Rare books and Japanese stamps

Postage Stamps of Japan
Woodward's Postage Stamps of Japan and Dependencies, 1928 two-volume edition

One of philately’s rarest books is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, DC.

A.M. Tracey Woodward’s Postage Stamps of Japan and Dependencies was published in 1928. Only 100 signed and numbered copies were produced. The Smithsonian’s copy is on display alongside original pages from Woodward’s collection of the 1 sen issue of 1872.

The APRL also has a copy of Woodward’s book in its rare books collection. We don’t loan rare books such as this one, but luckily for researchers the book was reprinted in 1976. We have three copies of the reprint available for loan.

Plates of the Samps of Japan
Woodward's Plates of the Stamps of Japan and Dependencies, 1976 reprint edition

The plates illustrated in Woodward’s book came from the collection of F.J. Peplow. These plates were first reproduced and published in Plates of the Stamps of Japan 1871-6. This book was produced in an even more limited private edition of 25 copies. The APRL is currently working with Penn State’s University Libraries to digitize this book with high-resolution scans of the plates. I’ll update PLR readers as soon as we have more details about this book.

6 thoughts on “Rare books and Japanese stamps”

  1. I never thought that Woodward’s Plates of the Stamps of Japan and Dependencies would survive more than 20 years, thanks to museums and libraries! It’s interesting to look at old stamps’ designs and styles; I bet they’re an equal match with the ones we use nowadays.

  2. Great post Tara. Good choice for digitization. There are a couple of copies of the original for sale on the Internet for over $4,000. Even the reprints are selling for several hundred dollars.

  3. Hi,

    We are doing an estate for a stamp collector. I came across a book by Tracey Woodward done in 1928 “the postage stamps of japan and dependencies”.

    I just started researching this and found your web site. There is no other printing date in the book anywhere. I did find some info on the book that said they printed 100 copies signed and numbered and on vellum and 30 on plain paper.

    So—always hoping we can find treasure that can make our client some money. However, anyway there is a site that I can figure out if this is really done in 1928?


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