Resource of the Month – Post Dates

In a hobby that at its core is dependent upon and intricately tied to history, specific dates become intrinsically of interest to the general hobbyist and the experienced philatelist alike. There are many dates known by most stamp collectors as a matter of course which are of great interest to the collector (May 6, 1840 for example), while other dates of relevance to the hobby are not as readily known. The hobby by its very nature is a chronological testament to many aspects of an issuing nation’s history, geography, politics, art, economics, and society. Regarding those dates of importance most stamp collectors when consulting a stamp catalog for the first time are primarily interested in a particular stamp’s date of issue for example, while the philatelic researcher may focus on a stamp’s date of design or production.

This month’s noteworthy resource, Post Dates: A Chronology of Intriguing Events in the Mails and Philately (HE6041 .W876p) was compiled by APS Writers Hall of Fame author Kenneth Wood whose previous works This Is Philately (HE6196 .W876t) and Where in the World? (G1046 .P8 W876w) have proven to be valuable encyclopedic and geographic resources respectively for those beginning in the hobby or to refresh the memory of the philatelic researcher.  Post Dates as noted by the author in the foreword “is unlike most books about stamps, postal history or other aspects of philately [but instead] is a chronological account of the hobby.”

Beginning with listings in 4000 BC the book details specific events in worldwide stamp and postal history with entries starting with years and months when the specific date is not known and then preceding to identifying the actual dates for significant events, listed first by year and then by day. The well-researched resource includes listings with brief descriptions of the event which may also include maps, illustrations and photos to further illuminate a specific philatelic occurrence.

In all there are well over 3700 dated events listed and described in the first edition of the book published in 1985. Wood went on to publish further editions in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988 with chronicling events from those years. Included in the first edition is an author bibliography and a detailed subject index which lists notable dates for specific philatelic events.

For the patron of the APRL and the library reference staff Post Dates provides an excellent starting point for philatelic research and inquiry specifically when it comes to many of the known and lesser known dates in philatelic history. Wood’s compilation makes for an excellent resource in any stamp collector’s research collection, particularly for those needing a ready reference for relevant events in the hobby. The book can be borrowed or pages copied from it by contacting the APRL at

One thought on “Resource of the Month – Post Dates”

  1. well written and informative for the first level and second level collector’s. It will hopefully start to make collecting a more educational experience. Some of my first collecting was looking and finding stamps that would fill pages and drive me forward. After this period I would look at the why’s , when’s and dates. It was a very important tool to keep me involved and would help, believe it or not, in scholarly adventures that would impress teachers by recalling special event descriptions and dates of importance to the American time line. It is quite sad that children today do not use stamp collecting as a “great” learning experience. GA

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