Apfelbaum’s Corner – Volume 90

In 1966, in a burst of publicity, the final closedown of a forger and counterfeiter who lived in Merida, Mexico was disclosed. I wish to express my personal appreciation for the part played by various American Philatelic Society officers and members in this drama.

May I say that the dishonest dealings of Raoul De Thuin were known of (for many years) to the American stamp trade. The fact that he sold “rarities” of his own make at great discounts was no secret anywhere. Collectors throughout the world were credulous enough to believe that a stamp dealer located in a remote province of Mexico could continually have such “rarities” and be foolish enough to sell them at a fraction of what they would bring in the great philatelic market, it’s a sad reflection on the judgment used by many in purchasing stamps for their collections.

Undoubtedly, through resale of collections, much of this privately manufactured material has been redistributed and now reposes in collections and stocks where it isn’t recognized for what it is in truth- just junk, even though the APS publishes its book enabling us to recognize these forgeries, some found with regret that believed treasures were worthless. This should result in everyone using greater care in the future.

Questioning the genuineness of rare overprints until they are proved otherwise, is reasonably good sense. The money spent to buy good philatelic literature and learn what is what, should be considered a necessary expense of collecting; and above all, when you are offered stamps at prices far below their normal market value, do more than raise your eyebrows. Knowledgeable dealers don’t “give away” rarities. Buying from dealers who aren’t knowledgeable, sooner or later, results in many regrets.

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