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BNA philatelic literature reviews and announcements

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Morin and Poitras CMPQ book cover

Catalogue des marques postales du Québec 1763-1867, 1st edition

Cimon Morin and Jacques Poitras
Published by the Société d’histoire postale du Québec, April 2016.
169 pages, 18 x 22 cm, spiral bound.
ISBN 978-92067-50-3.

The goal of the Catalogue des marques postales du Québec 1763-1867 (CMPQ) is to list and illustrate all the hand cancels used by post offices in the province of Quebec from the beginnings of the postal service in Canada to Confederation in 1867. Over 1,200 postmarks are listed. The postmarks are listed by type (e.g.: straight-line, 2-ring, etc.) in a tabular format. The tables contain the following data: post office name, illustration of the postmark, dates the postmark was in use, ink colours, and CMPQ catalogue number. Also included is a note specifying the years seen on cover by the authors.

The authors consulted Archives documents containing a large number of covers that had never before been examined from a philatelic perspective. The authors also benefited from collectors’ reproductions of their postal history collections. They referenced catalogues of numerous collections sold at auction over the years and price lists from postal history dealers, published in hard copy format and more recently online on the web. Comments and advice from numerous philatelists allowed the authors to validate and augment the catalogue listing. In total, over 13,000 covers from Lower Canada and Canada East were surveyed for the period covered by the catalogue, and confirm many early dates of usage.

At the end of the 170-page catalogue will be found an index of all the post offices opened before 1 July 1867 along with the types of postmarks they used during the period covered in the CMPQ.

The authors believe that the CMPQ will provide collectors and specialists of Quebec and Canadian postal history a better understanding to the postmarks used in Quebec during the first 100 years of postal service.

The catalogue is in French, but the tabular postmark data should be understandable by anyone. For more information or to order, send an email to the Société d’histoire postale du Québec at

Catalogue des marques postales du Québec 1763-1867 1ère édition

Cimon Morin et Jacques Poitras
Publié par la Société d’histoire postale du Québec, avril 2016.
169 pages, 18 x 22 cm, reliure spirale.
ISBN 978-92067-50-3.

Le Catalogue des marques postales du Québec 1763-1867 (CMPQ) a pour but de rassembler, inventorier et illustrer les marques postales apposées au tampon et utilisées par les bureaux de poste du Québec du début de la poste jusqu’à la Confédération canadienne. Plus de 1 200 marques postales sont ainsi identifiées. La présentation des marques postales du CMPQcite> se fait par catégories (exemple : rectiligne, double cercle, etc.) et sous forme de tableau. Les éléments suivants font partie du tableau : Nom du bureau de poste, illustration, dates d’utilisation, couleur des encres et classification. Une note est ajoutée pour chacune des marques et identifie les années vues par les auteurs.

Les auteurs ont consulté les documents d’archives où sont conservés un grand nombre de plis postaux qui n’avaient jamais fait l’objet d’un examen philatélique. Ils ont aussi bénéficié des reproductions de collections de philatélistes en histoire postale. Il en va de même pour les nombreuses collections que l’on retrouve dans les catalogues de vente aux enchères au fil des années, ainsi que les listes de négociants en histoire postale que l’on retrouve sous formes imprimées pour ceux du passé et maintenant sur la toile du web. Les remarques et conseils de nombreux philatélistes ont permis de valider et d’ajouter à ce répertoire. Au total plus de 13 000 plis postaux du Bas-Canada et du Canada-Est ont été recensés pour cette période et confirment plusieurs dates hâtives de marques postales.

À la fin de ce volume de 170 pages, l’on retrouve un index de tous les bureaux de poste ouverts avant le 1er juillet 1867 avec la catégorie de marques postales répertoriée dans le CMPQ.

Nous croyons que le CMPQ permettra aux collectionneurs ainsi qu’aux spécialistes de l’histoire postale québécoise et canadienne de mieux connaître les marques postales utilisées au Québec au cours des cent premières années de la poste.

Pour de plus amples renseignements ou pour commander le CMPQ, veuillez contacter la Société d’histoire postale du Québec en écrivant à

Newfoundland Air Mails Part I book cover Newfoundland Air Mails Part I book cover

Newfoundland Air Mails

Jean-Claude Vasseur
Two volumes. Vol. 1: 128 pp. Vol. 2: 129 pp. A4 format (29.7 x 21.0 cm)
ISBN 978-2-9555361-0-0

This two-volume work is the result of more than 15 years of study on Newfoundland air mails.

