Resource of the Month – Higgins and Gage Postal Stationery Catalog

One of the challenges for non-U.S. worldwide postal stationery collectors is finding a reliable catalog for all types of postal cards, letter cards, envelopes, letter sheets and other stationery items officially produced by worldwide postal entities. Often postal stationery listings and values can only be found in specialized catalogs for a specific country meaning that for the worldwide collector a fair number of specialized catalogs would need to be consulted when researching a collection. There are just very few resources that include in one place listings and catalog information for worldwide postal stationery.

One of the resources I was first introduced to when starting here at the American Philatelic Research Library (APRL) as the Reference Assistant was what is referred to as the Higgins and Gage Priced Catalog of Postal Stationery of the World. In one place and in one resource a collector of postal stationery can find all of the various philatelic items that constitute the official stationery issued by a given country.

Table of Stationery Items Listed in Higgins & Gage Catalog

First produced in 1966 and edited by noted postal stationery collector Edward Fladung, the catalog in organized alphabetically by country in various sections (A-G, G-L, etc.). Beginning in 1970 a second updated edition was produced and then a final installment of the catalog, a series of revised price supplements, appeared in 1986. The catalog provides a goodly amount  of information for collectors and researchers alike and includes listings for postal cards, letter cards, envelopes, registered envelopes, letter sheets, money orders, pneumatic post, local stationery, postal receipts, ration cards and postal checks to name only a few of the items listed.

Listings include black and white illustrations, a Higgins and Gage reference number, year of issue, denomination, color, varieties and new and used pricing information. Many times the Higgins and Gage catalog is the only resource that lists and depicts certain rare variety of a postal stationery item and on certain occasions includes a brief description and explanation for a given variety.

Although the Higgins and Gage catalog may be a bit dated (rumors in the philatelic press suggest that a German philatelic publisher is interested in resurrecting and updating the catalog) the information contain therein for given countries often provides a useful starting point for postal stationery collectors and researchers. The catalog is located in the first floor public space of the APRL right near the Reference Desk. If you would like to borrow or receive copies of certain pages from the Higgins and Gage catalog contact the APRL today at library@stamps.org .

2 thoughts on “Resource of the Month – Higgins and Gage Postal Stationery Catalog”

  1. My name is Hany Haddad RpH & member of APS # 215265.
    I was wondering if I can get a group of philatelists together for the Monacophil 2019.
    The theme of the 2019 meeting in Monaco is about Egypt.

  2. Hello Scott:
    Thanks for your discussion of the Higgins & Gage Catalog. It is an outstanding reference manual, tarnished, however, by complexity surrounding the use of its illustrated “Figures” here there and everywhere in specific country pages and for specific categories of postal stationery. Its guide to item sizes, and categorization is extraordinarily helpful (the one exception is the printed to order section – which after 20 years of use I have yet to understand).

    It’s main limitation is pricing – now dating back almost 50 years in some cases. it has been my experience that prices in the open market are generally ridiculouslessly low; while in the closed market – i.e. auctions – they are ridiculously high. Quien saber – when it comes to mint, and postally used examples.

    I don’t know about Germans, but the last I heard the masters etc. had been purchased by the late Steve Datz of Colorado. He was hoping to resurrect it, but don’t know how far he got – it would be a massive undertaking both in pricing updates and adding of nearly 50 years of postal stationery from throughout the world.

    And whoever wrote it is right – you can have some success in country, specific catalogues; however I find those country specific catalogues devoid of much in the way of discussions of postal stationery in its many forms. The US postal stationery society does a great job of updating its information for the many forms of postal stationery, but it is the exception rather than the rule

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