© 2008 Martin Lovegrove


Apart from the images of the two genuine stamps, nothing on the page is mine! The image of the forgery was supplied by Willie King FRPSL, to whom I offer my thanks, the remainder is a copy of an article written by David Graham that appeared in Linn’s Stamp News June 15, 1987.


Saudi 1-Riyal Postal Forgeries Appear

By David Graham



A forgery of the Saudi 1982-86 Holy Kaaba 1 riyal appears at left. Genuine stamps perforated 12, on watermarked paper (center) and unwatermarked paper (right) are also shown.


Forgeries of the Saudi Arabia 1982 – 86 Holy Kaaba 1-riyal definitive stamp (Scott 882, Stanley Gibbons 1301) have been discovered.

The forgery is the same color and size as the genuine stamps, but poorly printed and on coarse grey paper, with black parts of the design clearly visible through the back.

The gum is thin and uneven, and shows on the perforations on the front, presumably having been applied after printing.

Perforations are a little uneven and gauge 11 (more accurately 10.9).

The genuine stamps are well printed with clear sharp lettering and of two basic types:


  • Perforated 14 by 13½, 13½, or 12, on smooth ivory watermarked paper. Only a faint image of the black center shows through the back. The gum is even and shiny.
  • Perf 12, on smooth white paper, with design not visible through back, and matte, invisible gum.

In the accompanying illustration, the fake is on the left. Also shown are genuine stamps perf 12, on watermarked paper (center) and unwatermarked (right).

The most obvious printing difference is in the lines around the design, which are clearly defined in the genuine stamps.

The forgers, allegedly Korean, were apprehended, and apparently only produced this top value of the 1982 – 86 definitive series to defraud the Saudi Post Office.

These stamps are now being replaced by a newly designed issue, featuring the Holy Kaaba shown through an ornamental arch, begun in August last year with Scott 984 – 85.

The companion Al Khafji Oil Rig definitives of 1982 – 86 (Scott 885 – 92), are also being replaced by a new issue featuring Saudi university emblems (Scott 1009 – 12).

However, the earlier stamps presumably will remain valid for postage indefinitely, as only the obsolete definitive and airmail issues of King Saud and King Faisal were withdrawn for destruction in 1976.

It is worth noting that the Saudi Post Office has just increased its rates, unchanged since 1964, to about three times the previous ones, with a minimum of 25 halalas and steps of 25h, so that only the 100h values (Scott 1012) of the new definitives mentioned is valid alone for one of the new rates.

I have also been advised of new philatelic forgeries, apparently originating in Egypt.

These are crude reproductions of the 1945 Royal Meeting commemoratives (Scott 173 – 76, S.G. 352 – 55), in imperforate blocks of 12 or 24, with no margin lines.

The genuine stamps are in sheets of 25 (5 by 5), with margin lines, and the imprint of the Government Press, Mecca, under the bottom center stamp. No imperforates of this issue have been recorded.

Previously known forgeries are of 1916 – 26 early stamps and overprints, so readers should beware of any tempting varieties, whether early or modern, unless offered by a specialist dealer.

Postal forgery