Not a Small World, After All

The American Philatelic Research Library regularly lends up to five books by mail to APS members wherever the U.S. Postal Service can reach them. This standard five-week loan by mail allows for time in transit. If seven weeks go by and the books have not been returned, we take the first steps to get them back.

On March 3, I emailed an overdue reminder to a 27-year member of the APS to whom we had sent the two volumes of Intercontinental Airmails 55 days before. I was not prepared for his reply:

“What a coincidence!  The books arrived YESTERDAY.  I am constantly amazed (dismayed?) at how long it takes for surface mail to get here from the Mainland.”

Seven weeks and five days in transit? It was my turn to be amazed. No wonder he’s interested in Intercontinental Airmails!

Then I noted the last line in his address: Saipan, MP  96950

For those of you unfamiliar, as I was, with that obscure postal abbreviation, “MP” means the Northern Marianas Islands. Military history buffs will recall Saipan as the scene of a Pacific battle ― now there’s an oxymoron on which no one ever remarks ― in the summer of 1944. » Continue reading “Not a Small World, After All”

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What’s Your Favorite Philatelic Literature?

Two more inches of snow politely held off until after the February meeting of the Mount Nittany Philatelic Society at the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa., postponed from the prior week when sub-zero wind chill brought central Pennsylvania to a standstill. The APRL is where the club usually holds monthly meetings, but was an especially appropriate venue for the late February get-together of a dozen hardy souls, because the subject was philatelic literature.

Passing in ReviewMNPS members were asked, “What stamp-related books have you found indispensable, and why? Which publications would you recommend to others in the stamp hobby?”

One of the first recommendations by a MNPS member was Robert B. Morgan’s Hungarian Hyperinflation of 1945-1946: the Postage Rates and Postal History of History’s Most Impressive Inflation, published in 2003 by the Collectors’ Club of Chicago. Hungary’s postwar economic collapse, reflected in mail rates and stamps, was literally unimaginable. At its peak, which came about in July 1946, inflation was 41,900,000,000,000,000,000,000,000%. That’s 41.9 quadrillion percent, as Europe calculates it.

Another club member had words of praise for Passing in Review, LTC. Herman L. Halle’s account of the political chaos that engulfed post-WWII Germany, largely told with original documents from that turbulent era. » Continue reading “What’s Your Favorite Philatelic Literature?”

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1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago

catalog-1893-columbian-exhibit-72-reducedIn 1893 the American Philatelic Association (now the American Philatelic Society) created an exhibit of postage stamps and other postal artifacts for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Putting the exhibit together was similar in some respects to what is happening now with World Stamp Show-NY 2016. An Executive Committee was established that “had entire charge of securing the stamps, arranging them on sheets, raising the necessary money, issuing the official Catalogues, securing the cases, etc.”. The exhibit was in cooperation with the United States Post Office Department and was located in the Government Building at the Exposition. In working on an exhibit about world renowned philatelist and APS Hall of Fame member Hiram E. Deats, I managed to acquire a copy of the catalog for the exhibit (see cover above). The official title of the catalog is Catalogue of the American Philatelic Association’s loan exhibit of postage stamps to the United States Post Office Department: at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893. A digital copy of the catalog is available on the Hathi Trust website. The Hathi Trust is a consortium of research libraries that has created a digital library of their contributions to Google Books and digitized publications from their own efforts. In searching the APRL’s Union Catalog I also discovered that the APRL has a digitized copy of the Official Circular (pdf file), a preliminary announcement about the exhibit and a solicitation for funding and for stamps to include in the exhibit. In looking through the catalog I found that Hiram E. Deats not only played a prominent role in organizing the exhibit, but also contributed a substantial amount of the philatelic material that was exhibited. That material was phenomenal even by today’s standards. The March, 1986 issue of the American Philatelist includes an article by Robert L.D. Davidson (pdf file) about the participation of the APA/APS in the World’s Columbian Exposition.

