Return To Catalogue - Jeffreys forgeries - Benjamin (stamp forger)
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Jeffreys (George Kirke) was a forger in the late 19th century (London). According to 'Philatelic forgers, their lives and works' (by Varro E. Tyler), his name is also sometimes spelled as: Jeffreyes, Jeffries or Jeffryes. He made some forgeries of overprints of various countries and forgeries of the following countries: Ceylon, Grenada, New South Wales, New Zealand, Tasmania and Victoria. Finally he made two bogus stamps of Hawaii. If anybody has more information about these forgeries, please contact me! More information about Jeffreys himself can be found at: http://www.ukphilately.org.uk/bpt/whowaswho/whowaswho-ijk.htm. He seems to have collaborated with the stamp dealers Alfred Benjamin and Julian Hippolite Sarpy (Benjamin and Sarpy), who sold many of his products in their shop.
In 1892 Jefrreys was convicted to six months imprisonment with hard labour for 'conspiracy to defraud the public' for his stamp forging activities (see next text).
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Text found on: http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?path=sessionsPapers%2F18920307.xml. I've colored the interesting sections in red for easy reference.
375. GEORGE KIRKE JEFFREYS, ALFRED BENJAMIN, and JULIAN HYPOLITE SARPY, Unlawfully forging and uttering a Sandwich Islands postage-stamp. Other Counts, for forging and uttering other foreign stamps. Other Counts, for conspiracy to defraud.
GEORGE FREDERICK CLAYTON. I am a postman, in the employ of Her Majesty's Postmaster-General, and live at 25, Hazelwood Crescent, Westbourne ParkI have known Jeffreys since 1841, and have seen him in possession of Sandwich Islands stamps; he told me he got them from Ponsford and Co.these (produced) are "the Sandwich Islands stamps; they all have what appear to be postmarks on them, and are gummed to some paperthey are perforatedwhen I first saw them in Jeffreys' possession they were not gummed, perforated, or post-markedI saw him gum and perforate some of themI have never sold any of these stamps; I received some of them from Jeffreys, I did not purchase them; I had lent him £3, and he told me I might have them and sell them to get my money backI did not sell them myself, but through others to Sidney Swann, and not more than half a dozen to Mr. BuhlI sold from fifty to a hundred, and got about £5 or £6 for themthere is no value attached to themno such stamp ever existed in the Sandwich Islands as far as I knowI afterwards saw Mr. Buhl, and returned him some of the money he had paid for them, and I procured some of the stamps without a post-mark and gave them to himI have been to Jeffreys house, 80, Grove Road, Bow, about four times; in 1886 or 1887, and saw him put a surcharge on some Costa Rica stamps with a small printers press and typeI have known Benjamin and Sarpy about the same time, and saw them together at one time in the same year very frequentlyI have sold stamps for them which were genuine to the best of my belief; I do not suppose they were always genuineI sold them to Mr. Buhl and othersI met Jeffreys and Benjamin in 1889 in Benjamin and Sarpy's shop, 1, Cullum Street; he showed me some Tasmanian stamps, and said that they were the latestI said that they were very good forgeriesI saw Sarpy put a fourpenny surcharge on a Grenada fiscal stamp in his shophe did it with a small metal die; Benjamin was in the shopI have seen perforating machines there; these (produced) are three of them, and I sold them a small printing press, No. 1 Model, large enough for printing visiting cards or stamps.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. The firm had these Sandwich Islands transactions with Jeffreys about August, 1886; I was three days or a week dealing with the stampsthere is no such stamp as thisthe Sandwich Islands stamp is nothing at all like it, either in size or impressionI saw the original pen-and-ink sketch on paper from which these stamps were made before the stamps were printed; Jeffreys showed it to me and told me he had got them printed, so that I knew perfectly well that they were not genuineI did not sell it as genuineI gave no warranty with the stamps I soldI sold some other faked stamps knowing that they were faked, but if the people asked me if they were genuine I should have told them noI let them rely on their own judgmentI made a little collectionthere are a great number of fakes; the proper term is fac similes I also know that there are reprints; the process I saw at Jeffreys' was for type, not for stoneI took my money out of the £5 or £6, and handed the balance to Jeffreys.
Cross-examined by MR. WILLIS. This (produced) is the press I sold to Sarpy; it is broken now, as it was when I sold itit would not stand much use in the state it is in; it would become worseI have taken an interest in collecting stamps since 1886I got into the service of the Post Office in 1890, and have been in their service nearly two yearsI was an office boy in Threadneedle Street when I first began to take an interest in stampsafter that I was steward on board a boat, and occasionally in the employ of the Post Office, and eventually altogethera great many lads of twelve to sixteen sell stamps, and people do a considerable trade in itthere are a great many stamps which are not genuineI knew Jeffreys by the name of the faker before I became acquainted with him, sometime before 1886; I cannot say whether it was so far back as 1891I knew he produced stamps which were not genuineI first saw Benjamin in the Stamp Market, Bell Alley, Londonthat is a place where all the boys congregate to buy and sell stampsa dozen or more would congregate there when Benjamin was roundI have seen other persons buy besides Benjaminthe last time I sold stamps was to Benjamin and BannisterI cannot bring to memory selling any for Benjamin and SarpyI only knew the firm as Benjamin, but I knew Sarpy at that timeI sold one large lot of genuine stamps for Benjamin and Bannisterthe majority, if not all, were genuineMr. Buhl never complained, he never came to me in that transaction at allI never heard that any of those I sold were not genuinea lot of people buy fakes knowing them to be suchI heard Mr. Phillips say that there are people who possess albums full of stamps which do not profess to be genuinethere always were a lot of dealers who bought stamps knowing they were wrong, and I have bought some myselfthe Sydney View is a very pretty stamp; it gives a view of the bay;fake stamps are sold for a small price compared with the genuinethere are stamps so rare that only two or three of them are in existence, but I have never seen themI believe that when the genuine stamp cannot be obtained people frequently buy a fake stamp.
