In this day and age of the internet there are, of course, countless resources available for the study of the political and postal history of stamp issuing entities. It goes well beyond the goal of this site to list all resources consulted for the development of the content of this site. This section contains the resources, with a worldwide coverage, that I consult each time I start working on a new country profile. Resources both online and offline, general and philatelic. In addition, I have added some specialized resources that may be of interest to those wanting to go beyond the scope of the worldwide stamps catalogs.

Online resources


Antonius Ra World Collection – This site presents album pages from a very advanced worldwide collection. The album pages presented cover over 300 major stamp issuing entities. As the album pages – within the scope of the collection – contain images of all stamps issued, the presentation is much more complete than that provided by the often selected images in the catalogs. While it is worth checking out in its own right, it also forms a perfect illustration of the stamps discussed in the country profiles on StampWorldHistory.

Big Blue 1840-1940 – This site posts country profiles which contain a short section on the history of a country and a large section on the postal history. The scope is the classical era, 1840-1940, and is further defined by the content of the ‘Big Blue’ international stamp albums, aka Scott International, and the ‘Deep Blue’ albums, aka William Steiner’s Stamp Album pages.  The site is a work in progress. Currently, the site has developed profiles  for countries A to S.

Dead country Stamps and Banknotes – A site focusing on ‘dead countries’, more specific, countries that ceased to exist before 1955. A seemingly irrelevant year until you know that it is the year the owner of the site was born in. Contains country profiles with sections on history, stamps and banknotes. Also features transition charts that are similar to the country diagrams on this site. A work in progress. Currently lists a selected number of countries.

Philatelic Geography – This site lists stamp issuing entities well beyond the scope of the worldwide catalogs. Interesting to consult when you want to know what has been going on in a country beyond the standard catalog scope.

Population statistics – A site presenting historical population statistics on a country level and for many minor entities on a sub country level – provinces, cities. Provides statistics from the 19th century until around the year 2000.

The Stamp Atlas – Located on the site of an online stamp dealer, the Stampatlas is probably one of the best reference works on the political and postal history of countries worldwide. The Stampatlas is originally published by Wellsted, Rossiter and Flower in 1986. Hard-copies are available through second hand bookstores. The online version is – somewhat haphazard – updated by Sandafayre.

Stamp Identifier – Located on the site of the International Society of Worldwide collectors, this is a list of texts one may find on stamps. A tool to identify stamps and to understand their use.

Stamp Issuing Entities of the World – Located on the site of the publisher of the Scott catalogs this list contains concise descriptions of stamp issuing entities. Both countries and many minor entities within countries.

The World Factbook – This site is run by the CIA and contains factual profiles of countries as they exist today. Part of the profiles are political, demographic, and economic facts. Each profile contains a map of the country.

World Statesmen – A site covering countries worldwide, listing the political leaders of the countries. Each country starts with general information about the political history of the country. Includes information also on many minor political entities in countries.


The sites in this section are more specialized. They often deal with stamps issued that the worldwide catalogs maybe refer to, but leave for, specialized catalogs.

Bangladesh rubberprint stamps 1972-1974 – This site is a first attempt to catalog the local provisional issues in Bangladesh, just after the separation from Pakistan in 1971.

Dai Nippon – A site dedicated to the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, the Repoeblik Indonesia and local issues in Indonesia from 1950-1978

Manchurian Local Overprints – A site on Manchukuo stamps with an elaborate section for the local provisional issues of Manchuria during the war between the nationalists and the communists in 1946/1947.

Mexican Eagles 1864 – An in-depth catalog of the 1864 Mexican ‘Eagles’ issue, including full information on district overprints.

Mexican Hidalgo issues 1856-1861 – An in-depth catalog on the 1856-1861 Mexican ‘Hidalgo’ issues, including full information on district overprints

War of the Pacific  – A nice presentation on the site of the Peruvian Philatelic Study Circle on the issues in Peru during the War of the Pacific 1879-1883.

The Stamps of Poland – A comprehensive site on Polish stamps including the many local issues that Poland has known in its history.

Philatelic forums

The web hosts a large number of stamp collecting and philately related forums. Valuable in many ways. On the one hand, they are platforms to share information. On the other hand – because of the specialized members – you can get almost any question answered. Out of the many choices I might suggest two larger sites with very knowledgeable members:

  • Stampboards
  • Stamp Community Forum

Offline resources

Philatelic atlases

Großes Lexicon der Philatelie – A German lexicon covering all aspects of philately, including information on stamp issuing entities worldwide. Specialized for Germany and colonies. Published by Ullrich Häger in 1973. Out of print but available through second hand book stores.

Michel Weltatlas zur Philatelie – Collection of philatelic maps on CD, in German. Specialized for Germany and German colonies, detailed for Europe and generalized for the rest of the world. Available from Michel Online.

The Scott Stamp Atlas – A small but information packed book first published by Mucha and Hlinka in 1987. Contains maps and profiles of stamp issuing countries worldwide. Out of print but available through second hand bookstores.

Weltatlas zur Philatelie – Philatelic atlas in German, first published in 1980 by Gerlach. Like the Michel atlas: specialized for Germany and German colonies, detailed for Europe and generalized for the rest of the world. Out of print but available through second hand bookstores.

