Users help Scott improve listings

Every so often, the APRL gets a call from someone who believes they have found an error in a Scott Catalogue listing. Sometimes it is a matter of misunderstanding the catalog listing, which a little research can clear up. Other times, though, it appears that there is an error in the listing, and we suggest contacting catalog editor Charles Snee.

A new article on describes the process for submitting suspected errors, and how listings are researched and improved for each new edition of the catalogs.

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Meet Fred Baumann

Fred BaumannAs I’ve come to learn working here during the last two years, the American Philatelic Research Library is a remarkable resource masterfully marshaled by a small, highly talented team of professionals with remarkable skills. APRL Technical Services Coordinator Betsy Gamble has untangled the most complicated bibliographic questions for me. Reference Assistant Scott Tiffney tackles complex, esoteric queries each day with a confidence born of long experience and a familiarity with what’s available and how to seek it out. And Librarian Tara Murray, as Director of Information Services, brings special expertise to the task of overseeing and organizing the vast array of components to serve our many patrons across America and far beyond as efficiently and helpfully as possible, aided both by the staff and the volunteers who give generously of their time.

I have none of the talents of these fine people, but am best regarded as a lowly scrivener, with a knowledge of philately that is six inches deep and three miles wide. I have written for Linn’s Stamp News, Stamp Collector, Scott Stamp Monthly, and sundry other publications, and have both taken courses from and taught courses for the APS, which I joined 30 years ago. I have had a serious interest in philatelic literature since I worked for a Michigan stamp auction firm that specialized in selling and reprinting handbooks back in 1986.

What interests me are the aspects of the stamp hobby and its vast literature that aren’t readily covered elsewhere: the many nooks and crannies where history and philately overlap and connect, and those questions we receive from APS members and APRL patrons that don’t have obvious or ready-made answers. These fascinate me, and I hope to shine some light on them in a helpful way that you, too, will find interesting, here in the PLR blog.

Please feel free to get in touch with me. If you have questions or comments, you can post them here on the blog, or see the APRL website for contact information.

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New books at the APRL, December 2014

APRL acquisitions, November 16-December 15, 2014. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book cover130 years of Thai postage stamps: 1883-1983 (Thailand Post, 2013) [In process 000054424]

Alemany Indarte, Luis. Maritime mail via the Caribbean, 1779-1879 = Correo maritimo por el Caribe, 1779-1879 (Bethesda, MD: International Cuban Philatelic Society = Sociedad Filatelica Cubana Internacional, 2014): 35 p.: col. ill.; 28 cm. [JOURNAL Journal of Cuban Philately]

Alexandre, Jean-Paul. Dictionnaire historique des timbres & griffes “standard” de l’Administration francaise des postes 1792-1914 (Paris: Éditions Brun & Fils, 1996): 158 p.: ill.; 25 cm. [In process 000054924]

Barthelemy, Emile. Catalogue des obliterations francaises, 1849-1946 (Vigneux (S. & O.): Les Catalogues Mensuels, [1947]): 343 p.: ill.; 21 cm. [In process 000054951]

Brigham Auctions. The Brigham collection of Canada. Part III, The back of the book 1875-1978 & sheets 1857-1957: November 22, 2014 (Brampton, ON Canada: Brigham Auctions Ltd. in association with Auktionshaus Christoph Gartner GmbH & Co., c2014): viii, 176 p.: col. ill., port.; 23 x 24 cm. [NS Brigham Collecton of Canada pt.3]

» Continue reading “New books at the APRL, December 2014″

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Collecting your hometown postal history

A longtime APS member from a town in Medina County, Ohio, recently wrote to the APRL to ask one short question: “Is there anything in print about collecting hometown postal history?”

1882 cincinnati '4' duplex cancel on mfg cvrThe short answer is, yes, mostly short articles about covers found by collectors that fill niches in such collections. Many of these pop up in state postal history journals, like the “Hometown Post Offices” columns in every issue of the quarterly New Jersey Postal History Society Journal. Occasionally you may find a longer piece on the hometowns of specific collectors, how they came to collect, and what they’ve learned along the way, such as this hometown column on Cincinnati by former APS President Janet Klug.

However, our sense was that this concise correspondent was asking for a handbook or collector’s guide, a “how-to” book. That we do not have ― and perhaps we never will ― even though hometown collections appeal to a wide range of people.

