Book reviews.

SPECIALISED CATALOGUE OF POSTAGE STAMPS AND POSTAL STATIONERY OF LATVIA 1990 2004. 11edition, Compiled by Egils Plume, 272pp. Philatelic Society af Latvia (Brivibas gatve 234, Riga IV-1039, Latvia (2005).

Allthough the postal stationery section only occupies 38 pages it provides the most comprehensive source of information of Latvian postal stationery of this period. Each item is illustrated together, where applicable, with the relevant special cancellations. The items listed and priced comprise 11 pre-stamped envelopes and 35 postal cards. The text is fully bilingual in Latvian and English and gives all the information relating to the purpose of issue of each item, together with details of availability and postal treatment.


PARAGUAY POSTAL STATIONERY CATALOGUE ISSN 0268-3237. Edited by Brian Moorhouse, 40 pp. Mainsheet Special Edition, Published by Brian Moorhouse, P O Box 105, Peterborough, PE3 9TQ UK   8.00

This work brings together the current information on the postal stationery of Paraguay and is highly recommended reading for anyone who collects or has an interest in this area.. As with many countries the information previously available derived from Ascher's Grosser Ganzsachen Katalog and the more simplified Higgins & Gage Priced Catalog of Postal Stationery of the World.

However the contributors to the present work, Joseph Hahn, Raymond Todd and Bill Walton, together with Brian Moorhouse as editor, are to be congratulated on their study of a hitherto relatively unresearched area which has resulted in a very informative and readable monograph. The catalogue is divided into five sections covering postal cards; letter cards; envelopes; wrappers and the "Modern Era" (postcards and aerograms). Besides listing of the items produced there is a lot of relevant and fascinating background information relating to the printers, proofs, varieties, remainders, earliest recorded days of use etc.

As is often the case with postal stationery some information can only be provisional, having by necessity, to be based on retrospectice analysis of limited quantities of previous unrecorded material. Pricing is inevitably also difficult since the amount of used material changing hands is very limited, but it gives a good idea of the relative scarity of the items listed.


LES ENTIERS POSTAUX DE FRANCE ET DE MONACO 2005, 7th EDITION. (The Postal Stationery of France and Monaco) Published by Bertrand Sinais in 2004, edited by Jean Storch, the late Robert Francon and Bertrand Sinais. Perfect bound soft cover, 6,2 x 9.3 inches, 414 pages, color illustrations, priced in euro. It is in French. Available from publisher, 7 Rue de Chateaudun, 75009 Paris, France for 60 euros plus postage.

This 7th edition is dedicated to Robert Francon, who died unexpectedly of illness in 1999 at the age of 67. In fitting tribute, this comprehensive catalog of French postal stationery is now in full, glorius color. The illustrations are clearly printed on coated paper, resulting in excellent quality.

The listing system, as before, takes each stamp design chronologically and assigns it a three letter prefix that is an abbreviation of the design (except all aerograms are prefixed AER) For example the "sower" stamp design, "Semeuse" in French, has the prefix SEM.

Following the prefix is a letter, beginning with A, denoting the denomination of the stamps in ascending order. Following the letter is a number with or without suffix lower case letter, denoting the item, listed in groups by type of stationery. For example, SEM A is the 10c rose sower stamp. SEM A1 is the 1904 postcard, SEM A1a is the same with print date reversed. SEM A1f is the card with perfin C.G., and SEMA4a is the printed to private order card for B & J. It continues with SEM A8a as a PTPO lettercard, SEM A9 as the 1906 envelope, and so on.

The system does have some advantages, especially for a country with the shear quantity that France produced, and with great complexity of the issues. However, the catalog, which has excellent quality illustrations, especially of the die types, lacks sufficient quantity of them for the many stationery types and the differences among them. Instead it relies on descriptive text, which to those not conversant with French makes identifying an item a bit difficult and prone to error.

The coverage is remarkably complete, including essays, specimens, non-issued items, printing varieties, detailed listings of the various printed to private order users, die types of many of the stamp designs. In addition, the German stationery issued in WWI and WWII for use in France is also included. The POW camp mail stationery of WWI is also included (and, it is surprising how much was permitted by the Nazis).

The catalog does omits all of the P A P stationery, but  theese are now covered in another catalog. Also not included are International Reply Coupons, but the postal money orders and the parcel cards are.

The pricing continues to be the most valuable aspect of this catalog. The cheapest items are valued a 2 euro, while the highest price is 7500 euro (for a 50c identity booklet). The rare material is priced high and the cheap stuff is priced low as it should be. The experience is that scarce French material, say items priced at a couple of hundred euros or more, will fetch close to catalog value, or more in auction. The cheaper items, of course, are usually available at great discount if bought in lots.

