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Georges Meliès

New book on absinthe pyrogènes (match-strikers)

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Marie-Claude Delahaye is certainly a prolific and very experienced researcher and author about absinthe. Her book on spoons is the bible of that part of the hobby. Today I got her latest book, on pyrogènes.


I'm really astounded at the number of different pyrogènes out there, and their variants. It's really eye-opening. She has done a tremendous job of research. I wish that she had included a rarity scale, as she did with spoons, but she felt that there aren't enough out there to have a valid data sample. I'll have to take her word for it.


She also includes a section on fakes, but I think it's too short. It is very unfortunate that there are far more fakes around than real ones. Some are obvious -- to an expert, at least -- because they use brand names that never existed. But most of us don't have any idea of all the real brands that did exist. I recognized only a handful of the authentic ones in her book.


She closes the book by acknowledging that by publicizing the details of legitimate ones, it could fuel the counterfeiters' knowledge base. But, as she says, should we not discuss and share information out of fear that it might be abused? I'm glad to have this book, but I do fear that some of the fakers out there will move on from blatant fakes to deceptive forgeries.


What a shame that counterfeits are undermining almost every antique collecting hobby.


Anyway, I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in absinthe antiques. But, fair warning, it's in French with no translation. Still, with hundreds of color photos it's an eye-opening treat.


It makes me feel good about my very tiny collection of four pyrogènes. At least they're all real, they are all of different styles, and all are very close to mint condition.




Edited by Georges Meliès

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