Cherry Blossoms: 4 Sen Red and Green With Syllabics

Genuine

Red color: Scott #35 and Sakura #31 with syllabic イonly.
Green color:  Scott #42 and Sakura #43 with syllabics イ (i-1).  ロ (ro-2), and  ハ (ha-3).
Size  19 1/2 mm x 22 1/2 mm
The red stamps were issued in February 1874 and the color change was issued on 4 February 1875.  There were 2 or maybe 3 plates for syllabic イ and these plates were used for the genuine stamps of both colors.  For the green shade, three new plates for each Syllabics ロ and ハ were engraved.  All were printed on foreign wove paper.

There are no genuine stamps with syllabic ロ (ro-2)  or syllabic  ハ (ha-3) in the red shade.  All red colored stamps with these syllabics are phantom forgeries.

 
Genuine 4 sen red with syllabic イ

Foreign Wove Paper, syllabic イ (i-1)

Genuine 4 sen green with syllabic イ

Foreign Wove Paper, syllabic イ (i-1)

Genuine 4 sen green with syllabic ロ

Foreign Wove Paper, syllabic (ro -2)

Genuine 4 sen green with syllabic ハ

Foreign Wove Paper, syllabic  (ha -3)

Type 1 & Type 2

Frame Line Types

Important for the identification of forgeries: All the genuine stamps of both colors and with all three syllabics have the Type I frame design. Any 4 sen stamp with a syllabic and the Type 2 frame is a forgery.

Cherry Blossom 4 sen green: secret marks

 

4 Sen Green Secret Mark

There is no known secret mark on the syllabic イ (i-1) stamps.  However, syllabic ロ (ro-2) and syllabic ハ (ha-3) both have the following secret marks.

A:  Northwest corner design ends with an open scroll.  Northeast corner design ends in a solid ball.

B: Southwest inner corner line ends in a curl.  Southeast inner corner line is straight.

Reminder:  Only 16 petals or florets in the genuine Kiku Crest (Chrysanthemum Crest). All  with syllabics and a type 2 frame line are forgeries.

 

 

Postal Stationery

Anyone, at any time, can add fake perforations to a piece of postal stationery and there is no way of knowing how many times this has occurred or is occurring. The paper of the stamped envelopes resembles that of the foreign wove paper of the stamps.

The  syllabics on the genuine 4 sen envelopes are イ (i-1), ロ (ro-2), ハ ( ha-3), and ニ (ni-4).    There were never any stamped envelopes issued in the green color. The Only stamp in the rose/red color bears syllabic イ (i-1).    It follows that the only possible postal stationery items with fake perforations that resembles a genuine stamp must be syllabic イ (i-1) in red.

 

Although many of the features of the genuine stamp and stamped envelope are similar,  besides the colors, there is one major difference that makes identification easy.  The syllabic on the stamps is in a rectangular box. The syllabic on the stamped envelopes is in a hexagon box.

 

CB: 6 sen, genuine stamp & stamped envelopee

First Issue & Second Issue

Also, only the genuine first issue 4 sen stamped envelope design with syllabic イ (i-1) resembles the 4 sen stamp. The second issue of the 4 sen stamped envelope has a different central inscription that is easy to recognize and was never used on stamps.  The inscription on the first issue reads “Yūbin Kitte” ( 郵便   切手)  or “Postage Stamp”.  On the second issue, the inscription reads “Yūbin Fūhi” (郵便  封皮) or “Postage Envelope”.

 
 

 

 

 

Signed” Forgeries

 

 

 

 

Frame Type 1

Frame Type 2

Unknown Forger
 
Unknown forger

Missing inner curved line in Southwest corner ornament,  Sankō on each side below branches, and unshaded lozenges.

Mihon type 1
 
Mihon Type 1

Nineteen petals in Chrysanthemum Crest.

 

Mihon type 2
 
Mihon Type 2

Seventeen petals in Chrysanthemum Crest.

