An Exemplary Book by a Modest Author

Montana Precancels Catalog & Guidebook 1Charles Adrion is a modest man. On Sept. 28, in the “Press & Publications” listings on The Stamp Collecting Forum, he informed collectors of a new “Montana Precancels – free catalog online” with this flowery announcement, printed here in its entirety:

“This book shows all known denominations precancelled in Montana. If you have any others in your collection, I’d love to hear about them.”

Perhaps he would have made a bigger deal out of the new catalog if someone else had been the author, but in fact the Montana Precancels Catalog & Guidebook was his creation.

It is not just an excellent book on an eminently collectible U.S. stamp specialty, but it is the first publication on the subject that the APRL has seen since J.C. Whitham’s 24-page Official Precancel Catalog for Montana, published in 1952. That consisted of 24 three-ring-punched 5” by 7” loose-leaf pages with reduced-size black line illustrations of the precancels only, and was available for $2.00. (Using the Consumer Price Index, $2.00 in 1952 is equal to $17.72 in 2015.)

By contrast, Adrion’s Montana Precancels Catalog & Guidebook is 76 8½” by 11” pages, illustrated with full-color images of 395 precanceled stamps. As Adrion notes in his Introduction, “This book is intended to be a catalog of known Montana precancels as well as a guidebook to assist the collector with the varieties listed in the Precancel Stamp Society (PSS) catalogs and other sources. It includes pictures of all the varieties. These can be used as correct scale templates for comparison with real stamps. There are 143 towns and 265 different precancel types recognized by the PSS in Montana.”

Following the Introduction, Adrion includes a reference bibliography, very helpful notes on his organization and abbreviation of the listings and his well-reasoned opinion on the valuation of U.S. precancels today, plus information on dated controls, authorizations, perfins, difficult identifications, populations of Montana towns, and acknowledgements.

Did I mention that it is free? Or, as he puts it, “…users are permitted and encouraged to download and print copies for their own personal, non-commercial use.”

This is followed by 65 color pages showing precanceled stamps from Montana towns from Absarokee (2010 population 1,556) to Worden (2010 population 1,230), plus two additional pages on Montana-precanceled postal stationery.

Not only that, but you’re going to love the price!