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The Publications Committee is always ready to consider new works, and encourages authors and potential authors to get in touch. Send an e-mail to the Publications Committee Chairman at publicationschairman@rpsl.org.uk

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Recent Publications

Society Publications

All the Society's current publications can be purchased from the online Shop.


Pan American Airways Wartime Transatlantic Air Mail: Censorship and the LATI Substitute

John Wilson and Frank Walton RDP FRPSL

Retail price £44, Members Price £39

Click here to purchase in the shop..

This is a fascinating account of how the USA and UK co-operated during World War II to run a censorship and intelligence-gathering operation on mail travelling between the Axis countries in Europe and countries in Latin America with pro-Axis sympathies. Pan American Airways took the place of the Italian-owned LATI (Linee Aeree Transcontinentali Italiane) transatlantic airmail delivery service, which had started in 1939 but was terminated by the USA following that country’s entry into the war in December 1941. The allied censorship operation was based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and has not been the subject of study hitherto. This lavishly illustrated book tells the story of the airmail routes and the censorship process that were developed.  The authors used a combination of archival materials and relevant covers to tell its amazing story.


A Jubilee Reminiscence
John Davies FRPSL

Retail price £55, Members Price £49

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In 1889 a general opinion was expressed that the fiftieth anniversary of the introduction of Uniform Penny Postage in Great Britain “ought not to be allowed to pass without some indication of the feelings, which must actuate all who looked back at the great reform introduced in 1840”. Arrangements were made for various Jubilee celebrations to be held in 1890. Although a plan for a commemorative stamp was initiated, it was later abandoned.

The year began with a Penny Postage Jubilee Dinner on 15 January with nearly 300 gentlemen present including the Postmaster General, Henry Cecil Raikes. Other major events took place including an Exhibition at the Guildhall organised by the City Corporation of London from 16 May to 19 May, visited by over 20,000 people, and other regional exhibitions.

There was an official Post Office celebration in the form of a grand Conversazione at South Kensington Museum on 2 July when nearly 4,000 people attended. A number of innovative displays and exhibits were assembled for these events. They were important in GB philately for the introduction of the first commemorative postal stationery and the first decorative special event handstamps. The Jubilee envelope was imitated in the same way as the original Mulready envelope fifty years earlier. The events also led to the use of special event cancellations and cachets, which could also be applied by favour, thereby
establishing the practice of the “philatelic souvenir”.

In addition to the Guildhall and South Kensington events, other exhibitions were held at home and abroad. These included the first British International Stamp Exhibition, organised by the London (later Royal) Philatelic Society at the Portman Rooms. This book brings together details of the events and the philatelic material related to them as well as the ephemera and other items of interest.

The author, John Davies FCIM FRPSL, is Immediate Past President of the Great Britain Philatelic Society, a Council Member of the Royal, a member of the ABPS Executive Committee, Past Chairman of the Stamp Active Network and Secretary of Banbury Stamp Society. His 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee exhibit won the first Large Gold and Best in Show awards together for Open Philately at national level, and won Best in Class at Stockholmia 2019.


International Postal Reforms. (In 2 Volumes).
James L. Grimwood-Taylor RDP FRPSL

Leather bound edition with slipcase: Retail price £370, Members Price £340. 
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Hard bound edition: Retail price £115, Members Price £105. 
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Volume 1 Postal Reforms and the Historical Background to the Postage Stamp 1550 to 1839

Volume 2 The Birth of the Postage Stamp and its International Effects 1840 to 1898

The first volume of this new examination of the history of international postal reforms, Postal Reforms and the Historical Background to the Postage Stamp 1550 to 1839, examines in detail Rowland Hill’s 1837 Post Office Reform; its Importance and Practicability pamphlet. It is usually cited as the sole source for the reduction of postage rates and the introduction of postage stamps – both labels and postal stationery – in Britain. This publication places Hill’s work in its true historical context and traces the origins of the high postal rates that he sought to reduce, starting from the posts of the Elizabethan Court and the European merchant princes of the 16th and 17th centuries. It then describes the early 19th century postal rate inflation in Britain and elsewhere, along with the careers of many reformers before Hill (including those in Britain, France, America, India and Australia). It shows that Hill was directly inspired to take up the study of the Post Office by earlier reformers including John Palmer and Robert Wallace.
 
