One of the most common reference requests that we receive in the library involves inquiries related to the forgeries of a stamp or other philatelic item that a patron either collects or has an interest in. Since the very first stamps were printed, issued and then collected, forgeries have existed and so too has the interest in detecting and identifying them. Although in the library we caution collectors from expertizing their own stamps as genuine or not, there is an invaluable resource that provides a comprehensive index to articles relating to detecting the forgeries of the world.
Some of the many resources that are cited in the "Tedesco Index"
The “Index of Literature in the English Language that Describes Postal Stamp Forgeries, Fakes, Reprints, Fraudulent Postal Markings and other Obliterations, and, Bibliography” is the self-explanatory title of this month’s highlighted resource created and compiled by noted philatelic researcher Theodore “Ted” Tedesco. Simply known as the “Tedesco Index,” the first complete version of this resource appeared in the 1st quarter 2015 issue of the library’s quarterly journal the Philatelic Literature Review.
The index first began as a series of columns in the library’s quarterly journal from 2005 to 2009. Tedesco’s Index covers the forgeries of the entire world, organized by country, and provides citations not only to the standard forgery resources like The Serrane Guide and Album Weeds, but also to the many un-indexed journals in the APRL collection. It also references forgery information found in online resources. Although the index has not been updated since Tedesco revised and completed it in May 2014, with its over 1,100 pages including in excess of 13,000 citations, the index is still considered the most comprehensive resource for worldwide forgery information in all of philatelic research.
Page from the “Tedesco Index” for Rhodesia with entries from Varro Tyler’s "Focus on Forgeries."
Cover of "Album Weeds; or , how to Detect Forged Stamps" , available in the "Tedesco Index"
After its recision in May 2014, Tedesco offered the APRL a complete digital copy in PDF format, which the library then printed and put in 3-ring binders for reference in the library and for those wishing to borrow it. But with it being in digital form, the library has also taken the opportunity at the request of Tedesco to make the index available remotely. Following the link below researchers can view, download, and print the index from the APS website :
As mentioned in terms of format, the index is first organized by country and then by Scott number, followed by the article and book citations for that philatelic item. Each country section is prefaced with a list of the known forgers and the philatelic item types they forged. Most of the resources cited in the index are available in the APRL collection. Books referenced in the index can be borrowed by mail (APS members only) or scans/photocopies can be made of articles or smaller sections of the books and sent to interested researchers (available to all). Be sure to visit the APRL’s Library Services page (https://stamps.org/services/library/library-services)
For details and applicable fees, contact the library at email@example.com for any of your research needs.
This first installment of the “Resource of the Month” is a new beginning for entries that originally appeared on the APRL’s blog. In each monthly submission we will highlight a specific philatelic resource in the APRL collection or a resource outside of the APRL collection that philatelists and collectors may find of interest. We encourage readers to send in their suggestions for resources that they have used to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to share them with others.