BMA Malaya 50 cents postal forgery - Lin Yangchen
  • BMA Malaya 50 cents postal forgery

©Lin Yangchen

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'Mutant Ninja'
(named by the author)

The BMA Malaya 50 cents (black on green paper) was famously forged by dyeing green the paper of the black 1c using some formula derived from chlorophyll (Cockburn 2015) and altering the denomination tablets. The perpetrator was a Chinese employee in the National City Bank of New York in Singapore (Cockburn 1998), who was eventually caught and jailed (Cockburn 2015). The forged stamps were used on parcels. See Rosevear (1981), Cooper (1982, 1992) and Cockburn (2015) for details.

The alteration of the tablets was a painstaking and (as it turns out) quasi-expressionistic endeavour that produced few copies (the author knows of 23, including 14 on a single piece that auctioned for £8500 in 2016). Both green and black colouring matter were used, the former being almost turquoise in this instance. The outer frame of the tablet has also been reinforced with additional black. The original 1c inscription is invisible and appears to have been removed prior to drawing in the 50c. But traces of ink may have remained, necessitating the application of additional green colouring on the tablets to obscure them. See Lin & Cheah (2016a) for variations.

It makes one wonder if the forger did not realize only until after the fact that evidence of his pranks would remain indelibly etched on the stamps after the letters had been delivered, and eventually bring about his downfall.

The real one.

De La Rue had earlier suggested updating the 50c to a bicolour on white paper for post-war printings, but the Colonial Office rejected it (Cockburn 2015). Now it was too late.

Singapore 1948 postal forgeries


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