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Issue I (Eagle Stamps)


Start here if your stamp has an eagle on it. These are mostly 2 gr. red and 4 gr. blue, although proofs exist in various shades of green, olive, brown, orange and gray, and are illustrated below. If your stamp doesn't have an eagle, go back to the identifier home page

Step-by-step guide to Eagle stamps

Reg. issue
Proofs (in various colors - the bottom colors here are not very accurate.)
Genuine Michel #1
Genuine Michel #1 green proof
Genuine Michel #1 green proof
Genuine Michel #2
Genuine Michel #2 brown proof


First, look at the wing edge nearest the E in the left Przedbórz. Is there a dot on the inside edge of the wing? Yes - Go to Wing Dots, below.

No. It is a type 1, 2, 3, or 5 forgery. Go to F1-3, 5, below.

Wing Dots

Is the dot attached to the U representing a feather, and quite separated from the wing edge?
Yes - It’s the wrong dot, and the stamp is a type 4 forgery. Go to F4, below.
No - Continue

Wing dot on Mi #2 forgery type 4
Forgery 4 dot

Is the dot attached (or almost attached) to the wing edge, and quite separated from the nearest U?

Yes - It’s a genuine stamp. Go to Genuine Issue I, below.

No - Is the dot connected to both the edge of the wing and the U (symbolizing a feather)?

Yes - it's some sort of rare freak. See an example.

If it's not any of these, go back and start over, because you've exhausted all the logical possibilities. Something’s wrong.

No - Go back and start over, because so far as we know now, these are the only two kinds of dots at or near the left wing edge. Something’s wrong.

Wing dot on genuine Mi #1
Genuine Wing Dot

Compare the left wing of genuine and forged stamps

Genuine Stamp Secondary Indications

  1. There are two very fine lines going from the top of the eagle’s crown to the frame line. On forgeries, there is either no line (F3's), one thick line (F4's), or three thick “blots” in which the center one connects the crown to the frame line, and the side ones may or may not also connect (F1's and F2's). See crown closeups.
  2. Genuine stamps have a well-defined oval accent over the Ó in Przedbórz. There is more variation on forgeries, especially over the right Przedbórz. (Add more discussion.)
  3. The shape of the letters in Przedbórz and Grosze differs markedly between forged and genuine stamps. See Lower Groszes for examples.
  4. The pattern of the background dots surrounding the eagle is markedly different on genuine stamps than on forgeries. Most authorities like to look at the dots under the left wing. I prefer to look above the right wing.
  5. Look at the first R in "Miasto Przedbórz" on the left side of the stamp. There is a nick or indent on the back leg of #1 type 5 and #2 types 2, 4, 5, 6, & 7 stamps. I have not seen these on forgeries.
  6. A variety of other methods have been proposed over the years, and are mentioned in the discussion of genuine catalog #1 (2 gr.) eagle stamps.

Genuine Issue I

There are eight major types of the genuine 2 Grosze and 4 Grosze stamps. If you want to know which type you have, continue here. First, write down the numbers 1-8, because you may have to exclude the easy-to-identify types, and narrow in on some of the harder ones. You’ll see examples on the appropriate page where the numbers are in strikeout font as the corresponding stamp type is eliminated.

Is the stamp denomination 4 grosze?

Yes - Go to 4 Grosze.

No - It’s 2 Grosze.

Pitfalls Some writers (e.g., Petriuk) describe the various markings from the viewpoint of the eagle. So the left wing of the eagle is on the right side of the stamp when you’re looking at it. I'm told by Paolo Berentzen that this is standard procedure in Germany, but I didn't know that fact, and was very confused.

Other writers (probably including me) notice a feature on a stamp, and assume that it is specific to that type, and/or appears on all stamps of that type.

F1-3, 5

Look at the bottom Grosze. Is there a “Fat-G”, or “Short-top Z”? (The Fat G is about 1.6-1.65 mm wide vs. 1.35-1.4 mm in genuine stamps. In the Short-top Z, the top bar of lower Z is about 1.2 mm long vs. 1.4-1.45 mm on genuine stamps. The top bar starts about 0.2 mm to the right of where the bottom bar starts.)

Yes – it’s a F1 forgery.

No – Continue

Is there a “Tight-Mouth G”? (The opening in the mouth of the lower G is about 0.1 mm, vs. 0.2 mm on genuine stamps.)

Yes – it’s a F3 forgery.

No – Continue

Is there a “Slope-Top Z”? I.e., does the top of the Z slope up slightly when you look from right to left?

Yes – It’s a F2 forgery.

No – Continue

Is there a "Wide Open G" and a “Half-top Z”? I.e.,

  1. Is the mouth of the G wide open and the top doesn't descend to close it at all (like the G's on the 2nd and 3rd issues)?
  2. Is the top of the Z in Grosze only about 1 mm wide (vs. about 1.4 mm on genuine stamps, and 1.2 mm on F1's)?

Yes – It’s a F5 forgery.

No – We have a potential problem: Either a mistake has been made in looking at the various stamp characteristics, or you have a forgery which not been previously identified. First, try starting over again, to see if you missed something.


In addition to having a wrong dot on the left wing, F4 forgeries are characterized as having a Wide-mouth G (opening in mouth of lower G about 0.5 mm, vs. 0.2 mm on genuine stamps) and a Narrow Z (bottom bar of lower Z about 1.3 mm long vs. 1.4-1.45 on genuine stamps. ). There is a slight hook at the left edge of the top bar of the lower Z. Second-from left lower U is usually broken on the left side, producing a dot.

Classifying (typing) #1 (2 gr.) or #2 (4 gr.) genuine Eagle stamps.

See a recap or summary of Eagle stamps.

Read more about Eagle F5 forgeries, or see close-ups of the heads.
Last modified  9 Feb. 2015