The Belgian 5 francs stamp from 1878.
One of the rarest and most expensive stamps from Belgium, and one of the finer items in a world collection.
In reality, there are two versions of the 5 franc : a brown-red one with an impression of 30 000 copies and a light brown version with an impression of
18 000 copies.
With such minimal numbers, it is not surprising that the stamp has been widely forged. Together with the Cape triangles, the 5 f belongs to the most forged stamps in the world.
Not less than 17 forgeries are known, of which two by the renown forger Sperati. If this forger himself judged his forgery to be improvable, he issued a second version.
These Sperati forgeries may be sought by collectors of special items, but still, they have a far lower value than the original stamp.
The brown-red version has a stamped catalogue value of some 1600 euro and a value with sticker of some 1700 euro. Fresh, it is worth about double that amount of money. A roulette stamp reduces the value of a franked stamp to about half of the original value.
The light brown stamp with sticker has a value of around 3750 euro.
The roulette stamp is found from 1869 on. It was used to depreciate stamps which were on a savings bank bill.