More than the confessions of an impostor - A book about the life and work of the legendary stamp forger Peter Winter
He was called the 'Kujau of philately', the last great forger after Jean de Sperati, a 'Till Eugenspiegel', a prankster, but also - according to others - a swindler or an impostor. Perhaps he was a bit of everything? After reading this new book by the well-known philatelic historian Wolfgang Maassen, you will be wiser. On a total of 100 large-format pages, the author traces the life and companies of the former opera singer from Bremen. He describes his origins and career, which, in addition to a quite noteworthy career as a singer worldwide, also included a hitherto little-known doctorate, but then points out his second career in philately, which had its beginnings in Bremen in the early 1970s. This was followed by the setting-up of a company called “Bruyere” there, a wine shop that also sold stamp replicas. Such ventures were expanded a few years later with the companies ProPhil Forum and the House of Stamps in Switzerland. By then, Peter Winter had long been attending the stamp fair in Essen with his own stand.
The author devotes quite a lot of time to individual stories: the Heiner Faber case, the copyright dispute with the British Library in England, Winter's fantasy stamps, but also the 'coup' with the 1c British Guiana and the rare “Inverted Jenny”. Equally worth reading is the role played by philatelic societies at the time and Winter's dream of a documentation of his life's work. This did not come about, but this book did, in which the author, who had known Winter well for 20 years and was in constant contact with him, has portrayed Winter. He has also documented his work on about 100 additional pages, some of them with large colour enlargements. This documentation was only possible because international and German philatelists worked together and, in many cases, provided the author with previously unknown material and originals. Leonard Hartmann from the USA and the former auctioneers Wolfgang Jakubek and Hans-Joachim Schwanke were also involved. Jan Billion, publisher of the “Deutsche Briefmarken-Revue”, also opened his archives and, last but not least, Carl Walske † and Dr. Bohne †, whose archival material found its way to the author via Leonard Hartmann.
The book is exciting and well worth reading. It is as entertaining as a novel and quite enjoyable in quite a few places. Peter Winter fooled everyone and not infrequently made fun of them. He played a joke on many, was a fun-loving character, but could also be vindictive. He will keep his place in the history of philately, which would hardly have been conceivable without this biography and documentation of his life's work.
Brief details: Wolfgang Maassen: Peter Winter's “Swan Song”. Memories of an artist and “forger” (English edition). 1st edition Schwalmtal 2021, A4format, 200 pages, satin art paper, in colour, numerous ills., hardcover, VP: 45.00 euros plus 4.50 postage & packing. ISBN 978-3-928277-98-3. Order: Phil*Creativ Verlag, Vogelsrather Weg 27, 41366 Schwalmtal, Germany, Tel. ++ 49 /(0) 21 63 / 48 66, Fax ++ 49 /(0) 21 63 / 3 00 03, E-Mail: email@example.com, www.phil-creativ.de