The Postage and Telegraph Stamps of British India by L.L.R. Hausburg, C. Stewart-Wilson & C.F.S. Crofton.

The Crown Jewel of Indian Philatelic Literature. Originally published in 1907, this book set standards for later philatelic researchers and writers like D.N. Martin, E.A. Smythies, and L.E. Dawson. Hausburg was one of the pioneers in plating lithographs having plated not just the lithographs of India but also of Victoria, Peru, Mexico etc. He also served on the expert committee of the Royal Philatelic Society, London.

Apart from its standing as an exceptional piece of philatelic literature, the book is famous for its plates III and IV. These plates were printed directly from the copper plates (used for printing the 1854-55 classics) with the consent of the Indian Government. They have their own Spence Numbers (for example the Half Anna illustrated on Plate IV is Spence 133). Hence it is an important collectable for those collecting Indian 1854-55 issues and its reprints. These plates are highly sought for. In Spink’s Jul 2011 auction, they sold for £650 and £900 respectively + buyer’s premium. Further in  David Feldman’s Sep 2013 auction, they realised EUR 1,000 and EUR 2,200 respectively + buyer’s premium. See the photos of the plates above.

The book was printed on machine-made acidic paper and most copies are in a bad shape with the pages chipping and fragmenting even on touch. This copy is in the most outstanding shape that you can find it in. Not a single page is torn or brittle. All the 23 plates are ORIGINAL and in fantastic condition.

Privately hardbound in green cloth with gilt lettering on spine; originally issued in Paper Covers. Part I covers Postage Stamps and is by Hausburg and Part II covers Telegraph Stamps and is by Stewart-Wilson and Crofton. Crawford Nos. 179 and 195. First Edition of Supplement No. 2 to The Postage and Telegraph Stamps of British India by Edward Denny Bacon dated 1922 bound in.

The Philatelic Journal of India – An early run from the golden age.

An early run of 11 volumes from 1900 (Vol. IV) to 1912 (Vol. XVI) lacking years 1909 and 1911 (in latter year only 5 issues came out due to the editor’s illness) from the golden period of this journal. In its heydays, the PJI was the one of the best magazines in the world containing much original research from the founding fathers of Indian philately. The number of pages that the PJI used to contain till 1910 was never bettered ever again; each volume upto then is heavy containing 300-400 pages, some even 450+. Edited by stalwarts like Charles Stewart-Wilson, E. W. Wetherell, C. S. F. Crofton, and B. Gordon Jones during this period, they contain a wide variety of topics on Indian philately.

The volumes are bound in contemporary binding and the binding is on the whole good. The pages are spotless and clean without the usual toning spots and more importantly worm holes! The issue of 1908 also contains bound in the Exhibition Catalogue organised by Philatelic Society of India in that year. The books are ex-library and contain a couple of small library markings on the title pages. On the whole they are of exception quality having resided in Europe for almost the whole period.

The Half-Anna Lithographed Stamps of India 1854-55 by E. A. Smythies and D. R. Martin

​Perhaps the best book ever written on any philatelic / postal aspect of Indian history; better than Hausburg even!  In my opinion, a rarer book than Hausberg!

Seven chapters along with the Preface and Appendix throws light on the method of manufacture of these stamps, the three main dies and their differentiation, the way the dies were used to manufacture the parent stone and thence the sub-stones, the key for plating these stamps including identifying flaws, touches-up and retouches. The pioneering research done on the Half-Anna lithographs by these two gentlemen set the stage for many discoveries and rewritings of catalogues in the late 1920s and 1930s by various other philatelists like Cooper, Desai, Dawson, Stewart, Gray, and Studd. Containing xii + 91 pages + 15 plates (plate no. 2 is a photographic reproduction) + 5 line blocks (the plates and line blocks were printed in UK and are stored in the back pocket).

This book has some discolouration and spotting on the blue cloth covers but they do not affect the inside. The pages of the book are clean without any markings or writings but have dulled with age. Most importantly there are none of the “worm holes” quite frequently associated with this book (and for that matter, other lithographed stamp books as well). Price sticker Rs. 40 or Sh. 60 on top of the original price of Rs. 20 or Sh. 30 on title page. Overall the condition can be described as Very Good for a book of this age. The most indispensable work for anyone collecting the Half Annas and an important book for the library of the Indian philatelic literature library.

