Book Notes – World’s Greatest Collectors by Stanley Bierman, M.D.

Discussion in 'Stamp Chat' started by Molokai, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    The World’s Greatest Stamp Collectors and More of the World’s Greatest Stamp Collectors, by Stanley Bierman, M.D. Linn’s 1990, 267pp & 216pp.

    While most of my growing philatelic library relates to U.S. issues, I also purchase books on the general subject of stamp collecting. These two fine paperback volumes I was able to buy for 1-cent each plus Prime on Amazon. What a bargain! Alas, I also purchased Ashbrook’s The Research Group and Tiffany’s History of the Postage Stamps of the U.S.A. – neither of which were bargains. I guess it evens out…

    Dr. Bierman is a wonderful writer and storyteller. These two volumes cover all of the ‘greats’ including Ferrary, Crocker, Luff, Hind, Chase, Caspery, Lichtenstein, Lilly, Lindsay as well as many other ‘lessor lights’ with amazing stamp collections though not generally as well know – Burrus, Ward, Gibson, Sinkler to name but a few. Across the two volumes, 33 collectors are featured.

    Each section begins with a very thorough biography of the famous collector, including details on his parents and even grandparents, upbringing, business, travels and other interests. Each story then tells how they started stamp collecting and how they built their famous collection - often with amusing anecdotes. Perhaps most interesting to me Bierman discusses the stamps themselves and provides very substantial detail on the dispersal of these enormous collections through auctions and sales after the famous collector had gone to be mounted on the great album page in the sky.

    Into many of the stories, Bierman weaves the tale of a famous stamp, group of stamps or famous ‘finds.’ How he does this so smoothly is indeed the highest form of the writer’s art. Again, the detail in these stories is amazing. I can only imagine the amount of research the author did in their pursuit. Lots of footnotes and indices for the serious student. There is also a comprehensive bibliography. These, alas, add more books to my want list! I really haven’t enjoyed a philatelic read of a general nature this much since Nassau Street.

    (Speaking of Nassau Street, I’d love to see a similar work on the old-time dealers such as Mozian, Souren, Bartels, Sloane…)

    I cannot imagine anyone who collect stamps seriously not finding The World’s Greatest Stamp Collectors and More of the World’s Greatest Stamp Collectors immensely interesting and educational tomes. Five Stars!
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
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