Varro Eugene Tyler

Varro Eugene Tyler (December 19, 1926 – August 22, 2001), of Auburn, Nebraska,[1] was a professor of pharmacognosy and philatelist who specialized in the study of forged postage stamps and the forgers who created them.[2][3]

Varro Eugene Tyler
BornDecember 19, 1926
DiedAugust 22, 2001 (2001-08-23) (aged 74)
Engineering career
InstitutionsAmerican Philatelic Society, American Society of Pharmacognosy
ProjectsStudied and wrote about forged postage stamps and the forgers who created them
AwardsAPS Hall of Fame
Luff Award

Academic career

Tyler graduated in pharmacy from the University of Nebraska in 1949, attended Yale University as an Eli Lilly Research Fellow and received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Connecticut in 1951 and 1953.

Dr. Tyler was appointed associate professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacognosy at the University of Nebraska and held similar positions at the University of Washington. Dr. Tyler accepted the appointment as dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Purdue University in 1966 and was closely associated with the Purdue University for the rest of his career.[3]

His research interests included medicinal and toxic constituents of higher fungi, phytochemical analysis, alkaloid biosynthesis, drug plant cultivation, and herbal medicine.

According to his opinion "true herbalism encompasses scientific testing, honest reporting of the results, and safe use of effective herbs by informed practitioners and the public". He was opposed to what he called "paraherbalism" or "herbalism based on pseudoscience".[4]

Collecting interests

Tyler initially specialized in the postage stamps of Japan, and studied forged copies of classic Japanese stamps.[2]

Philatelic literature

Because of his interest in the study of forgeries, Tyler became an expert on the subject and wrote substantial literature on the subject, including: Philatelic Forgers: Their Lives and Works, in 1976 and revised and expanded in 1991, and Focus on Forgeries: A Guide to Forgeries of Common Stamps, which was issued in 2000 and consisted of a compilation of his "Focus on Forgeries" in Linn's Stamp News.[2]

During his long association with the International Society for Japanese Philately, Tyler co-authored a number of monographs on forged Japanese stamps: Forgeries and Imitations of the Dragon Stamps of Japan, in 1971,[5] The Wada Cherry Blossom Forgeries, in 1974,[6] and The Koban Forgeries of Japan in 1979.[7]

Philatelic activity

"Tip" Tyler chaired the American Philatelic Society's Committee on Fakes and Forgeries since its inception in 1992 until 1998. Tyler also conducted classes at the American Philatelic Society on "Detecting Fakes and Forgeries."[2]

Honors and awards

Tyler received recognition for his efforts by the philatelic community. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Award of the Korea Stamp Society and the Luff Award for Distinguished Philatelic Research in 1998. He was named to the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame in 2003.[2]

See also


  1. "Varro E. Tyler 1926 - 2001". HerbalGram. American Botanical Council. 2001. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  2. "Varro Eugene Tyler". American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  3. Baranauckas, Carla (2001-08-26). "Varro Tyler, Herbal Medicine Expert, 74, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  5. "Forgeries & Imitations of the Dragon Stamps of Japan". Monograph No. 4. International Society for Japanese Philately. 1971. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  6. "The Wada Cherry Blossom Forgeries". Monograph No. 6. International Society for Japanese Philately. 1974. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  7. "The Koban Forgeries of Japan". Monograph No. 8. International Society for Japanese Philately. 1979. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
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