This is because not only are no two hometowns exactly alike, but no two hometown collectors are likely to collect their postal artifacts in exactly the same way. In addition, there are fierce arguments over what does and does not belong in such a collection. Advertising covers? First day covers? What about incoming and outgoing foreign mail? There is no “right” or “wrong” when collecting to suit yourself, and most hometown collectors do exactly that.

If you, too, are interested in hometown collecting, the APS Education Department has a great opportunity in a StampCampus Collecting Connections module to be offered online on Friday, January 16, at 2:00 p.m. EST.  Veteran collector Tom Horn, Director of the APS Sales Division, will guide the one-hour module titled “Collecting Your Hometown Postal History.” Tom’s session will help you to discover sources of information about your hometown’s history, where to look for postal history related to your town, and offer tips on making the wisest buying decisions.

Because these courses are offered online using GoToMeeting software, they are far more affordable than APS courses traditionally have been ― just $20 for APS members, and only $50 for non-members. (Non-members can join APS now to save on the tuition.)  The session requires a computer, speakers, a microphone (useful for participation, but not required); having a web cam with a built-in microphone would be most helpful.

Session enrollment is limited. To find out more, visit the APS Education Department’s StampCampus Collecting Connections page at the APS website.

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A History of America in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps

A History of America in Thirty-Six Postage StampsJohn Finch reviewed Chris Wests’ A History of America in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps for (West’s previous book, A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps, was reviewed by our own Fred Baumann in the third quarter 2014 Philatelic Literature Review.)

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Every Stamp Tells A Story

Every Stamp Tells A StoryScott Catalogue editor Charles Snee reviewed Every Stamp Tells A Story: The National Philatelic Collection, the new book edited by Cheryl Ganz, curator emerita of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, for

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Holiday stamp art on display at the APRL

Holiday tree with stamp ornamentsThis holiday season, the APRL is hosting a display of postage stamp art by New Jersey artist Tommy Montanez. The display includes a holiday tree in the library featuring Montanez’ unique ornaments as well as a display case in the main hallway showcasing Montanez’ stamp figurines.

Montanez, a childhood stamp collector himself, traveled from New Jersey to personally set up the display at the APRL in Bellefonte, Pa. His work has also been displayed at the Port Authority of New York, New York City Fire Museum, and Secaucus Library of New Jersey.

The display will be up through the end of December, so if you’re in the area, stop in the APRL and check it out!Montanez stamp figurines

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New books at the APRL, November 2014

APRL acquisitions, October 16-November 15, 2014. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

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

Bacon, E.D. The stamps of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company printed by Messrs. Perkins, Bacon & Co. ([London]: [Royal Philatelic Society, London], [1928]): 18 p., 1 plate: ill.; 26 cm. [In process 000052004]

Barnard, D. Rollin. Organizing the cleaning staff (Washington, D. C., 1959): 13 p.: ill.; 23 cm. [In process 000054394]

Bendig, A.W. Chinese municipal revenue stamps (Pittsburgh , PA: A.W. Bendig, 1956): 7 leaves: ill.; 28 cm. [In process 000051180; In process 000051231; In process 000051232]

Bendig, A.W. Chinese revenue stamps ([n.l.]: A.W. Bendig, [1955-1975]): 155, 3 p.: ill.; 29 cm. [In process 000051179]

» Continue reading “New books at the APRL, November 2014″

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Philatelic Literature Review 4th quarter issue online

The online edition of the Philatelic Literature Review 4th quarter 2014 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.

Philatelic Literature ReviewThe 4th quarter issue features:

President’s Message — Roger Brody
From the Librarian’s Desk — Tara Murray
Library News — Larry T. Nix
Victor Suppantschitsch and His Great Index — Brian Birch
What’s on Your Bookshelf — Fred Baumann
APS Archives: New Covers — Tara Murray

And our regular departments:

About the Cover
APRL New Acquisitions
Book Reviews
Index of Advertisers
New Books Noted
Philatelic Literature Clearinghouse
Philatelic Literature Contributors

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Crawford Medal nominations sought

Crawford MedalEvery year the Royal Philatelic Society London considers recent publications with a view to awarding one of them the prestigious Crawford Medal for the most valuable and original contribution to philately published in the form of a book. The Crawford Medal award is open to both members and non-members of the Society.

The Society invites nominations of books that were published in 2013 or 2104 to be considered. Send brief details by email to or by letter to The Royal Philatelic Society London, 41 Devonshire Place, London W1G 6JY by 10 February 2015.

If a nominated book is not already held in the RPSL Library, the Society may request the nominator to supply a copy for the Committee to consider and would appreciate it if this book were donated to the Library.

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