Fraud of the Century: Britain’ Post Office Telegraphs and Stock Exchange Forgery of 1872 – Matthew Healey, New York, NY ** At the Clubhouse and via Zoom
February 8, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Fraud of the Century: Britain’ Post Office Telegraphs and Stock Exchange Forgery of 1872 – Matthew Healey, New York, NY
In 1872, someone working the telegraph desk at London’s Stock Exchange pulled off a “perfect” crime, using counterfeit one-shilling postage stamps. Through numerous examples, this display gives the historical background to the fraud, summarizes the operations of the Post Office telegraphs and lays out the likeliest hypothesis for how the fraud worked. It reviews the major features that distinguish the forgeries from the genuine stamps and explains the forgeries’ key flaw that gave the game away to philatelists – the use of “impossible” corner letter combinations. On the 150th anniversary of the greatest fraud of the 19th century, it remains one of the greatest unsolved “whodunits” of all time.
Matthew Healey has collected stamps since the age of 6. When he isn’t working on his collection of classic Great Britain, he’s busy pursuing British revenues, in particular the Health and Unemployment Insurance stamps, and a variety of topicals. He covered auctions for Linn’s Stamp News from 2010 to 2017, and has written a monthly feature on GB philately since then. He has also contributed to the Collectors Club Philatelist, GB Journal, American Philatelist and The New York Times. He gave an earlier version of this presentation on the Stock Exchange forgeries at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum in 2019. He has been a member of the Collectors Club for nearly a decade, serving as Vice President and Secretary.