IPHLA 2012 Mainz

IPHLA 2012 Logo

The German Philatelic Federation will host an International Philatelic Literature Exhibition, IPHLA 2012, next year – November 2-4, 2012 at the Rathaus (Town Hall) in Mainz. Authors, publishers, literature dealers, and libraries are invited to participate as exhibitors, dealers, or sponsors. The Exhibition will mark the 150th anniversary of first German stamp album and the first philatelic catalogue, both published in Leipzig.

Literature on philatelic subjects and/or postal history topics, including the history of philately, and literature intended to promote philately will be accepted for the exhibition in three classes: print media (books, pamphlets, manuals, encyclopedias, monographs and bibliographies; static electronic media (CD-ROM, DVD, and other static storage media); and interactive electronic media/websites. Literature exhibits must be in a European language. Rules for exhibiting and applications for IPHLA 2012 are online and will be accepted until February 1, 2012.

In addition to the literature exhibits, there will be opportunities for meetings, study groups, and seminars. So far, a “Seminar for Authors” is being prepared by well-known international postal historians, jurors, and philatelic authors and the AIJP (Association Internationale des Journalistes Philateliques) has scheduled their 50th anniversary congress. One of the other highlights of IPHLA 2012 will be the palmares banquet; the program will be bi-lingual and include a mix of cultural entertainment and philatelic presentations with the theme, “Authors and Friends of Literature among Themselves.”

Johannes Gutenberg postcard

No trip to Mainz would be complete without visiting the Gutenberg Museum, which is providing support to the Exhibition. Johannes Gutenberg invented moveable type printing in Mainz around 1450 and the museum owns one of the 48 extent Gutenberg Bibles. Museum exhibits tell the story of Gutenberg’s invention along with the larger history of printing and typography.

77th Congress Book Released


American Philatelic Congress Logo

After Christmas 1935, Eugene Klein convened philatelists at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia for the First American Philatelic Congress. During the two-day event, they heard 19 original philatelic papers by philatelists such as Stanley Ashbrook, Clarence Brazer, James Waldo Fawcett, Max Johl, Catherine Manning, Delf Norona, and Philip Ward. The Congress published the articles in a softbound volume of 62 pages without illustrations.

This annual tradition of publishing original articles by leading philatelic and postal history scholars continued last week with the release of the 77th Congress Book at STAMPSHOW in Columbus, Ohio. Today, Congress Books are 200-page hardbound volumes, with color illustrations, containing eight or nine original papers. The 2011 volume is the sixth edited by Ken Trettin.

The Congress Book is distributed annually to members of the American Philatelic Congress. This year’s article titles convey the diversity of topics and research approaches published in the Congress Books: “The Disintegration of the Hohenzollern Empire 1918-1923” (Al Kugel); “Prexies and the Interaction of Color” (Diane DeBlois & Robert Harris); “A Census of Confederate Covers Bearing the 2¢ Green Stamp” (Dan Warren); “The Underground Railroad Post Office in Postumia Grotte 1872-1945” (Tom Lera); “The Development of Airmail Services in Poland 1918-1928” (Jerzy Kupiec-Weglinski & Jacek Kosmala); “The Salam ‘Pointing Hand PAID’ Handstamps: America’s First Pictorial Postal Markings” (Mark Schwartz); “The Puzzle of the Piscataqua Postmarks” (Nancy Clark); and “The Court Delivery Stamps of Imperial Austria” (Ingert Kuzych).

Collectively, the nearly 1000 articles published over the past 77 years represent a significant body of philatelic scholarship, which I consult often. I was able to complete my set of Congress Books this summer when I found No. 7 (1941) on the APRL library sales shelf. For those who do not own a set, they are widely available in philatelic libraries. The last paper index to the Congress Books was published in 2006 (Nos. 1-72). The Congress maintains an electronic version of the index, updated through 2010; and Leonard Hartmann’s Philatelic Bibliopole has a list of authors and titles that can be “Ctrl+F” searched.

John Barwis Wins Champion of Champions


John Barwis

Last weekend at STAMPSHOW in Columbus, Ohio,  John Barwis, who had two exhibits entered in the World Series of Philately competition, won the championship with his The Half-Lengths of Victoria, 1850-59. Those interested in spending more time with the first stamp issue from Victoria will find his book, The Half-Lengths of Victoria: The Stamps and Postal History 1850-59, published in 2009 with Rod Moreton, in the several philatelic libraries.

