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Reference Books For Stamp Collectors

 
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Posted 01/19/2021   1:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add moneil to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Quick backstory, I have a coupon to use at a favorite used book shop (Better World Books online) and I typed in "Stamp Collecting". Going through the list (12 books per page) there seem to be over 500 books on the subject of stamp collecting (after page 45 the list begins to include coins and other collection topics), with over 100 different titles in stock. I had no idea there would be so many.

My questions are:

Outside of country and topic specific works, are there some books that are considered to be the definitive general reference source for stamp collectors? I realize that there will likely be many opinions, just given the number of books on the topic. It would be interesting to see if a short list emerges of commonly accepted titles of "the bible" for stamp collectors. I own, use, and find helpful "Fundamentals of Philately" by Leon Norman and M. Williams (American Philatelic Society, 1971).

I am going to be putting together a starter kit (several hundred used stamps plus a used binder) for a new collector. Are there more basic reference works that would be especially good for someone just starting out?

One of the most useful reference works is of course www.stampsmarter.org, but sometimes a book is good also.
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Posted 01/21/2021   07:54 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Killamikep to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Where can I get a perf gauge.
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Posted 01/21/2021   08:11 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add littleriverphil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
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Posted 01/21/2021   11:26 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
One of the definitive classics is Max Johl's "The United States Postage Stamps of the Twentieth Century," in three volumes. In one of my best recent snipes, I picked up a clean set, signed by Johl, on eBay for $25. I've seen it sell as high as $125.
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Posted 01/21/2021   11:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Moneil - Is there an area or Country you are interested in or are you a more general collector?
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Edited by rogdcam - 01/21/2021 11:52 am
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Posted 01/21/2021   12:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jconey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The list you want actually depend on what you collect.

I mean there are a variety of publications put out by societies on precancels, perfins, various topical, etc.

There are the Lynn's series of books. Example "United States Stamps 1922-26"
Billig's books. Example "Vol 33, 19th Century United States Fancy Cancellations"

Catalogs like Herbert's Plate Number Singles, Durlands, and others.
Books about colors, catalogs of errors, etc.

How to books on topics like
-How to detect damaged, altered and repaired stamps,
-Standard Handbook of Stamp Collecting,
-Stamp Counterfeiting, (stories about it not how to do it)
-Encyclopedia of United State Stamps and Stamp Collecting.
-Who's Who on Stamps
-Scott Identification guide to United States Stamps
-Classic United States Imperforate Stamps

I have a library of 34 physical books but over 160 digitally (not including periodicals). But I've been collecting since 1972 and I'm a confessed, "information hoarder"...

So first, I'd suggest that you for your own sanity, identify your area(s) of interest.
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Edited by jconey - 01/21/2021 12:44 pm
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Posted 01/21/2021   6:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Opinion.
Best reference book available, the Scott Stamp Catalogue.
Information needed for most beginners, is included in the preamble front of catalogue, good, common sense, accurate information.

The Swiss army knife of Philately.
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Posted 01/22/2021   7:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Coastwatcher to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My current philatelic library consists of about 80 titles and I'm constantly adding to it. Just yesterday, I ordered 6 more. Books are available for every conceivable aspect of stamp collecting and, if you are planning on starting your own library, you should pick out the areas in which you want to increase your knowledge and search out books on that subject. No matter how obscure or esoteric the subject, I guarantee that there will have been at least one book written about it, though finding it may prove to be problematic. I can't remember where I saw it, but I once read that there has been more written about stamp collecting than any other hobby and, after walking through the APRL, I believe it. As far as a book to introduce a newbie to the hobby, I would recommend Guide To Stamp Collecting by former APS president Janet Klug and published by the Smithsonian. Another book that every philatelic library should include is Nassau Street by Herman "Pat" Herst.
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Edited by Coastwatcher - 01/22/2021 7:30 pm
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Posted 01/22/2021   8:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This 'Nassau Street' looks very good, thanks for tip, now I will try to hunt down copy. I recently have been reading works of Stephen Datz--surely considered philatelic pulp fiction, but I absolutely love it. 'Reference Books for stamp collectors' doesn't sound like most exciting literary genre, but it's all so oddly addicting.
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Posted 01/22/2021   9:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bobby De La Rue to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The only philatelic book that I have that doesn't fall into the catalogue/specialist category is "The World's Greatest Stamp Collectors" by Stanley Bierman.

A very enjoyable read, and you can track some of the more famous items via their various owners.
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Posted 01/23/2021   05:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add erilaz to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Books are available for every conceivable aspect of stamp collecting and, if you are planning on starting your own library, you should pick out the areas in which you want to increase your knowledge and search out books on that subject. No matter how obscure or esoteric the subject, I guarantee that there will have been at least one book written about it, though finding it may prove to be problematic.

I'm glad I bought Richard Hirsch's Katalogo de la tuta Esperanto-filatelio and Song Shengtan's Katalogo de Esperantaj posxtmarkoj back in the late 1990s, because they're virtually impossible to find nowadays.
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Edited by erilaz - 01/23/2021 05:38 am
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Posted 01/23/2021   09:12 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Teaus to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think you answered your question with your post. "Fundamentals of Philately," while a bit overwhelming to a new collector because of the volume of information, is a good starting point.
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Posted 01/24/2021   3:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add moneil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you for all the replies. I should have been more clear that I was inquiring about general "how to collect stamps" reference works, rather than country or topical specific, postal history, or philatelic history and biography tomes, which would open up a huge range of material I notice.

I now agree with Coastwatcher that perhaps "there has been more written about stamp collecting than any other hobby" from my experience of seeing so many books listed at Better World Books. My own philatelic library is a modest 10 titles (not counting catalogs) but I am always adding to it and keep a watch / wish list. On the list are two books about Franklin D. Roosevelt and stamp collecting that I learned of from forum posts (Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Stamp Collecting President by Brian C. Baur, and FDR and the Post Office: A Young Boy's Fascination; A World Leader's Passion by Anthony P. Musso). Nassau Street by Herman "Pat" Herst is going on the list.

Thank you rod222 for the reminder to look in the front section of Scott. I never think of doing that and there is a wealth of information there.
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Edited by moneil - 01/24/2021 3:55 pm
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