Detailed analyses are given - for the first time in print - of the five different 1837-38 editions of Hill’s pamphlet, showing that the idea of postage labels was very much an after-thought, when compared to his assumption that postal stationery would be used for almost all prepaid letters, once uniform postage had been introduced. The international effects of Hill’s pamphlet – in France and in Australia in particular – are then outlined, along with the successful two-year campaign for Uniform Penny Postage that was undertaken by London’s ‘Mercantile Committee on Postage’. The latter’s astonishing array of printed propaganda, the Mercantile Papers that were masterminded by Henry Cole, are catalogued in detail for the very first time.
 
Also included is an analysis of the 17th century origins of Postage Stamps and an examination of early 19th century security printing. This volume concludes with three chapters on the famous ‘Treasury Competition’ of 1839, giving the most comprehensive listings yet to be published of the extant “Post Office Stamp” competition entries (some having been submitted by Americans and by Frenchmen).
 
The second volume The Birth of the Postage Stamp and its International Effects 1840 to 1898, traces the story of the introduction of cheap postage in Britain and around the world following the August 1839 “Penny Postage” Act. The most detailed analysis yet to be published of the experimental and very short-lived (5 December 1839 to 9 January 1840) “Uniform 4d Postage Period”, is followed by the story of how Uniform Penny Postage operated before the 1d Black and ‘Mulready’ stationery were made available in May 1840.
 
After a brief description of the creation of the world’s first postage stamps, a wide range of their 1840-41 usages is illustrated. This leads into three chapters describing exactly how the use of postage stamps by the ‘Early Adopters’ spread around the world up to mid-1850, most notably in Brazil, Switzerland and the U.S., but also in remoter areas such as Mauritius, Trinidad, Batavia, Peru, Bermuda and Australia.
 
Studies of the further postal reforms in Britain and elsewhere after 1840 follow, tracing Rowland Hill’s later career, and showing how the ‘Ocean Penny Postage’ campaigners inspired the worldwide movement for uniform postal rates that led to the formation of the General (later Universal) Postal Union in 1875.
 
The final chapter is by way of an Epilogue and focuses on the “unexpected legacy of Postal Reform” – Philately. It makes it clear that many of the earliest collectors of postage stamps (including some of the author’s own ancestors) were women rather than men. It then brings the story of philately up to the late 1860s, when the first ‘philatelic’ covers appear to have been created, specifically to enable their senders to obtain used examples of scarce or interesting stamps.
 
The author’s intention is that this two-volume work will, for the first time, place the early history of the postage stamp in the context of the ‘pre-stamp’ period, and show that they are both parts of the wider subject of Postal History.
 
The author, James Grimwood-Taylor, has been a stamp collector from the age of three and a full-time professional Postal Historian since the age of 22. He always intended one day to write the definitive study of how and why Rowland Hill’s reforms succeeded; this two-volume book is the result, illustrating more than 800 items from his own collections.
 
James has written two other books and over 200 Postal History articles over four decades. He has exhibited competitively since 1981, gaining International Gold Medals for his “British Offshore Islands” and “English Postal History” exhibits, while his “Postal Reforms” exhibit achieved an International Large Gold medal at ‘New York 2016’. His one-frame study of “Sydney’s early Overseas Mails to 1850” - won ‘best in show’ with a National Large Gold at York in 2015. He has been a National Judge at British philatelic exhibitions since the 1980s and has also judged overseas.
 
In 1982 James joined the Society of Postal Historians, was their Secretary from 1987-91, a Fellow from 1996, and President in 2002-03. He has also been Chairman of the British Philatelic Congress (2005) and President of the GBPS (2006-08). He joined the RPSL when professional philatelists were first admitted in 2005, being elected FRPSL in 2008. Just as this book went to the printers, he accepted the invitation to sign the prestigious Roll of Distinguished Philatelists.