This attractive, readable, and well-designed volume should interest collectors beyond Australia, or even British Empire, because it set a new standard for the research and publication of monographs on a single stamp issue. Additionally, John provides a model for researchers planning to undertake a cover census, or analyze existing census data in greater depth. The authors consider stamps and covers in relationship to their postal use and historical events, placing the Half-Lengths within the context of Victoria’s developing postal system and 1850s Australian gold rush. “By concentrating on the confluence of stamp collecting and postal history and by presenting previously unpublished census data on Half-Length covers, we hope to shed light into areas that cannot be illuminated by stamps or covers alone.”

Continue reading “John Barwis Wins Champion of Champions”

Western Ukrainian Stamps Explained


Western Ukrainian National Republic

Western Ukraine is one of several short-lived political entities in Eastern Europe whose stamps and history are often confusing to collectors. Ukrainians living in the provinces of Galicia and Bukovina declared their independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire on November 1, 1918 and established the Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR). Soon afterwards, the Polish population of Lviv, the capital city, rose up against Ukrainian rule. On December 1, 1918 the ZUNR agreed to unite with the remainder of Ukraine, which had declared its independence from Russia. However, by July 1919 Polish forces had occupied most of Western Ukraine and held it until World War II, with League of Nations sanction.

Western Ukrainian Postage Stamps

Leftover Austrian stamps circulated widely in Western Ukraine. Nearly all of the stamps issued by the ZUNR were overprints on Austrian or Bosnian stamps. The stamps issued by Polish and Romanian occupation forces were also overprints on Austrian stamps. Dr. Ingert Kuzych worked with the editors of the Scott Catalog to revise and expand their listings for Ukraine as well as Western Ukraine. His latest book, A Comprehensive Catalog of Western Ukrainian Postage Stamps, 1918-1919, greatly expands upon the Scott Catalog listings with overprint varieties, valuations on cover, printing history, plus a little bit of general history. Dr. Kuzych edited the Ukrainian Philatelist for eleven years and has published numerous books and articles on Ukrainian philately. His newest book is available from the Ukrainian Philatelic and Numismatic Society bookstore.

Have you starred in a Philatelic Movie?

If you are not ready for Hollywood, perhaps Lugano?Lugano 2011 Logo

The Club Filatelico di Lugano has organized the Phila Movie 2011 video competition as part of the Swiss National Philatelic Exposition – “Lugano 2011” that will be held at Padiglione Conza, Lugano, Switzerland from May 6th to the 8th 2011. Entries will compete in three classes – Postal Administrations and Postal Museums; Collectors and Experts; and the third for Dealers, Editors, Auction Houses, and Philatelic Associations. There are virtually no limitations as to the philatelic or postal history subject matter that can presented; videos can range from broad overviews of collecting to detail technical programs on topics such as detection of forgeries.  Each participant may enter up to three movies; the prospectus and application are on the Lugano 2011 web site in four languages. The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2011.

The movie competition was organized by Alessandro Arseni because, “Today’s technology allows the creation of new communication forms that can reach a high number of new potential collectors, historians, or people interested in the study of postal history communication through the centuries.” The full potential of the new media for “spreading the art of philatelic collecting” is possible today because “the creation of videos is a lot easier and less expensive than before thanks to the development and the diffusion of new software, and internet helps to make millions of images available to huge quantities of people in a very short while.”

While there are only a few weeks to script and produce a new program – many collectors and organizations already have programs in circulation that could be entered in the competition. I would enjoy hearing from participants in this philatelic film festival.

The Postal GazetteAlessandro Arseni also publishes The Postal Gazette, a lavishly illustrated, bi-lingual, tabloid size postal history journal. More than 200 articles from past issues can be freely down loaded.

Posting It Released in Paperback

Posting ItCatherine J. Golden’s delightful book, Posting It: The Victorian Revolution in Letter Writing, (University Press of Florida, 2009) has been re-released in paperback. Approaching postal history from literary and material culture perspectives, she examines the impact of cheap postage in Great Britain following the 1840 introduction of postage stamps. The transition of mail from a luxury only the rich could afford, to an everyday feature of Victorian life, which allowed “anyone, from any social class, to send a letter anywhere in the country for only a penny had multiple and profound cultural impacts.” In the second section of her book, “Outcomes,” Catherine examines the rise of  postal related consumer goods such as illustrated envelopes and writing desks; the less desirable results of cheap postage ranging from a flood of unwanted mail to postal blackmail; and finally Valentines as a window on Victorian courtship and love. Her book received the 2010 DeLong Book History Prize for the best book on any aspect of the creation, dissemination, or uses of script or print from SHARP, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing.

