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Jean de Sperati - New Discoveries

Updated: Jun 26

An insight into Jean de Sperati ahead of "Sperati’s Art of Philately: New Discoveries" auction, June 21, 2024 at 18:00 CET brought to you by Gold PTS Member, David Feldman International Auctioneers.

20th June, 2024

Jean de Sperati (1884-1957) was without a doubt one of philately’s most eccentric and colourful characters, and he is now certainly the most revered name in philatelic forgeries. To many in the philatelic world he is the ultimate stamp imitator, to others his creations are revered as the most dangerous of all adhesive reproductions. However, Sperati always insisted that his reproductions were art and he explained in his own words why he undertook the most audacious philatelic project ever known; “I embarked on a project to obtain documentary evidence of the inability of experts to detect my imitations, be they professionals or dealers, and to make available my products as ‘works of art’, which status the opinion of experts justified”.

On June 21st, David Feldman International Auctioneers, partnering with Frank Eder, will offer a new installment of the “Art of Jean de Sperati” sale, which adds substantially to our understanding of the extraordinary scope of his reproductions and offers much material, hitherto unrecorded and entirely new to the market.

Through this material we can observe the visually impressive production materials through which Sperati achieved the highest degree of perfection in his stamp reproductions, right from the unique master matrices, glass support and celluloid clichés, engraved copper plates, working proofs, and through to the finished stamp reproductions.

Did Jean de Sperati leave a mark on his forgeries?⁠ In this video, Frank Eder takes us deep into Sperati's world, uncovering secrets and showcasing some of his most infamous creations. We discovered a mysterious mark on several stamps—a unique symbol that could be a clue to unraveling more of Sperati’s secrets.⁠ Do you recognize this mark or have any information about its origin? Your insights could be invaluable!⁠

One of the highlights of this upcoming sale, the crème de la crème of Sperati’s work, is the unique Collection No. 1, a complete approval book that features 235 finished reproductions of some of the world’s rarest classic stamps gifted by Sperati to his daughter Yvonne on her 28th birthday.

This sale also includes the newly discovered essays and clichés of the world famous Mauritius “Post Office” that Sperati worked on in early 1951, around the time of his agreement with the B.P.A. to hand over his production materials, as well as the clichés and impressions on glass and celluloid paper for the United Kingdom Penny Black VR Official, a major new discovery that is undocumented in the literature on Sperati.

These and many other new discoveries document how by the middle of the 20th century Sperati had asserted himself as the most eminent producer of stamp reproductions in what he himself termed his Art of Philately (la Philatélie d’Art). With inimitable precision he combined his extensive knowledge of chemistry, paper, photography, engraving, and philately to create superb reproductions of many of the world’s most iconic stamps by means of the lithographic technique using photographic processes (one of Jean de Sperati’s brothers was a photographer and another a stamp dealer, so in a sense he placed himself at the intersection of those!). Sperati was extraordinarily driven, even to the point of obsession, as he produced his stamps in order primarily to debunk the experts of his time, but also, it must not be omitted, to sell his productions to stamp dealers all over the world.

This sale is an important source for research into the world of Sperati, and David Feldman of Geneva and Frank Eder wish you all success with your bids.


Want to learn more about Jean de Sperati?

We've selected some YouTube videos for you.

From Gold PTS Member, David Feldman Auctioneers, PTS Member Stamp Collector Magazine/All About Stamps, and Exploring Stamps.


What are your thoughts on Sperati's work?

Will you be bidding in this auction in the hope of adding a piece of Sperati's material to your collection?

Do you collect any other forgeries?

Let us know in the comments!


For more information about David Feldman International Auctioneers, visit: History - David Feldman SA

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