In the Dec 2017 Cavendish Auction, a book complete with all plates sold for £600 + credit card / PayPal fees + shipping. In the Dec 2018 Cavendish Auction, a book but missing 4 of the plates / line blocks went for £408 ++.

he Four Annas Lithographed Stamps of India 1854-55 by D. R. Martin and E. A. Smythies. 

​The second work in the series of books pertaining to the 1854-55 first issues of India. Published in 1930, the book covers, in 5 chapters, the method of manufacture and printing of the 4 Anna Stamps, the details of the three different states of the dies and the two states of the frames, plating of the stamps, descriptions of the five different printings, and Errors (Inverted Head, Double Head, and Head Omitted). Further it also reprints, in the Appendix, all letters of 1854-55 referring to the 4 anna stamps. Finally it contains 12 plates and line blocks. The book won the Crawford Medal awarded by the Royal Philatelic Society of London for the most valuable and original contribution to the study and knowledge of philately published in book form in 1932.

This copy is Hard Bound in maroon cloth with gilt lettering on the covers. The pages of the book are bright and clean without any markings or writings; as are the plates (except Plate I which has some spotting). Most importantly there are none of the “worm holes” quite frequently associated with this book (and for that matter, other lithographed stamp books as well). Overall the condition can be described as Very Good for a book of this age. The most indispensable work for anyone collecting the Four Annas and an important book for the library of the Indian philatelic literature library.

The One Anna & Two Annas Postage Stamps of India 1854-55 by L. E. Dawson

The third work in the series of books pertaining to the 1854-55 first issues of India. Published in 1948, the book covers, in 10 chapters, (1) One Anna Lithographed Stamps – 5 stones across 3 dies of the One Anna as also the Substituted Transfer of Die I A Stone and (2) The Two Annas Typographed Stamps. It also contains 8 Appendices which reprint important articles from The Philatelic Journal of India from the last 1920s and 30s. Finally it contains XII collotype plates and line blocks. The book won the Crawford Medal awarded by the Royal Philatelic Society of London for the most valuable and original contribution to the study and knowledge of philately published in book form in 1950.

This copy is soft bound in blue card covers with gilt lettering on the covers (faded as usual). The book is in Good clean condition without any markings or writings. The accompanying plates (spotting on some) are in the original envelope and are important for any plating / reconstruction study. An important work for anyone collecting the One and Two Anna Stamps as well as for the library of the Indian philatelic literature library.

 The Postage Stamps, Envelopes, Wrappers, Post Cards, and Telegraph Stamps, of British India and Ceylon.

Published in 1892 in an edition of 500 copies by The Philatelic Society, London (now the Royal), this is considered to be the first handbook on the postage stamps of India.

​This book came about from the visit to India of T.K. Tapling, Vice President of the Society and the second biggest stamp collector of the 19th century (after Ferrari), in the winter of 1889. Until then not much was known about the lithographed and typographed stamps of 1854-55; Tapling set in motion the process of discovery of how these stamps saw the light of day by digging into official records. The book starts by presenting two papers on the First Issues of India – the first by Douglas Garth, Honorary Secretary of the Society and the second by the famous T. K. Tapling. It then gives detailed descriptions of each of the stamps printed in India from 1854 onwards. Not just postage stamps but also official stamps, telegraph stamps, letter sheets, envelopes, and post cards. Essays, proofs, and reprints are then discussed. A similar listing follows for Ceylon. At the end comprising some 56 pages is the Appendix containing copies of the “Official Correspondence” that took place relative to the first issues; this final section is very important as one can understand the history behind and the efforts taken in printing these stamps and especially the role played by H.L. Thuillier, Deputy Surveyor-General and the man credited with surmounting many obstacles on the way.

The book has been privately and beautifully Hard Bound (I would think that it is late 19th or early 20th century binding) in Half Brown Leather and Brown Cloth with raised bands and gilt lettering on spine. Contains some 160 pages of text and 24 plates or “sheets of autotype illustrations” in a customised back pocket. The hard covers show some amount of wears and fading on the top. However for a work of this age, the book and the plates are in great clean condition without any wormholes or markings or spotting (except on the front flyleaf and title page). The binding is solid and the pages are in superb shape and show no signs of brittleness or tears as is common in this work.