Catherine is a scholar of the Victorian era and professor of English at Skidmore College. She presented papers, Why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?and “You Need to Get Your Head Examined:  An Analysis of the Unchanging Portrait of Queen Victoria on Nineteenth-Century British Postage Stamps” at the last two Postal History Symposia.

For a parallel look at the American response to cheap postage following the 1851 rate reduction and reforms, read David M. Henkin’s The Postal Age (University of Chicago, 2006).

Postal History Symposium Keynote Speaker Selected

Dr. David HochfelderDr. David Hochfelder, assistant professor of history at SUNY-Albany will be the keynote speaker at How Commerce and Industry Shaped the Mails, the sixth annual Postal History Symposium, which will be September 16-18, 2011 at the Match Factory in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. After two degrees in electrical engineering from Northwestern University, David earned a Ph.D. in history at Case Western Reserve University. His research interests include the history of technology and business history; he is particularly interested in the relationship between technological innovation and social change. He was the assistant editor for two volumes of The Papers of Thomas A. Edison; David’s book The Telegraph in America: A History, 1832-1940 will be released by Johns Hopkins University Press in the spring.

The American Philatelic Research Library, the American Philatelic Society, and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum jointly produce the Symposia, which have been held annually since 2006. The format of the 2011 symposium will be similar to that of the Post Office Reform symposium in 2009, with the paper presentations distributed across three days allowing ample time between sessions for viewing the 150 frames of invited stamp and postal history exhibits, purchasing stamps, covers, and ephemera from the philatelic dealers, reading in the APRL, and conversing with fellow attendees. Hochfelder’s keynote address will be given at the banquet on Friday night. On Saturday evening, the United States Stamp Society, a Symposium co-sponsor for 2011, will host a banquet celebrating their 85th anniversary.

While the symposium will focus primarily on the United States, papers that examine or contrast the relationship between post office and business interests in other countries are welcome as well. The Call for Papers was distributed at the fifth symposium at the end of September; some proposals have already been received. The deadline for submitting proposals is May 1, 2011 and the selected papers will be announced shortly afterwards.

Moroney Prize Deadline

City Carrier, circa 1908Each year the United States Postal Service presents two cash prizes for the best historical writing about the American post office. These are the Rita Lloyd Moroney Awards – $2000 presented to a faculty member, independent scholar, or public historian for a  journal article, book chapter, or book; and $1000 to an undergraduate or graduate student for an journal article, book chapter, or conference paper.

Any topic in the history of the United States postal system from the colonial era to the present is eligible for consideration. Though submissions must be historical in character, they can draw on the methods of other disciplines such as geography, cultural studies, literature, communications, or economics. Comparative or international historical studies are eligible if the United States postal system is central to the discussion. The selections are made by an independent panel of academic scholars, chaired by Dr. Richard Kielbowicz at the University of Washington. Submissions to be considered for the 2011 prizes must be postmarked by December 1, 2010. Winners will be announced in April 2011.

The awards were established in 2006 to honor Rita Lloyd Moroney, who began conducting historical research for the Postmaster General in 1962 and served as Historian of the U.S. Postal Service from 1973 to 1991. To date, eight prizes have been awarded.

Portugal 2010 Literature Awards

Portugal 2010 LogoOf the more than 150 philatelic literature entries at the international exhibition in Lisbon last month, only 3 books received Large Gold medals. This medal level is much harder to achieve with a book than a stamp or postal history exhibit. The Large Gold winners were Claude Delbeke, of Belgium, for Belgium Maritime Mail; Robert Odenweller, from New Jersey, for Postage Stamps of New Zealand: 1855-1873; and Michele Chauvet, of France, for Introduction to Postal History from 1848 to 1878. Bob Odenweller’s book also received a special prize for the depth of his study, which included many new discoveries about the Chalon Head issues of New Zealand. The book is still available from Leonard Hartmann.

The full literature Palmares is best downloaded from the blog Rainbow Stamp Club posted by Jeevan Jyoti in India.

Need a Holiday Gift?

Arctic FoxAs we near the holiday season, you may find yourself wanting to purchase a gift for a child, grandchild, or other youngster to encourage a budding collector or just plant a seed that might blossom in the future. One possibility is the book, Wild About Mammals, by Cody Lee. Her lifelong interest in animals took a new turn when she inherited a large international stamp collection. The book, completely illustrated with stamps, provides basic information about more than 160 mammals. For collectors, the appendix gives the Scott Catalogue numbers for each stamp in the book. The book was published as a print-on-demand title and is available from AuthorHouse.