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If you would like to donate any philatelic titles Michael Bramwell our Hon Librarian  would be very pleased to hear from you via email


"What's New in the Library" seeks to give an idea of the wide range of subjects covered by philately and philatelic literature, as well as highlighting recent additions to the NPS Library.

The books listed here appeared in previous releases of "New In the Library" and are only are only a small proportion of the philatelic books contained in the NPS Library - to search and browse the listings of over 5,000 philatelic books, plus a wide range of philatelic journals from around the world, click here to visit the NPS Library Books and Periodicals Search Page.

Seychelles Postal History & Postage Stamps to 1976. By Sue Hopson and Brian M McCloy. Published by the Indian Ocean Study Circle. 172 pages hardback. This book is based upon five updated versions of previously published Indian Ocean Study Circle books on the Seychelles, plus additional chapters on postage stamps and postal stationery official mail, airmail history 1938-71, postal history to 1976, censorship, and picture postcards. There is a four-colour section and numerous black and white illustrations, plus excellent hand-drawn maps of the Seychelles archipelago and Indian Ocean. 

Overprints on British Stamps for Use Abroad by Tom Current. 176 pages, loose-leaf format. Published privately by the author. Feeling that justice has not been done to the overprints on British stamps used abroad and overprinted British stationery, the author’s objective has been to produce a modestly complete “primer” on this interesting subject. He states that his sources of information are scattered through literature of various types. Listings and descriptions, also historical notes of authors and specialised societies have been sought and the data melded into this publication. The book is well illustrated and carefully compiled. Described by the author as a “labour of love”, many collectors of these issues will be grateful for all the data contained therein.

Postage Paid - The story of the first Dutch Postage Stamp. By J J Havelaar and published by Walburg Pers 176 pages. Illustrated throughout and including some colour plates. The year 2002 sees the 150th anniversary of the issue of the first Dutch postage stamp and this book is about the pioneer stamps, plus the first steps toward an industrial society in the Netherlands, communications and the post. There are chapters on Dutch stamp printers, design and postage stamp production, the circulation of the postage stamp and its use. The last section is devoted to Collecting postage stamps, the first collectors, important collections and the postage stamp business. In English and Dutch. 

Domfil Thematic Stamp Catalogue – Butterflies. Published by Domfil Grupo Afinsa, Barcelona, Spain. 490 pages listing 5,000 stamps worldwide with Domfil, Yvert, Scott, Michel and Unificato numbering. Following the success of the previous publication this publication has been completely revised with all illustrations in colour. In English and Spanish.

Rossiter Postal History Journal Vol 3, year 2002. This 100-page edition comprises 

“The Railways of Finland and their Postal Services” by Brian McClay
“Wartime Cross Channel and North Sea Mails 1793-1815” by Geoff. Oxley
“The Impact of the Anglo Boer War on the Orange Free State - the First Six    Months October 1899 to March 1900” by Richard Stroud

A Postal Survey of the German U-Boat Arm, during the Second World War 1939 to 1945. By Jon Leathes. 48 pages, plastic spiral bound. This monograph is a successor to a similar work covering the First World War. These two basic books give the Marinefeldpost numbers of the U-Boats and supporting units. The book also lists the Flotillas, includes maps and organisational diagrams, and lists the U-Boat bases.

Artwork by David Gentleman. Published by Ebury Press. 196 pages. This book covers the work of master stamp designer David Gentleman whose work covers not only stamps but also projects such as posters for the National Trust and London Underground, book illustrations for a series of illustrated travelogues, prints, woodcuts and the well known Eleanor Cross murals at Charing Cross Underground station which have been seen by millions of travellers. This book gives an insight to the author’s working methods and the complete process of design as an art and art as a job. The creative process is described, preliminary sketches are considered and decisions which form the final works are included, as is previously unseen work, including stamp designs from the ‘90s which were never issued. Many interesting stories are given of the unpredictable paths which have to be considered by an artist working in the public arena.