Re-examined. They buy them because they are soldthe dealers are the people who would buy fake stampsI have seen Benjamin and Sarpy in the stamp market; the boys buy and sell and exchange them, and fake stamps would be bought, sold, and exchangedI have sometimes got the genuine price for the forged stampI did not seek Jeffreys out because people called him the fakerI do not think fac similes are always marked as such; you can tell them by their appearance; if it is done so that you cannot distinguish them from the original they ought to be markedI believe this press can still do a little printing.
SIDNEY SWANN. For the past two or three years I have done nothing, owing to my failing sight, but three years ago I was a dealer in foreign stampsI met Jeffreys in 1886, and he offered me a little money if I would take two plates and a sketch to an engraver named PonsfordI did so; these (produced) are something like two of the stampsI was to order 1,000 of each, and give Jeffreys' name, and I did soMr. Clayton afterwards gave me some of the stamps, and told me to sell them for himI do not Know how many there were, but 50s. or 60s. was given for themI sold them to Mr. BuhlI gave the money to Mr. Clayton, I believe.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. I think it was in the middle of the day that Jeffreys gave me the sketchhe had not got the plate.
THOMAS HENRY PONSFORD. I am a printer and engraver, of 60, Little New Street, Cityon August 18th, 1886,1 got an order to engrave two steel plates, 5 by 4, according to a sketch1,000 were to be printed from each plate, one in blue and one in carminethe name given was G. K. Jeffreys, 80, Victoria Park Roadthe engraving was to be £3 15s., and the printing £1 9s.I executed the order; I forget whether it was delivered or called forthe stamps produced are what I engravedwhen they left my premises they were not marked in this way; they were in a large sheet, but not perforated or gummedI did not know for what purpose they were intended.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. I do not remember the person who brought the sketchI do not recognise Jeffreysthey called more than onceI think it was the same person each timeI do not recognize Swannthe second call was to give me directions as to colour, and after the plate was done there were inquiries about the printing80, Grove Road was the address given me.
ALBERT FELSENTHAAL. I am a dealer in foreign stamps, and have traded under the name of Lester, 101, Green's RoadI first knew Benjamin about six years ago, and Jeffreys and Sarpy five years agoI was at Jeffreys' house and saw him surcharge some stamps of the Argentine Republiche stamped them with the word "official"I may have had a dozen, or perhaps two dozen, after he had surcharged themI showed them to various dealers; I don't remember the result; I did not want them, hut he forced them on mehe gave them to me in exchangehe gave me a piece of paper with surcharges on it; he termed them the faker's prideI should say they were very good, and very likely to deceive; likely to be taken for genuineI saw him frequently at Benjamin and Sarpy's business premises at Cullum Street, and soon after Benjamin returned from Australia in 1888, and I once met Jeffreys in Bishopsgate StreetBenjamin was nearly always at Cullum Street when I saw Jeffreys there; and during the latter part of the time, 1890 and 1891, Sarpy has been therethe three always transacted their business at the back, and we had to go out; I was outside, but not on all occasionsI have seen money pass, principally on Saturdays, in 1889 and 1890in 1890 Benjamin said he was going to fake forgeries, and there was plenty of money to be got out of ithe told me once that he and Sarpy had been at Jeffreys' house all night surcharging stampsI have sold stamps for Benjamin and Sarpy since his return from Australia down to six months back; they were mostly forgeriesthey were good imitationsI sold some as forgeries to Mr. Buhl; he was my principal customer; I sold them nearly all to him, saying what they wereI sold the others to dealers since this case began; they, of course, would sell againI remember selling Mr. Buhl a forged stamp as a genuine one once by accident, and once by designI got the full value, and nothing was said; I simply sold it for 3s.in all other cases I told him they were forgeriesin the other instance the Mump was given by Benjamin as genuinethe stamps I sold to dealers were such good imitations that they would deceive dealersI once took some fiscal stamps to Jeffreys, and asked him to clean them, meaning to remove the ink marks; he said he had not been doing anything in that line lately, it was trifling business and lie had better things than thatI asked him how to clean them; he said he could tell me if I did not mention it to any one, and wrote out on a bit of paper the description how to clean various coloured stamps, and gave it to methe stamps were all of low value; he asked if I had any £5 or £10 stamps to let him have them in exchange for the receipt for cleaning, which I keptthis is it (This mentioned salts of lemon and other chemicals); he said that the four articles at the bottom were the principal acids he used.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. I got that at Jeffreys' house on Sunday, November 22nd, 1891that was the second time I had been thereI had not made an appointment to go thereI was in communication at that time with Detective Mozer, as regards the prosecutionI went there to collect evidence, not as a spyI gave the document to Mozer the following dayI kept it twelve hoursno one else was present when he gave it to meI said nothing before the Magistrate about his asking me for some higher value stamps in return, but I told Mr. MozerI did not ask him on my first visit to put this surcharge onI had from ten to twenty-four of thesethat is the only transaction I had with JeffreysI mean to say that I saw Sarpy in Jeffreys' shop in 1891; we have played at cards together after business hours in 1890, but not in 1891.
