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Richard Schäfer: Swiss Cantonal Stamps. Genuine – forged – faked (Reuterskiöld No. II)

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article number: 463
The renowned author Richard Schäfer needs no introduction to any Swiss philatelist. Since 1995 he has become well-known far beyond the country's borders for his eight extensive and substantial monographs on Swiss philately and postal history. His works rightly rank among the most important standard works on philately in general and have often won first prizes at exhibitions, just like his own collections, which he has put together over 45 years.

Actually, now aged over 80, he wanted to put down his pen, but things turned out differently. Isolation and loneliness after the death of his wife a few years ago spurred him on again to tackle a subject for which he had already laid the first foundations 25 years ago with the acquisition of a forgery collection: the forgeries of old Swiss stamps and their producers. Over time, he succeeded in acquiring many important archives that experts had compiled. Among them were the Emil Rellstab archive, the collections of A. Stutz, Carl Walske (Swiss section, including Peter Winter imitations), Paul Butterfield Freeland, A. Kofranek, M. Bürle, M. Weggler and others. Supported by his son Richard Schäfer Jr. he thus compiled what is probably the largest reference collection of forgeries of old Swiss issues that has ever existed. When one reads that in Part III of the book alone 3,500 (!) forgeries are illustrated and described in detail with their characteristics, one already gets a first impression of the uniqueness of this work. This is because there has never been anything comparable, even approximately comparable, for the collecting area of Old Switzerland.

But why Reuterskiöld II? This has a very special meaning. In 1907, this legendary Swiss philatelist published the third edition of ‟The Forgeries of the 'Cantonal' Stamps of Switzerland”, published in 1889 and 1898. On 36 pages, Reuterskiöld managed to describe 156 forgeries of the ten cantonal stamps at that time; however, there were no illustrations. Thanks to the huge collection, Schäfer is able to describe and illustrate not only these 156, but also another 39 forgeries. Each is shown in colour, with the particular features of the forgery explained clearly in comparison to a genuine stamp. He himself writes: ‟We consider it almost a small 'wonder of the world' that after thousands of hours of work we have succeeded in finding the corresponding stamp for each type of forgery, and this after more than 100 years.”

Let's take a closer look at this book. It is lavishly produced, hardbound with a dust jacket and gilt edging. In the first part (eight pages) the basics, that is, technical questions about forgeries are clarified: printing processes, papers, inks etc. Part II (22 pages) is devoted to the forgers and the known forgery collections. Here there is a very useful comparison of the identification systems used in forgeries such as those of Reuterskiöld, Robert Earée, Cedric Dry and others. The main part is the Part III already mentioned, the record of forgeries on 271 pages, followed by Part IV (Appendix with sources, 20 pages). It is almost impossible to describe this wealth in detail here, it is overwhelming. Every philatelist who is interested in the area of old Swiss stamps should study this work very carefully. It can and will save him many a poor investment.

If you want to find a "fly in the ointment", you will find it here also. Not only in the typography of the quotation marks, but also in the lack of final editing of parts of the book, which probably occurred shortly before going to press. However, they primarily concern only Part II. There, for example, on p. 19 Philip Spiro is still presented as the head of Spiro of Hamburg (which is not correct) and reference is made to a forthcoming book by ‟Gerhard Maassen” on the subject of Spiro. Schäfer confuses Gerhard (Lang-Valchs) and Wolfgang Maassen here, who both worked on this book on the Spiro family. On p. 27 the author is then referred to as "Wolfang Maassen" (without 'g') etc. Let's face it: these are typos that anyone can make in the rush of the moment. They in no way detract from the value and importance of the book. It is unreservedly recommended to everyone!

At the first presentation of this remarkable book on 18 May during HELVETIA 2022, Richard Schäfer announced that he planned to follow this work with another: a book about the forger Jean de Sperati and his imitations. We can look forward to it!