An important work for the philatelic collector / researcher / bibliophile as well as for any Indian philatelic literature library. Priced as per condition.

​Notes on the De La Rue Series of the Adhesive Postage and Telegraph Stamps of India by J. A. Tilleard

This work covers the first stamps of India manufactured by the De La Rue Company from 1855 onwards. Clarifies many unanswered questions about these stamps. Appendix A gives a very useful list of each of the Registered Plates of the Postage and Telegraph Stamps including the Value, Colour, No of Plates, Date of Registration, and Watermark varieties. Appendix B is a Descriptive List of East India Postage Stamps by Lt. Col. G. B. Mainwaring in 1871 and corrected and updated by De La Rue.

Published 1896 by The Philatelic Society London (now the Royal Philatelic Society), the book is the supplement to The Postage Stamps, Envelopes, Wrappers, Post Cards, and Telegraph Stamps, of British India and Ceylon published by the Society in 1892. Quite rare and more difficult to find than the main book. This book is in its original paper covers. Given the age of the book pages are fragile and have separated though none are missing; one small piece of a top of a page missing. Else there are no markings or writings or wormholes in the book.

The Post Office of India in the Great War edited by Lieut.-Col H. A. Sams. 

Published in 1922 by The Times Press, this is a very rare book edited by the then Director of Postal Services, Mesopotamia Expeditionary Forces and later Director General of Posts and Telegraphs for British India. Contains 23 chapters each authored by a high ranking postal officer posted in a particular war zone and where postal services were established. Invaluable for anyone collecting World War I postal history and stamps since a lot of information is not readily available anywhere else. Importantly it also has 70 photographs / illustrations of field post offices, postal department officers involved in them, etc. This possibly explains the high cost of the book at Rs. 8 when released!

Hardbound in the original red cloth with chipping at the top and bottom of spine. Pages are slightly toned as may be expected from machine made paper of that era. The book is clean overall with no markings or writings inside.

The Post Office of India and its Story by Geoffrey Clarke

Published in 1921, this is a rare book of the Indian Post Office authored by the then Director General of Posts and Telegraphs for British India. Covers all facets of the post office including its origins, regulations, services, buildings, overland route and sea post office, post offices abroad, field post offices, and postage stamps. Most importantly contains 16 illustrations / photographs including of high ranking post office personnel not found elsewhere. For example the photo shows one Indian Raj Bahadur Sundar Lal on extreme right; next to him is G.J. Hynes, one of the greatest collectors of the 1854-55 lithographs in the 19th century.

​Hardbound in blue cloth with 244 pages and printed on good quality, possibly handmade, paper with deckle edges. The inside of the book is in clean condition without any markings; rubber stamps of the previous owner on front and back end papers.

The Ferrari Sales – Ferrari was the greatest stamp collector the world has ever seen. His collection was auctioned over 15 auctions held in Paris between 1921-25 and in 1929. 

Catalogue of the collection of Ferrari de la Renotiére – Sale No. 5 held on 17 Nov 1922. This auction catalogue contains stamps from across the world especially Barbados, Belgium, Spain, India etc. This catalogue contains much of Ferrari’s India related material. Rare and very collectible! In fine condition with no writings or markings anywhere and with all 14 photo plates intact.

Catalogue of the collection of Ferrari de la Renotiére – Sale No. 11 held on 21 Nov 1924. This auction catalogue contains stamps from across the world especially France, Ceylon, India & Indian States, Portuguese India, etc. This catalogue much of Ferrari’s India related material. Rare and very collectible! Covers detached but otherwise in good condition with no writings or markings anywhere and all 13 photo plates intact. 

Since both the catalogues together contain some 90%+ of the India and States material auctioned in the 14 sales, they will be sold together.

