New Books at the APRL, March 2018

APRL acquisitions, March 2018. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

Adema, Kees; Groeneveld, Jeffrey. The paper trail: World War II in Holland and its colonies as seen through mail and documents (London [Great Britain]: Royal Philatelic Society London, 2018).[IP67522]

Baer, Martin. CH perfins: Die privat Gelochten Marken der Schweiz = Les timbres perfores privees de Suisse = The private perfins of Switzerland (Zürich: Martin Baer, 1998). [G6041 .P438 B14c 1998]

Barrett, Rick. Buffalo cinderellas: the gentleman, the huckster and the Pan American Exposition (Houston, TX: Rick Barrett Publishing, 2018). [HE6184 .E96 B27b 2018]

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Resource of the Month – Barefoot Revenue Catalogs

One of the more diverse collecting interests within philately in recent years, whose popularity initially waned after the first World War, are stamps not normally listed in some of the more recognized stamp catalogs such as Stanley Gibbons and Michel. Revenue stamps, also known as fiscal or tax stamps, are stamps used to collect taxes and fees for a variety of goods and services by governments, either national or local, or by other official bodies.

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New Books at the APRL, February 2018

APRL acquisitions, February 2018. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

Ali , Mohammed Nazir. Stamp Collector (Lahore, Pakistan) (Lahore, Pakistan: Mohammed Nazir Ali, [1957]). [JOURNAL Stamp Collector (Lahore, Pakistan)]

Beleck, Marvin A. Noted Jewish people of the world on stamps: a collection of stamps issued by over 95 countries in the world (Fort Worth, Texas: Marvin A. Beleck, 2017). [IP67409]

Corinphila Auktionen AG. Classic India & Scinde 1600-1858: Die Jochen Heddergott Sammlung = The Jochen Heddergott collection (Zurich, Switzerland: Corinphila Auktionen AG, 2010). [IP67406]

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Fiction with Philatelic Themes

Before I started working at the APRL in December, the majority of my knowledge about stamp collecting came from Terry Pratchett’s book, Going Postal. As a teenager I was a huge fan of Pratchett’s humorous fantasy books set in the fictional Discworld, and Going Postal was one of my favorites. When I arrived at the APRL I was glad to see that the book was included in the library’s collection.

The story of Going Postal concerns Moist van Lipwig, a con artist who receives a job as the Postmaster General of the non-functional Ankh-Morpork Postal Service. As postmaster general, Moist introduces postage stamps, delivers decades of undelivered mail, and competes with a visual telegraph company. The following excerpt is a conversation between Moist van Lipwig and his employee Stanley Howler (likely named after Stanley Gibbons) after Moist invents the first postage stamps. Continue reading “Fiction with Philatelic Themes”

Resource of the Month – Stamp Albums

Just this past month a frequent visitor to the library came by to conduct some research and was stuck by and pleasantly surprised to find a resource at the American Philatelic Library (APRL) that hadn’t occurred to him that we would collect or include as part of our collection. There on the first floor of the public space of the APRL tucked between a row of U.S. and international government documents and our collection of domestic show programs is a single bay of 24 shelves housing a small but growing collection of U.S. and international stamp albums. At first glance this collection of stamp albums, usually considered philatelic material meant possibly for resale in the gift shop, may seem to be an odd choice for inclusion in what is ostensibly a research-oriented philatelic literature collection that includes primarily books, journals and auction catalogs as well as the aforementioned government documents and show programs. After all, what research value could old stamp albums have for the serious philatelist? The answer to that question isn’t as complicated as their discovery at the APRL may seem. Continue reading “Resource of the Month – Stamp Albums”

New Books at the APRL, January 2018

APRL acquisitions, January 2018. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

Andrews, Edwin J. Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, the events and times that molded the man: a grand award winning display exhibit  ([Columbia, SC]: Exhibitors Press, 2017). [In process 000067315]

Andrews, Edwin J. Hitler youth, the generations of lost innocence: a grand award winning display exhibit  ([Columbia, SC]: Exhibitors Press, 2017). [In process 000067316] Continue reading “New Books at the APRL, January 2018”

Resource of the Month – Edward Proud’s Series of Postal History Publications

One of the most frequently asked questions heard from visitors when on a tour for the first time of the American Philatelic Research Library (APRL), especially when it involves non-collectors, is something like “and all of this is just about stamps?” To clarify often the tour guide will respond to the interested visitors “not just stamps, but also postal history.” Those not familiar with the terminology will often then ask “what is postal history?” The answer to that question is not often an easy one that can be summed up in the brief moments of a library tour, but this month’s Resource of the Month is one of the most recognized and comprehensive sources for postal history information at the APRL particularly for the histories of British colonies, the Edward Wilfred Baxby “Ted” Proud series of postal history publications. Starting in 1961 as a stamp dealer, Edward Proud established the Proud Bailey Company in Heathfield, East Sussex, England which sought to produce a series of books about the postal histories of various British colonies. Proud enlisted the expertise of prominent postal historians as well as postal history specialty societies in order to produce what has become one of the most highly regarded series of postal history publications.