Cross-examined by MR. WILLIS. I have done business in the City as a stamp-dealer six and a half yearsI have no office; I go to my father's office, Bury Court, St. Mary AxeI buy stamps from housekeepers and waste-paper dealersI do my business at homeI have several customers at the Exchange in the streetI do my business in the streetI buy them, and take them away with me and sell them to dealersI bought a lot hero last nightI have no other businessI know the principal dealers in the City and West-endI have known for a good many years that stamps are being sold which are not genuineI know the term "fake"; it means stamps which are not genuineI have only bought stamps of Benjamin and Sarpy on two or three occasions, and quite recently; the first time was about seven or eight months agoI know they have been dealing for some time in stamps which are not genuine; Benjamin did so a few months after I knew him, five and a half years agoI first went to 1, Cullum Street when Benjamin returned from Australia in 1888I knew Benjamin and Bannister, but that was not at Cullum StreetI first visited Benjamin in Leathersellers' Buildings and Bell Alley about six years ago; I did not know then that he dealt in stamps which were not genuine, but I knew it a few months afterwardsI visited him almost every day down to his coming to Cullum Street, but the first time I bought any of him was about seven months agoI actually sold him my stamps four or five years before I bought any of him, and I knew the whole of the time that he dealt in stamps which were not genuinesince his return, in 1888, I have seen him do the work which made them pass as if they were realI did not see them in his shop, but I knew he dealt in them by being told so by peoplewe all used to go to a public-house together and play at billiards, and I learned the fact from conversations in his placecertain people who dealt in forgeries were presentI first knew that any person was a maker of these things when I visited Jeffreys' house five or six years agoabout seven months ago I bought stamps of him which I knew were not genuine, and I have done so, I should say, three times sinceI bought them as forgeries so as to keep in with them that they should not suspect meI had seen Mr. Mozer at that time, but I did not tell Benjamin that I came at Mozer's instanceBenjamin would sometimes give me forgeries, and say that they were genuine; I did not know that all were forgeries, sometimes he said that they were forgeries and sometimes genuine, and the genuine ones turned out to be forgeries; but they were genuine in one or two instancesI have heard of people getting stamps into their possession which they believe to be genuine, but are not, and I know of one instancein some instances forged stamps are purchased for the purpose of testing the genuine ones; many dealers have been taken in by themwhen I was told that stamps were not genuine, I always sold them as suchI always sold them to dealers, principally to Mr. Buhl; I have sold him fifty and a hundred which I was told were not genuine, and he has bought them for detectionhe asked where I got them, and I told him from Benjamin and SarpyI have sold them to two other dealers as not being genuine; they would have bought them as genuine, but I told them they were not; I either said they were fakes, or forgeriesstamps which have been marked are subjected to treatment and the marks removed, but they are not sold openly by dealers to my knowledgeI bought one number of The Stamp Collectors' MonthlyI have heard the name of Cheveley, Wilson, and Co.stamps from which the ink marks have been taken out have been sold to be taken as unusedfakes have been sold to Continental dealers in large numbersa fac simile is not a stamp which could be usedI do no know whether they are advertised in France, Germany, and America; I do not study catalogues.
Re-examined. As to cleaning stamps the ink marks would be taken out, and they would be used as new stamps; I have seen an instance of itthere is a considerable trade with the Continentfac similes are wonderfully good imitations; they are outright forgeries, they are printed from the original plate which is no longer in use, and has been sold by Government.
OTTO DANNENBERG. I am a clerk out of employmentin 1891 I was in the employ of Mr. Hart, a stamp dealer in LondonJeffreys called on him, and I heard a conversation in reference to some Sydney View stamps, which Hart bought at 3s. each; a genuine one is worth 20s. to 30s.Jeffreys said he had sold Benjamin a quantity of them, and we were not to say anything about it, as he had told Benjamin he would not sell any within a certain periodthat was in June, 1891I saw Jeffreys two or three days later at his house, 80, Grove Road. Bow, and asked him to bring some more Sydney Views for Mr. Harthe was in his shirt-sleeves, and said he was engraving a die, and just left off to see mehe had a graving tool in his handhe showed me some impressions from a die for an eightpenny Ceylon stamp and two pieces of star water-mark paperhe said that Benjamin and Hart had agreed to go partners in the profit, but, having fallen out, Jeffreys had to pay for the whole of the papershe did not show me the die; he said he did not keep them on the premises; he had a place which no one knew but himself.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. The star water-mark paper was a foot squareI have not seen other pieces that size beforeI do not know how wide apart the stars werethis was in the eveningI went down for Jeffreys to call on Mr. Hart I do not know whether Hart is in this countryI have sold fakes, both in this country and abroad; I sold them as genuine on the Continent, but not in this countrythe imperfect eightpenny Ceylon impression was on cardboard, I thinkthe head was in.
Cross-examined by MR. WILLIS. I have known Benjamin about seven years, and Sarpy three or four yearsabout two years ago I saw a card of their business, which said that they sold fakes of all descriptionsI also saw a 1s. 9d. Ceylon stamp, and a blue TasmanianMr. Hart bought one, but they were not well enough executed to take people inI have seen, perhaps, 100 Queensland stamps not genuinethey came from Mr. Hart; who got them from an employé of the Bank of QueenslandMr. Hart cleaned and marked some New Zealand stampsthe business has been going on about three yearsI believe this (produced) is Benjamin and Sarpy's card, which I saw two years ago.
Re-examined. I did not make a very accurate observation of the cardit said, "Fakes of all descriptions Supplied on the shortest notice, or something of that kindthe eightpenny Ceylon stamp was not finished, he was in the course of engraving itthe man at the Bank of Queensland did not supply them, with any knowledge of forgeryfirst of all Jefferys supplied Mr. Hart with stamps which were known to be forgedI had some stamps from Benjamin and Sarpy; they were forgeries, and known to be suchthe stamps supplied by the employé of the Queensland Bank were half-crown, ten shillings, and one pound postal and fiscalthey were perfectly genuinebesides the three prisoners a man named Bannister supplied forged stamps to Mr. Bart, who bought them and sold them to collectors as genuine.
HUBERT GRIEBERT. I am a stamp dealer, of 135, Fenchurch StreetI have had a shop next door to Benjamin and Sarpy for nine months, and have done business with themI have been in their shop in Cullum Street many times, and have seen blocks of wood on the counterI do not know what they were used forI have bought stamps for themin May, 1891, I bought two Sydney View stamps as genuine for £2 the twoI afterwards sold them, and a complaint was made about themI went to the customer and paid him back the money he had paid me, and received the stamps backI afterwards saw Benjamin, and told him they were forged, and asked him to return me the money I had paidhe said he bought them for genuine, and did not know when he sold them to me that they were not genuineas far as I remember he returned me the value of the £2 in other stamps in exchange, but I kept the two stampshe did not ask me to give them backI did not believe they were forgeries, but I said nothing to him to that effectin August, 1891, I went to Benjamin's shop, and bought three Baden kreuzer stamps for fifteen shillings the three, which was a fair price assuming them to be genuine; if they were not they would be worth nothing; about a week afterwards I found that they were forgeries, and went to Benjamin's shop; he was not there, but I saw Sarpy and asked him to return me the money; he said he did know anything about it and asked me to waitI waited, and about three weeks afterwards I went again and Benjamin returned me 12s. out of the 15s. I had paidhe said he bought them for genuine, I returned themafter my attention was called to them I noticed that the 8 in "18" was different from the original.