​The Stamps of Jammu and Kashmir Parts I and II by D. P. Masson

The pioneering work on the stamps of this popular state, Masson was one of the founding members of the Philatelic Society of India. He was not short of money being the Managing Director of The Punjab Banking Co. Ltd in Lahore! His two main specialities were the stamps of J&K and those of Afghanistan. This work was published in two parts by the PSI in 1900 and 1901 and sold for the then princely sum of Rs. 4 each. Perhaps only 200-300 copies must have been published; members got copies for free. Part I contains around 60 pages, 4 plates, and 4 samples of native paper bound in. Part II contains around 43 pages and 11 plates bound in. Part I has the following written on the front cover by an unknown hand “The M.S. marks in this part are copied from the volume belonging to Major Evans (new in possession of the Royal Philatelic Society which notes Major Evans had, in turn, copied from Masson’s annotated volume.”

Part I has some writings inside in pencil and pen. Part II also has some writings though less and only in pencil. Both parts are bound in the original thick card covers which are difficult to find; Part II’s covers are partly stained. The binding of Part I is a bit weak though intact and some of the pages look dull. Part II is in pretty good shape with bright insides. An important work for the J&K specialist. Quite Rare and the manuscript makes it unique.

EarlyIndianCancellations JalCooper
EarlyIndianCancellations JalCooper

​Early Indian Cancellations by Jal Cooper

Published in 1948 this is the classic book on the subject of Indian Cancellations. It is perhaps the most referred to book on the subject and is the one more frequently quoted in auction descriptions, articles, etc. No collector of Indian cancellations can afford to do without this book in his library. Starting from the early pre-philatelic handstruck stamps, the book covers more than 30 different types to the All India Cancellations of the 1873-1884. It also covers “Local” Cancellations, “Railway” Cancellations, “Experimental” PO Cancellations, “Foreign Mail” Cancellations, “Triangular” Postmarks, “District Post” Cancellations, “Town” Postmarks etc.

This is the original book and not a photocopy or later reprint. Hardbound in grey cloth with the original dust jacket, which is quite rare. In very good condition throughout with no markings or writings inside apart from the previous owners name on the front flyleaf.


British Indian Adhesive Stamps (Queen’s Head) Surcharged for Native States by C. Stewart-Wilson and Gordon B. Jones

This is the 2nd and last edition of this work published in 1904 on the stamps of India surcharged for the convention states i.e. Chamba, Faridkot, Gwalior, Jhind, Nabha, and Patiala. Authored by two of the greatest Indian philatelists of all time. Stewart-Wilson was the Director-General of the Posts and also the founding President of The Philatelic Society of India. Jones was the pioneering Indian dealer, auctioneer, and publisher. The book covers details of the regular and official stamps surcharged including numbers so surcharged (data of which is not easily available elsewhere). More importantly it covers all kinds of errors that took place in the course of such surcharging.

The book is in the original hard covers but the binding is weak, as can be expected since the original binding was quite flimsy. The inside is clean and all pages are intact. Contains all 9 plates as well. The book contains the manuscript “R. F. Shroff” on front cover and inside indicating this was a personal copy of the famous Indian philatelist and late President of The Philatelic Society of India.


The Postmarks of Aden: Postal Markings 1839-1939 by M. H. Robertshaw

Along with A. L. Hine-Haycock, Robertshaw was the pioneer investigator into the stamps and postal history of Aden. Published in 1946, this is the updated and standard reference book on the subject covering the various post offices of Aden including Aden Steamer Point, Aden Cantonment, Aden Camp etc.

The rare hardbound version in grey cloth with thicker papers than the softbound version. In very good condition save for some toning on the front and back endpapers and a presentation marking on the front endpaper.



The Harrison D. S. Haverbeck Gold Medal Collection of Indian Native States

Haverbeck was arguably the greatest collector of Indian feudatory states. Apart from Indian states, he was also interested in the stamps of Nepal and Tibet on which he has written standard works. He was a signatory on the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists (RDP), the highest award in philately.

This auction of Haverbeck’s exceptional collection was conducted by Harmers of New York over 4 days in 1973 and contains 2087 lots! Especially strong in Bhopal, Bundi, Duttia, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur and Jammu & Kashmir.

Well illustrated over 24 plates. Superbly described by Winthrop S. Boggs, another RDP. Comes with the original prices realised. Overall in Fine Condition.

