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Fake Tuvalu Stamps Removed from Delcampe.com

August 4, 2010

Brian Cannon

The operators of the popular European internet auction venue Delcampe have removed the bogus Tuvalu stamps that a member, under the name Barcik, had been selling. The seller was based in the Ukraine (Note: bogus is a philatelic term for fake stamps that were not produced by the country with the name on them).

Such illegal stamps cut into the philatelic sales of legimate stamps from such small countries as Tuvalu and damage the economy and philatelic reputation.

Barcik had been selling fake Tuvalu stamps featuring Princess Diana, airplanes and ships. These stamps were produced in sheets of twelve different stamps and inscribed with the date "2009". In addition to being inscribed Tuvalu, they were inscribed with the names of the various island of Tuvalu such as Funafuti and Nanumea. The were produced in perforated and imperforated versions.

Many other territories were victim to this seller, including South Georgia, Malawi, Brunei, Jordan and Turkmenistan.

I first became aware of the bogus stamps from Hugh Bennet of the TKPS in early June as he emailed the information to various collectors, the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau and some philatelic publications. Mr. Bennet also informed the operators of Delcampe that the stamps were not authourized by Tuvalu.

Word quickly spread on the popular stamp bulletin boards, namely StampCommunity.org and StampBoards.com.

Subsequently Mr. Karl Tili, manager of the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau asked me to officially contact Delcampe on behalf of the Bureau and the Tuvalu Post Office, which I did.

While there were some delays due to senior officers of Delcampe being on holidays, action was swift upon their return.

By mid-July, the seller Barcik had his account temporarily suspended (it was marked as such on the website), and eventually all bogus stamps were removed from all countries, including some with the illegal use of copyrighted logos such as the World Wildlife Federation and Rotary International.

On July 22, Mr. Sebastien Delcampe, one of the owners of the auction site wrote on the stamp boards the following (note: Cinderella is a philatelic term for an item that looks like a stamp but is not valid for postage):

While my team did already some actions, as you noticed, I have today requested our Collectibles Department to analyze the "Cinderella's" problem. It is not as easy as it may seem... as we should define several categories of items, and for each one decide how to behave.

Note that we already have [rules] about this, no illegal item (nor stamps, nor anything else) is allowed on our site. All users and visitors are invited to report us illegal items.

Next week, I have a meeting with our Collectibles Dept, and, in the next few weeks, we will take decisions about this and I will come here personally to inform you.

Mr. Delcampe subsequently posted a link to his own website forum, stating the rules about members selling cinderella stamps or bogus stamps;

Cinderella stamps on Delcampe (accessed August 4, 2010)

The key phrase in this posting is:

For those violating the rights of others, they are clearly forbidden and we prepare a program of protection of rights on our site (even in a system beyond the limits of Cinderella).

This would appear to cover countries that issue there own postage stamps and also the use of copyrighted logos such as the WWF.

The reaction to Delcampe's stance on the bogus stamps has been very positive according to the response of collectors on the above mentioned boards.

Tuvalu fake Stamps 2
Bogus (fake) Tuvalu stamp sheet

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