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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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!
APRL acquisitions, September 2017. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.
The 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”
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”
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).
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.
Back in June I had the opportunity to visit the Vincent Grave Greene Philatelic Research Foundation in Toronto, Ontario. Charles Verge, Secretary of the Foundation, Sheila Moll, the Head Librarian, and Kathy Hartley, the Reference Librarian there were my hosts showing me around the Library and the facilities of the Foundation.
The Foundation is located at 10 Summerhill Avenue in Toronto, Ontario in the beautiful Summerhill neighborhood just north of the downtown, easily reachable by car or more conveniently by a nearby subway station. The Foundation is home to the Harry Sutherland Research Library which houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of Canadian and British North America philatelic literature in North America. The collection includes all of the most important monographs, journals, Postal Guides, Postmaster General Reports, auction catalogues and research papers on British North America. Many of the earliest journals in the collection have been scanned and are available digitally for full-text searching. The Research Library is a contributor to the David Straight Memorial Philatelic Union Catalog and the Global Philatelic Library, making their collection searchable online.
The Research Foundation is also home to Canada’s foremost expertizing service for the stamps and postal history of Canada and British North America. In February 2012 the Foundation purchased a Foster Freeman VSC6000/HS Video Spectral Comparator which allows the Foundation’s Expertizing Committee to examine items under some of the highest magnification commercially available as well as exposing the material to a wide range of wavelengths of ultraviolet, infrared and filtered visible light. Also on site is a large meeting room with exhibit frames mounted on its walls. The space is used regularly by a number of local clubs and societies, notably the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada, the Greater Toronto Area Philatelic Alliance and the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society. But finally, one of the truly unique objects, especially for this native philatelic traveler and librarian, is the original safe of the Marks Stamp Company, one of Canada’s oldest and most significant stamp dealers. The safe is still operational and is a centerpiece in the Research Library.
If you plan to visit Canada near Toronto or are just interested in the philatelic history of British North America, be sure to make time to visit the Vincent Graves Greene Research Foundation. They are open Mondays through Thursdays and one Saturday a month from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and by appointment. Email or phone ahead (email@example.com or 416-921-2073) just in case.
Upon being invited by Kathy Hartley, the Reference Librarian at the Harry Sutherland Research of the Vincent Graves Greene Research Foundation in Toronto, I had the special opportunity to attend the “Canada’s First 150 Years of Philately” event at the Research Foundation on July 8. The idea for the event was the brainchild of the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada in order to celebrate 150 years of Canadian Confederation and to highlight many of the philatelic and national events of significance in each of those 150 years. Members of the Society and other interested Canadian philatelists nationwide were asked to select a year and then put together a one page exhibit for that year, with some participants doing pages for multiple years. The result was an extraordinary display of Canadian and British North American pride and philately with exhibit pages depicting and honoring various philatelic and non-philatelic events such as the first Canadian stamps printed in Canada; CAPEX, the first international stamp exhibition in Canada; the creation of the Philatelic Society of Canada and then the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada; the development of the Avro Arrow aircraft; the 100th anniversary of the Stanley Cup; and even a page dealing with Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip among many others.
After a brief ceremony the 151 exhibit pages (there was one extra page for good measure) were unveiled from underneath an appropriate draping in the shape and colors of the Canadian flag. The event took place in the meeting room of the Research Foundation and was well attended, with over 60 members, philatelists and interested onlookers present. Many of the exhibitors were also present, answering questions and providing informal explanations of their pages. While there, many attendees were also invited to tour the Research Library and to watch the Foundation’s state-of-the-art expertizing tool, the VSC6000/HS Video Spectral Comparator, in action as it examined various philatelic items.
One of the added highlights of the event for this librarian was an original Globe and Mail newspaper issue (the Globe and Mail is the oldest national newspaper in Canada still in publication) dated July 1, 1867, the day of Canadian Confederation. The newspaper, displayed under glass, was in remarkable condition and represented an extraordinary piece of Canadian history.
In all, the event provided not only an incredible opportunity to see and experience the rich and varied history of Canadian philately, but it also afforded everyone in attendance a remarkable moment to share in their national philatelic pride.