Fakery expert correct in stressing ‘get to know the real thing’ first

From long experience, well-respected bogus stamps expert Ken Pugh narrowed his decades-old message perfectly during a recent round of lectures in Toronto: “Get to know the real thing.” Despite echoing what others have said since fakers first sought to woo the unwary with spurious replicas or altered genuine stamps, the teacher and forensic specialist knows full well how collectors can still be duped. “You have to know what they look like to compare,” he says. That’s a lesson I learned during my first visit with Royal Canadian Mounted Police anti-counterfeit experts in Ottawa in the 1970s, before writing about bogus banknotes for a newspaper and once for Reader’s Digest. Continue reading →

Learn the genuine to know the fakes, says longtime philatelic researcher

From left to right: Philatelic fake, forgery and counterfeit expert Ken Pugh, of Vernon, B.C., poses with Garfield Portch, Ian Robertson and Sid Mensinga of the West Toronto Stamp Club, for which he made a presentation on Oct. 18.

It takes careful thought and consideration, but there are ways – and thankfully machines – to detect even the most meticulously crafted philatelic fakes, forgeries and counterfeits. This was the message on Oct. 18, when more than 30 philatelists gathered at a meeting of the West Toronto Stamp Club for a presentation by Canada’s pre-eminent philatelic forgery expert. Attendees came from as far away as White Rock, B.C., for the first of three presentations led by Ken Pugh, the author of an 11-part series on the forgeries of British North America (BNA), among other areas of collecting. It’s somewhat alarming for a philatelist to hear: Pugh has 36 books in his series on the fakes and forgeries of BNA and Canada alone; that’s in addition to five books on Buenos Aires and others on Uruguay, Serbia and the Belgian Congo. Each book is between 50 and 150 pages, making for nearly 4,000 pages of reference material on philatelic fakes and forgeries from the world over. Continue reading →

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