The Worlds First Postage Stamp, a new book by Alan Holyoake.
Great collections and exhibits have been too rarely preserved in lasting media, if at all. Photocopies and color transparencies are somewhat more likely to survive than early electronic scans unless they have been upgraded to keep pace with changes in technology. Thus it is most welcome to see a high quality book with actual-size color illustrations of one of the finest exhibits of the first issues of Great Britain ever assembled. It is even more unusual that the exhibitor, Alan Holyoake, was drawn to collecting just over a decade ago, attracted by the well-publicised sale of items from The Royal Philatelic Collection. He was fortunate. Some of the iconic pieces of the first issues became available at the time he was ready to acquire them. Although past exhibits of the earliest postage stamps have encompassed the full range of plates and later uses, this study focuses on those available at only the very beginning. It is much more concentrated, but has a nice logic to it. The exhibit starts with the pre-issue essays and other ephemera that preceded the stamps. Many of these exist in fewer than five examples, if not being unique in their own right. Besides the essays, original documents telling of the forthcoming issues are of major interest, along with the Official VR stamp. The Penny black (Plates 1, 1a, 1b and 2) and 2d blue (Plate 1), along with the red prints from the 1d plate are all that are shown. The latter completes the picture of the progression of repair to the 1d plate. Uses, shades and varieties of both denominations available in the earliest years of philately add spice to the presentation. This exhibit justifiably won the top award in a number of exhibitions and the images of the material, some of it iconic in philately, are worth preserving in many philatelic libraries.
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