Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Specialised Catalogues

Some New Additions to the Shelf

The quest for specialised catalogues never ends if you want to delve into the minutiae of your collection. In an earlier blog I mentioned some of the fascinating books I had in my library,

A few new additions have made it to the bookshelf since that blog.

Firstly, the Philatelic Handbook of the Gilbert & Ellice Islands by D.H. Vernon. Issued in the 1970's this is an official reprint by the Pacific Islands Study Circle and can be ordered from their excellent website.

The handbook covers geography, history, population, administration, flora, fauna and anything else non-philatelic you could possibly need to know. The philatelic information is superb, going island by island, with examples of all known postmarks and their dates of usage, followed by details of the stamps themselves, including numbers issued, varieties and usage.

I highly recommend this publication to anyone with more than a passing interest in the Gilbert & Ellice Islands.

Secondly, another postal history book, Postmarks of the Australian Forces 1939 to 1953 by Stephenson Stobbs.

The movement of Australian troops during WWII makes for a fascinating postal history study. As an example, 3rd Brigade Headquarters Post Office was found in Palestine, Papua, Syria, North Africa, Greece and Crete in the period from December 1940 to May 1941!

This is THE reference for this information, and a book that must grace your shelf if Australian military and censor mail is in your sphere of interest.

Thirdly, and lastly for now, The German-English Philatelic Dictionary (2005). Clearly this isn't a catalogue, but it deserves special mention as a labour of love. 

Produced by The Germany Philatelic Society in the US, whose website is here, the dictionary is in German-English format and contains over 9,000 words or phrases and over 1,100 abbreviations. It's an invaluable resource for anyone collecting Germany, and, as far as I know, the only resource that can provide the following translations in one place:
  • Schleuderflugpost - catapult mail
  • Kursdauer - period during which stamp is current
  • Behörden Durchlochung - perfins, specifically the ones by officials such as police
Google Translate or Babelfish can't compete with the detail in this book, so if you want to decipher German auction catalogues, decipher a piece of postal history or translate the wording on a stamp, this is a must-have!

It may be obvious that you need the right resources on hand if you want to snap up the bargains that are still available because others don't know what they're selling, but remember:

"Knowledge is Power" - Sir Francis Bacon, 1597

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