Cross-examined by MR. WILLIS. I have been in this trade about six years and have known of these non-genuine stamps being dealt in during that timeI have bought collections from people in a respectable position and thought all stamps in my possession were genuine, but they were notI paid £2 for the Sydney ViewsI know the word fakeI have bought what I know to be forgeries twice or three times in Benjamin's shopI cannot tell you the number; they were for myself and my customers; I gave them away to my customers to show that they were forged; I gave away ten or fifteen like thatthese fakes are made abroad, and sold in sheets, 240 stamps for a halfpennyI know that Benjamin sold non-genuine stamps sometimesI once went to him to ask him to surcharge stamps about eight months agoI had a lot of genuine stamps in my possession, and I wanted to protect myself and my customers against these forgeriesthe stamps he surcharged were Portuguese and Madras and AzoresI kept about ten of them, and gave away five or sixI think I was in the shop while they were being doneI rook seventy or eighty Orange Free State fiscal stamps to Benjamin to have them cleaned and post-markedI was to pay thirty shillingsthey belonged to somebody I knewI cannot tell you his name, I did not take ithe knew Benjamin, but did not want to go into his shop, and he got me to goI suppose he was a dealerI returned them to himI was to have thirty shillings profit, and I told him Benjamin would charge thirty shillingsBenjamin said I was to take the Baden stamps at fifteen shillings, but if I took them back as fakes he would return me twelve shillingsI said, "Are they forgeries?"he said, "No; but if they come back I will give you twelve shillings for them"; and he did soI have only been in England eighteen monthsI first saw the card of Benjamin and Sarpy about six months ago; one of them gave it to meI did not see any of them lying about in the shopMr. Phillips employed me about seven months ago to try and buy the whole stock-in-trade of Benjamin and Sarpy; he is the secretary of the Philatelical Journal, and the prosecutor in this casehe told me it was a very good stockit would not have been worth buying if they were all forgeriesBenjamin asked me £1,700 or £1,800I examined the stock very roughly, and formed the opinion that it was a good stock, and told Benjamin and Sarpy that before I could proceed with the purchase, the person for whom I was buying must see the stock without their being present, and they declined to allow thatI have no doubt that Mr. Phillips was really desirous of purchasing the stockhe asked me whether I thought they would recognise him if he went to inspect it disguised, but I think he only meant funI looked at the stockI thought it was not quite worth the money asked for itI thought it was worth about £1,200 or £1,300they were genuine stampsI understood the £1,700 was for the whole of the business, at least Benjamin said we could have all the stamps they had in possessionI don't know whether they showed me all the stamps.
Re-examined, My estimate was rough; I had only twenty minutes to value themI had not then seen any forgeriesI cannot give you the date, Philatelical Society, or a special notice that they would not be answerable for the genuineness of any stamps bought at their establishmentI have had stamps repaired for me, when the perforation was cut I had it mended; I had some where the perforation was only on three sides, and got Sarpy to put a perforation on the fourth sidethat would make them more valuable if the stamp was not damaged; it would only increase the value very slightlythat would not be faking unless it was perforated afterwards altogetherI sometimes asked them to let me see their latest fake; they did not always show itI am called the artful manI have sometimes sold stamps to BenjaminI have got five or six stamps perforated. lb-examined. They were genuine stampstheir business card was not generally availablethe work was done in the shop, and they would talk to a respectable collector, and sometimes to inferior dealers; if a stranger came in everything was kept quietI never read any notice there about forged stamps.
By the COURT. The stamps I had perforated on the fourth side were for my own private collection, not to sellI am in the habit of exchanging stamps, like most collectors; I did not exchange these, they are still in my collectionthe fourth side had been perforated, but had been accidentally cut off.
By MR. WILLIS. Enough paper was left at the edge of the stamp to have the perforation donethey are old stamps, and are valuablein some of the Colonies many years ago the stamps next to the edge were without perforation; if I got one I should have it perforated, that it might be completethat was not the case with my five or six stamps; I believe the perforation had been cut off them, but there was ample room for another.
JULIUS CYRIAX. I am one of a firm of manufacturing chemists, of 16, Coleman Street, CityI was a collector of stamps for some years up to 1890I knew Benjamin, in partnership with Bannister, in Bell AlleyI bought a number of stamps from them up to about 1886I think £300 would cover the whole I paid themI paid them £70 for the first pick out of a large collectionthen I bought post-office used stampsI had them examined by expertsstamps were purchased out of the collection shown to meI wrote to Benjaminhe came and saw me in November, 1890I told him some stamps which he had shown me had been pronounced doubtful, and insisted upon his firm taking them back, and refunding me the moneyhe assured me the postal-marks were perfectly genuine; but they agreed to pay me back £100, the amount I paid for themhalf was repaid me in January, 1890, and the other in January, 1891I received a letter from Mr. Buhl in 1886, enclosing this cheque for £25.
Cross-examined by MR. WILLIS. I first bought in 1882 from BenjaminI had seen Benjamin and Bannister together, and thought they were partnersI purchased good stamps prior to the £70 parcelthe parcel they paid me back I purchased in 1884, 1885, and 1886I took them back in 1890the doubt was about the postmarkI don't know SarpyI have collected stamps since 1880I have known of false stamps since 1880I have had doubtful stamps from other dealersI cannot fix the number; they were not of importanceI have had them mostly from Continental dealers.
Re-examined, If the stamps had not been cancelled they would have been worth more than I paid for themthey were fiscal stamps of £3, £4, £5, and £6 unusedif postmarks bad been put upon them other than by the Post Office in Australia they would be worth nothing.
