Incunabula, from the Latin cunae meaning cradle, refers to books published during the infancy of printing, usually before 1500.With the growth of stamp collecting in the 1850s, dealers published the first catalogs, albums, and periodicals. This philatelic literature printed before 1875 is generally referred to as our incunabula. German philatelic literature began in 1862 when a stamp album and a catalogue were published in Leipzig. Two books, celebrating the 150th anniversary of German philatelic publishing, are being released in conjunction with the International Philatelic Literature Exhibition, IPHLA 2012, in Mainz, November 2-4.
Das Buch zur IPHLA is the official catalogue and guide to the exhibition. In addition to the program details and lists of exhibits and exhibitors, there are 160 pages of essays on philatelic literature. The 320 page, hardcover volume in German is available from Heinrich Köhler for 15 € plus shipping.
Wolfgang Maassen, a well-known scholar of German philatelic literature and history has compiled Chronik der deutschen Philatelie: Katalog und Handbuck der philatelistischen und postgeschichtlichen Literatur 1862-1914. This first catalog of philatelic literature published in German before 1914 contains over 1200 listings, with valuations, for monographs, pamphlets, catalogs, handbooks, and many journals. It will become an indispensible reference work for collectors of early German philatelic literature. The 300 page, hardcover volume in German and English is available from Heinrich Köhler for 24,90 € plus shipping.