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New books at the APRL, March 2015

APRL acquisitions, February 16, 2015-March 15, 2015. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book coverAerophilatelie Johannes Palmer. 11. Spezialauktion Aerophilatelie. Teil 2, “Grazer Gold”, Sammlung Friedrich Schmiedl: March 24, 2001, Neu-Ulm (Finningen) (Neu-Ulm/Reutti: Aerophilatelie Johannes Palmer, 2001): 42 p.: ill.; 21 cm. [NS Schmiedl, Friedrich]

Banfield, Colin G. Canada postal stationery letter cards of the Victorian period, 1893-1899: an exhibit [exhibit] (Ottawa, ON: British North America Philatelic Society, 2014): 66 p.: col. ill., port.; 28 cm. [In process 000055739]

Bennett, Henry G. Harry Bennett presents Lindbergh in Havana [videorecording] ([n.l.]: My Special Photos, c1969): 1 computer optical disk (DVD); 4 3/4 in.; 1 film reel (ca. 11 min.): silent, b&w; Super 8 mm., 18 fps [In process CD 000055728 (DVD); In process CD 000055729 (film)]

» Continue reading “New books at the APRL, March 2015″

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An unusual address

Fellow PL&R blogger Don Heller brought in an amusing selection from the April 15, 1861 Boston Daily Advertiser:

A letter, post-marked at Manchester, N.H., arrived at the Portland post-office last week, bearing the following direction:—”The youngest, unmarried, blue-eyed lawyer in Portland, Maine.” Wonder what were its contents.

Wonder, indeed, what were its contents—and where the Portland post office delivered the letter!

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John Coulthard and Leather Postcards















I knew nothing about John Coulthard (1903-1966) and very little about leather postcards, but with the help of Fred Baumann at the American Philatelic Research Library I learned a lot more. My search for information about Coulthard and postcards began with my purchase of a leather library postcard depicting the library building in Sandusky, Ohio (shown above). I collect picture postcards of libraries.  This one stood out not because of the library on the picture side of the postcard, but because of the message on the address side. It was addressed to John Coulthard % of the Western Stamp Collector in Albany, Oregon. The postcard was mailed by Bertha Seiche of Sandusky, OH in December 1937 and the message read: “Dear Sir: Saw your article on ‘Bright Ideas in Post Cards’ in W.S.C. and I bought this one only last week in a local book shop. Will pass it on to you. I can get more at the same place.” I was intrigued by the message and wanted to find out about Mr. Coulthard’s “Bright Ideas in Postcards”. In a search of APRL’s online Philatelic Union Catalog, I determined that the APRL has a complete run of the Western Stamp Collector on microfilm, and I contacted APRL to get a copy of the article mentioned on the leather postcard. Unfortunately, I could only indicate that the Western Stamp Collector article probably appeared in a 1937 issue of the magazine. Fred Baumann at the APRL was able to find the article after a tedious search of the Western Stamp Collector on microfilm and provided me with a scan of the article. His task would have been a lot easier if the Western Stamp Collector had been indexed. There is a great need to get philatelic periodicals indexed. The APRL is working on this with the help of volunteers but more is needed. Fred also helped me locate information about John Coulthard. I plan to do a larger article about Coulthard and leather postcards for the Philatelic Literature Review. Thanks Fred.

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Philatelic Literature Review 1st quarter issue online

The online edition of the Philatelic Literature Review 1st quarter 2015 issue is now available to subscribers. If you are a PLR subscriber and we have your email address, you should have received an email with instructions for accessing the online edition.

