Stories about Jaan Lubi

When researching the forgeries of Estonian stamps between the years 1918-41, one name is jumping out very strongly; Jaan Lubi (photographer and musician) from Viljandi. Of course he was not the only one on the marketplace but he was anyway one of the most productive. The problem was well known in Estonia. As early as March 1931, the Estonian Philatelic Society published an article in European newspapers to warn dealers and collectors of forgers (including the full names).  

The total amount of Jaan Lubi’s mass production (and sale) we can only guess but for sure it has been far, wide and in big quantities.  Below we have a nice proof about this man’s methods of marketing and doing business:

This letter is sent on January 13, 1932 and luckily the letter is also included! Mr. S.F. Welsh, Jr. has been a stamp dealer and he has received an offer from Jaan Lubi of Viljandi. (The owner of this very important item is Mr. Martti Räikkönen, Finland). The postage fee is correct: reg. 20 s + letter 20s = 40 s.

In the above letter Jaan Lubi writes; “I am only a collector…”.

Well, this “collector” was also a very much hunted man in Estonia but the law never got evidence against him. Actually there are quite many similar envelopes from Jaan Lubi as above (but no letter inside!) and most evidently some of those are letters for the delivery of material. Jaan Lubi continued his business through the years 1930-1940. As said before, the Estonian philatelists were very interested in his activities and then came the occupation and started the II WW. For reasons not known (to me) Jaan Lubi wanted to go Soviet Union. However, he was shot when passing the border (details of circumstances not known).

His house in Viljandi was now empty and a person was asked to enter the house and look for the false printing plates. And indeed, the plates were found hidden under the roof and then send to Sweden.

Professor Erik Sjögren from Uppsala, Sweden, has studied all found plates. His excellent works are readable here:

Erik Sjögren: “Distinguishing Features of Jaan Lubi Forgeries of Estonian Stamps”. Part I in no. 28/1982, part II in no. 29/1983, and part III in no. 31/1987 of Eesti Filatelist (Sweden).

Estonia: #13 Viking Ship 1919 - pack of 100 stamps, used.

The above mentioned item was in eBay-auction on July 2013. I got it and after opening the mail, in less than 2 hours there were 9 small piles of Viking 5 Mk forgeries in front of me. Well, I was happy because I expected the matter be so. Accordingly, the correct heading should read:

Estonia: Viking Ship 1919, pack of 100 forgeries, never used but stamped.

 Now you can enjoy what I found out (research based only on the special marks on the black frames).              


False no:I  frame length 30,5 mm

False no:II  (down) frame lenght 30,1 mm

False no: III   frame lenght 30,5 mm

False no: III   frame lenght 30,5 mm

False no: IV  frame lenght 30,5mm

False no: V   frame length 30,1 mm. Please, observe that no: V and no: IX are almost the same, only one difference.

False no: V lenght of the frame 30,1 mm

False no: IX   lenght of the frame 30,1 mm

False no: VI   raamin pituus 30,5 mm

False no: VII   frame lenght 30,1 mm

False no: VIII   raamin pituus 30,1 mm 

False, INVERTED 5 Mk Viking

Same as above but now with cancellation PÄÄSKYLA 19 V 21. (These 2 were not in the pack of 100)!

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