An unusual letter came in the early eighties of the last century to one of the Parisian publishing houses, which specialized in the publication of gazetteers and encyclopedias. In this letter it was reported that the Sultanate of Ocussi-Ambeno, a former Portuguese colony, existed on the island of Timor. The sultanate is home to about 180 thousand people. The capital of the state is the city of Baleksetung. The main occupations of local residents are fishing, hunting and farming.
The return address was written on the envelope: “Auckland, New Zealand. Consulate General Okussi-Ambeno ". The letter contained a request to include information about the sultanate in subsequent reference books. Astonished publishers sent a request to the UN. Soon a reply came, in which it was reported that at the moment the Ocussi-Ambeno sultanate is not part of the UN, but letters have already been received from the politicians of Monaco and Liechtenstein with a request to accept the sultanate into this international organization.
It was not possible to contact Okussi-Ambeno directly, as there, according to New Zealand newspapers, there was a civil war, the people revolted against the Sultan. Parisian publishers decided to include information about the mysterious state in the next directory, especially since samples of local currency and postage stamps were sent from Okussi-Ambeno.
By the way, the stamps were printed by one of the European firms, and quickly gained popularity among philatelists. An amount of 40 thousand dollars was even sent to the address of the Okussi-Ambeno consulate in New Zealand - the income from the sale of stamps. The brand publishers turned out to be more meticulous, they decided to get to the bottom of the truth: does the Okussi-Ambeno sultanate still exist? By selling the brands of the mysterious state, they risked their reputation.
The newspapers reported that the uprising was suppressed, and the rebels fled the country. The publishers asked the ethnographers working in Timor to collect as much information as possible about the sultanate. But when they arrived at the place where the capital Okussi-Ambeno was listed on the maps, they saw only a small village there. And the locals have never even heard of such a state.
It turned out that all the information about the sultanate is an ordinary "duck". Soon, New Zealander Bruce Grenville's confession was printed in the newspapers. It turned out that for several years he, together with his friends, sat in a bar and composed legends about the state of Okussi-Ambeno. Grenville himself was surprised that people could be so gullible, I take counterfeit money and consular letterheads at face value. And newspapers willingly published information about the uprising in the sultanate and the violation of human rights there. Over time, Grenville and company realized that it was possible to make good money on a fictional state. It was then that the idea came to mind to issue stamps for a nonexistent country.
It was not possible to bring fraudsters to justice, the lawyers proved that the laws of New Zealand were not violated, but the sultanate's stamps are still very popular and have significantly increased in price.