Philatelic Literature Review 1st quarter 2017 issue features auction catalogs and search methods

The online edition of the Philatelic Literature Review 1st quarter 2017 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 two articles on auction catalogs and an article featuring search tips from APRL Reference Assistant Scott Tiffney.


President’s Message — Roger Brody
From the Librarian’s Desk — Tara Murray
Library News — Sergio Lugo
Search Methods — Scott Tiffney
An Oversight Corrected — Charles Freeland
Tainted Shanahan Catalogs Have Their Place — Steve Ellis and Charles Freeland


APRL New Acquisitions
Book Reviews
Dealer Directory
Index to Advertisers
New Books Noted
Philatelic Literature Clearinghouse
Philatelic Literature Contributors



Resource of the Month: Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbooks

This month’s featured resource are the informative and highly readable Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbooks. Begun in 1983 as an offshoot of various columns in Linn’s Stamp News regarding each year’s new U.S. stamps and postal stationery, the annual Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbooks go beyond the standard, or even specialized, catalog in providing a wealth of information regarding many aspects of each year’s U.S. releases in a convenient and thoroughly illustrated format. Continue reading “Resource of the Month: Linn’s U.S. Stamp Yearbooks”

New book tells the story of the One-Cent Magenta

The One-Cent Magenta: Inside the Quest to Own the World’s Most Valuable Stamp tells the story of the rare stamp that was sold at auction for $9.5 million in 2014. Written by New York Times reporter James Barron, the book was called “delightful” by a review in the Washington Post.

You can read an excerpt on It is also available for borrowing from the APRL. And, if you are attending the March Party stamp show in Cleveland, you can hear a talk by the author.

New books at the APRL, February 2017

APRL acquisitions, January 16–February 28, 2017. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book coverAmerican Bank Note Company. [American Bank Note Company Archives] [R16 P2-3 CLOSED STACKS 2 and Lateral Files]

American Philatelic Association. 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. (Birmingham, Conn.: D.H. Bacon & Company, Printers, 1893). [G4104 .C54 W927o 1893 RARE BOOKS]

Barron, James. The one-cent magenta: inside the quest to own the most valuable stamp in the world (Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2017). [In process 000063502] Continue reading “New books at the APRL, February 2017”

Indiana county postal histories

The December and January acquisitions lists posted on this blog each included a number of volumes on Indiana county postal history. There was not sufficient space in the first quarter 2017 Philatelic Literature Review to list them all individually, so following is a list of the 88 volumes acquired by the library in December 2016. The library already had 2 volumes, so we now have 90 volumes covering all but 2 (Ripley and Vigo) of Indiana’s 92 counties.  Continue reading “Indiana county postal histories”

APRL Resource of the Month: The Tedesco Index

This month’s featured resource has a lengthy title: Index of literature in the English language that describes postal stamp forgeries, fakes, reprints, fraudulent postal markings and other obliterations, and, Bibliography. In the library, we refer to it familiarly as the “Tedesco Index” for its creator, Theodore “Ted” Tedesco.

The first installment of the “Tedesco Index” appeared in the 1st quarter 2015 Philatelic Literature Review. The cover to that issue featured the Rev. Robert Briscoe Earée, author of Album Weeds: How to Detect Forged Stamps.

The index was originally published serially in our quarterly journal, the Philatelic Literature Review, from 2005 to 2009. Ted gave us a complete digital copy, which we printed and put in 3-ring binders for reference in the library. Because it covers the entire world, organized by country, and gives references not only to standard resources like The Serrane Guide and Album Weeds, but also to the many un-indexed journals in our collection and online resources, it is one of our go-to resources for forgery questions. Continue reading “APRL Resource of the Month: The Tedesco Index”

A “feast” for literature enthusiasts, presented by the auction house of Heinrich Köhler, Wiesbaden (March 21-25, 2017)

This article on Heinrich Köhler’s upcoming literature sale was submitted by Wolfgang Maassen.

IPHLA 2012 – an unforgettable literature auction at Mainz Town Hall. Photo: Wilhelm van Loo

The Wiesbaden auction house of Heinrich Köhler has had a good reputation among philatelic literature enthusiasts, at least since the now legendary special philatelic literature auction which was held on November 2, 2012 during the international IPHLA exhibition at the Town Hall in Mainz. That auction which offered a wealth of important material, with some 1,000 lots of literary works, periodicals, and auction catalogs, such as are only encountered on rare occasions. Accordingly, there was a worldwide response, a well-filled auction room, and quite a number of exceptional results.

The catalog for Köhler’s literature sale.

