are no 6 sen Cherry Blossom stamps without a syllabic.
Maeda: Forgery Type 1 with No Syllabic
Both stamps are also “signed” with mozō to the west of the Chrysanthemum Crest in place of the normal characters for “kite”
Maeda: Forgery Type 2 with No Syllabic
Both stamps are also “signed” with mozō to the west of the Chrysanthemum Crest in place of the normal characters for “kite”.
Ramsden: Syllabic (tsu-19)
Phantom violet brown color – same design as orange forgery above.