St.Helena - the Postal, Instructional & Censor Markings 1815-2000. Compiled and edited by Bernard Mabbett. Published by West Africa Study Circle.189 pages, A4 format, hardback. St. Helena, a tropical island which lies in the South Atlantic Ocean, became an important victualling and water replenishment stop for sailing ships in the nineteenth century on their way to and from the Cape, India and the East The first Post Office was opened on the Wharf in 1815 on 20th February and letters prior to this date are rare and do not show any external St Helena markings. In the very early days outgoing-letters were left under a large stone to await transmission by the next vessel to call at the island. Towards the end of the century the Post Office was re-located to the Castle and after the end of the Boer War it was moved into the old Officers’ quarters in Jamestown, where it remains today

A variety of handstamps and cancellations were used over the years and these are well illustrated and described. Instructional markings covering such subjects as Tax, Returned Letters, Paquebot markings, and miscellaneous markings (e.g. OHMS, Postal Service and Postage Paid) are also included,
There are extensive chapters on Boer War Censorship, Civil and Military Censorship in World Wars I and II. Government Departmental Cachets, covering Attorney General, Audit Department, Colonial Treasury, Income Tax Office and many other departments, have a fascinating chapter, which gives valuable information about the administration of the island.

Chapter 16 is devoted to the services provided and the cachets used by the ship RMS St Helena which entered service in 1978 following the cessation of the Union Castle steamer passenger service which previously undertook the passenger and mail service to St Helena and Ascension islands. The final chapter is devoted to the Diana’s Peak cachets. These are very “philatelic” as they aimed to attract tourists to purchase stamps from the Jamestown Post Office. The Appendix is divided into 6 sections covering Consuls, Forgeries, Postage Rates, additional Military Markings, Bibliography and Index

The book is very well illustrated and includes a useful map of the island showing the locations of the eight sub Post Offices.

Philatelic History of Armenia by Dr Zareh Hovanesian. Published by the author at 29 Westcott Street, Old Tappan, New Jersey, USA. 354 pages, hardback. Many colour and black and white illustrations. The stamp-issuing entity of Armenia is only about 80 years old, for it began in 1918 with the founding of the independent Armenian state on 28th May 1918. Unfortunately it only lasted two years for Armenia was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920. The book endeavours to show how a small country like Armenia, which has a long and rich history, has survived for over three thousand years, despite natural disasters and many enemies. The philatelic information is divided into four periods: 1909-1918, 1918-1920, 1920-1991 and 1991 onwards. The author dedicates the book to the one and a half - million Armenians who were massacred in 1915 by the Turks.

All About Postmarks - a 16 page illustrated booklet issued by Royal Mail. The booklet is packed with information about the services available to collectors from Royal Mail’s philatelic postmarking services department. The well-illustrated publication includes chapters on:

  • What is a Postmark?
  • Postmark Principles
  • Postmarks Currently in Use
  • Philatelic Handstamps
  • Sponsoring a Special Handstamp
  • The “British Postmark Bulletin”

To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting by Philip Bloom. Published by The Penguin Group, 300 pages, hardback. The introduction claims “Collecting is one of the most common pastimes and can often become a passion bordering on the obsessive. Our familiarity with this pursuit however obscures the questions at its very heart; why do people amass things that have no use? What drives them to spend time and money getting of a single stamp or a rare doll only to put it in a folder or on a shelf? Why do we feel a need to possess these items, and why is it not enough to know that they exist in a museum or somewhere else?” The author devotes many pages to various aspects of collecting, and well known collectors, but hardly mentions stamp collecting and philately

The Commemorative & First Day Postal Markings of Malta 1923-1999 by Alan Bannister. Paper no.7 Published by the Malta Study Circle. A4 size, 40 pages, spiral bound. This book is a very comprehensive listing of the large number of commemorative handstamps on postal items. All are well illustrated. A most useful publication for collectors of Maltese stamps.

