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UPU Specimen Stamps 1878-1961

The 1988 Edition of this handbook was well-received at the time of publication; it has stood the test of time and is referred to constantly by hundreds of philatelists, both amateur and professional, around the world.

However, after 27 years, it was time to bring this work up-to-date by incorporating additional material, correcting some errors and misconceptions, and taking advantage of developments in printing that allow colour work to be included at an affordable cost.

There are several areas where new information has been incorporated:

  • Stamps that were cancelled with a datestamp or other postal obliterator by the issuing postal authority (cancelled-to-order) before being sent to the UPU for distribution to fellow members are now catalogued. Examples include the Australian States, Commonwealth and Dependencies (the most important group), Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Iran and the Netherlands.
  • Information extracted from International Bureau Circulars, Circular Letters and Bulletins is cited throughout the Catalogue.
  • Numerous instances of stamps that were sent as specimens to the UPU in mint condition are recorded.
  • Details of three major UPU specimen archives, those of the Goa, Mauritania and Tunisia Post Offices, that have been ‘liberated’ during recent years have been included and treatment of other archives has been expanded.
  • The reprints of stamps of Portugal, the Azores, Madeira and the Portuguese Colonies that were sent to the UPU as specimens in 1885 are now listed.
  • There are many references to Postal Stationery, in particular regarding items that were protected using the same methods as were used on contemporary postage stamps.
  • Appendices now include details of the number of specimens required by the UPU up to 1961 for both postage stamps and for Postal Stationery; UPU membership lists in both alphabetical and chronological order; and perhaps most importantly a reproduction of the earliest published information on UPU specimen stamps, namely a 24-page article by Marcus Samuel serialised in 1964–65 in Stamp Collecting.
  • More than 1800 colour illustrations of specimen stamps and postal stationery, UPU documents and other archival material are included.