This worldwide list gives you the names and areas of specialisation of about 1 850³ individual stamp experts, past and present, who have back stamped or hand signed postage stamps, or issued certificates. Some 700 scans are included for the deciphering of stamp expert marks. TO THE LISTINGS:

By name: A to F
By name: G to L
By name: M to R
By name: S to Z
By country: A to E
By country: F to G
By country: H to R
By country: S to Z

By first names  –   Certificates  –  Manuscript marks  –  Unidentified

Copyright © 2007–2015 G. Kock.   kock aito   Lists updated May 2015.
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The purpose of this list of philatelic experts is to aid collectors in their judgment of the genuineness of postage stamps. The first modest version was compiled in 2000. The focus is on experts of the 20th century. Thus, recently appointed experts are not actively added. In the last decade the use of expertising hand stamps has been discouraged. (Nowadays hand stamps are forged every now and then, they are hand engraved and thus expensive to produce and intermittently replace, erroneous markings on items cannot be retracted, etc.) Instead experts today issue certificates or brief certificates where there is no need to decipher the names.

Editors of philatelic magazines started stamp expertizing in the 1860s, and in 1905 there were about 150¹ experts (G. Briefmarkenprüfer, Verbandsprüfer, Fr. experts en philatélie (experts philatéliques), Sp. experto filatelico, It. perito filatelico; see the Glossary) combating stamp forgeries. The study of marks (Germ. Prüfstempel, Sp. marquilla) as such can be interesting too. The heron mark of Prof. Seefeldner, on the right, was found on a Ukrainian stamp. British and American stamp experts usually work as members of committees (which issue certificates, Germ. Attest, Befund), and rarely sign stamps, but I still list some of the most well-known members.
Seefeldner's mark

Unpopular markings
Many American and British collectors consider items with certification marks "damaged". One reason why marks are disliked may be that the name is totally unfamiliar, and thus useless. (Maybe this site can help improve the reputation of experts.) Continental European collectors find the advantages outweighing for moderately priced stamps, where a certificate (image archive) would be a costly and time-consuming excess but forgeries are frequently encountered. Sometimes an expert has used a too big or heavy mark, or inappropriate ink that soaks through the stamp and that is not acceptable. Nowadays BPP experts do not mark mint stamps, but issue a Kurzbefund or Befund instead. Photo of HFF's hand stamps and impressions of HFF's and FFF's marking devices in the Helsinki Postal Museum (not used since the late 1950's).

Dealers' and owners' marks
Some expert names are more trusted than others. Certain hand stamps have been abused or forged. An expert opinion can also change. The dealers' name stamps may be either honoured marks of "guarantee" – in case a refund would be subsequently requested – or plain advertisements. Marks of lesser known stamp dealers usually do not inspire much confidence. Many old-time collectors, usually respected specialists, stamped house-marks (frequently initials) to their own items simply to establish ownership, and provenance.

A dealer might have wanted to furnish a money back guarantee even without knowing for sure if the stamp was genuine. But a dealer or a collector could work as a true (independent) expert too. A specialist collector may be asked to authenticate items submitted by other persons. We cannot always determine the original intention of the marking of a stamp. Therefore all marks, including those of dealers and owners, are registered here; if known and identified.

The position matters
Regarding the important meaning of the position of present day (system compulsory since 1 Jan. 1973) BPP marks on genuine issued stamps, please see this figure (from BPP Prüfordnung: 6. Signierung echter Prüfgegenstände), and here for J.-F. Brun. This system reveals e.g. overprints or cancellations added after expertisation. Its forerunner was introduced in 1934 by Heinrich Köhler (Germania Berichte 8, Sept. 1934). Dr. Dub used a position system of his own for Saar stamps. Counterfeit items are always marked Falsch with the expert's mark crossing, in the centre of the stamp, or, in the old days, just Falsch or similar, without the name. Also introduced on 1 Jan. 1973 was the "BPP" suffix to the expert's name.

