Private issues of the Interim Period are stamp-like labels or defaced stamps. But they are only labels regardless whether they are British Mandate Palestine stamps which were defaced by the overprinting of a prankster, or as French fiscal stamps which were defaced by the overprinting of a profit making clique, or as the stickers of a phantom postal operation. As such, the private issues of the Interim Period have nothing in common with the so called private issues of the local carrier organizations of the 19th century.
Whether aimed to support the cause of lsrael or not, these private issues cannot be regarded as bonafide postage stamps because they were not associated with a real letter-forwarding service. Nor were they authorized by any representative governmental agency, state or local, to serve for the benefit of the population at large. It is possible, and in some cases it is certain, that these “would be” postage stamps were prepared by their originators for their own personal gain.
The only merit they appear to have is that they too originated in the Interim Period. They merit therefore a desirability, if any, which is substantially less than the desirability of the previously listed issues or marks. And in fact, it is difficult to decide whether they are the manifestation of an emergency situation or pure fraud.
The author believes that, for the sake of completeness of this handbook, the facts about these private issues needs to be listed and presented impartially.
The AVIRON stamps, better known as the Patco bogus labels of Mendel Shapira, are the most controversial of all the adhesives which relate to the Interim Period of Israel. A majority of collectors considers them to be spurious items, or in fact to be a fraud. As far as the mint labels are concerned, the author is inclined to agree with the majority opinion.
On the other hand, a small minority of collectors maintain that the Aviron stamps were produced for a real purpose and that the originator, Mendel Shapira, became the victim of circumstances which eventually brought him into conflict with Israeli law. Its claims have not found any substantiation. However, neither the accusers nor the defenders of Mr. Shapira have ever published a true and complete story of these stamps. For this reason, and well as the facts can be ascertained, this is done here.
Had Mendel Shapira stopped using his labels and done nothing further with them after May 16th, 1948, and in particular had he not used the zincographic plates again in 1951 or 1952 to print thousands of additional phantom stamps. Had he not become involved in other shady businesses, much to the detriment of Interim Period collectors, the AVIRON stamp would perhaps enjoy the same respectability as the TOHUWABOHU stamp. But this is not the case.
Forsher, p. 107
“Spurious or forged material is commonly known by the term “Album Weed.” This kind of material from the Interim Period presented as provisional issues of Israel is abundant. It presents the greatest single difficulty in pursuing this field of collecting. As per the definition of the author, Interim Period stamps or marks on cover or off cover, even if genuine, if applied subterfuge past the short period of their validity are classified as spurious material.
Interim Period postage stamps or marks on or off cover, if prepared with the use of stolen or privately fashioned marking devices or by other dishonest means, are classified as forgeries.
Album weeds of the Interim Period fall primarily into one of two categories:
a) Jewish National Fund labels or equivalent which are fraudulently used during or after the Interim Period, either to defraud the Postal Services of the State of Israel or, and mainly to deceive the Israel collector, trying to represent an interesting item.
b) Forgeries of the provisional stamps, on cover or off cover; done by using the common and inexpensive Jewish National Fund labels and by adding validation markings with rubber hand stamps.
It is practically impossible to describe every known forged or spurious item. Only the typical representatives of the major groups can be described in the space available in this handbook.”
Forsher, p. 109.