Rhode Island Stamp Issues and Covers 1846 to 1900
Providence Postmaster's Provisional
Comparison of Authentic to Fake Issues

1846 Providence
Postmaster's Provisional
Authentic Issue

1846 Providence
Postmaster's Provisional
Bogus Issue Nr. 1

1846 Providence
Postmaster's Provisional
Bogus Issue Nr. 2.

The stamp to the above left is the authentic Providence Postmaster's Provisional. The other two are fakes. The one in the middle can be told apart by the crudely drawn lettering and the stamp to the left has the tell-tale heavy left border. Authentic Providence Provisionals only have heavy borders on the bottom and right sides. I have blown up the authentic provisional  at the left and the bogus one in the middle below so that you can note the differences in the printing.

The stamp at the left below is an authentic Providence Postmaster's Provisional. The one on the right is bogus. This fake is a little harder to tell apart than the obvious fake to the right above, as it does not have the tell-tale heavy margin to the left or top, however it is more crudely drawn and difference in the lettering can be clearly seen in the blowups.





The Providence Postmaster's Provisionals were engraved on a copper plate containing 12 stamps. Each plate contained eleven 5c stamps and one 10c stamp in the upper right hand corner. They were engraved directly on the plate, thus each stamp position differs slightly from the others. There is no period after  "CENTS" on the 10 cent issue and positions 4, 5, 6, 9, 11 and 12 of the 5c issue. The stamps are worth more used on cover than in mint condition.

There were several facsimile (fake) prints of these stamps, the most famous being the Geneva facsimiles. The printing on the facsimiles is courser and they were generally sold with cancellations strategically covering the obvious defects. The Facsimile stamp issues also tended to have heavy borders on all four sides. The originals and the 1898 reprints have heavy borders only on the right and bottom edges as can be seen from the example above.

The definitive source for the Providence Provisionals is a book written in 1940 and long out of print. My local dealer has a copy, which he graciously allowed me to use in researching this issue. 

See Also: 
Bottom right sheet corner margin Pair of 10X1 
Bottom right sheet corner martin single of 10X1R (Reprint)

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