 

Mihon type 3
 
Mihon Type 3

Eighteen  petals in Chrysanthemum Crest.

 

All mihon types probably exist in both colors with and without the mihon.

 

Signed” Forgeries – All Frame Type 2 with Syllabic

All were produced in both the red and green colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maeda: 4 sen Cherry Blossoms - red or green - syllabic イ without dots.
 
Maeda

Mozō vertically above syllabic. Without dots in the corners.

Wada: 4 sen Cherry Blossoms - red or green with syllabic イ and mozō - without dots
 
Wada: Plate 7, State 2

Without corner dots. Mozō vertically above syllabic

Wada: 4 sen Cherry Blossoms - red or green with syllabic イ and mozō - with dots
 
Wada: Plate 7, State 4

Mozō on either side of central characters. Missing corner dots corrected.

Wada: 4 sen Cherry Blossoms - red or green - syllabic イ and mozō - with dots
 
Wada: Plate 7, State 5

Mozō on either side of central characters. No design retouching.

Wada: 4 sen Cherry Blossoms - red or green - syllabic イ and worn mozō - with dots
 
Wada: Plate 7, State 6

Worn Mozō on either side of central characters. Design retouching.

Genuine Stamp with “Unsigned” Forgeries

 

 

Frame Type 1

Genuine with Hirose plate A, position 1: 4 sen - frame type 1 -syllabic イ
 
Hirose, Plate A, Position 1

This forgery is deceptive.  Look for these specific mistakes to identify it.  Known in both green and red.

  • Break in design line (arrow in red).
  • Extra dots (arrows in black).
 
Genuine with Hirose plate A, position 2: 4 sen - frame type 1 -syllabic イ
 
Hirose, Plate A, Position 2

This forgery is deceptive.  Look for these specific mistakes to identify it. Known in both red and green.

  • Light etching (arrow in red). This light etching is retouched in later printings.
  • Extra dot (arrows in black).
 
Genuine with Hirose plate B, position 1: 4 sen - frame type 1 -syllabic イ
 
Hirose, Plate B, Position 1

This forgery is deceptive.  Look for these specific mistakes to identify it. Only known in red.

  • Extra dot.
 
Genuine with Hirose plate B, position 2: 4 sen - frame type 1 -syllabic イ
 
Hirose, Plate B, Position 2

This forgery is deceptive.  Look for these specific mistakes to identify it. Only known in red.

  • Large break in northeast frame line.
  • Extra dot.
 
Genuine with Hirose plate C, all positions: 4 sen - frame type 1 -syllabic イ
 
Hirose, Plate C – Only known in Red

This forgery isn’t as deceptive as plates A & B.  All five forgery positions have the same mistake.  There is no stem showing between the third and fifth paulownia leaves.

 
Genuine with Wada Plate 8: 4 sen - frame type 1 -syllabic イ
 
Wada:  Plate 8, Syllabic  イ

Genuine: West side – Dot in Center of open paulownia flower.  Space between paulownia branch and frame.  Forgery:  No dot in center of open flower.  Paulownia branch touches frame.

 

 
Genuine with Wada Plate 21: 4 sen - frame type 1 -syllabic イ
 
Wada:  Plate 21, Syllabic イ

Genuine:   Paulownia branch does not touch frame.  Forgery: Paulownia branch touches frame.

 
Genuine with Wada Plate 21: 4 sen - frame type 1 -syllabic ロ
 
Wada:  Plate 21, Syllabic ロ

Genuine:  Dot in center of open paulownia flower. Paulownia branch does not touch frame.  Forgery:  No dot in center of open flower. Paulownia branch touches frame. No secret marks.

 
Genuine with Maeda type 2: 4 sen - frame type 1 -syllabic イ
 
Maeda: Type 2, Syllabic イ

Forgery:  No dot in center of open flower of paulownia branch.

Genuine 4 sen red with syllabic イ and new forgery by unknown forger
 
Unknown Forger: Syllabic  イ in Rose

This forgery is very deceptive because the errors and inconsistencies in design can, and sometimes do, appear in the genuine stamps.