Philatelic literature is still—and certainly will be in future—much valued by connoisseurs and experts. This is due to its rarity compared with most postage stamps, and because of the content that one can use for one’s own research. Many books and magazines from the 19th century are great rarities; many only exist in the form of a few copies or individual examples. Other printed items from this period may be found more frequently, but hardly in fine condition. Or they are notable for their elaborate bibliophile-type covers, which would have been costly for earlier owners. It would also nowadays be far easier to purchase one hundred beautiful “Saxony Threes” within a few years than a well maintained and well preserved library of the same number of publications from the 19th century. Continue reading “A “feast” for literature enthusiasts, presented by the auction house of Heinrich Köhler, Wiesbaden (March 21-25, 2017)”

New books at the APRL, January 2017

APRL acquisitions, December 16, 2016–January 15, 2017. To request loans, copies, or scans, or to search our catalog, visit the APRL website.

book coverAs last month, this month’s additions to the library also include a number of volumes on the postal history of Indiana counties. In all, there are 90 volumes covering all but 2 (Ripley and Vigo) of Indiana’s 92 counties. There were so many they didn’t all get cataloged in the same month!

They were published by the Indiana Postal History Society, an APS affiliate. Each volume includes maps of the county and data for each town post office, such as dates of operation and postmaster appointments. The volumes were donated to the library by Art Hadley, and volunteers comb-bound them for the collection.

book coverAsociacion “Coleccionistas de Mexico” = “Collectors of Mexico” Association [auction house] (Mexico, D.F.: Asociacion “Coleccionistas de Mexico” = “Collectors of Mexico” Association, 1967). [AUCTION Asociacion Coleccionistas de Mexico]

Burns, Ron. Shelby County postal history (Bloomington, IN: Indiana Postal History Society, 2015). [G4093 .S4 B97s 2015] Continue reading “New books at the APRL, January 2017”

Ex Libris: Bookplates and provenance

A recent article from art blog Hyperallergic explores the art of the bookplate. Bookplates have been used for centuries to indicate ownership of books, and, as the article notes, can be used to trace the provenance of books.

The APRL’s collection includes many bookplates from famous philatelists, including Stanley B. Ashbrook, Creighton C. Hart, and H.E. Deats. The next time you check out a book, you could be holding a book that was once read by a member of the APS Hall of Fame!

We also use bookplates to show that books have come to us as part of a society library, for example the State Revenue Society or the Polonus Philatelic Library, or in honor or memory of an individual.

Brian Birch has written a nearly 1,000-page book on philatelic bookplates, which you can read online via the FIP Literature Commission website.


Rare books return from freezer

The very wet title page of Swedish Letter Rates to Foreign Destinations 1855-1895 in March 2016.

In March 2016, a roof leak caused by construction activity damaged items in the APRL’s rare book room. Through quick action and assistance from Penn State University Libraries, we were able to minimize the damage. We sent five books to Penn State to be frozen and then dried, and these have now been returned to us.

All five were extremely wet in March. They have been safely dried, and Penn State’s book conservator gave each one special treatment.

The discoloration on this book is from mildew.

Copy number 8 of 50 of Carroll Chase’s The 3c Stamp of the United States 1851–1857 Issue, revised deluxe edition, published in 1942 by Tatham Stamp & Coin Company, was discovered to have been previously water damaged, probably before it came into the APRL collection, and had mildew. Mildew is very dangerous for libraries because it damages books, and can spread from one book to another. After drying the book, the conservator carefully separated the pages, and cleaned the mildew using an alcohol solution. The book’s covers are warped, and the pages are wrinkled and in a few places have not separated entirely cleanly, but it is intact, usable, and safe to return to the rare book room.

The cover of Hawaiian Numerals has been discolored and warped by water damage.

Two copies of Marshall Cushing’s The Story of Our Post-Office, published in 1893, were water damaged. Both have water stains and a few wrinkles, but the pages were successfully separated and flattened after drying.

Hawaiian Numerals, published by Henry J. Crocker in 1909, is in relatively good shape aside from a little discoloration, but the binding has been practically destroyed. Luckily, the APRL has a second copy with an intact binding.

Swedish Letter Rates to Foreign Destinations 1855–1895, published in a limited edition of 200 in Sweden in 1986, came through in the best shape of the five books. The first few pages show a little discoloration, but the interior pages show almost no trace of the water damage.

Swedish Letter Rates to Foreign Destinations 1855-1895 shows only very minor wrinkling in the pages after drying. Compare to the wet photo at the beginning of this post!