Ceylon: The Pence issues
By Kurt Kimmel RDP FRPSL & Patrick Pearson VRD RDP Hon FRPSL

Retail price £72, Members Price £65

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This book provides a comprehensive overview of the stamps of Ceylon, their uses, their printings and varieties. It also covers the postal stationery, being the earliest stationery issued by any of the British Colonies, as well as the revenue stamps, reprints and forgeries.

 

 

 

Until the arrival of this important book, Ceylon had been one of the great classic countries of the world without a major book on its stamps and stationery. The early issues of Ceylon have been the subject of numerous articles in The London Philatelist and elsewhere by such eminent philatelists as Sir Edward Denny Bacon and Percy de Worms and a number of important collections have been formed and have been sold by the major auction houses worldwide.

This book was originally started in the 1980s when extensive research was undertaken by Patrick Pearson. However, it was not until more recently that the project reached completion with the input of Kurt Kimmel, whose collection today ranks as one of the finest collections ever formed of these great classics.

Based on the meticulous records kept by these two great philatelic students, this book covers in detail the die proofs; the plate proofs; the issued stamps; and the usages of the stamps. Throughout the book reference is made to the distinguishing features of various shades and varieties and to the relative rarity of each. The chapters are arranged by value and detail the evolution of each value from the first Perkins, Bacon imperforate issues; the clean cut, intermediate and rough perforations; the handover of the plates to De La Rue; and the De La Rue printings on the two different watermarked papers until the change of currency on 1st January 1872. Ceylon was one of the first countries of the British Empire to issue its own postal stationery and this has its own chapter. Other chapters are devoted to the unissued stamps overprinted "Service"; the fiscal issues printed by both Perkins, Bacon and De La Rue; fakes and forgeries; and the reprinted proofs and printers' samples.

Whilst this is not primarily a postal history book, the reasons for the issue of the stamps and the analysis of the rating of covers is given and there are chapters on the post office and postal markings; the postage rates; and the postal routes during this period.

The extensive appendices provide the source information for much that is in the book. These appendices cover the postal documents and other Ceylon government records; the printing and delivery records of Perkins, Bacon; and the De La Rue correspondence books and day books. Last, but by no means least, are the listings of major covers of these issues gleaned from the great collections; a bibliography; and extensive references to articles and auction catalogues over the last century.

Beautifully presented and profusely illustrated with some of the finest proofs, issued stamps and covers, this book will long be the definitive book on these important classic issues. It brings together the combined knowledge and collections of two great students of the issue into a book that will appeal both to the student of these issues and to those who enjoy looking at some of the finest classic stamps.


The Postal History of the Universal Postal Union:
The Postal Card (Worldwide) 1869-1974

By James Peter Gough RDP FRPSL

Retail price £115, Members Price £105. Click here to purchase in the shop.

A two volume book on the postal card, from its very beginnings to its virtual end in the 1970's, this provides a postal history of the evolution of “when, what and why” of postal cards and how they related to each other in sequences of time worldwide vis-a-vis philosophical approaches, rules, regulations and rates.

 

 

This book is primarily a philatelic history – but also a social history – of the postal card, from its very beginnings to its virtual end in the 1970s. Born of social necessity before the ages of the telephone, internet, mobile phones and text messaging, the postal card filled an important social need for a fast, direct means of communications without formalities. This utility for messaging was made possible when post offices typically provided up to five mail deliveries per day.
 
The genius of the invention caught imaginations across Europe so quickly that other countries started to plan its duplication even before the first postal cards were jointly issued (in slightly different designs) in Austria and Hungary on the same day, 1 October 1869.

When copying the simple idea, many other countries’ post offices felt the need to experiment with its design concept, its pricing (letter rate vs. discounted rate), its limitations of use and its priority of delivery (1st vs. 2nd class).
 
Many of these differences were ironed out at the Congress of Berne in 1874 when the new Postal Union adopted postal cards as a mandatory service to be offered by all members – even though some founding members had yet to issue their own first postal cards.
 
After Berne’74, the subsequent congresses of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), continued to tinker for decades with postal card rules and requirements.
 
While the UPU had been the biggest sponsor of the postal card concept in the 19th century, the UPU was one of the first to foresee its decline in use by the public.
 