A Postal History of the Prisoner of War & Civilian Internees in East Asia During the Second World War Volume I Singapore and Malaya 1942-1945. The Changi Connection by David Tett. Published by The Stuart Rossiter Trust Fund. 3836 pages, hardback. This book provides, for the first time, a history of communications between prisoners of the Japanese and their families during 1942 to 1945. The first two chapters provide the historical background to the offensive against Malaya and Singapore early in 1942 and give details of the Prison Camps then established by the Japanese. 

Subsequent chapters are devoted to the mail arrangements to and from Prisoners of War and Civilians, including the attempts made to try and trace the existence of prisoners prior to the announcement in July 1942 by the British Postmaster General that the Japanese authorities had agreed to establish a prisoner of war postal service to and from the Far East. No airmail service was offered and leaflets reproduced in the book disclose that only letters and postcards could be sent; parcels and other packets were not permitted. Postage was free. In Australia, the Australian Red Cross announced that letters of one sheet of notepaper only containing news of a personal nature could be sent to Far East Prisoners of War and Civilian internees without cost. In 1944 the GPO London introduced a new airmail service limited to the despatch of special POW cards. These cards cost 3d, reduced to l½d in the following year. The book contains numerous illustrations of envelopes and cards, of actual mail and of various official notices. The final chapter is devoted to information on Japanese Postal Stationery and Censor marks.

Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue Part 11 - Scandinavia 5th edition. 366 pages, card cover. This new edition (the previous was published in 1994) covers Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden as well as the Aland Islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and the Danish West Indies. It describes both stamps and booklets and is up to date to the end of the year 2001. 

The Postal Stationery of Natal by John Dickson and Keith Hanman. Published in 2001 by The Natal and Zululand Study Circle. Spiral bound, fully illustrated with 5 colour plates and 222 pages A4 size. This large volume on the postal stationery of a territory, which ceased its separate existence nearly a century ago, contains far more, and more wide reaching information than its title might suggest. The text is sub-divided into three distinct sections - 96 pages on the actual postal stationery items produced together with background information as to how and why they came to be issued; 58 pages on the postal rates and related uses of Natal postal stationery; and 66 pages of extracts from government notices and other official documentation relevant to the issue and use of each item of stationery. The research underpinning this publication and the extensive documentation examined comes from both British and African sources. The illustrations include a detailed study of the De La Rue SPECIMEN overprints, which will facilitate further work on their use generally on colonial postal stationery.

Aspects of Collecting New Zealand Stamps, edited by Derek Diamond and Andrew Dove. 36 pages A4 size. A commemorative publication to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand Society of Great Britain comprising fifteen interesting articles on various aspects of New Zealand philately, most with colour illustrations. There is also a list of the Society’s Past and Present Officers and a history of the Society. The book is subtitled Special Publication No. 1 and it is intended to continue the series in the future.

Faroe Islands’ Meter Marks compiled by Steen Jack Petersen and published as monograph no.3 by the Faroe Islands Study Circle. 42 A4 pages, card cover. It is not perhaps general knowledge that meter- marks have been in use in the Faroe Islands since 1943, and this book lists them all up to 1999. It also gives the names of firms that used them and the towns of origination. Some illustrations.

Peru, the 1858 Medio Peso Error of Colour, by Percy Bargholtz. A Mainsheet Special edition (no.1) published by Brian Moorhouse, Peterborough. This 24-page pocket size handbook is devoted to a colour error on the medio peso stamp in the first issue of Peru’s stamps, which were issued in March 1858. This is a rare stamp and the author gives much detail about its existence and devotes 9 pages to black and white illustrations of covers and stamps.

Sports - Olympic Winter Games Catalogue (1st edition). Published in full colour by Domfil, Barcelona, Spain. Contains 384 pages with 3894 stamps and 1230 sets. Pictograms and symbols are used, so that it can be understood worldwide. The catalogue uses Domfil’s own numbering system as well as those in the Yvert & Tellier, Michel, Scott and Unicato catalogues. 

Bibliografia Thematica Italiana by Giovanni Bertolini. Published by Centro Italiano de Filatelia Thematica. A listing in Italian of articles on Thematic subjects

The Wildings - The First Elizabeth II Definitives. Publication no.9 in the series produced by British Philatelic Bulletin. 20 pages with colour throughout. This attractive pocket size booklet is full of interest for it tells the story of the design and production of the first definitives produced for the reign of Queen Elizabeth II which are known as The Wildings after the photographer and designer Dorothy Wilding (1893 to 1976), who produced the portrait for this set of stamps. The first two values (l½d and 2½d) were issued on 5th December 1952) in time for Christmas and the remaining values in batches over a period of about the next 15 months.

Czechoslovak Field Post 1918-1921 by Brian C. Day. Monograph No.1 Published by The Czechoslovak Philatelic Society of Great Britain.136 pages, card cover This is the 17th in the series of Monographs published by the Czechoslovak Philatelic Society and like its predecessors it is packed full of useful information for devotees of this territory, covering the years 1918-1921. Also included are two maps, details of Postage Tariffs and a section on Czech armoured trains serving in Slovakia as at October 1919. There is a Bibliography and many illustrations, including some in colour.

Krause-Minkus Standard Catalogue of US Stamps 2002, fifth edition. Published by Krause Publications, Iola, WI. USA. 774 pages, over 2,500 illustrations. Gives the stories behind the subjects of every postage stamp issued by the United States since the launch of pre-paid adhesives in the 19th century, in addition to philatelic and production information. Also included is expanded coverage of Ryukus, a new section on Allied Military Government stamps (printed by U.S. for use in four European Countries after World War II) and Stamp booklets issued by the U.S. since 1900. The sections on the Confederate States, the Postmasters’ Provisionals and Test Stamps have been expanded and refined, while the Canal Zone section has been enhanced.

Mails by Rail in New Zealand by the late Albert B. Johnstone and Robin M. Startup. Edited by Allan F. Berry. Published by Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand, Wellington. 206 pages, hardback. In the 1840’s the early European settlers set up the homesteads mainly along the New Zealand coasts but it was not until about 30 years later that any serious attempts were made to link the coastal towns by rail. 

The first Railway Travelling Post Offices (RTPOs) were established in 1876/78 between Christchurch and Invercargill. By linking the inter-colonial steamer shipping services it became possible for overseas mail to be distributed soon after its arrival. The earliest RTPOs (Christchurch - Invercargill, Wellington - New Plymouth, Wellington - Napier and Auckland – Thames) were attached to ‘mail’ trains that ran during the day. In 1909 the Auckland - Wellington Main Trunk RTPO commenced operating but worked through the night. The provincial RTPOs were withdrawn during the worldwide depression years of the early 1930s and the Christchurch - Dunedin service was taken off in 1942 during World War II. The North Island Main Trunk service lasted until 1971. Each RTPO service is looked at and official archives surviving having been examined thoroughly. Each of the interesting postal date stamps used is described and illustrated. There are some really rare examples amongst them. Other chapters record some of the Mail Agents memories, provide a commentary on the operation of a RTPO and associated activities, look at the railway stations which once operated the local post office and the postal carriages used as RTPO vans. A good bibliography is included.

Something Funny Happened on My Way to the Rostrum by D. Geoffrey Manton. Published by Cavendish Philatelic Auctions Ltd., Derby. 24 pages, card cover. Geoffrey Manton founded Cavendish Philatelic Auctions 50 years ago and held his first auction in Derby on 23rd January1952. Recalling those years and from glancing at a copy of the first auction catalogue we learn that four margin Penny Blacks were then valued at £1.10s. each and 2d Blues at £3.15s. - somewhat different from today’s prices. Right from the start of his career as an Auctioneer, Geoffrey was able to create a friendly atmosphere at his sales. His sense of humour was infectious and entertaining as can be seen throughout the descriptions of his travels and stories about many of his philatelic transactions, whilst the chapter devoted to “Friends, Clients and Eccentrics” is both interesting and entertaining and is full of information about some of the well known characters in the hobby over a long period.

Stamping through Mathematics by Robin J Wilson of the Department of Pure Maths, Open University, Milton Keynes. Published by Springer - Verlag Inc., New York, USA. 128 pages, hardback. The author describes his book as an illustrated history of Mathematics through stamps, and claims “Postage stamps are an attractive vehicle for presenting maths and its development”. The book reproduces nearly 400 postage stamps of the world which are related to maths ranging from the earliest form of counting to the current computer age. Robin Wilson is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics and his aim is to popularize mathematics. For many years he has presented illustrated lectures entitled “Stamping through Maths” at schools and college groups, also to mathematical clubs and societies.

The Railway Letter Stamps of Great Britain & Ireland 1891-1947. A catalogue by the Revd. Roger de Lacy-Spencer. Published November 2000 by Moorside Publishing Ltd, Pickering, N.Yorkshire. 112 pages A4 size. Profusely illustrated in black and white, with colour illustrations on pages 1 and 4 of the cover The introduction of Railway Letter stamps took place on the 1st February 1891, with the aim of providing a new postal service for urgent letters in various parts of the U.K. Specially designed stamps, based on a standard type approved by Royal Mail were issued by various railway companies, who had entered into agreements with the Post Office to provide an express letter service. These were produced by a variety of printers over the years.

The catalogue lists nearly 150 different rail services in operation between the end of the nineteenth century and 1947. Originally, a Railway Letter was taken by the sender to a passenger station of the Railway Company over whose line it was to be sent. It was handed in to the Parcel or Passenger Booking Office and a fee of 2 pence was paid by affixing an adhesive label issued by the railway company. This was in addition to Post Office charge of one penny for a letter not exceeding one ounce in weight. Thus the total cost was 3 pence. Letters to overseas destinations or those containing valuables were not accepted on this service. The recipient could call at the destination station to take delivery or the letter could be transferred from the railway station to the nearest Post Office letterbox for delivery in due course by a Postman. This book is full of interesting information and contains numerous well-drawn maps. Approximate prices are quoted ranging from under £1 to over £100 for most of the Railway Letter Stamps and there is a page of illustrations depicting some railway letter stamp cancellations. This book should certainly revive interest in collecting these stamps.

Communication History of The Dutch in India by K. Vaidyanadhan. Published in 1997 by the author in Madras, India. 48 pages illustrated. The dedication for the book is in memory of the Dutch people who were destined to
become part of India’s history following the defeat of the Portuguese settlers in various conflicts during the 17th and 18th centuries. This is not a book on stamps, but contains much useful data relating to the history of this part of the Indian continent.

Great Britain King George VI Low Value Definitive Stamps by Peter Wordfold. Published by G.E. Philatelic Publications, London for the Great Britain Phiiatelic Society. 40 pages, card cover. This book has been published as a result of a generous bequest to the GB Philatelic Society by a former member, the late Martin Willcocks. The book is full of interesting information about the research and design for the new stamps for King George VI and the problems involved in producing the stamps in the brief period of 6 months between the abdication of Edward VIII in December
1936 and the Coronation of George VI in May 1937. There are many illustrations of rejected designs and much data about the input from Edmund Dulac and Eric Gill.

Pigeon Mail through History by Salvador Bofarull. 184 pages card cover. This book comprehensively describes the use of pigeon mail from the Ancient Egypt through to the present day with suitable illustrations. Military use is fully covered, including the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and the introduction of carrier pigeons into the western armies in the years following. Civilian services are also covered including the Great Barrier and Marotiri Service, which operated from 1899 until 1908, and the shorter-lived Herm Island service of 1949.

Rossiter Postal History Journal Vol. 2 2001. Published by Stuart Rossiter Trust. The main policy of the Trustees is to encourage research into the history of post offices and services, whilst acting in accordance with the objects of the Trust as a Charity. The supporting policy is to publish what the private individual as a researcher and as an author cannot easily publish if commercial publication would not be viable. 

The Trustees also believe that there is a place for shorter works to be published to provide an introduction to subjects for those wanting to start learning about a particular aspect of postal services, but where the length of the work would not make a book in the normal sense. This book therefore comprises

  The Goldfields of Victoria by Rod Morton
  Pre-Soviet Russia: Registered and Associated Mail by Ian Baillie
  Early Mails between Constantinople and the West by Hans Smith

It also contains a list of the 12 books published by the Trust between 1995 and 2001.

Postal Markings – Somaliland Protectorate 1903-1960 2nd edition by G.Mentgen. Published by Murray Payne Ltd Axbridge. 64 pages with map. Numerous illustration of postmarks and registration labels plus censorship handstamps. All presented in tabular format and accompanied by useful data such as dates used, colour and informative comments.

Linn’s World Stamp Almanac 6th edition. Published by Linn’s Stamp News, Sidney OH, USA. 1,056 pages card cover. A mine of information about US stamps, from basic data to recent issues, plus U S. postage stamp production. U.S. Postal Rates 1692 to 1899, selected U.S. domestic mail rates in the 20th century and U.S. Postal Regulations are given in some detail and there are pages on US plate blocks and numbers plus, errors, freaks and oddities. There are also chapters on Law and Philately, Worldwide Postal Agencies and the basics of stamp collecting. Another useful chapter deals with totals of annual stamp production worldwide, together with a breakdown for 10 popular countries including Great Britain (our totals have increased from 23 in 1974 to 65 for 1997.) There is a useful 23-page section of philatelic terms and abbreviations, a foreign stamp identifier, plus listings of American and Foreign Dealer organizations, major stamp auctioneers, famous stamp personalities, infamous forgers and a Philatelic Roll of Honour. Finally, Museums and Libraries are also included, together with philatelic literature and periodicals.

Biafra - the Stamps, History and Postal History of the Rebel State during the Nigerian Civil War. First edition 2000, by Dudley Prestedge. Published by West Africa Study Circle. 114 pages. Information about the stamps issued by the rebel state, from the declaration of independence in 1967. Includes postal rates, stamp issues (with some colour illustrations), and details of the organisation of internal and external mails.

Postmarks of the Date Impression Books, Post Office Records 1895-1984. Published by Proud Bailey Ltd
Section 1 - Published 1979
Section 2 - Vols. 3 & 4 Published 1983
Section 3 - Vols. 5 & 6 Published 1984

Clovek v Kosmu (Man in Space) by Cacka and Ivan Pethanek. 350 pages hardback. In Czech with an English translation of the Introduction.

Reconstruccion de las planchas de los enteros postales tipo Infante by Angel Laiz. 144 pages, card cover. Published by Biblioteca de Historia, Postal Edifil, Spain. A study of the plates of the King Alphonso XIII postcards issued by Cuba, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Fernando Poo in 1898-99. Well illustrated with section in colour. In Spanish.

The Postal History and Markings of the Forwarding Agents by Kenneth Rowe. 270 pages, hardback. Published 1996 by Leonard A. Hartmann Published by Philatelie Bibliopole, Louiseville, Kentucky, USA. Describes the role of the forwarding agent in distributing mail sent by private methods across national boundaries and includes a worldwide listing of such agents by town up to around 1880. 

The Local & Private Post of Morocco by Jean Halk. 220 pages, card cover. Published 1998 by SPLM. Well illustrated. A translation from the French book of the same name. The history of the French, British, German and Spanish Post Agencies is summarised and followed by detailed listings of stamps issued by the Sherifan and other local posts.

To read about some more philatelic books that have been described in New in the Library, please click on the appropriate year below:

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