Jean de Sperati spent his life creating forgeries designed to undermine the most knowledgeable philatelists. Even his book "Philatelie sans Experts" Philately without Experts shows his prime motivation was the thrill of creating forgeries that even great experts couldn't tell apart. And Sperati's work is good. So good, in fact, that until about , when it became known that he was doing forgeries, stamps that he made in his workshop would routinely get certificates as genuine from the most prestigious certifying boards. Sperati's work was a passion.
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Robson Lowe considered him an artist [ citation needed ] and even professional stamp authenticators of his time attested to the genuineness of his work.
Sperati created what he called a Livre d'Or which he boasted of in his autobiography and which contained favourable opinions as to the genuineness of his forgeries from numerous experts, including Dr.
Sperati was born in Pistoia ,  Italy, though he spent a large part of his life in France where he adopted the name Jean. Sperati retained his Italian passport throughout his life and always considered himself an Italian.
He was particularly interested in printing techniques, as well as photography which was in its infancy at that time. Relatives owned a postcard factory as well as a paper mill.
Through this, Jean de Sperati was able to obtain copious knowledge of photographic processes, print technology and chemicals. These formed the basis for his eventual career as a stamp counterfeiter. The first attempts to copy stamps went extraordinarily well. The first forgeries were of valuable stamps from San Marino , and stamp experts believed them to be real.
Thereupon Sperati began to produce numerous further reproductions of valuable stamps from all over the world. This eventually resulted in well over master-quality forgeries from more than different stamp-issuing agencies.
In , for the first time in his life, Sperati came into conflict with the law. A shipment marked as valuable from Sperati to a stamp dealer in Lisbon , Portugal was intercepted by French customs. It contained several falsified German stamps. They charged him with "exporting capital" without a licence and trying to avoid customs payments.
He protested his innocence, and explained to the police that it contained only copies of valuable stamps, which he himself had prepared, whereupon the police called in the country's best stamp experts to clear up the facts of the case. These experts came to the judgment that the stamps in question were all originals, and very valuable ones at that. Sperati still managed to convince the police that they were fakes, and was therefore charged with fraud.
His trial took place in April To explain, Jean de Sperati tried to convince the court that he had no deceitful intentions in the sale of the stamps. He considered himself to be an artist and not a counterfeiter. Furthermore, he declared to the court that he had merely forgotten to clearly mark the stamps as forgeries and he promised to be more diligent about such marking in the future. Nevertheless, the Parisian judiciary convicted Jean de Sperati and sentenced him to a year in prison, 10, francs fine and an additional , francs for criminal intentions.
The Parisians' judiciary did not convict him on the basis of the imitation, but rather because of Sperati's "deceitful intentions". He was convicted in April Jean de Sperati did not have to serve his prison sentence on the grounds of his age - he was already over 64 years old. His motive for selling the tools of his trade to the "British Philatelic Association" was to prevent them falling into the possession of someone who would imitate his work.
Jean de Sperati died three years later in Aix-les-Bains at the age of The stamp forgeries of Jean de Sperati are some of the best of the world. Many of them remain undetected in various collections. Jean de Sperati falsified the most valuable rarities of the stamp world. He did this with an inimitable precision. A Sperati forgery is far from worthless. They obtain high prices as special collectables.
Jean de Sperati paid great attention to the accuracy of the postmark when falsifying the stamps. Therefore, postmarks found on his forgeries are limited to those of larger cities. Sperati's forgeries are currently valuable in the philatelic market. He probably produced more than 5, forgeries. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
Jean de Sperati
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Greatest Stamp Forger: Jean de Sperati
The work of Jean de Sperati.