For anyone who collects this area, this is an essential catalog, even though there are four other catalogs covering it (the obsolete H&G, Michel, ACEP and Y&T). It is highly recommended.

IRISH AEROGRAMMES AND AIRGRAPHS. Published 1998 by the Eire Philatelic Association edited by William J Murphy. Staple bounced softcover. 5.5 x 8.5 inches, 46 pages, black and white illustrations, priced. Available from the EPA, c/o Timothy O'Shea, 58 Porter Street, Granby, MA 01033-9516.  USD 5 + 2 for postage.

The Irish Post Office sold formular aerograms until the recent stamped issues. This booklet, using the FAI/Jung catalog numbering system, adds additional details, and extended coverage of the privately added printings used in Northern Ireland, British air letters, items used to Ireland from other countries, First Flights, and most importantly, the airgraphs issued during WWII from Northern Ireland. It concludes with a bibliography. It also contains a rate table for Irish aerograms from their first appearance in 1951.

The booklet is easy to use, with a good layout, though the illustration quality is less than ideal. Still, the airgraph information alone would recommend the booklet, especially at its inexpensive price.

NEW ZEALAND POSTAL STATIONERY CATALOGUE PART 2, LETTERCARDS 2001 by R D Samuel*. Published by the author, P O Box 394, Christchurch, New Zealand.

This volume is an update of a 1889 publication which has been out of print for some time. As might be anticipated from the standing of the author, Robert Samuel, it represents the most authoritative listing available of the lettercards issued by the New Zealand Post Office from 1895 - 1990. The listing is easy to follow and is supplemented by explanatory notes which provide much interesting and useful background to the rationale for changes in tariff, layout, perforation etc. as well as guiding the reader through the intracacies of the different types and settings of the first 1895 letter cards and the 1932 provisional issues.The latter context a section on the adhesive provisionals is also included which greatly clarifies the situation regarding these stamps which could not excist were it is not for the procedures employed to re-rate postal stationery.

The catalogue is priced throughout and the figures indicated give an insight into the increasing appreciation of the trur scarcity of many stationery items and the consequent effect on market values.

I am sure this publication will prove to be a worthy successor to New Zealand Postal Stationery Post Cards published in 1988 and is highly recommended to everyone with interests in New Zealand postal stationery or postal stationery generally.


  • Sadly since this review was written Robert Samuel's death was announced.



Alexander Ilushyin kindly sent me a copy of this new priced Catalogue of Russian postal Stationery which covers the period 1845 - 2000.

Unfortunately since I am unable to read Russian any comments are obviously very constrained. However for those who can read the text it should prove a very useful and compact listing of the various types of postal stationery that have been issued.


                                                                                                                       SPECIALIZOVAY KATALOG 2001: SLOVENSKO 1939.1945 A 1993-2000; Postove znamky a celiny;Union of Slovak Philatelists; Bratislava; 2001; 224pp. $12 from Radlinskeho 9, SK-812 11 Bratislava 1 Slovak Republic.

Published in Bratislava by the Union of Slovak Philatelists this specialised, priced listing of Slovak adhesive stamps and postal stationery is the combined work of a group of Slovak philatelists led by Lubomir Floch and Josef Tekel. This is a splendid publication, the contents being very clearly and logically arranged and it is excellently produced with color illustrations throughout.

Covering the periods 1939 - 1945 and 1993 - 2000, the postal stationery sections are really impressive, every item being illustrated, including the pictorial view cards. Although written in Slovak, an introductory section in English plus a Slovak:English:German:French vocabulary make this catalogue readily accessible to most postal stationery collectors around the world. The Union of Slovak Philatelists is to be congratulated on publishing this catalogue which sets a benchmark for others to match.



THE POSTAL STATIONERY OF NATAL; John Dickson & Keith Hanman: Natal & Zululand Study Circle; ISBN 0-9540380-0-2; 2001; 221pp.

Allthough the final word can never be written with certainty on any subject, without doubt this excellent publication will be the definitive reference for information on Natal postal stationery for many years to come.

There has been an impressive amount of research carried out to provide the detailed information set out in the text which is sub-divided into three sections. The first of these describes the issued items of postal stationery including the background information as how to and why they were produced. The next section is concerned with the postal rates and the corresponding usages of Natal postal stationery, while the third section comprises extracts from official documentation relevant to the issue and use of postal stationery in Natal.

The text is very comprehensively illustrated throughout, both in color and black & white, and includes proofs, essays and a detailed analysis of SPECIMEN overprints. All in all this book represents a benchmark against which other specialised monographs on british Colonial postal stationery will be measured.