DOUGLAS MACKENZIE I am employed by my brother, a "West Indian merchant in the CityI have been a stamp collector sixteen yearsfor three years I have known Benjamin and Sarpy, and Jeffreys some time before thatI have occasionally written for the Philatelical JournalI have been interested in finding out particulars about forgeriesI have visited Benjamin and Sarpy's shop frequently for the purpose of finding out and tracing forgeriesthey have boasted to me about their forgeriesthey mentioned the Sydney View and Ceylonthey said Jeffreys had manufactured the St. Vincent surcharged fourpenny and shilling stampseither Benjamin or Sarpy showed those to meI have seen dies for postmarks, perforating machines, and the star watermark paperSarpy showed me the paperhe said they had it specially madehe afterwards showed me the stamp printed on itthat was a Ceylon forgeryhe said it was to be sold in Paris as genuineI bought a sheet of the 1s. Victoria blue stampsI passed it on to Mr. Buhlthey were forgeriesthey were sold to me as forgeriesI bought Ceylons and Sydney ViewsI have them hereI inquired for the card, "Fakes supplied on the shortest notice"I got it from Sarpyhe took it from his pocket, and said, "This is the latest fake"that was in October, 1890I asked him to let me have one; he said, "No; I cannot do that"he finally sold me one for 5s.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. I have brought all the stamps but the 1s. Victorianthere were twelve on the sheetI have not seen the blue sheetI do not know how close the stars are, but I should judge by the stars that are printed on themI am not responsible for the article in the Philatelical Journal as to the mania for collecting stamps in 1872.
Cross-examined by MR. WILLIS. I gave the card to the policeit was published in Mr. Buhl's Stamp News in November, 1890I did not tell the prisoners I was going to publish the cardI did not ask their permission to publish itI did not say I was going to sell themI had the intention to publish it when I bought itthey did not say, "Very well, you shall pay us 5s. for it"; they positively declined to let me have itno such thing was mentionedI have been in communication with Mr. Buhl for five yearsI have given him Victorians, purchased at Benjamin and Sarpy'sI have spent some time there; I used often to go in at lunch-time as I passed the shopI have seen them perforating and postmarking the stampsthey postmarked a railway ticket for meit is in Court, I believeI have known of the prisoners having non-genuine postage-stamps since 1890I have been to their shop before 1890, but I never knew of the forgeries beforein 1890 they explained matters to me occasionallythey have told me to get rid of my West Indian stamps, because they should be making someI have bought forged stamps of themabout half-a-dozen times since 1890I knew they had forged stamps in their possession, although I had not bought any before 1890I know persons have bought forged stamps, not for collecting, but for comparisonI thought the stamp paper I saw was taken off the margin of a sheet, till Sarpy told me he had it made.
Re-examined. I did not tell the prisoners I was in the habit of writing in stamp journals.
PERCY MAY BRIGHT. I am a stationer, bookseller, and dealer in stamps, at the Arcade, Bournemouthabout 23rd November, 1891, I called at Cullum Street, and bought some stamps from Benjamin, for about £2, as genuineI took them to Bournemouthnext morning I examined them criticallyI found a twelve kreutzer adhesive Bavarian was a forgeryI had paid 6s. 6d. for itI paid for them separatelyI sent it to Mr. Phillips by poston the 23rd November I saw some stamps in Benjamin's shop windowthat or the next time I saw a V. R. EnglishI do not think there was more than a week between my two visitsthe label I saw attached to it was "Rare V. R."that was not genuinethe black one (produced)I could tell by looking; the top letters were let inI had seen similar stamps with the letters printed over; if genuine, its value would be £6 to £8, according to conditionthe one I saw was of no valueI was induced to pay 6s. 6d. for it because I believed it was genuine.
Cross-examined. I had known Phillips some timehe did not suggest my going to this shopI have considerable doubt if he knew it, because I do not think I mentioned it to him or wrote to himI believe I saw him the morning I wentI cannot recollect whether I told him I was goingmy impression is I did notI sent the card to Phillips because I am a member of the same association of which he is secretaryI had heard of Benjamin and Sarpy's before I went thereI advertise in the Stamp NewsI take it inI do not think I saw advertised in it, in November, 1890, "Fakes of all descriptions"; I have the journals for referenceI did not expect to buy forged stampsI had done business with them once or twice beforeI believe I saw the rare stamp after I got outside, not before I went inI did not examine it in the shop, there was not sufficient lighta twelve kreutzer, said here to be worth 15s., I have advertised at a guineaI did not go there by arrangement with Phillips.
Re-examined. 15s. to a guinea would be the retail prices, according to whether the stamp was fine or poor.
THEODORE BUHL. I am a stamp dealer, of 11, Victoria Street, Citysome five years ago, when Benjamin was in partnership with Bannister, I bought some 1s. Vincent vermilion surcharged 4d. stamps from that firmI bought three for 45s., from Benjamin or Bannister, as genuinethat was a fair price if genuinewithin a day or so I found the surcharges were forgeries, and I wrote to themI then had an interview with themafter I threatened to take steps against them they admitted they were forged, and returned the moneya short time afterwards I purchased from Clayton or Swann these supposed Sandwich Islands stamps (produced); I paid 50s. for themI think it was 26th August, 1886I thought they were genuine new issued stamps that I had not yet seenI found there were no such stamps in the Sandwich Islands, and they were bogusthey had postmarks on themI saw Clayton, and told him the stamps were bogus, and he agreed to return the money paid for them by instalmentshe returned 2s. on two occasionsI have seen Jeffreys about half-a-dozen timesI dealt with him in 1882 or 1883I have known Benjamin about ten yearsI have had a good many dealings with himI have known Sarpy about eight yearsfrom 1883 onwards I bought a good many stamps and other things, believing them to be genuineI dealt with Benjamin and Bannister first, and then with Benjamin and Sarpyfiscal stamps with postmarks on themI bought of them last about four years agoa good many I have sold believing to be genuine, a good many are bad, the Post Office said they wereI have seen Benjamin and Sarpy about them at Cullum StreetI received this sheet of twelve blue Victoria stamps from Mackenzie, which I handed to the detectiveMackenzie made a statement to me as to whence he had got itthey are forgeriesthere is an obliteration of the postmarks upon four of themboth postmark and stamps are forgeries.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. The one shilling Victorian has dividing linesthe Sandwich Islands stamps are different in size, but similar in the central figure of the design to the 25-cent Sandwich Islands stampI never got the rest of my money from ClaytonI am the proprietor of the Stamp Newswe advertise our right to refuse advertisements without giving reasons; also advertisements dealing in forgeriesit is usual to warrant stamps genuinepeople do not advertise that they will not guaranteeI have bought forgeries for comparison, and for the Philatelical Protection Association, almost as long as I have been in business, nearly eleven yearsI know the Mauritius brown and blue stampswe sold some in November, 1890, as mementoes of the Philatelic Exhibitionthey were issued before they were perforatedthey were perforated by the Philatelic Exhibition committee by Perkins and Co.they were not officially perforated.
