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 “By concentrating on the confluence of stamp collecting and postal history and by presenting previously unpublished census data on Half-Length covers, we hope to shed light into areas that cannot be illuminated by stamps or covers alone.”