PAKISTAN OVERPRINTS 1947-49, by Mohd.Arif Balgamwala, First edition May 2000;175pp. Published by the Author, C-16 Akber Apartments, Bleak House Road, Karachi 7, Pakistan. Fax 5675494. e-mail: arifyco@gerrys.net

This well produced book present a most comprehensive account and listing of the overprints applied to adhesive stamps and postal stationery both by the Indian Security Press at Nasik, and by various towns in Pakistan, Of the books 175 pages nearly 60 are devoted to postal stationery, while 15 pages are used to give an index of overprints by size to facilitate finding the location where the overprint was applied. A price guide ia also included. The author is to be congratulated on bringing the information together and presenting it for the benefit of other collectors.


POSTAL STATIONERY OF PAKISTAN 1947 - 1995 by F.Aleem Sundal & Rafiq Kasbati. December 1995, 148 pp. Published by the Authors, Karachi, Pakistan.

Although published over five years ago this work has only just come to hand and I thought it appropriate to bring it to the attention of Commission Members since it covers the subsequent issues to those listed by Balgamwala. Every item is illustrated and the text is clear and easy to follow. A guide to values is also included and the listing will be extremely useful to all those interested in the postal stationery of Pakistan.


ADVERTISING RINGS by Richard Arundel, 2000. 40pp. Published by Richard Arundel Ltd. Publications, PO Box 22, Woking, GU24 9SN

This spiral-bound booklet provides a basic listing of the British Companies which either the possibility of having additional advertising rings printed at the same time as they had their stationery stamped at Somerset House, or had rings added privately afterwards. Whilst this publication will be a useful aid to collectors especially new onens, it unfortunately does not give the full range of information which has been published but tends to record what the author has seen, a not uncommon situation in philatelic publications. An attempt has been made to provide a guide to value and an alphabetical index of companies is also included


A PRICED CATALOGUE OF POSTAL STATIONERY OF THE AUSTRALIAN COLONIES/STATES. Series Editor Malcolm Groom. Part One - Western Australia: Compiler Brian Pope; The Postal Stationery Society of Australia, Canberra (2002) 52 pp ISBN 0-646-40932-8

This publication which is intended to be part of a series represents the centenary of the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia project of the Postal Stationery Society of Australia. Excellently laid out and illustrated in colour it provides a superb aesy to follow, priced listing of the postal stationery issued for use in Western Australia.

The primary listing is supplemented by an introductory Overview and sections on Essays & Proofs; Printers; Destruction Records; Printing Base Formats; Postage Rates; a list of items of which five or less are known and a comparative tabulation of the numbering used previously by Stanley Gibbons, Senf, Ascher, Robson Lowe, Higgins & Gage and other listings. A fine work, highly recommended.


UNGARISCHE ZUSATZFRANKATUREN AUF DEN KORRESPONDENZKARTEN 1869 UND 1871. By Denes Czirok and Karl Endrodi; published by the authors; Zalaegersreg, 66pp (2002) Price 20 Euros.

By their very nature early post cards used with additional adhesive stamps usually represents a very small proportion of the mail. This was certainly the case with the first issue of Hungary and with the passage of time very few have survived. The authors have provided a very useful service to their fellow collectors by bringing together an integrated, illustrated listing of the known examples of the first two issues supplemented by the relevant Post Office documentation of the period.

Obtainable from Czirok Denes, PACsirta u. 9/1, H-8900 Zalaegersreg, Hungary


DIE GANZSACHEN IRLANDS - POSTAL STATIONERY OF IRELAND: Catalogue and Handbook. By Bernard (Barney) Clancy and Otto Jung; Forschungs- und Arbeitgemeinschaft Irland & Bund Deutscher Philatelisten e.V; Duren, Germany 220pp (2002)

This new edition of the definitive listing of Irish postal stationery will be wlcomed by all collecters of this issues.Otto Jung who pioneered the creation of the original catalogue has joined forces with Bernard Clancy to produce the latest update on items issued by the Irish Post Office since 1994 as well as incorporating additional and amended information on the earlier issues. Pricing is now in euros and as ever the authors and the publishers are to be warmely commended for providing a valuable addition to the litterature available to their fellow enthusiasts in the philatelic community. This particular work is devoted to items produced and issued by the Post Office, the Stamped to Order material being the subject of seperate volume currently in preparation. A must for all collectors of Irish postal stationery.


Catalogue of the pictorial envelopes of the USSR by Alexander Lapkin, Part II 1960-67. ISBN 5-98020-006-1. 244pp. (2004)

This catalogue follows on from Part I which covered the period 1953-60 and it is a remarkable compilation listing the very large number of envelopes issued, 336 in 1960; 384 in 1961; 531 in 1962; 607 in 1963; 596 in 1964; 541 in 1965; 493 in 1966; and 143 in 1967. The vignette on each envelope is illustrated and related to the basic envelope type and the stamp impression. The text is in Russian but this publication provides a valuable reference for collectors.