Resource of the Month: Mellone’s FDC Catalogs

One of the endearing areas of enjoyment in philately over the years has been, and to a large extent still is, the discovery and collecting of first day covers, also known as first day cachets (FDC’s). With their printed designs or inventive inscriptions adding color and sometimes context to the issued stamp, they provide a welcome element of color and artistic design to a first day cover usually issued in the commemoration of a particular thematic, historical or philatelic event. FDC’s can commemorate everything from a first flight, a moon landing, or the Super Bowl. These one-of-a-kind cachets are made  by individuals, private companies or in some cases by a government for first day of issue stamp events. Here in the U.S. the first cacheted FDC was produced by prominent philatelist and cachetmaker George Ward Linn in 1923, for the Harding Memorial stamp issue of the same year.

Continue reading “Resource of the Month: Mellone’s FDC Catalogs”

New books at the APRL, October 2017

APRL acquisitions, October 2017. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book coverAbout BEP ([Washington, DC]: Bureau of Engraving and Printing, [2004]). [In process 000066225]

AFA Danmark, Faeroerne, Gronland, Dansk Vestindien frimaerkekatalog (Aarhus, [Denmark]: Aarhus Frimaerkehandel I/S ; Aarhus, [Denmark] ; Otterup, [Denmark] : AFA-Forlaget, [1975-2017]). [G6920 .A1 A111d]

AFA Danmark, Gronland, Island, Dansk Vestindien specialkatalog (Aarhus: Aarhus Frimaerkehandel ; Otterup : E. Daugaard : AFA-Forlaget, [1966-2016]). [G6920 .A1 A111ds 2016]

Allen, C.N. [C.N. Allen scrapbook for Scott U.S. 725] ([n.l.]: [n.p.], [1932-ca.1961]). [R9 P4 S4 CS2] Continue reading “New books at the APRL, October 2017”

Chicagopex to feature literature

Chicagopex is one of only two shows in the U.S. to feature a literature competition (the other is APS StampShow). This year, the show will also feature three book signings:

  • Nov. 17, 1 p.m. – The Pictorial History of Walt Disney’s First Superstar: Mickey Mouse,  by Edward Bergen
  • Nov. 18, 2 p.m. – U.S. Contract Mail Routes by Railroad (1832-1875) by Hugh V. Feldman
  • Nov. 19, 11 a.m. – Holocaust Postal History by Justin Gordon

I’ll be at the show, so if you’re there, stop by the APS booth and say hello!

Crawford Medal nominations open

The Royal Philatelic Society London is accepting nominations for the 2018 Crawford Medal “for the most valuable and original contribution to the study and knowledge of philately published in book form during the relevant period.”

Nominations are invited of books published in 2016 or 2017. Send nominations by email to secretary@rpsl.org.uk or by letter to the Society at 41 Devonshire Place London WS1G 6JY, using the subject “Crawford Nomination.” Nominations are accepted until Feb. 1, 2018. If the nominated book is not in the RPSL library, the nominator will be asked to provide a copy.

Volunteers unpack Canadian donation

On Sunday, three students from Penn State came to volunteer as part of the university’s Rebuild-U day of service. They unpacked a recent donation from Library and Archives Canada — 93 boxes! — and moved it to shelving on the second floor of the library, where it is ready to be processed and added to the collection.

The donation contains material being deaccessioned by LAC and not previously included in our collection — perhaps most notably, documents of the Universal Postal Union and other postal treaties.

Thank you Brennan, Emily, and Justin for your help!

New books at the APRL, September 2017

APRL acquisitions, September 2017. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book coverThe addendum to the Catalog of United States perfins (San Anselmo, CA: Perfins Club, 2010). [G3701 .P438 P438c 1998 Add.2]

Anderson, C. Stephen; Cliff, Athol W. [Anderson, C. Stephen (cachetmaker)/Cliff, Athol W. (distributor)] ([AFDCS Anderson CLOSED STACKS 2])

Bamert, Peter; Menuz, Wayne; Walton, Bill. Postal stationery of Mexico (Chester, VA: Published by the United Postal Stationery Society, Inc. in cooperation with MEPSI (Mexico Elmhurst Philatelic Society International), 2017). [G4411 .P860 B19p 2017]  Continue reading “New books at the APRL, September 2017”

