Foundations of Philately – Book Review (Brief)

Discussion in 'Stamp Chat' started by Molokai, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    The Foundations of Philately by L.N Williams. American Philatelic Society 1990, HB/DJ, 862(!) pages.

    The making of stamps is a fascinating topic. My limited recollections lead me to conclude many collectors really don’t know how stamps are made or the history of production techniques.

    My own belief is every stamp collector should know at least how the basics of the various printing techniques and design have evolved in the past 170 years. Understanding the stamp production process will make you an ‘educated collector’ and bring you even more joy from these colorful and intricate little pieces of paper.

    A very brief primer, here:

    There are several books on the topic but the best – by far – is Foundations of Philately by Williams.

    Here I just list the table of contents:

    Philatelic Trends

    Aims of Collecting



    Stamp Design

    From Design to Issued Sheets

    Printing Problems and Varieties

    Printing Characteristics

    Intaglio Printing – Line-Engraving

    Intaglio Printing – Gravure

    Photographic Printing


    Relief Printing

    Inks and Color



    The volume is lavishly illustrated.


    Indicating a lack of interest in something so important, this book sells for as little as $4.00! :(

    Other tomes for supplementary reading:

    Giori Press by Brent

    Foundations of Philately by Boggs
    Hochstrasse and DonSellos like this.
  2. DonSellos

    DonSellos Moderator Moderator

    Hi Molokai:

    With the exception of your statement about the printing of stamps being fascinating, I agree completely with your observations. I also confess that I am guilty of not knowing much about the production process, and, at times, my ignorance is frustrating. It drives me crazy when I need to differentiate between stamps with identical designs that are printed by typography and those that are printed by lithography.

    Argentina's definitive set of 1959-1967, Sc. 685-705 has several stamps that are identical except for the printing method. I simply cannot distinguish one from another. Alas, I am without hope in this area and I am forced to rely solely on sellers' identifications for these stamps.

  4. Sorry my friend,but i just checked Amazon. No BOOK UNDER $17.00 + Postage !
  5. Takis Kalogerakos

    Takis Kalogerakos Active Member

  6. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    It was based on a BIN on eBay which someone apparently grabbed. They go at much lower on eBay if you have a little patience. I got mine for $9 and shipping.
  7. so where is the 4$ books?
  8. Just checked Ebay--Outrageous price$. Please check current prices before sending members on a wild goose chase
  9. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    A nice copy just went for $10.50 on eBay.
  10. Ok slightly above the $4.00 mentioned,,but still worth it..Thank you..
  11. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    It had a flurry of bids right at the end.

    I can't imagine a serious philatelist not having that book for at least reference...

    On eBay what sellers ask and what an item fetches can be very far apart. There is a fellow selling newly issued paperback chess books which fetch $25-$30 for astronomical prices...just saw one for $180! Must be something to it, perhaps sellers get some sort of perk for total dollar amount they list? If someone knows, please clue me in on it.
  12. Ebay like everything else in Capitali$t out to gouge...Buyer beware !
  13. Some interesting reads. I'm just getting my head back around the early G.B watermarks. Its a mine field
    DonSellos and Molokai like this.
  14. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    Mine fields can be fun...sometimes!

    There is a similar book which focuses on GB/BNA stamps - Foundations of Philately by Boggs with a chapter on paper and watermarks - though it is not very well illustrated.
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