— Wolfgang Maassen (AIJP)

Size 21 x 27.5 cm, 315 pages, many illustrations in colour, hardbound with gold embossed title and spine, gilt edging all around, dust jacket, limited edition of 250 copies, ISBN 978-3-938538-38-8
 125.00 CHF

Vol 62: Argentina – Corrientes 1856–1880 – The Pablo Reim Collection

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article number: 461
With this new volume presented on 18 May 2022 at the HELVETIA 2022 exhibition in Lugano, the internationally renowned "Edition d'Or" book series has reached its 62nd (!) work which, like all its predecessors, is dedicated to a truly exceptional collection. The Argentinian Pablo Reim (b. 1955) is well known to South American philatelists, as his earlier Argentina and Old Brazil exhibits were among the exceptional collections rarely seen. Reim's maternal grandfather came from Stuttgart; Pablo Reim himself lived for a long time as a child in São Paulo, Brazil, so that his interest in Brazilian Dom Pedro issues or the "Bull's Eyes", Brazil's first stamp issue, is easily explained. In 2011 he exhibited his "Corrientes" collection for the first time at Cordoba, Argentina, which immediately won Large Gold and was named "Exhibition Champion". A year later, there was another Gold medal at INDONESIA 2012 in Jakarta. And at this year's LONDON 2022 it was again awarded Large Gold and a special award.

But where is Corrientes? Corrientes was a province of the Argentine Confederation, later of the Argentine Republic. If you take a look at the MICHEL catalogue, the prices given for the stamps available at the post office counters up to 1880 will not seem particularly high. So not a "difficult" collecting area? It is so easy to be deceived, once you look into the depths. For then Corrientes has a lot to offer that attracts a philatelic connoisseur. Breit's trilingual (German/English/Spanish) introduction to the collecting area makes this clear and explains how and why these stamps, so similar to the French CERES stamps, came into being, who had a hand in them, which postage rates and periods applied in each case and how the sheets of stamps were printed. Corrientes had only about 70,000 inhabitants in the mid-1850s. It is understandable that stamped mail is anything but common.

In this collection, Pablo Reim presents the individual stamp issues in chronological order. The Un Real M. C. on blue paper (1856), the provisional issue (3 cents) on blue paper with official pen stroke (1860), the (3 cent) without value on blue paper (1860), also the 2 cent without value on yellow-green paper (1864) and on blue-green (1865) and 2 cent/3 cent without value on yellow paper (1867), followed by the 3 cent without value on deep blue paper (1871) and the 3 cent issues without value on five different coloured papers. The fiscal use of the stamps in 1879/80 and the reprints of 1877/80 are the subject of further consideration and documentation.

At this point at the latest in the 161-page book, it becomes clear to the reader how complex and anything but simple a specialised study of these stamps is. For it is precisely the "specialities" with which the Pablo Reim collection is concerned. For example, an unused block of 8eight of the Un Real of 1856, of which there are only three still in existence today, or the only known tête-bêche pair of the same stamp. Reim succeeded in documenting seven types of the first issue on cover, also various pen-cancellations and postmarks, stamps with gutters between them, rare destinations and the largest multiples on cover. He shows remarkable special features and some major and minor rarities with each of the above issues. It is not uncommon to read of a cover being franked with the largest known multiple in each case, or of only a few letters being known at all from a particular period. Complete printed sheets alternate with partial sheets, as if these were common - but they are not.

To put it briefly: This book should be in the hands of every collector who wants to take a closer look at this collecting area. It offers far more information and illustrative material than any catalogue, even a specialised catalogue. It is an indispensable aid to the better understanding and appreciation of this field of collecting in all its diversity. Perfectly designed and excellently produced - like all the volumes in this book series.

— Wolfgang Maaßen (AIJP)

172 pages, hardbound with dust jacket, in English and German
 79.00 CHF

EDITION SPÉCIALE: Principality of Liechtenstein – The Heinrich Windels Collection

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article number: 462
Liechtenstein may be one of the smaller European states such as Luxembourg, but philatelically it has much more to offer than some would expect. Windels, born at Schaffhausen in 1942, has concentrated since the 1980s on the Principality of Liechtenstein and its chequered history, which was strongly influenced by the former Austrian and Austro-Hungarian monarchy until the 20th century. Supported by Götz Schneider, he succeeded in initially developing a specialised collection, then he acquired the important Liechtenstein collection of Rolf Goldschagg of Munich, and thus a wealth of information came together that is unparalleled. His exhibit has won Gold and Large Gold several times and was shown in 30 frames (!) in the Court of Honour at NABA 2018 in Lugano.

