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Slania Boxer Label Forgeries
Fake strip of first five
Fake strip of second five
Fake strip of third five
Fake strip of fourth five
(Forgeries illustrated above.)

by Jay Smith & Associates

Slania's "Boxer" labels are perhaps the most well known of his privately printed labels. This set of 23 engraved labels picture Heavyweight Boxing Champions of the World from John L. Sullivan in 1889 to Cassius Clay (as he was then known) in 1964. I offer the genuine labels for sale.

Though there has long been talk of forgeries of these labels, it was only recently (April 2002) that I encountered any, and that was just only the pieces illustrated with this article. For the moment the forgeries seem to be much scarcer than the real thing.

For the examples that I have recorded, the forgeries are printed by offset (lithography) and are in dramatically different colors than the originals. The overall size of labels is larger and the paper is very bright white, with invisible gum. The forgeries as I found them consisted of four strips of five different labels. Most importantly, however, the offset-printed forgeries have NO RELIEF; they are not engraved, thus the printing is absolutely flat. You cannot feel the lines of the image because they ink is flat on the paper surface and is not raised as it would be for an engraving. (I have seen references to forgeries that state that they have shiny gum and also suggesting that the forgeries are quite common or are easily confused with the genuine. This has not been my experience.)

The genuine labels are on slightly off-white paper, are often poorly centered, and often have slightly damaged perforations resulting from sloppy tearing up of sheets. The genuine labels were printed in a somewhat complicated sheet format that did yield combinations of different label designs, however, these combinations are extremely scarce; I have never seen any offered for sale.

Illustrations of the Genuine Labels

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