By 1974 (the UPU’s 100th anniversary), the UPU authorised members to discontinue the postal card completely, and not just as its own class of mail. This book then is the 100 year story of the postal card. Click here to view the Table of Contents


Morocco: The History of the Local and Sherifien Posts
By Richard J. M. Garcia MBE FRPSL and Maurice Hadida FRPSL

Retail price £65, Members Price £60. Click here to purchase in the shop.

The postal history of Morocco in the 1890s, and the years up to World War I, is rich and varied as four Imperial powers (Great Britain, France, Spain and Germany) maintained postal services which were in competition with each other and with the Sultan’s newly-created Sherifien Post. In addition, some entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to create Local Posts which complemented the foreign posts. As a result, many of the postal services worked in tandem with each other, producing rare and eye-catching combination covers. 

L’histoire postale du Maroc dans les années 1890 et les années qui ont précédé la Première Guerre mondiale est riche et variée : quatre grandes puissances (France, Grande-Bretagne, Espagne et Allemagne) disposaient de services postaux en concurrence les uns avec les autres et avec la poste chérifienne, récemment créée par le Sultan. De plus, des entrepreneurs saisirent l’opportunité de créer des postes locales qui complétaient les services rendus par les postes étrangères. En conséquence, la coopération entre les nombreux services postaux, qui travaillaient en tandem, s’est traduite par des affranchissements mixtes, rares et spectaculaires. 
 

This is the first comprehensive and detailed account of this remarkable period in Morocco’s postal history, and explores the background to this time before considering the development of the Sherifien Post and each of the Local Posts. It also examines the role played by the intrepid rekkas, the postmen who carried the mail on foot up and down the country, and who made possible the expansion of the various postal services in Morocco. 
The richly-illustrated book draws widely on hitherto unpublished information gleaned from the French Diplomatic Archives and the Gibraltar National Archives. 

Il s’agit du premier récit complet et détaillé de cette période remarquable de l’histoire postale marocaine. Il commence par l’exposé du contexte de cette époque avant d’aborder le développement de la poste chérifienne et de chacune des postes locales, sans oublier le rôle joué par les rekkas, facteurs à pied intrépides, qui transportaient le courrier à travers le pays, et ont permis le développement des divers services postaux au Maroc. 
Le livre, richement illustré, s’appuie largement sur des informations, inédites jusqu’ici, recueillies auprès des archives diplomatiques françaises et des archives nationales de Gibraltar.


Tibet Stamps & Postal History
by Steve Chazen and Danny Wong FRPSL

Retail price £65, Members Price £55. Click here to purchase in the shop.

This book is the first attempt to outline the postal history of the entire Tibetan highland, covering the pre-adhesive period, the Chinese Imperial post, the Tibetan local post, the Republican and finally the People's Post, examining both civilian and military mail, British and Indian military and civilian post offices in Tibet are discussed in their historical context.

 

 

 

 


Retail price £76, Members Price £70 A History of The Royal Philatelic Society London 1869 to 2019
Edited by Charles Oppenheim FRPSL

Retail price £76, Members Price £70. Click here to purchase in the shop.

The Royal Philatelic Society London is the oldest philatelic society in continuous existence in the world. Its combination of research library, museum, research monographs, The London Philatelist, renowned expertising service and amazing displays by its members, not to mention its association with the British Royal Family stretching back well over 100 years, also make it the most prestigious in the world.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of its creation, the Society commissioned this book. There are thirteen chapters, each written by a Fellow of the Society, and each looking at one aspect of the Society’s past and current activities. The chapters cover: management and finances; meeting places; meetings held; membership; royal patrons; honours, medals and awards; the Expert Committee; the Library; the Museum; its Philatelic Collections; its use of information technology; its monograph publishing; and its journal, The London Philatelist. Many appendices and an index support the text. The chapter on premises introduces the reader to what is indeed a new chapter in the Society’s history – its new home in Abchurch Lane in the city of London.
There have been official histories of the Society before; one to celebrate its 50th birthday in 1919, one for its centenary in 1969 and another in 2006 for the celebration of the centenary of it being granted the title “Royal” This latest volume not only covers those early histories thanks to the input of new research findings, but also updates them with developments right up the present day. The book is an essential reference work for all who are interested in the past and present of the Society.