Windels documents the early period of pre-philately, partly with unique covers, among them a folded letter sent by courier mail from Vaduz dated 9 June 1622, which is still the earliest known letter from Vaduz. Incoming and outgoing mail is covered, and then on over 40 pages the use of Imperial and Royal Austrian stamps used in Liechtenstein from the 1850s onwards. A documentation of Swiss postage stamps used in Liechtenstein in 1921 follows, as do chapters on Swiss postcards, postage and airmail stamps. Even military, air mail and field post in Liechtenstein between 1927 and 1948 are not left out.

The focus, however, is on Liechtenstein's own issues, which were issued from 1912 to 1953, at first in Austrian krone currency (until 1920), and then from 1921 in Swiss currency. Looking at all the essays, proofs, multiples, even sheets, as well as usages lifts up the heart, for one has hardly ever seen such a variety. If you include official and postage due stamps, there are almost 100 more pages on which unusual material captivates the viewer's eye. Proofs signed by the designers, imperforate instead of perforated issues (some of which are not yet even catalogued), "good for printing" proofs of the Vaduz souvenir sheet (this one also imperforate, of course). There is probably nothing that does not exist, at least in this exceptional collection.

This book deserves every recommendation for Liechtenstein collectors. For others who might want to follow Windels' example some day it is indispensable, for what one sees here can hardly be found in any catalogue, at least not in this variety and clarity.

— Wolfgang Maassen (AIJP)

size 25,5 x 34 cm, 216 pages, numerous color illustrations, hardcover with dust jacket, bilingual German/English, collection pages in German only.
 79.00 CHF

Vol. 60: Greece – Large Hermes Heads 1861 - 1886 – The Stavros Andreadis 'Kassandra' Collection

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article number: 459
It is probably the first time that a book showing a collection in the Global Philatelic Network's “Edition d'Or” series of books has appeared for the second time with this Volume 60 in the book series. In 2011, with Volume 28, this collection of especially high quality had already been presented on 156 pages. Now there are 183 pages, on which the quantitative increase of almost 20 percent is far exceeded by the qualitative enrichment. For the well-known Greece specialist Andreadis has spared no effort or expense in the last ten years to add even more rarities to his collection, which at that time had already won several Large Gold awards. In 2018, it won the Grand Prix International in Jerusalem, another indication that this was truly an exceptional exhibit.

This is already made clear by the book cover and the first page of the collection, which now shows the essay by the French stamp engraver Albert Barre, who dedicated the design, derived from a French stamp of 1853, to Natalis Rondot, a legendary pioneer philatelist. The head of Ceres was replaced by the head of Hermes, which henceforth adorned the first Greek issues. Barre’s design for the Large Hermes Head issue exists only once in this form, although there are many other plate and print proofs as well as essays in the Andreadis collection, many of which are just as rare.

What does not exactly make collecting these first issues of Greece easier is the wide variety of printings that an expert can distinguish. It begins with the Paris printings (1861), followed by various provisional and finally the Athens printings (1862-1867). Printings from cleaned plates (1867-1869) followed, also Athens hard printings (1870) and then again printings from cleaned plates (1871-1872 as well as 1873). Prints on ‘meshed’ paper are known as well as new values from 1876, cream-coloured paper (1875-1880) and colour changes (1882). It is therefore not too easy for the collector to look through them all, also the control numbers on the reverse should also be mentioned, which are almost a special field in themselves. If you have not run out of steam yet, you can devote yourself to the rare mixed and combination frankings or to a legend in their own right: the “Solferinos”, the 40 Lepta misprint. This error of colour is one of the greatest rarities known to the philatelic world. Although there are 13 known examples, Andreadis’ collection contains the only one on cover. And even a pair!

Talking of pairs, Andreadis shows in his collection large and sometimes the largest known multiples of many values, some even on cover. And this in abundance and in excellent quality that captivates. Everything is described in detail in English and this therefore becomes a kind of handbook of Greek philately, providing the expert as well as the beginner with valuable knowledge about what exists, and also about what one might not own oneself.

The hardbound book is produced in the excellent quality usual for this book series, and so for 79 CHF plus postage the book is worthy of recommendation.

— Wolfgang Maaßen (AIJP)

size 25,5 x 34 cm, 192 pages, numerous color illustrations, hardcover with dust jacket, bilingual English/German, collection pages in English only.
 79.00 CHF