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(or Rudolf C.Bach) Stamp dealer and forger of Montreal (Canada)

Return To Catalogue - Canada - Great Barrier Island

Note: on my website many of the pictures can not be seen! They are of course present in the catalogue;
contact me if you want to purchase it.

Rudolph C.Bach as pictured in his own journal 'The Montreal Philatelist' Vol. 1, no.1 1898.

Rudolph C.Bach, a stamp dealer in Montreal, started a philatelic magazine 'The Montreal Philatelist' in April 1898. It was written partly in German ('The best German - American Stamp Paper in the World' as stated in his own journal). According to his own journal, Bach was born in the 1870's in Magdeburg, Germany. He started collecting at the age of 10 and started dealing in 1891. He was a member of the B.Company, 1st Prince of Wales Rifles, Canadian Militia. As such he volunteered to be sent to the Boer war in 1899. He must have survived the Boer war, since he was send to WWI according to "The call to arms: Montreal's roll of honour, European war, 1914" (page 15). However, I have not been able to find any philatelic 'traces' of him after 1901 (unless he is the same R.C.Bach who resided in New York, see remarks later).
As a funny detail, in his own journal he asks for 'a Kodak' or good stamps in exchange for advertising space in the Montreal Philatelist. Rudolph C.Bach was not re-admitted in his own journal in 1901.... (Montreal Philatelist Vol.3 No.6 December 1900, p.68) after it was taken over by a certain Mr.Wurtele. He was most 'famous' for his forgery of the Great Barrier Island, which caused quite a scandal in Canada at the time (and might have even been the reason he left for South Africa).


Forgery of the First Parkin-Howie issue of Great Barrier Island made by Bach:

(Genuine stamp, reduced size, image obtained from a Siegel auction)

(Bach forgery, reduced size)

The aboved stamp is a forgery: circular date stamp Apr.3, 1899, Pigeon Service. The genuine stamp has a line before the letter "G" of "GREAT" and a dot after the word "POST". Rudolph C.Bach made the above forgery of this stamp (another forgery exists; see under Great Barrier Island).

In "The Montreal Philatelist" (Vol.2 No.5 November 1899, p.6; Editor Rudolph C.Bach himself!) the following text can be found, together with an image of what I believe concerns the above forgery:


The labels so extensively advertised and sold by the Dominion Stamp Co.,we regret to say turn out to be undoubtedly counterfeits. A comparison between these forgeries, and the cut used as an illustration of the stamp in the catalogues and Philatelic Journals, reproduced herewith, reveals the fact that the counterfeits were printed from the same electrotype. There are many points of difference between them and the original genuine stamp. The stock remaining has been destroyed and we have no doubt that upon Mr. Bach's return from the Transvaal war he will make a satisfactory settlement with all those who purchased the stamps from him.

Note: the site http://www.norbyhus.dk/fipliterature/biographies52.PDF states that the Dominion Stamp Co. belonged to Mr. R. C. Bach and that he was responsable for these Great Barrier Island forgeries. The Dominion Stamp Co. advertises with the address 'Beaver Hall Hill, Montreal', while Rudolph C.Bach has a different address '451 Sanguinet St. Montreal' according to advertisements in his own journal 'The Montreal Philatelist'.

Advertisement of the Dominion Stamp Co. for the Great Barrier Island stamps (Montreal Philatelist Vol.2 No.3, 1899, page 13)

Indeed Bach gives away Great Barrier stamps when customers subscribe to his journal:
'Why not subscribe now. Send us 25 c silver for a years subscription and we will send you by return mail a copy of the rare 1 shilling Great Barrier Island Stamp, as premium'.

In 'The Montreal Philatelist' Vol.2, no. 5, November 1899, page 5 states that the editor of this journal Mr. R.C.Bach volunteered to be send to the Transvaal in the Boer war. It says:
'Before leaving he made a transfer of his property viz. The Dominion Stamp Co. and The Montreal Philatelist to Mr. F.W.Wurtele, Mgr. giving full power to represent him in all matters during his absence.'
This clearly proves that the Dominion Stamp Co. was the property of Bach, despite the different addresses given above. Mr.Wurtele sold the Dominion Stamp Co., including the entire stock, to Mr. James Anderson almost immediatly after Bach went to the Transvaal. Mr. Anderson renamed the business as Mount Royal Stamp Co. (same address 6 Beaver Hall Hill Montreal). This text was immediatly followed by the above shown text concerning the Great Barrier Island stamps.

The Montreal Philatelist (Vol.2, No 7, January 1900, page 82) says:
'we have no mission to defend the actions of Mr.Bach; we know much more of his doings than anyone else, and while frankly, we say that much that he has done appears indefensible and culpable, we cannot forget, that this young man is now far away, bravely fighting the battles of his country, and even as we pen these lines he may have expiated in his heart's blood any faults he has commited.

The Philatelic Advocate (Vol. 7, No. 6, p.43; editors Starnaman Bros. Berlin Ontario) states:
"Great Barrier Forgery.
"Quite a sensation was caused among the philatelists of this city when it came out that the 'Great Barrier Island Pigeon Post' stamps(?), with which the country has been flooded, had been printed, perforated and cancelled in this city. Although there has always been a strong suspicion that these stamps were not 'all right' it was hardly thought that they were being manufactured in this city.
The whole scheme was worked by the manager of the late Dominion Stamp Co. who is now on his way to South Africa with the Canadian Volunteers.
But this is not all, as it is said that in the same box in which the stock of Pigeon Post stamps were found, there were several hundred counterfeit 3 penny Canada which were evidently awaiting the cancelling stamp." - Montreal Notes in Weekly Era

The Philatelic Advocate (Vol.8 No.1 January 1900, p. 31) finally says: 'Everyone has now a stone to sling at Bach, who had better stay to teach the conquered Boers the beauties of our hobby'.
to continue with a little rhime on page 85:
"'A little Bach sparrow sat up in a tree
And he was as slick as a sparrow could be.
A philatelist came by with his bow and arrow,
Said he, "I will shoot this little Bach sparrow;
His giblets will make me a nice little stew
His body will make me a little pie too"
Said the little Bach sparrow, "I shall be nabbled if I stay,"
So he straightway enlisted and sailed away,
For the Boers with their guns had no such terrors for him,
counterfeit Great Barrier stamps so grim."

A last trace of Bach appears in The Montreal Philatelist (Vol.2, No.2, June 1900, p. 145) concerning forgeries of Uruguay:
URUGUAY - We have been shown a counterfeit of the 1899 5 m. purple. It can be distinguished from the genuine by the liberty cap, which is a cap in the genuine stamps, but in the forgery looks like an Indian head dress. The perforation is also different being 12 1/2 instead of 11 1/2 Some of these counterfeits were found in the stock of the Dominion Stamp Co. (R.C.Bach) and were destroyed, by the trustee, when he came into possession ; we have since heard that from the same source considerable quantities were sold last year to New York dealers. This will be another matter to investigate at the close of the South African war.

There is a R.C.Bach editing 'The Stamp Collector's Magazine' in the 1920's on Nassau Street (New York). I do not know if this is the same person. Finally, the Islandic journal Heimskringla of 5 October 1932 mentions that a certain Rudolph C.Bach, editor in New York, shot himself......

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer