FIP Philatelic Literature Commission

Newsletter - November 2005

Greetings Everyone!
At the Literature Commission meeting in Singapore on 1 September 2004, we stated that our aim was to send out two Newsletters a year with an issue in the first quarter of 2005 but to do this we needed members' contributions. Some contributions were received but not enough for a newsletter - events in the last few months mean we are now able to produce one. A big "Thank You" to those who have contributed.

There is a need to consider the matter of publications from postal administrations:

  • they have not been accepted in the past
  • it can be difficult to know which are private and which are government publications
  • to consider publications by other governmental institutions, e.g. museums.

For example, two entries in the Ninth New Zealand National Literature Exhibition this year were:

  1. "Royal Mail Special Stamps 20: the stories behind the stamps 2003"
  2. "British Philatelic Bulletin" - the Royal Mail magazine for stamp collectors.
Item 1 was not judged as it was considered to be a "commercial sales production" and outside the competition's scope or rules [the FIP judging criteria are followed]. Item 2 was judged.

Two other recently acquired books were published by the Directorate General of Posts, Ministry of Communications, Republic of China [a postal administration]:

  1. "The Revenue Surcharges China 1897"
  2. "A Select Collection of Large Dragon Stamps, Covers and Postmarks".
Items 2, 3 and 4 clearly have philatelic merit and justify inclusion in a literature exhibition.

So how do we decide what should and should not be allowed and how should the rules be amended? Perhaps the SREV could be amended:

Article 2 Competitive Exhibits - Add a new sentence:

"Exhibits may be entered by governmental bodies, museums, postal authorities etc but a publication which is considered to be a commercial sales production (such as a yearbook with stamps) will not be accepted."

Could you please send your comments to the Chairman, Francis Kiddle.

These were approved on 5 November 1985 at the FIP Congress in Rome. They contain cross-references to the GREX current at that time but since then, the GREX have been revised (current version is dated 14 October 2000) and the cross-references are wrong in the Supplementary Rules. The following appear to be the appropriate cross-references in the GREX, 2000 version.

 StatedShould beComment
Rule 14.93.3 
Rule 216.117.1 
Rule 39.110.1 
Rule 39.3 + 9.410.3 + 17.1 
Rule 56.76.8 
Rule 97.58.6 
Rule 1027.1 Statutes29.3 StatutesRule 10 refers to five official FIP languages but only four languages
are listed the Statutes, Article 29.3: English, French, German, Spanish.

by Francis Kiddle, Chairman, FIP Literature Commission

Electronic media is having an increasing influence on philatelic literature, especially as a website or a CD may contain thousands of pages of philatelic data which may be used for research. Indeed, I would suggest that any writer of articles probably more often than not interrogates the worldwide web to gain background knowledge or information. Many philatelic organisations have their own websites that often contain key information of use to students. Additionally, a website can be altered so easily, as it is a transitory media, that it can be a useful tool for publishing on-going research.

Within Philatelic Literature, the CD is gaining ever more popularity as it is cheap and can hold masses of information. It has a further important characteristic, it can be interrogated on a key word basis. Certainly, the number of CDs being produced that hold complete runs of philatelic journals have been increasing steadily in number. Even the London Philatelist will be available shortly with all volumes from 1892 to date being on a single CD. Such examples of literature add a new dimension to philatelic research.

One of the key roles of the FIP Literature Commission is to encourage new literature, in all forms. However, another key role is to establish rules on the judging of philatelic literature. Recently, at the FEPA Exhibition Brno 2004, I was requested to make a ruling on what electronic media could be judged - the exhibition had advertised in its Bulletins for entries of electronic media, and had a number of CDs and websites as entries. For CDs, they are in a format that can be judged, although I would recommend that the literature judges undertake preliminary evaluation well before the actual exhibition, as many CDs are specific to certain computer systems. Additionally, they sometimes take a long time to investigate fully as many have complex structures that are difficult to understand. With regards to websites, I made the ruling that they could not be judged at an international exhibition.

Why did I make such a decision? When a specific FIP website competition was originally envisaged and launched by FIP Director Charlie Peterson, websites were in their infancy and often were only a few pages in size. The FIP Annual Website competition was organised and Charlie ran the first one, and I ran the three subsequent competitions. At the end of those four years, we had to abandon the competition because it just took too much time to undertake the evaluation. Websites are now very complicated, may be literarily 1000s of pages long, with many links, book marks, indexes, libraries etc included. Although it is feasible to judge a site, at the end, the judge can only say that at a very specific point of time, the website is worth such and such a medal. Just one minute later, the website could change totally, and then may be evaluated at a higher or lower level. It is this lack of long term stability that makes a competitive judgement on the level of achievement meaningless.

My ruling, which had to be made instantly over the telephone, does need further discussion, and this will take place at the next meeting of delegates and Bureau at Malaga, Spain just prior to the 2006 FIP Congress. If any delegate wishes to put their views into writing, please contact either myself or Norman Banfield, Secretary to the Philatelic Literature Commission:


Activities in one country may provide ideas for another country to promote philatelic literature - perhaps with some modification and lateral thinking. We make no apology for listing some of the recently published literature - without publications there would be no literature exhibitions and no FIP Literature Commission. Publication of philatelic research is an important part of philately - please encourage it in your country and report new publications. Also, please pass on information in this newsletter to anyone who may be interested.

Canada - from Charles Verge
The 7th National Philatelic Literature Exhibition is being held 14-16 October 2005. In addition to the usual of handbooks, monographs, catalogues and periodicals there are separate classes for:

  • Commercial philatelic newspapers or periodicals, and
  • Electronic Publications (philatelic software including inventory programs and databases on diskettes or CD-ROM).
It is hoped to include comments on judging of these two sub-classes in the next newsletter.

The judges are two from Canada, two from the USA and Charles Peterson who is the FIP Board Member responsible for the Literature Commission.

Czech Republic - from Miroslav Langhammer and Lumir Brendl
A Society for Philatelic Literature has been founded within the Union of Czech Philatelists (SCF). The inaugural meeting was in March 2005 and by the June meeting had 56 members with Mr Miraslav Langhammer elected President and Mr Bretislav Janik, Vice President.

The Society will provide a platform for philatelic authors, editors, publishers and other people interested in philatelic literature can meet. The Society will:

  • inform members about new publications
  • assist members in negotiating terms of purchase and borrowing literature
  • work towards publication of lists of philatelic literature in libraries and a bibliography of articles published overseas by Czech philatelic societies
  • consider publication of revised/updated older monographs.
The Society aims to meet twice a year - the second meeting is planned for October 2005. Publications:
A number of books have been published in 2004/2005 including further parts of a Philatelic Atlas, Philatelic Motives (useful for thematic exhibitors), Scouts Philately in Our Country - a handbook going back to 1918, New Dangerous Forgeries and Czech Philately (published in Czech and English on the 50th Anniversary AIEP Congress 2004, Hodonin & Its Post (regional postal history), Postal Terminal Labels, and Czech & Slovak Postal Agencies 1900-1958 - a monograph of postal history and catalogue of postmarks of postal agencies. Exhibitions:
At the European Postage Stamp Exhibition BRNO 2005 the philatelic literature class had 126 entries. In 2006, the National Stamp Exhibition in Karlovy Vary will include a literature class.

Greece - from Tony Virvilis
New books on Greek philately published in 2004/2005:

  1. The Forty Lepta Large Hermes Head Stamps of Greece by Louis Basel, 250 pages, softbound, colour illustrations, published 2004 by the author (106 Carriage Drive, Stamford, Connecticut 06902, USA), price US$100 post paid.
  2. The First Greek Stamp - the History, the R. Decrees, the Dies, the Plates, the Printing by Nicholas Assimakopulos, 108 pages, softbound, illustrated, Greek-English, published 2005 by the author (774 Albemarle Street, Wyckoff, NJ 07481, USA), price Euro 50 post paid.
  3. The Plate Flaws of the Large Hermes Heads of Greece 1861-1886 by Nicholas Assinakopulos, 110 pages, softbound, illustrated, in Greek, edited and published by A Karamitsos (34 Tsimiski St, 54623 Thessaloniki, Greece), price Euro 40 + postage.
  4. Andros Island, An Approach to its Postal History by Giannis Daes, in Greek, first vol. 214 pages with colour illustrations, second vol 322 pages, softbound, published 2005 by the author (10 Gatapoulou St, 152 37 Filothei, Greece), price Euro 40 + postage.
  5. Revenues of the Dodecanese = I Fiscali del Dodecaneso by Michael S Petradakis, 192 pages, colour illustrations, edited by Alexandre Galinos, in Greek. Also published in Italian with same data. Both editions and accompanied by a 16 page pamphlet Evaluation in both languages with rarity factors. Obtainable from the publisher Collectio (PO Box 3138, 102 10 Athens, Greece). Both editions published 2005. Price each volume Euro 40 + postage.

Hong Kong - from Andrew Cheung
The Hong Kong Philatelic Society publishes a monthly newsletter containing a mix of society information and serious philatelic articles and short notes. It has also published an annual Journal since 1997. Both were entered in the 9th New Zealand Philatelic Literature Exhibition 2005 - the Newsletter was awarded a Silver and the Journal a Silver-Bronze.

New Zealand - from Norman Banfield
Publications: The classic stamps of New Zealand are the Chalon Heads first issued in 1855. A new book New Zealand: The Chalon Issues 1855-1873 will be published in the first half of 2006. The book is 500 pages, fully illustrated and covers everything about the stamps and related postal history rates and regulations. The authors are Gerald Ellott RDP, Tom Lee, John Watts and Robert Odenweller. It is being published by the North Shore Philatelic Society (New Zealand) in association with the Royal Philatelic Society London and The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand.

A book on the postal stationery of New Zealand (including overprinted items for use in its Dependencies) will be published by The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand early in 2006. This work was largely written by the late Robert Samuel but his untimely death has delayed its completion. The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand is also working on other publications expected to appear later in 2006.

The Postal History Society of New Zealand has published many monographs on New Zealand's postal history. The latest is The Postal History of World War II Mail Between New Zealand and Switzerland by Robin Startup (New Zealand) and Charles LaBlonde (USA).

Last year saw the publication of the 300 page New Zealand and Dependencies - a Philatelic Bibliography by David Beech, Allan Berry and Robin Startup.

National Literature Exhibition: The 9th New Zealand National Philatelic Literature Exhibition was held in June 2005. A separate literature exhibition has been held every two years since 1989 - entry is free and only one copy of each publication is required. This year was one of the best with 56 handbooks or monographs and 25 periodicals. Judging was by a team of four, plus two apprentices, under the chairmanship of Dr Robin Gwynn, FIP Literature judge, and using FIP judging criteria but as a national with medals one step higher i.e. a Gold at 85 points.

There was a very wide range of subjects to tax the judges' knowledge and expertise. The Grand Award and a Large Gold went to Joseph Chalhoub of Canada for The Nile Post Handbook and Catalogue of Egyptian Stamps: including listings of the Egyptian Issues for Palestine and Sudan, as well as those of the French Consular Post Offices in Alexandria and Port Said. The Runner-up to the Grand Award and a Gold went to Roberto Sciaky for three works: (1) Ethiopia 1867-1936: history, stamps and postal history; (2) Ethiopia, Haile Selassie - the Exile, the Restoration, the Deposition: history, stamps and postal history 1936-1974, and (3) Ethiopia, Tewodros to Menelik: postal history from the Napier expedition to the independent Imperial Post 1867-1908. The award for the best periodical with a Large Silver-Gold went to The London Philatelist - journal of The Royal Philatelic Society London.

If any reader requires further information about publications or the Literature Exhibition catalogue please contact Norman Banfield

Peru - from Herbert Moll
[Ed: Herbert Moll is probably the most prolific writer on Peruvian philately with eight publications.] Books still available by this author are:

  1. Catalogue of the Postage and Telegraph Stamps of Peru
  2. Postal & Philatelic History of Peru 1874-1900 - with 260 pages, published 2004
  3. Peru Philatelic Bibliography, 2001 includes officials and airmails
Earlier publications cover revenue stamps, postal stationery and airmails. Filatelia Peruana is published quarterly by the Asociación Filatelica Peruana.


We asked the question "How do philatelic literature judges qualify in your country"? A few replies have been received:

Has seven accredited literature judges (five with international accreditation and two national judges) plus one apprentice. At least one apprenticeship is required.

Czech Republic
A literature judge is required to have a philatelic exhibit and a wide philatelic knowledge.

New Zealand
Applicants are normally national philatelic judges with some experience of writing articles etc and a wide knowledge of philately. One successful apprenticeship is required. Approval is required from the New Zealand Philatelic Federation.

by Francis Kiddle

Pacific Explorer was a very short FIP International Exhibition as it was only open for four days. In addition, all FIP Classes were included and there were 2,500 frames. Tight, but thanks to the excellent management by our Australian friends, it all went very smoothly. Certainly, do not believe the accounts some of our philatelic journalists have published in the popular press - I did not recognize the exhibition from their accounts!

On the literature front there was a relatively small group of exhibits - 41 handbooks, 22 journals and 10 catalogues. However, the mix was excellent. They were judged by myself as Team Leader, Jose Manuel Grandela (Spain) and Tay Peng Hian (Singapore).

The current trend of high quality handbooks on more, and more, esoteric subjects continues. Also, in general, the journals had a high content of membership information and news, rather than the learned articles that we, as judges, prefer to see. This statement is not intended to knock editors; in the end the editor of any society journal has to give the members what they want. If it is news about other members, appeals for money etc, then within competition, the journal will not score high. One journal that has reversed this trend is the Canadian Philatelist that has some really interesting articles and deservedly gained a Vermeil award.

A number of the handbooks were of interest. One small one dealing with a huge subject was "AR - Avis Reception" by David Handelman. This is only on its first edition but attempts to list all world AR markings etc. Talking with the Canadians, the book will be expanded progressively, and it is one to look out for in the future. Another good book to see was "The Stamps and Postal History on Nineteenth Century Samoa" by Robert P Odenweller. This gained a gold medal and deservedly so. It has also gained the prestigious Crawford Medal from the Royal Philatelic Society London. Vaccari produced their usual very high standard Italian handbooks, this time "Modena 1852-2002, 150th Anniversary of Este Postage Stamps" and "The Post in the Este Territories and the Duchy of Modena". Two other books well worth mentioning were "Philatelic Expertising" by Wolfgang Hellrigl published for the 50th Anniversary of AIEP - it contains many first class articles besides being full of information about many key philatelists. The other book is "Charity Letters Sheet of Russian Empire - A Catalogue" by Arnold Ryss. Really this book is a handbook rather than a catalogue, but to my delight, thanks to the Russian Commissioner, I was able to buy a copy. For any thematic collector, this book is a must.

As always with literature judging, we see many new books and long may it continue so.

A meeting of the Literature Commission is planned for Saturday 3rd June 2006 in the main Convention Centre.

We would like members of the Literature Commission [and others] to comment on literature related events in their own country, on possible changes to the judging rules or anything else that is relevant to philatelic literature. We look forward to your contribution!

Norman Banfield
Secretary, FIP Literature Commission.