Cross-examined by MR. WILLIS. I have not knowingly sold forgeriesthe price of the Suez Canal stamp is two shillingsthey were not more in 1889; I believe they are a shilling dearer now than they wereKenver of Paris wrote us for Suez Canal stamps, and I wrote Sarpy for themI did not know they were not genuine, I had never seen the stampsI did not send them to Pariswe have 20,000 correspondents, and I cannot recollect McCarthythe eightpenny Canal stamps were reprintswe have a price listthere is a slight difference in a paper of reprintsa good many customers would not know the differenceI believe plates have been bought from the Governmentas far as I recollect reprints are gummedsome Governments have reproduced stamps from old platesthose are reprintsthat has been going on for ten years in British Guiana, Austria, and the United Statesquantities have been disposed ofthe last occasion I bought of Benjamin and Sarpy was two or three years agoI have bought forged stamps from themFelsenthaal has bought from Benjamin and Sarpy forged stamps, which I asked him to get for the Protection Association; and I sent them on at oncePenny, not Felsenthaal, sold me a diePenny is a friend of Felsenthaal, and the prisonershe lives near New Crosswe guarantee the stamps we sell, including reprints, which we sell as reprints; they are not called genuine; I do not ask if the stamp is genuine; I use my own judgment, as larger dealers do.
Re-examined. I was present at Cullum Street when the police searched the premises, after the prisoners were in custodyI do not recollect any dies being found there; I saw some things to hold type in, but I did not see everything that was thereI was present when the stamps were looked throughI have no recollection of seeing any Sandwich Islands stampsI did not see any V. R. stamps.
SAMUEL GIBBONS. I am a cabdriveron 23rd December I drove some people to Leman Street police-stationI afterwards found a large envelope containing a lot of stampsI handed it in the same condition to Inspector Stephens at Stonesend Police-stationno one had been in the cat) after I put down the fare at Leman Street till I found the envelope.
WILLIAM STEPHENS (Police Inspector M). On the night of 23rd and 24th December Gibbons handed me this envelopeI handed it to Sergeant White.
STEPHEN WHITE (Police Sergeant). On 23rd December I received three warrants for the defendants' arrestabout 5.30 p.m. I saw Benjamin at 1, Cullum StreetI read one warrant to himhe said, "I expected this for some time; this is trade jealous; I have an answer to it"he was taken to Leman Street and searched; a large number of stamps were found on him, and two cards (produced)the stamps and pocket-book were in his pocketsthe same night at 10.30 I went to 80, Grove Road, BowI read a warrant to Jeffreyshe said, "I have done printing for Benjamin and Sarpy; I used to do it upon this table"this was in the printing-room upstairs"I admit I have faked up stamps for Benjamin and. Sarpy, but have not done anything for them for a long time; I have sold my press, and have given up the faking business; I have not defrauded anyone"he was taken to the station in a cabCumner and I were in the cabhe was searched; nothing was found on him relating to the chargeafterwards I went to Stephens, who gave me this envelopeit has Jeffreys' address on it, and the name "Kirk"I showed it to the prisoners, and said, "This has been found in the cab"they all denied it belonged to themJeffreys said, "I know nothing about it"next morning the prisoners were brought up before the Magistrate at the Thames Police-courtwhile waiting Jeffreys said, "I put the envelope and stamps under the seat of the cab; I was foolish to do it, and I am very sorry"the same day I searched the house, 46, Oval Road, Kennington, occupied by Benjamin and SarpyI found a large quantity of stamps; a few are producedon 29th December I got a search warrant to search 80, Grove RoadI searched early on 30th Decemberin a coal cellar under the staircase I found two printing presses and three or four lithographic stonesthis is one (produced)it has the impression of stamps upon itI left the printing presses and the other stonesone was as large as this one, one as large again, and some type casesall seemed thrown in in a hurryI found no business books, engraving materials, nor printing ink, nor type, only a case stand in the back kitchenon 31st December I went with Buhl and Phillips, and a City search warrant to 1, Cullum Streetin a safe I found this book, containing a quantity of stamps, and in the back of the shop, behind the screen, this parcel of stamps (produced)I put them into this parcel with the cheque-book and other papersI brought away only those pointed out by Buhl and PhillipsI also found some printers' ink, and two bottles containing acid, one muriatic acidI did not bring them away, nor the printing presses, but I took possession of some perforating machinesthere were a great many stamps besides those taken awaythey were stowed in two sacks half fullI did not take them out of the sackshundreds were in a frame in the window, and in the safe were thousandsI did not take many out of the windowI found no metal type, but two or three wood blocks, and what looks like a stamp handle.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. I did not search Jeffreys till I got him to the stationthe presses, one older than the other, could be used for type or stoneone had a kind of bed for a frame or stonethere was some coal in the cellar; not two or three tonsthe stone has not been out of my possession except last Saturday, when Sergeant Cumner had itI heard counsel ask for a print from the stoneI heard you tell the Magistrate in the presence of Phillips that the blue Victorias could not come from that stonethere is a twelve-stamp impression on itJeffreys has spoken about the application for the impressionJeffreys was refused to be allowed to test itwhen arrested Jeffreys said there were fakes in every trade.
Cross-examined by MR. WILLIS. I did not examine the bottles of acid.
