|This cover was created
by dealer Jerry P. Mather. This cover is unique among Churchill FDCs in
that every one made has a phony First Day of Issue postmark. The story
of the nefarious Mather is best told by collector Mike Smith on
Mather was a dealer in first day covers during the late 60s and early 70s. He soon became frustrated by the difficulty to keep some covers in stock and eventually decided to create his own counterfeit cancels and make them up as he needed them.
By the time he was discovered in 1979 by Adam K. Bert, then chairman of the American First Day Cover Society's expertizing committee, he had created more than 100,000 counterfeit covers. Most of these covers were recovered when he was arrested, but it is estimated that there are about 5,000 of his counterfeit covers still in private collections.
Mather was indicted on seven counts of mail fraud and five counts of selling or possessing (with the intent to sell) counterfeit postmarks, Mather pleaded not guilty 10 days later. Following some legal bargaining, he pleaded guilty to two counts only on January 2, 1980. On January 28, the 40-year-old defendant was sentenced to three years in prison; however, all but three months were suspended. Following his time in prison, Mather was to serve five years on probation. He also was ordered to repay $11,800 he had received for one wholesale lot of approximately 40,000 covers. In his own defense, Mather pointed out, "I felt I was supplying a need."
When one compares the phony Mather postmark (a rubber stamp) with the genuine postmark (a steel die), the difference is obvious: