Bogus censors – beware!

Over a year since my last post here. Apologies.

Quite independently, two friends recently passed on images of unusual censor marks on Burma covers. Too unusual to be true, in fact. Which creates a good opportunity to post a warning here.

These aren’t new. Hundreds of different types are listed by Konrad Morenweiser in his useful booklet, British Asia Forged Censor Handstamps and Resealing Labels (Civil Censorship Study Group, 1997). As I understand it, all were created in India to add value to otherwise unappetising truckloads of chettiar covers that flooded the market. The reference collection was donated to the CCSG by Arun Agarwal, but only includes some 60% of the known fakes. Here are the two images that came my way:


A circular mark reading “BURMA S803/L PASSED” and an all-purpose triangle inscribed “PASSED FOR TRANSMISSION 30”, neither resembling known types. I can’t say that these are typical, but they give some idea of what to expect.

The lessons are: don’t automatically trust a censor mark that looks like an “unrecorded”; don’t automatically trust a censor mark on a chettiar cover; and certainly don’t trust one on a cover mailed outside wartime!