The 1st quarter issue features:

President’s Message — Roger Brody
From the Librarian’s Desk — Tara Murray
Library News — Sergio Lugo
Who Really Founded the American Philatelic Society,
Theodore F. Cuno or Schuyler B. Bradt? — Brian Birch
What’s on Your Bookshelf? — Steve Zwillinger
Postal History Symposium

And our regular departments:

About the Cover
APRL New Acquisitions
Book Reviews
Collectors Club of Chicago Pratt Award
Literature Palmares — Chicagopex
New Books Noted
Philatelic Literature Clearinghouse
Philatelic Literature Contributors
PLR Dealer Directory

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Spellman Museum to host Postal History Symposium

The Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History will host a postal history symposium with the theme, “The Challenging 20th Century: Men, Machines and Modernization.” It will take place on the campus of Regis College (Upper Union Student Hall) in Weston, Massachusetts, where the museum is located, on Thursday, April 30, 2015, starting at 9 a.m., a day before the opening of the Philatelic Show in nearby Boxboro.

Symposium presentations will include:

  • Rodney Juell, “The Men Who Made the Stamps of the 1920s”
  • Edward Grabowski, “Philately and International Mail Order Fraud”
  • George S. Norton, “Technology in the Envelope: Use of Microfilm and Voice Recordings in the Mail during World War II”
  • Roger S. Brody, “The Bureau Leaves the Field”

Admission to the symposium is free but the Museum asks that attendees register in advance. The symposium is co-sponsored by the United States Stamp Society with support from the American Philatelic Society.

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APRL New Acquisitions, 4th quarter 2014, continued

We did not have enough space to include all of the APRL’s new acquisitions in the 1st quarter 2015 Philatelic Literature Review, so the issue contained selected acquisitions and the remainder are listed here.


Note: Archival items and collections are for in-library use only. For more information about a collection or to make an appointment to view collections, please contact the APRL.

Covert, Maurice M. [Papers] ([ca. 1949–1953]): 1 folder; 30 cm. [Archive File Cabinet Drawer 4]

Kenosha Stamp and Cover Club: Historical Scrapbooks — Four 3-ring binders. 1952–1977 [R10 P1 S4]

Radasch, Henry Erdmann [Awards]: 2 boxes [Cabinet 3, Shelf 2, APRL Annex]

Strauss, Gerald H. Jenny Invert: Correspondence with Robey’s widow about 1918 inverted Jenny air mail stamp and a manuscript by Robey [Archive File Cabinet Drawer 4]

Books & Catalogs


Comment naît un timbre (Liège; Bruxelles: Edition de la Compagnie Générale de Publicité et Information S.P.R.L., 1948): 15 p.: ill.; 23 cm. [In process 000054409]

Canadian Philatelic Society

» Continue reading “APRL New Acquisitions, 4th quarter 2014, continued”

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New books at the APRL, February 2015

APRL acquisitions, January 16, 2015-February 15, 2015. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book coverBrookman Stamp Company. Brookman United States, United Nations & Canada stamps & postal collectibles ; featuring specialized listings of state duck stamps, plate no. coils & unexploded booklets, U.S. & U.N. first day covers, souvenir cards, pages, panels, ceremony programs ; including Confederate States, U.S. Possessions, U.S. Trust Territories ; illustrated grading guide, subject index, identifier & bibliography (Bedford, NH: Brookman Stamp Company, 2015 – xxiv, 392 p.): ill.; 28 cm. [PRICE LISTS Brookman; CATALOGS]

Cartier, Ray E. How we got men to the moon: 8 frame exhibit [exhibit] [electronic resource] ([n.l.]: [Ray E. Cartier], 2015): 1 computer optical disk; 4 3/4 in. [In process CD 000055682]

Cavendish Philatelic Auctions. The “Rossfield” collection of Great Britain: January 24, 2008 (Derby, England, U.K.: Cavendish Philatelic Auctions, 2008): 40 p.: col. ill.; 27 cm. [NS Rossfield]

Cavendish Philatelic Auctions. The Angus Parker collections of Iceland with the Norwegian missionaries in Madagascar issues:April 23, 2009 (Derby, England, U.K.: Cavendish Philatelic Auctions, 2009): 114 p.: ill. (some col.); 27 cm. [NS Parker, Angus]

» Continue reading “New books at the APRL, February 2015″

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