Volume I consists of a 128-page exhibit shown at Europhilex 2015 (London, UK), where it won a Large Gold Medal and Best in Class Award, covering the period from 1919 to 1939. The exhibit is divided into two areas:

  1. Transatlantic Air Mail from the 1919 “Challenge” to the first commercial Northern Route flight (84 pages)
  2. Internal and continental flights (44 pages)

Volume II presents a 129-page study, historical as well philatelic, of Newfoundland air mails with theories and opinions on most of the flights, such as:

  1. More than 80 covers franked with the stamp surcharged for the “Hawker” flight
  2. More than 25 covers on the 2nd supplementary mail of the Martinsyde
  3. The “London E. C.” back stamp on the Vimy flight explained
  4. The various mails of the Handley-Page explained
  5. The “De Pinedo” stamp plated (in collaboration with Peter Motson)
  6. The story of the Columbia
  7. A complete overview of General Balbo’s Armada flight with significance of the numbering system and numerous curiosities
  8. An Appendix listing 616 items relating to Transatlantic Air Mail known by the author to the end 2015

For more information or to order, contact the author by email at Mention “Newfoundland Air Mails Book” in the subject line.

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The Standard Canada Precancel Catalogue, 7th edition

David Marasco and Bruce Field
Published by the Unitrade Press, 2015.
108 pages, 6" x 9", spiral bound.
ISBN-13 978-1-894763-56-1

The latest edition of the Standard Canada Precancel Catalogue continues to enhance and broaden the study of Canadian precancels. Specializing in an area of stamp collecting that continues to grow in popularity, this latest edition is an essential reference book for the serious collector of Canadian precancels.

Building on the information from the Standard Canada Precancel Catalogue, 6th edition (Unitrade Press, 2010), the editors have refined and expanded the content to incorporate additional reference material and previously unidentified Canadian precancel varieties that have come to light since the last edition.

As noted in its table of contents, the catalogue is practically organized into what I would term an “introductory section” and four main parts, each part dealing with specific types of precancels.

The introductory section incorporates reference material and pertinent information for the collector to refer to while using the catalogue. New in this edition is the inclusion of an illustrated Guide to Bar Precancels, prepared by the BNAPS Precancel Study Group, and a listing of the Montreal “21” forerunner precancels. Part I provides a listing of all known styles of Bar Precancels. Part II provides a listing of all known Town and City Precancels. Part III lists known Canada precancels with perforated initials. Part IV lists Canada constant precancel varieties, introducing with this edition a refined numbering system and expanding by 15 pages since the last edition to include previously unidentified constant precancel varieties. The catalogue finishes with the inclusion of a practical illustrated Addendum of hard to identify Precancel types, a welcome addition to assist collectors in their determination of type.

In closing, the editors have once again been able to maintain the precancel pricing guide relevancy through continual comparison of current market value realized at auctions. The consolidation and further expansion of reference material from other sources into this latest edition benefits both novice and serious collectors alike. The spiral binding format lends well to allowing the catalogue to lay flat for a double page view. The compact size chosen and reference material included makes this catalogue an easy companion for travel. The editors should be commended for their efforts.

Review submitted by Kyle Taylor.

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A Canadian Postal History 1897-1911. The Maple Leaf, Numeral, and King Edward Era

George B. Arfken and William S. Pawluk
Published by the British North America Philatelic Society, 2006.
314 pages, 8.5" x 11" inches, spiral bound.
Available from the BNAPS Book Department, c/o Sparks Auctions, 1550 Carling Avenue, Suite 202, Ottawa, ON K1Z 8S8 Canada

The Arfken series of postal histories (including the Duckworth and Duckworth Large Queen book) now fully spans the period from the Pence Issue up to the Admiral Issue. The books in this series are essential reference material for all Canadian postal historians and for collectors of the stamps issued by Canada between 1851 and 1911.