Marks have been forged
According to German reports in 1974 the following hand stamps had been forged: Ing. Becker, Bothe BPP, Georg Bühler, Bühler BPP, Georg Bühler BPP, 'Echt im Block geprüft Infla Berlin', 'Echt Infla Berlin' (in circle), Gilbert, Lippschütz (two sizes), opitz, Schlegel BPP, vossen; and c. 1960: Dr. Dubel, Dr. Düntsch, Dr. Pfenninger, Pickenpack, Dr. Schroeder, Dr. Wallner. View a scan of these marks. The Bluem case (forged German expert marks and postmarks) is treated in detail here.

'Script' = marker imitating handwriting. 'Manuscript' = handwritten (longhand) signature by pencil or pen. Picture of font 'Also on forged' = mark is reported to have been found on counterfeit stamps too, but the persons in question may have been anything from recognised philatelic experts to forgers. 'Forged' = stamping device itself has been forged (for use on philatelic forgeries), but it does exist as genuine too.

Use of names and scans
Please note that first (given or Christian) names and their initials, as well as titles, have always been placed after the surname regardless of how they appear on the mark. (Cf. the list by first names.) No distinction has been made in the list between upper and lower case letters in marks. Furthermore, full stops that may appear in expertisation marks have been omitted. Behind the names that are hyperlinked  (more than 500) you can find scans of the experts' marks or signatures. There are also some photos of experts, and pictures of philatelic certificates.

Abbreviations of philatelic expert committees and organisations that are frequently referred to in stamp auction catalogues have also been included. You may use your web browser's Search or Find tool to search for the full name if only part of the letters are readable in a certification mark.

Biographical information
I have also tried to give you some idea of when the person was active as a philatelic expert. The years of his/her place of domicile and membership in BPP etc. are only indicative and, N.B., not the initial years, just the earliest ones recorded by me, unless expressed as e.g. "1980–", with a dash. (Only sporadic BPP membership rolls have been available.) A mention of BPP or AIEP etc. does not mean that the person still continues to be a member and invites submissions. At present BPP has 118 and AIEP
4 123 members.

Additional notes
Behind the hyperlink  'Note'  you can, in some cases, find additional remarks regarding that stamp expert. If some kind of hesitancy  is expressed here, it is due to special circumstances. The intention of any such comment, is solely to help collectors in their judgment of the significance of a given philatelist's certificate or mark on a postage stamp in their possession. For most experts there will be no such note because no unusual information is publicly known. No responsibility can be accepted for omissions (including: of warnings) or errors, and this applies to the whole site. All information is based on sources deemed reliable. Additions and corrections from readers will be paid due regard.

Obviously this register contains only part of all the examination and owner's marks and expert signatures – many of which are no longer to be identified – that you can find applied to the back of stamps. Decorative² and manuscript expertisation marks are difficult to describe, but are included if identified. The same applies to one- or two-letter initials, but there is always a risk of confusion here. Unidentified stamp expert marks are very numerous. This picture shows a few of them. Any assistance, as well as new names and scans, is most welcome.

Johan Ågren, Bjørn Bakken, Janusz Berbeka, Dr. Thomas Berger, Alan Blunt, Hans Bronstring, Dario Filjar, Marel Gerard, Lorenzo Gilardi, Dr. Corrado Giusti, Prof. Dr. Ortwin Greis, Sam Ginsburg, Dr. Wolfgang Hellrigl, Peter Hoffmann, W. A. King, Prof. Dr. U. E. Klein, A. P. Lenos, Wilhelm van Loo, Till Neumann, Christine Ney, Stefan Petriuk, Joh. Ulrich Schmitt and Prof. Dr. Jovan Velickovic have given valuable help  for the improvement of this list by kindly supplying information.

TOS, notes, sources and revisions (will display in a second pop-up window).

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My historical photos page
Image archive of certificates
Mass forgery of
expert marks and postmarks:
the Blüm case
Forged postmarks:
The bogus issue Occupation Azirbayedjan
Salli, a little known Finnish forger
The Stamp Forgery Guide – sources for information
World Forgery Catalogue, PDF
Exhibit: samples
of forgeries
Ruhleben POW
Camp Stamps
The Samoa Express reprints and forgeries
The philatelic
experts for Finland
Other philately monographs
Site map