 

 

 

 

Inconsistencies and errors found:

  • Genuine:  Most of paulownia blossoms have tiny horizontal lines or tips. Forgery:  These are missing in this forgery.
  • Genuine:  The corners of the kanji for 4 of 4 sen in the side panels are normally rounded and the bottom horizontal lines curved.  Forgery:   The corners, especially on the W side are square. The bottom lines are straighter.
  • Genuine:  The first leaf of the lower flower of the Kiku (Chrysanthemum)  branch is small and round.  Forgery:  This leaf is long and pointed.
  • Genuine:   At the west,  in most genuine stamps, there is an open space between the paulownia leaves and the frame line.  Forgery:  Top leaf touches the frame line.
  • Genuine:  The crossed branches at the bottom are thin and end in sharp tapered points.  Forgery:  At the west, the branch end is square and blunt.
  • Genuine:  The stem between the third and lower leaves on paulownia branch consists of two lines close together that often appears as one solid stem. Forgery:  The two lines of this stem are wide apart.

Sharp eyes will find other differences. For instance: the shape of the “S” in the bottom sen is different from the genuine. The kanji characters for “sen” in the E panel is not centered.

This forgery was first shown to me by a collector in January 2022.

My my opinion above.  If you disagree, please submit your arguments below.  LME

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. It is believed that State 4 forgeries exist for all different values.  But only a few State 4 examples were available for examination.  When State 4 was available for examination, the design type is recorded.

Genuine 4 sen red sylllabic ロ with ABC Design 113-A
 
ABC (Kurabu) Club Forgery, red syllabic イ (i-1 )- Design 113-A.

States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 26).

Characteristics of Design 113-A:

      1. Break.
Genuine 4 sen green sylllabic ロ with ABC Design 113-B
 
ABC (Kurabu) Club Forgery, green syllabic ロ (ro-2) – Design 113-B

States 1, 2, 3 & 5 (No. 36).

Characteristics of Design 113-B:

      1. Loop of N “S” almost closed.

Frame Type 2

Genuine with Wada plate 10: 4 sen - frame type 2 -syllabic イ
 
Wada: Plate 10, Syllabic イ

This forgery known in both the geen and red colors.  Dot missing in open flower in the forgeries.

 
Genuine with Spiro: 4 sen - frame type 2 -syllabic イ
 
Spiro, Syllabic イ

 

 

 
Genuine with Mihon without mihon: 4 sen - frame type 2 -syllabic イ
 
Mihon,  Syllabic イ

Mihon type 1 forgery without the mihon characters.

 

 

 

Frame 1

Reproductions

 

 

Japan Stamp Publicity Association

 

JSPA: 4 sen green from sheet 6
JSPA  Sheet No. 6 Issued 20 May 1962

This stamp reproduces the genuine 4 sen green cherry blossom, syllabic ハ  (ha-3) issue of 4 February 1875 on wove paper.  The reproduction is imperforate on cream-colored wove paper.

Click here to see more information about JSPA reproductions.

 

 
JSPA: 4 sen rose from sheet 8
JSPA  Sheet No. 8 Issued 15 October 1962

This stamp reproduces the genuine 4 sen red issue of February 1874, syllabic イ (i-1) on wove paper.  The reproduction is imperforate on cream-colored wove paper.

Click here to see more information about JSPA reproductions.

 

 
Tayama 4 sen green: 1912, sheet 2, syllabic ロ (ro)

Tayama 1912

 

This 4 sen stamp, syllabic ハ (ha-3) is found in sheet 2 included with the 1912 issue of the Communications Law Monthly Report.  It has the type 1 cancel.

Inscriptions translate:
4 sen green;
Issued: Meiji 8.2 (February 1875);
Off Sale: Meiji 9.6 (June 1876);
Invalidated: Meiji 22. 11 (November 1889)


Click here to see more information about Tayama reproductions.