This volume differs from those published by the Greene Foundation in several ways. First, it is in a larger format. Second, it is available in either colour or black-and-white versions. Third, George Arfken has a new co-author. The black-and-white version is much more affordable than any of the Greene publications; thus it is available to many more collectors. It is similar to the Greene books in style. The issue and use of the definitive stamps of the period (1897 to 1911) are described, with suitable excerpts from government publications to explain the rates and routes of covers and cards. The three commemorative issues of this period appear on some covers, but the emphasis - as it should be - is on the definitive adhesives: the Maple Leaves, the Numerals, and the Edwards.

The basis of this book is Bill Pawluk's award-winning collection of postal history. Bill built his collection around the operation and development of the postal system of the time, including a detailed study with examples of the Post Office's rules and regulations. It was an eventful era that included the Boer War, the introduction of the Imperial Penny Post, the development of the picture post card, the start of the special delivery, postage due, and insurance services, decentralization of the Dead Letter Office, and many important postage rate changes. Above all, Canadian covers to many foreign destinations are available in this period, and many are shown here.

The book is organized as seven chapters plus 18 appendices. Chapter 1 is a very useful introduction. Chapter 2 describes the basics of domestic mail delivery. Chapter 3 discusses domestically used letter cards and post cards. Chapter 4 is devoted to all of the other classes of domestic mail. Chapters 5 through 7 present Canadian mail to foreign countries: mail to the United States and Mexico, mail to the British Empire, and mail to the rest of the world. Each chapter has a table of contents and there is an index for the entire text. Perhaps the greatest strength of the book is the bank of almost 400 illustrations. Most illustrations are from Bill's collection but there are contributions from 18 other collectors and 4 dealers.

This is a full monograph, not a book in the BNAPS exhibit series. With its many illustrations, one could also consider it a coffee-table book, but almost all of the covers shown have extra features that require examination, not just a quick glance.

As expected, the text is well organized and well and accurately written. Here are a few minor points. There are a few covers that I would not have chosen as examples, but they each fit their topic; the vast majority of illustrations are suitable and spectacular. As with any general text, there are condensations and thus minor omissions. For example, in Table 25 (Mail Routes to Overseas Destinations), the routes to East Asia include mails via Vancouver and San Francisco but not via either Tacoma or Seattle (about a fifth of the Canadian mail was carried on these latter routes). The colour rendition is much better than that of the BNAPS's publication of the Wilkinson BC collection. The choice of the sans serif typeface for captions is fine, but its use in the text for quotations from government documents is distracting. The cover is sturdy but it would have been nice if the binding spiral was sealed at the ends.

This volume will be the seminal reference about this postal era for many years. It is an excellent effort, and as I said previously, it is an essential item for all of our libraries.

Review submitted by Gray Scrimgeour. It is in the September 2006 issue of the PHSC Journal.

Letters From the Far West
Topics in Alberta philatelic history in recognition of the province's centennial 1905-2005

Co-edited by Edmund Harris and Hugh Delaney
Published by the BNAPS Calgary Regional Group and Goodbook Communications Group, Calgary.
272 pages, 8.5" x 11", spiral bound.
Available from "Hugh Delaney in Trust," 105 Pump Hill Landing SW, Calgary AB T2V 5C4.

The Calgary Regional Group of BNAPS has published, as a group project, an anthology based on philatelic events of the Province of Alberta. Two dozen Albertans have contributed material to this book. The book is organized into six sections: Philately in Alberta, Images of Alberta, Alberta Postal History (early times and modern times), Aviation, and Places and People. Postal history takes up the largest amount of space. Because this was a group project, seemingly based on each collector's interests, the range of topics is wide and the depth and treatment of their coverage varies. There are novel topics covered (such as the history of BNAPS in Alberta, the Fur Wars in Southern Alberta, and Alberta POs along the CPR mainline) as well as applications to Alberta of perfins, precancels, special order envelopes, and registration handstamps. The seven articles about aviation and air mail in Alberta point out possibilities for developing some interesting exhibits. In total, the work is a useful look at a province's philatelic history and could give other provinces some good ideas for their celebrations.

The book has many suitable black-and-white illustrations, with an eight-page section repeating some of the most attractive covers and cards in colour. The layout is open (sufficient white space) and the text is easy to read. The group should be commended for their effort.

Review submitted by Gray Scrimgeour.

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This page was last modified on 2018-06-15