Book Review – American Philatelic Miscellany

Discussion in 'Stamp Chat' started by Molokai, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    American Philatelic Miscellany – Selections from the Stamp Specialist, Introduced and Arranged by Susan M. MacDonald, Quarterman Publications, 1976, 569 pp. Oversized hardback with dust jacket. Price Range: $7.00-$24.00. Another book with lots of bang-for-the-buck!

    This book is an anthology of articles from The Stamp Specialist, a fine periodical/handbook running from 1939-1951 in 22 volumes. Somewhere I read these are all the articles pertaining to U.S. stamps, but I am not sure of that factoid. A run of Stamp Specialist seems to go for $150.00-$200.00 today. Perhaps I will put it on my 2016 wish list – or take a time-machine back to 1963 where Herman Herst advertised a full set for $35.00 in Stamps Weekly!

    The content more closely follows Pat Paragraphs (articles) than Sloane’s Column (tidbits) and in some instances they are even more in-depth than the former. Let Ms. MacDonald make introductions for us from the Forward:

    “This anthology makes available to the contemporary philatelist material published more than a generation ago. It retrieves writings of the past philatelic giants and acquaints the reader with some lessor well-known names. Some of the articles – the majority of them - are useful and valuable in their own right. Others are of interest mostly as curiosities. I have tried to evaluate them candidly in light of current knowledge so that the reader, whether he reads them for information or merely enjoyment, will not be misled or deceived. There is something here of worth and interest to almost every collector of nineteenth century U.S. stamps or postal history.”

    The book is divided into three Sections: STAMPS, GENERAL, and POSTAL HISTORY.

    Stamps – Some Notes on the United States Five Cents Issue of 1847 (12pp), The Five Cent of 1847 Double Transfer (11pp), The 3c 1851 (11pp), A Study of the Major Varieties of the 3c 1857: What to look for in the perforated issue (12pp), The U.S. 12c-24c-30c-90c Imperforates of 1860 (35pp), The 30c Black Imperforate of 1860 (15pp), The ‘Premieres Gravures’ of 1861 (30pp), A Study of the Colors of the 1861 3c (24pp), The Die Cancellation Marks of the U.S. 1873 Issue (10pp), The 6-Cents Lincoln Banknote Issues (25pp).

    General – Color and its Relationship to the Postage Stamp (7pp), Preliminary Report on the Survey of Condition (9pp), Revised Report on the Survey of Condition (7pp), Final Report on the Survey of Condition (10pp), Through the Newberry Deluxe Collection of the Nineteenth Century (44pp), Independent Mail Routes of the United States (36pp), Supplement to the Independent Mail Routes of the United States (3pp), Express Company Labels (19pp), ‘Forwarded’ by Handstamp (28pp).

    Postal History – Coffee Houses and News Room Mail (14pp), Trans-Atlantic Mails (14pp), United States Postal history (65pp[!]), Miscellany (18pp), Sections of a Sheaf of War Covers (9pp), New York Post Office: Some Early Markings (7pp), Panama and San Francisco Steamship (14pp), 1860-1863: Three Cents Plus One Cent Plus One Cent (16pp), The Supplementary Mail Service of the New York Post Office 1853-1872 (47pp), Steamboat Mail Transport on the Great Lakes (7pp), United States Postal Agency, Shanghai China (8pp).

    These are exceptionally well-penned and scholarly articles for the specialist, indeed! Written by the giants of the day – Sloane, Ashbrook, Tower, Rich, Hahn and others. If you take Ms. MacDonald’s caveat in the Forward to heart (adding 40 years later!) there is a wealth of good information and great reading herein. I mean - $7.00!? What a bargain. The chapter, United States Postal History by Seymour Dunbar is alone worth the price of admission in this reviewer’s very humble opinion.
    Hochstrasse likes this.
  2. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    Such a deal Molokai! Amazon has them for $2.93 used with $3.99 for shipping. Anyone who has Amazon Prime, which ships items for free, this book is a steal. I think I can't pass on that deal. Here's the link for anyone else interested in the book. Philatelic Miscellany
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015
  3. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    Howdy, Hoch! I actually paid $15.00 for my copy but its 'like new' as they say. Carried over from my chess book collecting, I prefer nice appearing books. A couple of things I've learned along the way book collecting (I have 5k and change chess books, having collected since I was 16) - 1) There are not too many items - if one is patient and doesn't need it 'now' - which can't be had at close to bargain prices. There are some that simply will never be bargains in price - for stamps perhaps the five volume Encyclopedia of Colors is an example, 2) Don't be afraid to negotiate, especially on populated by hungry book dealers, 3) Check sources often - you'd be amazed the rotation on Amazon. For example, Rose's 1869 Census book runs $40.00 and up. I happened to check Amazon one morning and snagged a copy for $12.00. 4) Remember to 'keep scrolling' when searching - a book may be listed multiple times on multiple search pages.

    I hope you enjoy the Miscellany tome - great reading it is - and happy TGD to you, good sir!
    Hochstrasse and Gunny like this.
  4. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    Thank you so much Molokai, wish you a great day also. That's very good advice about Amazon. I have to keep an eye open for that Encyclopedia of Colors book. I have never really been satisfied with the color charts I have seen sold by philatelic shops. I have noticed that even between color descriptions of U.S. versus German stamps there is a slight difference between some shades. Is this tome covering world stamps or just U.S.?
  5. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    Howdy, Hoch - The Encyclopedia (5v) is just United States. But, hey, you can do the German States Encyclopedia of Colors and make lots of $$$! A nice 10-15 year project for you.:rolleyes:
    Hochstrasse likes this.
  6. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    I wish I had the chops to be a good philatelic researcher and writer. I'm just too undisciplined to do either. Looking forward though to the book I ordered. Thanks for the recommend again, Amazon is telling me it will arrive sometime in early December to mid-December. I'm still pinching myself that the book was cheaper than the postage to send it.
  7. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    Howdy, Hoch - I hope your TGD was good! Skiers out in force here...

    There are quite a few $0.01 books on Amazon, several on stamps. I just ordered a PB copy of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Stamps of 1933-1945 for that price plus shipping. I left the one for $0.44 cents for someone else...
    Hochstrasse likes this.
  8. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    Wow, that's another bargain. I will certainly have to pay more attention to Amazon. Thanksgiving was great, certainly a feast of over indulgence with leftovers for a couple of days to come.
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