Sunday, January 07, 2007

Jean de Sperati - The Fastidious Forger

Calling him "The Fastidious Forger," UK's Economist says Jean de Sperati’s forgeries have become so collectible that some, such as the red 1913 Australian £2 stamp (shown on left) are now worth more than the originals he copied.

Herbert Bloch, a former chairman of the Philatelic Foundation’s expert committee is quoted in the piece as saying more than 20 years ago, “He [was] the greatest forger, by far, of all times ... No-one even approaches him.”

"Sperati’s forgeries went undetected because he usually used perfectly genuine, though very common, stamps as the basis for his fakes," according to the Economist article.

"Using chemicals, he would bleach out the original design, while retaining the postmark, and then print a new image of a rare stamp on genuine stamp paper. In addition, he was a master at getting the colours right, which made uncovering his forgeries particularly difficult."

You can tell the Australian stamp is a forgery because there is a faint break in the horizontal lines of red shading between Tasmania and the mainland in the area outlined by the box.

Sperati forgeries will be included in the final part of Sotheby’s sale of the Sir Gawaine Baillie philatelic collection in London on January 18th.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM