Philatelic Library

As an essential part of the global philatelic community, we truly understand that this “hobby of kings” is more than just a simple pastime – it’s a passion. Your thirst for knowledge may be quenched when you uncover the historical details about your collections, but for many collectors in our intellectual neighborhood, learning more about the evolution of stamp collecting itself is of great interest as well.

That’s why our Philatelic Library is here – to provide for your enjoyment a growing anthology of fascinating, informative and even scandalous articles written throughout the past century about philately and some of the people involved in its history.

  • Whither Watermarks?

    In The Metropolitan Philatelist (New York) for April 23, 1910, editor J.W. Scott advised against collecting varieties of watermarks.

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  • A War Stamp Court Martial

    The philatelic aspects of this case were set out in a lengthy report in the July 24, 1915, issue of The Postage Stamp (London).

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  • By Gum! It’s Stuck

    In The Philatelist (London) for January 1939, L.N. and M. Williams traced the variety of adhesives used to mount stamps to pages.

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  • Does It Pay?

    R.W. Ashcroft pondered the effectiveness of philatelic advertising, in the June 1893 issue of The Canadian Journal of Philately (Toronto).

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  • The Origin of the Word “Philately”

    The Journal of the Philatelic Literature Society (London) for April 1915 published a translation of the early article that gave our hobby its name.

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  • The Little Stamp Books and the Reply Stamp

    Noting the popularity of booklet stamps, Jules Bouvez suggested in the February 1905 issue of the American Journal of Philately (New York) that further innovation was needed.

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  • Philatelic Journalism in War-Time

    This timely report appeared in the October 1914 issue of The Journal of the Philatelic Literature Society (London). One hundred copies of each issue were printed and went to members only.

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  • Stamp Auctions

    W.F. Gregory gave this auction advice in the February 1905 issue of the American Journal of Philately (New York).

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  • Rare Postage Stamps

    This is a chapter from The Amateur Collector : Everybody's book on Collecting, by Dr. George C. Williamson of Hampstead, England. The book was published by Robert M. McBride & Company in New York in 1924.

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  • Noted Collections - H.E. Deats

    Alvah Davison’s profile of a famous collection appeared in The Collectors Ledger for September 1888, and was reprinted in The Worcester County Philatelist (Worcester, Massachusetts) for December 1891.

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  • Coiled Postage Stamps

    The Bureau of Engraving and Printing of the United States Treasury Department marked its centennial in 1962. At that time, the Department published History of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, 1862-1942. A chapter on “new horizons in a new century, 1994-1913” traces the development of coil stamps under the heading “Coiled Postage Stamps.”

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  • Notes on United States Stamps

    These musings of George F. Crofoot were published in The Worcester County Philatelist (Worcester, Massachusetts) of November 1892. They first appeared in The American Philatelic Magazine (Omaha, Nebraska).

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  • Australia in a Nutshell

    Published in Sydney in 1911, J.H. Smyth’s Philately in a Nutshell surveys the field in charming fashion and concludes with “`Bits’ of Information Concerning the Stamps of Various Countries.” Here are his observations on the Australian Commonwealth and States.

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  • Censoring Soldiers’ Letters

    The Postage Stamp (London) for June 5, 1915, reported “How Tommy Atkins’ Letters Are Censored.”

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  • Rouletting

    This article appeared in the June 1894 issue of The Post Office, published by Henry Gremmel in New York. Crawford Capen was the editor and probable author of this anonymous piece.

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  • The Future of Stamp Collecting

    The Rev. R.B. Earee’s forecast appeared in Nunn’s Philatelical Annual and was reprinted in Vindin’s Philatelic Monthly (Sydney) for January 1889.

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  • The Brazilian Post Office

    This account of the post office at Rio de Janeiro appeared in the May 1868 issue of The American Journal of Philately, edited by John Walter Scott and published in New York City. The article ends with a comma, in the middle of a quotation. Such were the vagaries of the early philatelic press.

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  • Album Gossip

    An anonymous author presented this dialogue in the March 1898 issue of The Columbian Philatelist (New Oxford, Pennsylvania).

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  • Some Experiences of a Lady Collector

    Women have collected stamps from the earliest days of our hobby. In the September 1902 issue of The Stamp Collector, published in Birmingham, Mrs. Decima Hamilton shared her memories of young collectors in a Victorian household.

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  • The Truth about the Stamps of the Somali Coast with Inverted Centers

    This exposé, translated from L’Echo de la Timbrologie and published in the American Journal of Philately (New York) for February 1905, sparked an acid commentary from George L. Toppan, editor of the AJP.

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  • Stamp Hunting in Summer

    “Rover” offered this seasonal celebration of philately in the July 1903 issue of The Stamp Collector, published in Birmingham, England.

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  • These Stirring Times

    The late 1890s were an exciting period for philately, according to Charles E. Jenney in the June 1898 issue of The Columbian Philatelist (New Oxford, Pennsylvania).

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  • Death of M. Oscar Berger-Levrault

    The passing of a pioneer philatelist was chronicled in The Stamp Collector (Birmingham, England) issue of November 1903.

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  • Worries and Anxieties

    The unsettled state of the postwar philatelic world was lamented by the editor of The Australian Philatelist (Sydney) in its December 1923 issue.

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  • Some Philatelic Memories of Dixie

    “C.S.A.” (a nom de philatelie) recapped the philatelic history of the Confederate States in an article that appeared in The Post Office for November 1894. The journal was published by Henry Gremmel in New York City, with Crawford Capen as editor.

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  • Philatelic Journalism

    In The Canadian Journal of Philately (Toronto) of July 1893, Jno. R. Hooper reported progress in the philatelic press.

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  • The “Correos” Stamps of Venezuela

    This look at 19th century Venezuelan stamps by Wilhelm Kühn of Edinburgh appeared in The Stamp Collector (Birmingham) for March, 1903.

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  • Two Great Philatelic Indexes

    In its September 25, 1915, issue, The Postage Stamp (London) saluted “Mr. W.R. Ricketts’ Important Work” and lamented the delays in its publication.

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  • The Evolution of the Stamp Album, from Lallier to Mekeel

    This lengthy chronicle by Lewis G. Quackenbush appeared in the Philatelic Journal of America for April 1894.

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  • Letter Postage 250 B.C.

    This report on a philatelic papyrus appeared in Carter’s Messenger (Brooklyn, New York), Volume 2, Number 1, circa 1910.

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  • Used versus Unused

    In The Stamp Collector (Birmingham, England) for February 1903, Ernest Heginbottom, B.A., tackled this endlessly controversial question.

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  • Fiscal Collecting

    A coming boom in revenues was touted by R.S. Walters in The Canadian Philatelist (London, Ontario) for March 1893.

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  • First Day Cover Recollections

    Dealer Elmer R. Long shared memories of servicing U.S. first day covers in the November 1950 issue of Covers (Albany, Oregon).

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  • Home Rule and Philately

    The philatelic impact of Home Rule for Ireland was weighed in this report from The Canadian Philatelist (London, Ontario) for June 1893.

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  • Major Cover Show Held at Museum During Postal History Convention

    Philadelphia staked a claim to philatelic fame with this report by George W. Caldwell in the December 1951 issue of Covers (Albany, Oregon).

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  • Music in Philately

    This article by “Post Master” appeared in the first issue of The Western Philatelist, published in Chicago in January 1887.

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  • Mounting Entire Envelopes

    C.R. Gadsden reported an innovative way to mount covers, in the October 1887 issue of The Western Philatelist (Chicago).

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  • M.K. Essaji - The dealer who sold India first issues by weight!

    The prolific Jal Cooper profiled a longtime Bombay stamp dealer in the March 1944 issue of India’s Stamp Journal (Bombay).

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  • Setting Used Stamp Values

    Charles Prant undertook to answer a provocative question in the June 20, 1942, issue of Stamp Wholesaler (Burlington, Vermont).

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  • Ernest F. Gambs

    This profile of a well-known stamp dealer was published in The Badger State Philatelist (Delavan, Wisconsin) of February 1888.

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  • Color and Philately

    C.W. Bruce proclaimed the joy of shades in the July 1945 issue of India’s Stamp Journal (Bombay).

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  • The “Common” versus the “French” School of Philately

    The Eagle Philatelist (Kansas City, Kansas) for July 1892 offered Harry F. Kantner’s account of an early schism within the hobby.

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  • Our Philatelic Publications

    In the January 1892 issue of The Eagle Philatelist (Kansas City, Kansas), E.S. Luther recommended several stamp periodicals from among the scores then being published.

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  • Murder Pair Revealed as “Approval Pirates”

    Stamp Wholesaler (Burlington, Vermont) recounted in its June 20, 1942, issue a lurid tale of two murders who would stop at nothing, even asking for approvals, then not returning them.

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  • What Makes a Stamp Beautiful?

    Of all the reasons why people collect stamps, their inherent beauty is perhaps the easiest to explain to those who aren’t naturally drawn to philately. From a historical perspective, there’s room to debate whether stamp collecting became popular as a way of recognizing and celebrating this beauty, or if the collectible market inspired national postal systems to produce more remarkable and noteworthy designs.

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  • Stamp Collecting 101

    As one of the world's most popular hobbies, philately, also known as stamp collecting, has been around almost since the issuance of the first postage stamp: the Penny Black (U.K.) in 1840. Within 20 years of this, the hobby had spread throughout Europe, America, and much of the British Empire.

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  • Help! I've Just Inherited a Stamp Collection

    If you’ve been willed a stamp collection, consider it a sign of the great esteem your loved one had for you. Many collectors highly value their stamps. In choosing you to administer this important part of their estate, they have demonstrated a great deal of confidence in your ability to do it justice.

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  • Stamp Collecting: Alive and Well in the 21st Century

    Stamp collecting is a hobby that dates back to the 19th Century. This interesting historical trajectory includes the birth of the first philatelic club in 1869 to collecting during the internet age.

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  • Caring for Your Stamp Collection

    Some basic knowledge of how to preserve your stamp collection is essential to protecting your investment for the long term. In this article we attempt to provide a basic overview of everything you need to know about how to store and preserve stamps.

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  • The History of Stamp Counterfeiting and How to Spot a Fake

    Counterfeiting of stamps immediately became a profitable enterprise for those daring enough to try it. It was not until much later, when stamps became a collector’s item and people began to pay large sums of money for them, that counterfeiters started focusing on reproducing rare and valuable stamps to bilk investors.

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  • Famous Philatelists Throughout History and Today

    The hobby of stamp collecting is greatly enjoyed by those in the United States, with an estimated 22 million people enjoying the hobby. In particular, the hobby is one that has often appealed to royals, world leaders and celebrities across the world.

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  • Stamp Museums: Philately on Display Throughout the World

    No matter how involved you are in the philately world, learning more about stamps and the postal system in general is a great way to expand your knowledge about your hobby.

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  • Famous FBI Cases of Stolen Stamp Collections

    Many people around the world collect stamps. It is a relaxing hobby for some and a heroic quest for others, as they seek to find that perfect stamp to finish their collection. But countless people may not consider the value of stamp collections. Unbeknownst to them, some collections are so valuable that the authorities must summon the FBI to help investigate significant thefts.

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