Resource of the Month: Member Lists

In the course of doing reference work here at the American Philatelic Research Library (APRL), there are often resources that spring up in the library collection that at first glance would not necessarily be considered to have much research value or practical philatelic information capable of answering a specific research request. One of these unique and often overlooked resources here at the APRL is what are known as the American Philatelic Society Member Lists, originally called the “List of Members” and still later by the 1970’s, the “Annual Membership Directory”. The original Member Lists date back to 1889 when they took the form of a loosely bound typewritten list arranged alphabetically by member surname. The 22 page 1889 list provides the member’s number in the American Philatelic Association (as it was known then), their full name, and title prefix (Dr. or Rev. for example) as well as an address which could be a P.O. Box number, just a city, or a full street and city address. Continue reading “Resource of the Month: Member Lists”

ZIP codes and unintended consequences

Most postal historians know that ZIP codes were created by the U.S. Post Office Department in 1963 to make the delivery of increasing volumes of mail more efficient. These Zone Improvement Plan codes were never intended to be used for anything but mail delivery. They were created with the post office in mind, not neighborhoods or communities.

However, they’re frequently used as a proxy for neighborhoods for statistical purposes. For example, if you visit the U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder, the search box prompts you to enter a state, county, city, town, or zip code.

A recent article from ThoughtCo. examines the use of ZIP codes as proxies for neighborhoods and the implications (along with some fun facts about ZIP codes).

 

Resource of the month: Album Weeds

One of the more common reference requests received at the American Philatelic Research Library (APRL) concerns forgery information for not only U.S. stamp issues but also worldwide issues. Among the more recent and notable resources for forgery information available at the APRL include the Serrane Guide and the Tedesco Index of Literature in the English Language that Describes Postage Stamp Forgeries (the latter being available online from the APRL) . Even the latest editions of the Scott’s U.S. Specialized Catalogue have begun to include listings for counterfeit stamps. Often overlooked but no less useful is one of the earliest attempts to compile resource material about known forgeries of worldwide stamps, Album Weeds, also known by its subtitle How to Detect Forged Stamps.

Album Weeds began as a series of articles in The American Philatelist under the title “The Spud Papers” first written by noted British philatelists W. Dudley Atlee and Edward Loines Pemberton and later by English priest and philatelist Robert Brisco Earée. Earée, Atlee and Pemberton wrote the articles, which appeared in various philatelic publications between 1867 and 1881, in an attempt to describe various known worldwide forgeries. They introduced their initial series of articles by writing “if philatelists would only study their stamps a little more, instead of merely trying to see how many they can collect, we are certain that they would soon learn for themselves far more than any book or the Spud Papers can teach them.”

Some of their earliest submissions also included an actual example of the forgery being described along with explanatory text. Their writings proved highly beneficial and popular to collectors at the time and were eventually compiled and formatted into a book with illustrations under the title Album Weeds.

The first edition was published in one volume in 1882 by Stanley Gibbons. Later in 1892 a second one-volume edition was published followed by a two-volume third edition in 1906. Today the 1906 third edition has been reprinted by different publishers as an eight-volume set.

Organized alphabetically by country and then chronologically by the date of each forged stamp issue, the resource continues to be a remarkable compilation of forgery information. Relying primarily on text to describe each country’s known forgeries with some minimal supplementary illustrations included, each country section begins with an introductory paragraph detailing the extent of each country’s forged issues followed by in some cases subheadings titled “Paper,” “Watermarks” and “Perforations” for further explanations of each. Following these general sections are descriptions of specific issues listed chronologically with further details under the subheadings of “Genuine” then “First Forgery,” “Second Forgery” and so on. Also included in each country section are descriptions of known forged postmarks. What ultimately makes Album Weeds a valuable and useful resource still is that it provides detailed primarily textual accounts of some of the earliest and most significant stamp forgeries.

Whether it be the 1851 issues of Hawaii or the 1861 Confederate States New Orleans issue, Albums Weeds provides extremely useful historic, and in many cases still current, information regarding the genuine characteristics of these particular stamps as well as their known forgeries.

Various editions of Album Weeds are available in the main book collection on the first floor of the APRL and can be used onsite or requested remotely for borrowing by APS members.

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New books at the APRL, August 2017

APRL acquisitions, August 2017. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book coverAero Philatelists. Convention (1st) (New York City: Aero Philatelists, [1947?]). [US SHOW Aero Philatelists]

Aircraft year book (New York City: Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America, Inc., [1925-]). [In process 1925 000066058; In process 1929 000066059]

American Philatelic Society. 1988 APB employee cookbook ([State College, Pennsylvania]: American Philatelic Society, 1988). [In process 000065975]

American Philatelic Society. A World Stamp Show-NY 2016 warm-up [exhibit] ([Bellefonte, Pa.]: [American Philatelic Society], 2015). [R7 P6 S3 CLOSED STACKS 2] Continue reading “New books at the APRL, August 2017”