A Century of Stamp Production 1852-1952 by L. N. Williams and M. Williams

This is a rare booklet on the history of the British stamp printers – Waterloo & Sons – by the famous Williams brothers. Over the years starting from 1852, the firm has printed stamps of many countries: some listed in alphabetical order are Alwar Rajputana, Belgium, British Guiana, Brazil, Columbia, Cyprus, Costa Rica, Spain, Thailand, Uruguay, and others. A complete list is provided in the work. Most importantly the work contains two pages of colour illustrations of stamps as well as 24 specimen overprinted stamps. Due to the latter’s inclusion, this booklet is much sought after.

The booklet has some stains on the front cover. Else it is in clean condition inside.

The Work of Jean De Sperati

First published by the British Philatelic Association in 1955 followed by a second edition in 1956, this is the official reprint edition of 1997 by James Bendon. Sperati was perhaps the most famous and skillful of all philatelic forgers. He falsified the most valuable rarities of the stamp world including India. His work was so good that many forgeries were found in collections lying undetected for years. Now sometimes his forgeries realise high values than the normal stamp! His stock of forgeries and as well as all the clichés was bought by the BPA so that it did not fall in the wrong hands. This work was subsequently bought out by BPA as a record of the forgeries Sperati made and how to identify them. This single volume work is easier to use than the original two volume one since the 214 pages of text and the 143 plates are bound together and plates follow each region. While the original work is very expensive, the reprint edition is perhaps rarer than the original!

The book is in new-like condition. Beautifully bound in green cloth. No DJ was ever issued.

Classic Sweden: The Golden Collection of Swedish Philately. Gustaf Douglas’s given to The Royal Philatelic Society London. Edited by Jonas Hällström.

The book is the handout prepared for Douglas’s Standing Display given to the RPSL on 31 Oct 2013. The display consisted of 52 frames or 588 pages and contained one of the best collections of Sweden ever formed. Starting from the Early Handstamps of the 17th century, the display moved on the classic stamps of the 1850s, to those of the later 19th century, and finally to postal history of mail from / to Sweden to / from Foreign Destinations up to 1900. The stamp includes the 3 Skilling Banco Yellow, the unique and second most desirable stamp in the world after the British Guinea 1c black on magenta.

The book is hardbound in boards and printed on high quality paper. Limited edition of 200 copies of which this is No. 100.  Signed by Gustaf Douglas on the half title page. In short, the handout is perhaps the most beautiful ever made to accompany a display of stamps at the RPSL or for that matter anywhere in the world. The book is now a connoisseurs item and highly sought after.

This copy is in very good condition save for some bumping to edges of the boards. There are no markings or writings anywhere inside.

The Royal Philatelic Society of Victoria Library: A History and Catalogue by Geoffrey Kellow and Russell Turner

This high-quality research publication brought out in 1996 is about the evolution and development and the detailed holdings (books, catalogues, journals etc.) of the library of the Royal Philatelic Society of Victoria (RPSV) in Melbourne, Australia. While the Crawford Catalogue of Philatelic Literature covers world-wide publications till about the early 1900s, researchers and bibliophiles need works which cover the latter period; this book is one of them. The RPSV’s library is, of course, the largest and best philatelic library in the Southern Hemisphere and has also been covered by me in an article in The Philatelic Literature Review in 2017 (the manuscript can be downloaded from The lead author, Geoff Kellow, is arguably Australia’s greatest living philatelist and was called to sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists (RDP) in 2009.

Limited edition of 75 copies, this is the standard version superbly hardbound in Blue Cloth with Slip Case (Ref. Auction Catalogue of The “Maharaja”, Dromberg & the Garratt-Adams (last part) Philatelic Libraries, Sale held 26-27 Apr 1997). More than 500+ pages of information printed on great quality paper. In New-like condition. Published at A$180 + shipping.\


The Philip H. Ward Philatelic Library in Three Parts – Auction Catalog

Philip Ward was not only an important collector of classic US and world stamps, he was also a dealer and philatelic journalist. These are the Scarce Auction Catalogs of his Philatelic Library. The library was so extensive that the sale took place in three parts: Part I on 27 November 1965, Part II on 18 June 1966 and Part III on 24 Aug 1967. An average of around 800 lots per sale. Some India related books and journals too. The most famous philatelic literature auctioneer of all time – Sylvester Colby – undertook the three sales.

Bound in card covers and in fine condition except for some staining especially on the covers and some pages of Part II. The insides are free of any markings or writings. Photocopy of prices realised for all three sales included.