THOMAS CUMNER. On 23rd December, about 8.45 p.m., I arrested Sarpy in St. George's Road, SouthwarkI told him I was a police officer, and had a warrant for his arresthe said, "What for?"I said, "Attempting to cheat and defraud Her Majesty's subjects, and forging stamps"he said, "I have been expecting this for some time; this is only spite"he was taken to the station and searchedupon him were found a large quantity of stamps and documentsthey are produced, marked "Sarpy, found on person"I was present at 1, Cullum Street, on 31st December, 1891, when the search was madeI saw metal blocks and type "stops" to keep the type together, but no type or dies for printing postmarksI saw this rubber stamp handleI was also present at 46, Oval Road"Sydney View" is on the houseI took this stone to Mr. Griffiths, a lithographer, 41, Wych StreetI saw him examine itI brought it away in the same condition.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. Griffiths did not take an impressionhe measured itJeffreys was not there.
Cross-examined by MR. WILLIS. I saw this notice posted on the wall of the shop at 1, Cullum Street, "Special Notice: I will not be answerable for the genuineness of any stamps bought at this shop unless I give a written guarantee at the time of purchase. By order.A. Benjamin, 1, Cullum Street, E. C."this paper was hung on a gaspipe, and partly covered the noticethe pipe was not movable, I believewhen I saw it was on 31st December, three or four days after the prisoners were in custodythe paper was broken and hanging cornerwisenothing touched it during the searchI was there the whole timethere was only one gaslight in the shopI measured the shop with tapethe counter is about 9 ft., and there is 2 ft. 6 1/2 in. from the end of the counter; I have not the width.
Re-examined. The special notice was at the end of the counter, furthest from the door.
RUDOLPH MYER (Re-examined). I was a frequenter of this shop for stamps for about four yearsI did not see this notice; my attention was drawn to the fact there was such a noticeI went there six months ago.
THEODORE BUHL (Re-examined). I often frequented this shopI never saw the notice except when the place was searched.
DOUGLAS MACKENZIE. I frequently went to this shopI never saw the notice.
EDWARD DENNY BACON. I live at IlfordI am one of the firm of Bacon and Hastings, of 41, Seething Lane, malt factorsI am an expert in postage stampsI was secretary to the Philatelical Society of London for some years; also honorary treasurerI have been a collector for the past twenty years, and have written a good many papers upon stampsI assisted in examining the celebrated collection of T. K. Taplin, which he left to the nation, the finest collection in this country, and worth about £30,000I have examined the stamps producedthe Sandwich Islands postage stamps are bogus; no such design was ever issuedit is a stamp that has been made to defraud peopleit is not genuinethe postmarks are forgeries the surcharge enhances the value of stamps sometimesa postal mark up on a fiscal stamp would enhance its value, and perforating; sometimes roulettingit would make them rareperforating was invented about 1864the 1s. 9d. green Ceylon stamp is a distinct forgeryit purports to have been usedall these twelve produced on this sheet have an obliteration upon themI could see a great many more in the parcelthe 8d. brown Ceylon is a forgerythe one I have is not usedthere is no substantial difference between the forged and the genuinethe unused 9d. stamp is a forgerythe Ceylon 4d. and 2s. are forgedboth are unusedthe New Zealand Stamps are genuineI have not yet examined the postmarksthe Ceylon 4d. perforated would be worth about £8; the 8d. one would range from £8 or £9 downwards to 30s., and the 1s. 9d. and 2s. about the sameas they are they are valuelessI have not examined the 18 kreutzer BadenI find an envelope with a large number of 12 kreutzer Bavarian stamps in the Oval Road portion; that was originally on a 12 kreutzer money order cardit has been converted into an adhesive postage stampthe postmark on it is a forgery, its value would be some few pounds, in its present condition several shillings15s. if genuineI say the same with regard to the other samples, they are valueless in the condition they arethe Sydney Views are very good forgeries, and likely to deceive the postal authoritiesI believe they could be used for letters in Australiathey have not been withdrawn, and could be used for postal purposesthere are about 160 Victoria blue 1s. stamps in the Oval Road parcelI produce samples of the perforated and unperforatedthey are forgeriessome are used and some unusedthe anna stamps are genuine, but the postmarks are forged, and the surcharges, consisting of the words "Service, Postage" the 8-anna without the surcharge is worth 1d. or 2d with it £8 or £9; the 4-anna the same and £6, the 2-anna the same and £2 to £3I found six used Sydney Views in the envelope left in the cab, 70 to 80 in Oval Road parcel, and two in Cullum Street parcel of 2-annas, one unused in the envelope and one in the Oval Eoad parcel; of the four annas one in the envelope unused, two used in the Oval Road parcel; the 8-annas are unused, and seven or eight used in the Oval Eoad parcel; the Victoria 1s. blue, two unperforated and two perforated, all unused in the envelope; over 100 used unperforated and 60 used perforated in the Oval Road parcel; the 1s. 9d. green Ceylon, three unused in the envelope, and over forty used in the Oval parcelthere were many other false stamps.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. I have been an expert ten yearsI consider it fair to compare the stamps when gummed on paperI have heard of hinged mounts for examining stampsI examined them as I found them in the parcelsome have been gummed on paper since I do not recollect seeing the word "Specimen" upon anyI have one here that haw it on the backsticking them on paper, that would disappear; there are lots without itI was not called before the MagistrateI was first asked about the case last WednesdayI have seen Phillips here; I have not spoken to him, I believeI. do not see him here nowwhen I have reprints I have bought them as reprintsStanley Gibbons' catalogue first introduced them to my noticeBerchdoff stamps can be bought which are not reprints or fac similes.
Cross-examined by MR. WILLIS. I have never been a witness to speak to the genuineness of stamps beforeI was asked to examine these by Philliphe is managing director of Stanley Gibbons and Co., Limited, a house dealing largely in stamps of all kindshe did not tell me he had been told he ought not to come as a witness; nothing of the kind he asked me to give evidence, as Major Evans was unwellI was asked to go to the Police-court, but said it was inconvenientI have been familiar with forged stamps ever since I began to collect, over twenty yearsI have never seen so many collected beforeI have seen a large number of various kinds, and different countriesI have bought them for my own collectionI have had forged stamps without knowing itnothing like 500perhaps 50 to 100forgeries have been in a collection I have bought, but I did not buy for the forgeriesI have known others buy forgeries who have been deceived.
