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Edition #628  Friday, March 31, 2017

Favourite Philatelic Books

Canada Reads is an annual "battle of the books" competition organized and broadcast by Canada's public broadcaster, the CBC. We thought we'd champion a selection of five philatelic books for you this week. Please let us know all about your own favourite philatelic tomes!

A classic and majestic masterwork is the 700 page Royal Philatelic Collection illustrated inventory published in 1952. Following is a well worded description I found online:

The Royal Philatelic Collection By Sir John Wilson, Editor Clarence Winchester, 1952 - London

The Viscount Kemsley at the Dropmore Press 14" by 10" - Approx. 700 pp

This book is by many book collectors and philatelists considered as the most beautiful philatelic book ever published.

Full crushed morocco leather binding with attractive gilt tooling to spine and crest to front board. Complete with publisher's slipcase which is illustrated with twelve lovely colour plates, as well as many in black and white and portraits of King George V and VI.

George V of England (1865-1936) was well-known as an avid and knowledgeable collector of stamps of Great Britain and the British Empire. He also collected stamp designs, envelopes, proofs, and other stamp-related material.

The collection had its own staff, which, among other things, had the responsibility of marking up dealer's catalogues for possible acquisitions, which the King would then consider. George VI (1895-1952), also a collector, kept his collection separate from that of his predecessor, and these became known as the Red (George VI) and Blue (George V) collections. This catalogue begins with a lengthy discussion of the history and general contents of the royal collections, with a list of earlier collections acquired by George V, followed by an explanation of the method of entry.

The catalogue itself follows the divisions of the British Empire: Great Britain and British posts in Europe, British N. America (including Caribbean possessions), British Africa, British Asia, and British Australasia. Entries are arranged by country/administrative area and then by year and stamp value, except that British stamps go by the date of registration of successive plates.

The entry for each stamp indicates colours, the number present in each format and state (singles, strips, blocks, used, unused, on envelopes, etc.), condition, peculiarities, and other relevant details, sometimes with annotations.

The stated object here was to provide a record of unusual items from the collection, and one sees here designs, rarities, misprints, cancelled envelopes and the like. An important reference tool.

A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps by Chris West is a book Andrew has recently borrowed from the library. Covering over a century and a half of British history, the author succinctly captures the spirit of the eras during which each of the thirty six stamps was issued.

The first chapter is, of course, based on the appearance of the Penny Black.

The final chapter is illustrated with a 1st Class Machin and concerns itself with 21st century malaise.

A scarce and wonderfully informative tome relating to British Columbia Post Offices is George H. Melvin's seminal work The Post Offices of British Columbia 1858-1970.

As you can see from the Table of Contents this is a must have book for the BC Postal Historian.

The pages are well organized and packed with useful and often very obscure information regarding locations, post office names and postmasters, as well as opening and closing dates from A to Z (Abbottsford to Zincton).

The RPO section includes illustrations of the various hammer ornaments.

Herman Herst, Jr. was a well-known US stamp dealer and a prolific philatelic author. His book Nassau Street - A quarter Century of Stamp Dealing was one of numerous stamp books and articles he contributed to the body of philatelic literature.

Stamp literature doesn't always have to remain in the realm of non-fiction. A popular novel amongst many Canadian philatelists is The Chalon Heads by Barry Maitland. Here's the Amazon descriptor, "When Brock and Kathy are summoned to Cabot's, a venerable dealer in stamps, they expect a simple case of theft. But the story they confront is far different. East-Ender Sammy Starling, aka Sammy China, an ex-crook from Brock's past, is in deep trouble and has asked for Brock's help: his pretty young wife has been kidnapped, and the strange thing is that the ransom notes are decorated with the rare and valuable Chalon Head stamp of the young Queen Victoria - to whom his wife bears a striking resemblance. But how can Kathy and Brock believe anything Sammy says?"

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Answer to Last Week's Salvation Army Quiz

We received eight correct answers to our last stamp identification quiz. That means a $8.00 donation to Salvation Army.

Here's the portion of the stamp we asked you to identify

Here's the answer - Canada #1708, the 45c Year of the Tiger issued in 1998.

The Salvation Army Quiz

We show you a minute portion of the design of a postage stamp. You have to determine which stamp it is. Send us an email with your answer.

We hold a contest almost every newsletter. For every correct answer we will donate $1.00 to our favourite charity, the Salvation Army. Click here to go to the The Salvation Army International Home Page to see what services they offer to communities around the world.

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