Checking for Forgeries

Forgery Checking (The Cedric Dry System), by David Colman

For those involved in Swiss philately the early Cantonal and Federal stamps hold a particular fascination, because of their rarity, their simplicity of design and because of the history of Switzerland’s creation as a unified state. The combination of simplicity and value has been an inspiration to forgers and to those explicitly producing reproductions for collectors, although the distinction between the two has at times been confused – that is to say often non-existent.

Currently, with internet selling, forgeries are frequently offered for sale on eBay without always being clearly labelled as such. Some time ago an example of the Zürich 6 rappen stamp was offered on eBay and elicited many bids at prices which could only make sense if the bidders assumed it was genuine. It was, however, a forgery, as was immediately evident using the forgery guide contained on the CD published to celebrate the work of our late colleague and friend Cedric Dry.

Select Forgery Checking containing David’s exhibit.

In a short time Cedric amassed a detailed knowledge of early Swiss forgeries by studying the classic works of Robert Earée, Baron de Reuterskiöld, and A. M. Kofranek. Using these sources he developed his own classification to eliminate ambiguities of identification by these authors and to deal with forgeries which were produced after their work, or had not been seen by them. Cedric did not have time to prepare his work for publication or edit into a perfect state before his untimely death. He left a collection of sheets, which he had presented to various society meetings, that others without his specialist knowledge were left to assemble into the CD. It is not perfect by any means, but for those without the time or commitment to consult the literary works of Earée and Reuterskiöld, it is a very useful graphic source for quickly testing whether a particular stamp is or is not a forgery. The short presentation above uses the CD as the sole source to test a number of Cantonals, and finds it to be a very useful tool.