Re-examined. The value of the unused Sydney Views to collectors would be £10they are very rarethe stamp is not withdrawn, but has ceased to be issuedthere has been an improvement in the art of forging stamps during the last twenty yearsduring the last two or three years they have been at their bestthere are fac simile stamps, they have the word "fac simile" onMajor Evans is a member of the Philatelical Society of LondonI believe the Sydney View could be used to-day in New South Wales and Victoria for postal purposes.
DOUGLAS GARTH. I am President of the Philatelical Society, and am a solicitorI have had considerable experience in stampsthere is no genuine trade done in forgeriesI have seen some of these stamps, and have heard Mr. Bacon's evidenceI perfectly agree with the results he has arrived at.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. I have collected for fourteen yearsI know of Mr. PalmerI have had nothing to do with him for the last ten yearsI saw a great many stamps which he had then, but I never saw his collectionI know the laureated New South Wales halfpenny stampthere are a great many genuine ones in this countrythere are stamps sent over by Mr. VenningI have not seen any of them in Mr. Phillips' handsI read the Stamp News and Stanley Gibbons' Monthly Journal occasionallythe stamps sent over by Mr. Venning are not officially issuedthose from Mr. Clark which were stolen were obtained by fraudI have not purchased any of Stanley Gibbons and Co.I never knew that they sent them to Australia with a view to their being used there postallyI know Peffenden and Wilson as dealers; they used to issue a monthly list; there is a paper which they called The Record, edited by Major Evansfor all I know, stamps were advertised which were reprints, without disclosing the fact that they were reprints.
JOHN CHARLES GRIFFITHS. I am a lithographer, of New Inn, StrandI have examined this lithographic stone, and some of the blue 1s. Victorian stamps; they appear to be impressions from the stone; the back ground lines are identical, and there are other technicalities of the trade which enable me to speak confidentlyI compared two very small points in the stamps with the stone, and found identical marksmy opinion was taken, and I advised that further impressions should be taken from the stone.
Cross-examined by MR. JONES. I saw it on Monday at my office, and examined it with a magnifying-glassthe flaw is a very small matter; you will find a very small indent in the background just at the top of the forehead, on the second stamp on the left on the stone, the second row, on the foreheadI also And the lines on the background correspond in numberI do not detect any register marks, the stone is too dirty, it would require to be cleanedthe stamps on the stone are not very much closer than those on the paper, they register exactly, that was one of the tests I appliedthe bottom row on the stone and the bottom row of the stamps correspond exactlyif the stone had been cut in half they could have tried to pull a proof of one half, leaving the other half intactI was not asked to do that.
STEPHEN WHITE (Re-examined). I found a number of letters at Sydney View Villa, which I have producedI found both these letters on Benjamin: "Henry Grimold, Esq.,Enclosed are the four Bermuda 3d. and 1d. that I bought of you some time since, and which are pronounced by Major Evans and others to be a false surcharge. Please return me the £101 paid for them, and obligeYours truly."Henry Grimold, Esq., Dear Sir,I received your postal-card, but I decline to exchange any more with you, as I would not deal with any man who is not honest. I enclose a letter received to-day, and also eighteen of your guaranteed surcharges. The British Guiana, I believe, are also bad. Now I owed you about thirteen dollars, and will square that amount, and as soon as I can get the balance of the Bermudas I will also return them. I have had more trouble about these counterfeits than anything, &c.Yours truly, Reynolds. "This (produced) is one of the documents I found at Cullum Street. (This named a number of stamps in the writer's possession.)
MR. JONES submitted that the Counts relating to forgery were bad, at they disclosed no offence, a postage stamp not being a writing as alleged; that the foreign stamps were not more than labels. As to the Sandwich Islands stamp, it was proved that no such stamp ever existed, and therefore it could not be counterfeited, and that it was no more forgery to copy such a stamp than it would be to copy a patent medicine stamp or the label on a reel of cotton.
MR. WILLIS also submitted that the offence was not one at common law; (he question was whether any of the stamps produced was a document or instrument in writing. Some of these stamps had been actually used, so that there was no intention of injuring the person who originally used them. The Sydney View stamp being no longer in use, did not constitute a contract between that country and the Postmaster-General, and therefore the first twenty-three Counts could not be sustained. (Cases referred to, Reg. v. Gloss, 7 Cox, p. 494; Reg. v. John Smith, 8 C ox, p. 586; and Reg. v. Gordon 11 Cox, p. 672.)
MR. MATHEWS contended that the Counts were good; Blackstone's definition of forgery teas "the altering of a writing to the prejudice of another man's right" (East's, "the counterfeiting any writing with a fraudulent intent, whereby another may be prejudiced"; also, "the false making of any written instrument for the purpose of fraud and deceit, is a forgery" In this case the writing consisted of the sketches from which the Sandwich Island plates were engraved, and of the letters and effigies on the counterfeit stamps. (Cases referred to, Reg. v. Fossett, East's Pleas of the Crown, 862; Reg. v. Harris, Moody's Crown Cases, 393; Reg. v. Tosackf and Dennison 179; Reg. v. Sharman, Dearsley's Crown Cases, 285; Reg. v. Howley) Lee and Cave, 159. Reg. v. Dugdale, and Stevens' Digest 302.
MR. WILLIS was heard in reply.
The RECORDER considered that the Counts 1 to 23 and Count 26 had failed in proof, as the stamps in question were not instruments in writing, and left the other five Counts to the JURY, as follows: 1. Was there an agreement to bring stamps into existence for the purpose of defrauding the public? 2. Was there an agreement to alter stamps? 3. Did the prisoners procure the stamps for the like purpose? 4. Did Benjamin and Sarpy obtain money from Bright by false pretences? The JURY answered these questions in the affirmative, and a verdict of
GUILTY was entered on these five Counts.
The prisoners received a good character.
JEFFREYS and BENJAMIN Six Months' Hard Labour each;
SARPY Four Months' Hard Labour.
The prisoners were again indicted for forging and uttering a receipt for one shilling blue Victorian stamp, upon which no evidence was offered.