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Resource of the Month: The Crawford Catalogue

The Crawford Catalogue is simultaneously one of the oldest and one of the newest resources in the library, and it is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in early philatelic literature.

The original 1911 edition (left) and the 1991 facsimile (right).

The original catalog, the Catalogue of the Philatelic Library of the Earl of Crawford, K.T., was compiled by Sir Edward Denny Bacon and published in London by the Philatelic Literature Society in 1911. It is an annotated list of the Earl of Crawford’s library, which included the famous library of John K. Tiffany, who served as the first president of the American Philatelic Association (now the American Philatelic Society). It is considered the most complete collection of philatelic literature up to 1911, and, because the Earl of Crawford acquired Tiffany’s library, contains a very comprehensive collection of American literature. In addition to the Earl of Crawford’s holdings, Bacon included all known works, and his list was also published by Aberdeen University Press as A Bibliography of the Writings General, Special and Periodical Forming the Literature of Philately.

Following the Earl’s death in 1913, he bequeathed his library to the British Museum. The Museum’s library holdings were transferred to the British Library when it was founded in 1973, where they remain today.

In 1991, the Printer’s Stone Limited, in association with the British Library, published a revised edition of the catalog, the Catalogue of the Crawford Library of Philatelic Literature at the British Library. This edition includes shelfmarks (call numbers) for the British Library’s holdings, allowing it to serve as a reference for those requesting material from the British Library.

In 2016, the British Library and the Global Philatelic Library unveiled yet another edition of the catalog, this time available online. The online edition includes a digital, searchable version of the original 1911 catalog, plus the 1926 supplement and 1938 addenda.

Even more tantalizing for anyone interested in early philatelic literature, though, is the searchable index to the Crawford Library, which includes downloadable PDFs for most items in the library. Nearly everything from the obvious (like The American Philatelist) to the obscure (like Collector, a periodical which published one small issue in 1905 in Pittsburgh, Pa.) is available.

A more complete description of the Crawford catalog’s history was published as a supplement to The London Philatelist in March 2016, and is available online.

Essential philatelic reference books

From time to time, the library receives a question that is best answered not by a search but by human expertise. These are the questions that are both broad and subjective: what are the essential books in a personal philatelic library? what is the best book for a new collector?

To come up with a short list of essential books for a personal philatelic library, I asked the APS and APRL staff, as well as readers of The American Philatelist, for their top picks. The following list is a compilation of their responses.

Fundamentals of PhilatelyFundamentals of Philately (revised edition) by L.N. Williams, published 1990 by the American Philatelic Society. APRL call number: HE6213 .W724f 1990

First published in article format in the AP in the 1950s and revised several times in the following decades, this is still a go-to reference for stamp collecting. At 862 pages, it is a hefty tome, but one philatelists can turn to again and again.

The book gives a short history of stamp collecting, then delves into paper, watermarks, design and production, printing processes, inks and color, gum, and separation. Throughout, the author defines terms from the basic to those even advanced collectors might scratch their heads over (“Mechanical Mezzotint” or “Hectograph,” for example).

Encyclopedia of United States Stamps and Stamp CollectingEncyclopedia of United States Stamps and Stamp Collecting (2nd edition) by Rodney A. Juell, Lynn R. Batdorf, and Steven J. Rod, published 2016 by the United States Stamp Society. APRL call number: G3700 .A11 E56 2016

Like Fundamentals, the Encyclopedia explains the history and production of stamps and defines key terms, but with a focus on the U.S. In addition, helpful for a U.S. collector, the first part of the book includes sections on the major stamp issues and periods, beginning with stampless covers and postmasters’ provisionals through 21st-century issues, and including federal and state revenues, postal stationery, carriers and locals, and more. Each section includes color illustrations and resources to consult for more information.

Linn's Complete Stamp Collecting BasicsLinn’s Complete Stamp Collecting Basics by Michael Baadke, published 2004 by Linn’s Stamp News. HE6213 .B111L 2004

At 392 pages, this paperback is substantial but takes up about half the space on your bookshelf or in your briefcase that each of the previous two titles do. It also takes a slightly different approach, with sections on the basics of stamp collecting, how to obtain stamps, and how to organize and store them. The section headings may be more approachable for the true novice, with plain-language titles like, “Why does my stamp have a lot of holes in it?” for the section on perfins.

