The fake Pan Arab block with black printing doubled

Lately on the Facebook page “THE ARABIAN PHILATELY” an American friend, has posted certainly for provocation, an image of a block issued by the Lebanese Post in 1957 for the second Pan Arab games with an “apparent” black print doubled. Nevertheless one of the two black prints is definitely added later, precisely the one higher up. I specify that for the block’s subjects was used the originals designs made for the four stamps values, two postage and two airmail, issued on 12 September 1957 (Michel).

Responding to the author of the post, I would like to point out that you do not make expert opinions via internet for the simple fact that it lacks direct view with “the piece in the hand”.

But returning back about our block, it is so trashy that even using only images posted on Facebook we are capable to demonstrate its fraudulent origin, even without considering the tonality of the black color and the possible traces of pressure exerted on the cardboard.


1) The block in question with the “apparent” black print doubled, one of which slightly rotated.


2) We start analysis from the cream-colored cardboard, which had to be actually part of a bigger sheet containing minimum four blocks separate later by cutting.



3) The result after the color prints of stamps through four steps in the printing press.


4) The black print design (this is a simulation performed by eliminating the stamps) of the four block, each distinguished by a letter because, each of the four compositions has its own characteristics, regarding the distances between the different parts of the composition (for example between the rings and the frames etc.).



5) The final fifth step of printing for the normal block.


6) The “extra” printing emoticon.


7) The result would have been obtained, simulating the passage’s lack of the figure 4.


8) The “extremely rare” result obtained after the “printing” of the figure 6.


9) Overlaying and rotating the top black printing and moving it down so as to overlap on the lower part of the two prints (green arrow), it is noted that in the top does not match and the additional printing added is highest of about one millimeter and a half, as shown by the red arrows.

The ways to obtain the fake “extra” black printing are limited to three:
a) the easiest is through the laser printer, by manipulating the black image and copying it. Inexpensive to produce but marketable only for very naive collectors.
b) production using the photocopier, by placing the paper in the machine and copying the press mold in black (difficult and expensive method since the cardboard of the block would tend to get stuck in the machine). Nevertheless the product obtained is characterized by the visible thickness of printing and by its color.
c) considering what it says post’s author in Facebook, the most credible used for our case was an old forgery black matrix, obtained with photo zinc-graphy. The image is “almost” equal to the original and the oversized defect is due to the fact that the black part of the design, excerpt by photographic reproduction, is not perfectly in scale 1:1 with the original, as already said producing a greatest difference of a millimeter and a half. Is a print typo process, by a zinc plate, a type of printing most common up to 1990s and is no longer used because of the high degree of pollution produced.

But at the last minute, as in a thrilling film, appearing elements which highlight other possibilities: two blocks, one normal and one with the black printing doubled.

By the colored arrows the result is now visible to all, especially for our dear friends in Facebook.

lente  Bernardo Longo