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HENRY HECHLER Stamp dealer and forger

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Sometimes Hechler is misspelt as Heckler.

Portrait of Henry Hechler in the Toronto Philatelic Journal (January 1888, Vol.2 No.7) at the occasion of him being candidate for the Presidency of the Canadian Philatic Association. Another portrait of him can be found in 'The Hobbyist', January 1910, No XIII.

Henry Hechler was born in 1853 in Germany (Darmstadt) and moved to Halifax (Canada, 184 & 186 Argyle Street) around 1871 after he fought in the Franco-Prussian war. He sold tobacco, coins and stamps for collectors. When the North-West 'Indian and half-breed' Rebellion of 1885 broke out, Hechler was involved as a captain of the 63rd Batallion Halifax Rifles. During this time, Hechler made some 'Service' and other bogus overprints on genuine Canadian envelopes. Some bisected 2 c Canadian stamps were made by him, known as Hechler-bisects. These were not allowed by the authorities, but somehow Hechler managed to 'get them through the post'. Besides philately, he also was possibly involved in some reprints of rare ferry tokens, (see for example 'The Halifax Philatelist" Vol.II, No.6, June 1888 Page 68), which he strongly denied (page 91 and 123 of the same journal).

Hennry Hechler's pricelist of 1881 'Catalogue & Price List of foreign and colonial Postage Stamps, Post Cards etc.' can be downloaded from http://www.archive.org.

Examples of Hechler's 'improved' envelopes. Usually a text 'HEAD QUARTERS 63RD. RIFLES' or similar is printed at the left bottom hand side. Even doubly printed 'errors' or double overprints in different color were produced by him.

Bogus 'OFFICIAL.' overprint, made by Hechler.

A 'Hechler bisect', dated 'OCT 2 84'; I've seen a simialr bisect with date 'OCT 22 84', all with Halifax cancel.

Besides these 'stains' on his reputation, Hechler seems to have been well respected by the collectors of his time. For example 'The Halifax Philatelist" Vol.II, No.6, June 1888 Page 68 writes when Hechler was accused of selling restrikes of rare ferry tokens:
"Of Mr. Fraser we know nothing good, bad, or indifferent; but of Mr.Hechler, we may say, we have known him for the last 12 years, and have never known or heard of anything in his business transactions to his dirparagement. - His standing in the community is sufficient to show in what estimation he is held by those best able to judge from personal and constant intercourse". The discussion continues on page 91 of this journal with a letter from Hechler himself.

'Philatelic Forgers, their Lives and Works' by V.E.Tyler.
Toronto Philatelic Journal (January 1888, Vol.2, No.7, page 25); see http://www.archive.org
The Halifax Philatelist" Vol.II, No.6, June 1888 Page 68 (www.archive.org).

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer