The Philatelical Library

The Philatelical LibraryDuring the Tiffany Dinner at StampShow earlier this month, Scott Trepel auctioned a rare piece of philatelic literature with proceeds going to the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship. (You can listen to Trepel’s talk on the APS website.)

The item auctioned was a copy of The Philatelical Library: A Catalogue of Stamp Publications by John K. Tiffany. This bibliography of the early literature of philately, published in 1874, is not a volume you’re likely to own unless you are a literature collector. Only 150 copies were printed. The APRL’s copy is in our rare book room and not available for loan.

You can read the book without even getting up from your computer though, because the Smithsonian Institution Libraries copy (no. 37) has been scanned and made available through the Internet Archive Texts database. From the Internet Archive, you can read the book online or download it in a variety of formats, including EPUB and Kindle. You can also search the text.

When we find examples of philatelic works that have been scanned and made available on the web, we add links to the entries for these books in our online catalog. If you find digital books, please let us know and we’ll add even more links to our catalog. In this way, some of the rarest philatelic literature is now becoming some of the most accessible literature!