The Court Bureau: A London Company and its Stamps 1889-1891
by Vincent West FRPSL

Retail price £18, Members Price £16. Click here to purchase in the shop

This is the first authoritive history of the short-lived Court Bureau and its classic local stamps. Drawing on primary source material in The Postal Museum and elsewhere, this fully illustrated study includes much hitherto unpublished information of interest to postal historians and railway philatelists.

 

 

 


The 1840 One Penny Black
by Michael Chipperfield

Retail price £100, Members Price £100. Click here to purchase in the shop.

A profusely illustrated leather-bound hardback book on the first postage stamp, the 1840 1d black.

 

 

 

 

 


The Fathers of Philately Inscribed on the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists,
by Brian J. Birch FRPSL.

Retail price £65, Members Price £60. Click here to purchase in the shop.

The Roll of Distinguished Philatelists was established in 1921 by the Philatelic Congress of Great Britain to recognise outstanding contributions to the development of philately. At its launch, 43 philatelists were deemed to be "The Fathers of Philately". The oldest had been born 40 years before the issue of the 1d black. The Roll now consists of over 300 signatories, each of whom has been selected on merit.

A century after the last of the "Fathers" died, this book recalls and recounts the reasons for the establishment of the Roll, and its development as the most prestigious honour in philately.

 


Royal Philatelic Society London Members' Collections 2019,
Edited by Mark W. Bailey FRPSL and Frank L. Walton RDP FRPSL.

Retail price £78, Members Price £70. Click here to purchase in the shop.

For our 150th anniversary, the Society is publishing a permanent and representative record of how and what RPSL members collect in 2019. Each page of the book is a scan of the complete sheet(s) submitted by Fellows and Members, over 200 of whom will have contributed to the book.
 
RPSL Members' Collections 2019 is a departure from the type and style of book usually published by the Society. The closest seen in recent times is the catalogue for Monacophil 2011. It includes a wide range of material from most philatelic disciplines and it emphasises very clearly the development of our addictive hobby.

 


British King George V Definitive, Profile Head and Seahorse Stamps Overprinted for NAURU,
by Robert C. Stein FRPSL.

Retail price £50, Members Price £45 Click here to purchase in the shop.

This study provides a detailed examination covering production from design, paper and ink, to printer, and distribution to Nauru for the definitive King George V Profile Head (½d to 1s) and Seahorse (2/6 to 10/-) stamps of Great Britain overprinted for use in Nauru.
The book is relevant to a wider audience than just Nauru collectors, as it is more about the production of British stamps supervised by Great Britain's Inland Revenue Stamping Department.

 

 


The Returned Letter Offices of Great Britain to 1912 and Beyond
by J. Kenneth Snelson and Robert B. Galland FRPSL.

Retail price £70, Members Price £63 Click here to purchase in the shop.

The book, arranged in 3 parts, provides postal historians and collectors of UK postal history with a comprehensive reference on the handling of undeliverable mail, the history of the Returned Letter Offices (RLOs), the stationery of the RLOs, and the rules and procedures used in the RLOs.

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The Paper Trail: World War II in Holland and its Colonies as seen through Mail and Documents
by Kees Adema RDP FRPSL and Jeffrey Groeneveld.

Retail price £70, Members Price £63 Click here to purchase in the shop.

This book tells the story of the postal history of Holland and its colonies during World War 2 in a fresh and compelling way. A myriad of correspondence has been unearthed from family records, and the book weaves together the evidence from mail and other documents into a distinctive narrative.

 

 

 


Perkins Bacon Great Britain Line-Engraved Postage Stamp Printing 1840 to 1846
by Alan Druce FRPSL.

Retail price £125, Members Price £112 Click here to purchase in the shop.

After five years of research in the archives of Perkins Bacon Records and the Postal Museum, primary sources in the British Library, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Archives at Kew, the information gleaned has been meticulously analysed and the full story told in more detail than ever before.