Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Whatever became of the de Thuin counterfeits?

Recently, a fellow-philatelist and I were discussing various matters and the question arose “Where are all the de Thuin counterfeits?”

Both of us remember the flurry of publicity in 1967 about the acquiring of the clichés, art work and material when the American Philatelic Society acquired these items from de Thuin in Mérida, Mexico and the subsequent publishing of the book, The Yucatan Affair: The Work of Raoul Ch. De Thuin, Philatelic Counterfeiter, in 1974.

Although the works of Spiro, Fournier and others are offered for sale (as counterfeits frequently, but not always) neither of us has seen any de Thuin material offered as such. Also, other than the above mentioned book not much literature seems to exist on these items.

We got to wondering why this is and several possibilities occurred to us.

• People don’t recognize the work as being that of de Thuin

• When the material was brought into the U.S. the counterfeit stamps were turned over to the Treasury Department and destroyed.

• Since de Thuin generally sold to collectors rather than dealers only a limited number of copies were sold and these remain in collections unrecognized.

• Collectors at the time examined their collections for this material and destroyed it.

We have no way of knowing which, if any, of these possibilities is the correct one. What do you think the case may be? What do you think happened to them?

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