The contents are primarily from the author’s Refresher Course column in Linn’s Stamp News. While the book is organized with a beginner in mind, the index makes it equally useful as a reference for returning collectors or those looking to expand into new areas.

This is PhilatelyThis is Philately by Kenneth A. Wood, published 1982 by Van Dahl Publications (Albany, OR). APRL call number: HE6196 .W876t

This three-volume hardcover set is subtitled “An Encyclopedia of the Fascinating World of Stamp Collecting.” Instead of the narrative approach of the first three titles, Wood’s book takes an encyclopedic approach, with brief entries arranged alphabetically. The entries include not only philatelic terms (“Cancelation, Fancy”) but also geographic (“Caroline Islands”) and organizational (“Canadian Bank Note Company”).

APS Stamp IdentifierAPS Stamp Identifier (3rd edition), published 2004 by the American Philatelic Society. APRL call number: HE6215 .A111 2004

This small, spiral-bound book can be kept easily near a collector’s desk or tucked in a bag. It serves a very specific purpose: to help a collector identify the country of origin of a stamp based on the words printed on the stamp. For example, if you find a stamp overprinted “G.P.E.” you can look up the abbreviation in this book to discover that your stamp is from Guadaloupe, a French colony. Tables in the back of the book provide help for reading other alphabets: Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, and Russian.

The Stamp AtlasThe Stamp Atlas by W. Raife Wellsted and Stuart Rossiter, published 1986 by Facts On File. APRL call number: G1046 .P8 W456s 1986

We all know that collecting stamps can improve your knowledge of geography, and the pages of this magazine demonstrate that philatelists are often interested in the history of the countries they collect beyond the postal system. The Stamp Atlas provides that background, from large areas of the world to specific stamp-issuing entities. It includes color maps, but also narratives, illustrations, and photographs, focusing on postal systems and postage stamps, but including plenty of contextual information.

The World Encyclopedia of Stamps & Stamp CollectingThe World Encyclopedia of Stamps & Stamp Collecting by James A. Mackay, published 2006 by Lorenz Books (London). APRL call number: HE6215 .M153cg

This glossy book, with numerous color illustrations throughout, includes two major sections: A Guide to Collecting Stamps, and The World Directory of Stamps. The first section provides a summary of the different types of postage stamps and tips for starting a collection. The second section goes around the world by region, giving some history and showing some of the stamps produced in that region. For example, the section on Eastern Scandinavia includes brief descriptions of the countries and their stamps, as well as call-outs on specific topics (master engraver Czeslaw Slania, Vikings in Stamps).

This book can be a useful reference for the philatelist, as well as an attractive coffee table book for explaining the hobby to non-collectors.

The Buyers GuideThe Buyers Guide: Get the Most for Your Stamp Collecting Dollar (2nd edition) by Stephen R. Datz, published 2000 by General Philatelic Corporation.

Though it doesn’t contain the details listed in larger or more specialized books, Datz’ slim volume is a handy guide for the U.S. collector. Member Ray Hutter says he studies this book before attending a stamp show, “and I am not concerned about walking away from a pressure-dealer because I know what I want.”

Official Stamp Collector's BibleThe Official Stamp Collector’s Bible by Stephen R. Datz, published 2003 by House of Collectibles.

Datz packs a wealth of information into this paperback — from general background on stamp collecting to tips for buying and selling at auction. It also includes handy references even more experienced collectors will turn to again and again, such as philatelic terms in various languages and current and former country names. While some of the information may be a little dated, features such as the foreign stamp identifier make it, as member Blain Roman writes, a “go-to book.”

Post DatesPost Dates: A Chronology of Intriguing Events in the Mails and Philately by Kenneth A. Wood, published 1985 by Van Dahl Publications.

While not “essential,” this book may help you enjoy your own collection more. As member John Blakemore writes, it is “full of interesting surprises.” You might not have a rare gem like the one-cent magenta in your collection, but you might have the first one of something!







Resource of the Month: Mellone’s FDC Catalogs

One of the endearing areas of enjoyment in philately over the years has been, and to a large extent still is, the discovery and collecting of first day covers, also known as first day cachets (FDC’s). With their printed designs or inventive inscriptions adding color and sometimes context to the issued stamp, they provide a welcome element of color and artistic design to a first day cover usually issued in the commemoration of a particular thematic, historical or philatelic event. FDC’s can commemorate everything from a first flight, a moon landing, or the Super Bowl. These one-of-a-kind cachets are made  by individuals, private companies or in some cases by a government for first day of issue stamp events. Here in the U.S. the first cacheted FDC was produced by prominent philatelist and cachetmaker George Ward Linn in 1923, for the Harding Memorial stamp issue of the same year.

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