Genuine Cherry Blossom Stamps always have 16 ray florets or petals in the chrysanthemum crest. The forgeries often have 16 petals but 14, 15 and 17 are common. If a cherry blossom stamp has any number of petals other than 16, it is proof that the stamp is a forgery and there is no need to look further.
All genuine cherry blossom stamps were intaglio printed from etched copper plates of 40 stamps. All surface printed and lithographed copies are forgeries.
The genuine syllabics and plates are well known, a stamp with a syllabic that is not listed in the standard catalogs is not a rarity, It’s a forgery and a bogus stamp.
Many forgeries are “signed.” For the positions of sankō, mozō, or mihon on the cherry blossom stamps, click on the denomination in the side-bar at the left to see the positions.
In an effort to help the reader find these marks quickly, the different positions are shown by denomination. Thus, in defining the position of sankō, mozō or mihon in the forgeries, the 1 sen cherry blossom represents both the blue and brown stamps, the 1 sen with syllabic, crossed branches, or “branches tied in ribbon.” All are grouped together because the sankō, mozō or mihon is found in the same relative position. In the genuine stamps, of course, these are all distinctly different stamps often issued years apart.