Historical atlases

General, non-philatelic historical atlases are excellent for getting a grasp on ‘the broad picture’ of historical developments. Though they lack the detail required to answer all of a stamp collectors questions, they provide the broader context that philatelic atlases do not always address and, as such, are in a way complementary. For my research I use the following historical atlases:

  • The Penguin Atlas of World history, Volume II, published by Penguin Books, 1995
  • Cassell Atlas of the 19th Century World, published by Haywood, 1998
  • Cassell Atlas of the Modern World, published by Haywood, 1998
  • Putzger Historischer Atlas, in German, published by Cornelsen Verlag, 2008
  • The Times Atlas of the 20th Century, published by Times Books, 1996
  • The Times Atlas of European History, published by Times Books, 1998
  • The Times Atlas of World History, published by Times Books, 1992
  • Hisatlas – A collection of historical and political maps on CD published by Joaquin de Salas Vara de Rey. Highly detailed maps of selected parts of the world with equally detailed annotations on the political history of the countries covered in the maps. Available through Euratlas Shop.

Stamp catalogs
Last on the list, but of course an invaluable source of information, are the worldwide catalogs. This site aims to provide content on stamp issuing entities mainly within the scope of the four leading worldwide catalogs. These are:

  • Michel: Deutschland, Europa und Übersee Katalog
  • Scott: Standard Postage Stamp Catalog
  • Stanley Gibbons: Stamps of the World
  • Yvert & Tellier: Catalogue de Timbres-Poste

12 Responses to Resources

  1. Richard Barry Feddema

    Hi Again,

    As mentioned in previous “about” post, I’m starting to work on my pages which will be used as introduction pages in my worldwide albums, a mix of Minkus Regional and Supreme Globals, When I last left off, the issue I was trying to solve was finding a customizable map source that would allow map to easily edit it for philatelic names. I really like your maps. They are easy to read and have just the right amount of detail. I was looking to make maps for the different time periods in a stamp issuing entity’s history. What mapping resources and methods are you using for your maps?

    • Gerben


      Thanks for checking in again. I make my maps so that they contain what I find to be the relevant elements of both the political and the postal history of a country. How many maps I make to cover one country depends on the complexity of its history. For most countries I tend to find one map is enough, some countries require several maps. I have not come across – free – customizable maps so I make my maps from scratch. The maps I use I find either in the resources listed in this Resources page or on the internet. Sometimes I scan a map from a hard copy resource. To make one map I most often use several ‘source’ maps – sometimes I use up to ten different source maps for one map. Someone has labeled my maps synthesis maps which seems an appropriate term. Combining several maps into one is entirely possible since fortunately most map makers use the same projection.

      Technically I use Powerpoint. Not a tool specifically designed for map making, but I was thoroughly familiar with Powerpoint when I started map making and it gets me where I want to be. For the actual drawing of the maps I use a drawing pad, which is essential. As you can see from the maps I use a standard template so that the maps have a uniform look and feel.

      If you have anymore questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  2. Jeff

    Hello Gerben,
    Thank you for this list of resources. I can suggest another resource that you would probably find helpful: Historical Dictionary of the British Empire. It is in two volumes and totals 1254 pages. Published by Greenwood Press. It has two editors, seven associate editors, and many contributors.The set is ISBN 0313279179, volume one (A-J) is 031329366X, and volume two (K-Z) is 0313293678. (This is of much higher quality that the country historical dictionaries of Scarecrow Press.)

    • Gerben


      Thanks for the suggestion. A quick browse on the web suggests this might be indeed a very useful addition to the library. I’ll definitely look into it further.

  3. Jeff


    “The Statesman’s Year-Book Historical Companion” edited by John Paxton is a book that I think you would find very useful when you write your country Profiles. It is 356 pages and packed with information. (This information is gathered from the first 125 annual editions of “Statesman’s Year Book”, a very authoritative reference.) “The Statesman’s Year-Book Historical Companion” was published in 1988 and is available at low prices through second hand bookstores.


    • Gerben


      Thanks again. Sounds like a very interesting resource indeed. I’ve come across different editions of the Stateman’s Yearbook several times, so I’m familiar with their content. This Historical Companion is new to me. Can you maybe tell me a bit more about the content?

      • Jeff


        Yes, I should have given a little more information about it. It consists of one article for each country existing in 1988. They are arranged alphabetically. The Preface says that the idea was to produce a book that “would dig into the earlier editions of the Statesman’s Year-Book and record the salient constitutional and political events over these momentous years. Particular attention has been given to the turbulent political histories of countries becoming independent in this century. … many of the name changes are recorded in the index for quick reference.” One part of the book would not be useful; about 37 pages of the book are devoted to articles on each of the 50 states of the United States. But except for that US states section, you would find the rest of the book to be a useful reference.


  4. Jeff


    Books dealing with the Universal Postal Union include:
    ‘The Universal Postal Union: Coordinator of the Mails’ by George A. Codding, Jr., New York University Press, 1964.
    ‘The Universal Postal Union: Members & Stamps’ by M. William Tyrrell, VanDahl Publications, 1974.
    Books containing articles on the UPU include:
    ‘Stamp Collector’s Guide to Europe’ by Jon L. Allen and Paul H. Silverstone, Arco Publishing. See pages 276-279.
    ‘Linn’s World Stamp Almanac: A Handbook for Stamp Collector’s’, second edition 1978, Amos Press. See pages 158-162.


    • Gerben


      Thanks again. I’ll check them out. When these are all in your library, you sure have a nice library!

  5. William Smith

    These are sites I have found helpful: Ask Phil. This site is a philatelic glossary of immense size. Unfortunately some of the letter links do not work.
    Stampsite. An online encyclopedia of postal authorities
    Some books (all by Kenneth A. Wood):
    This Is Philately. 3 volumes. (Albany, Oregon, Van Dahl Publications, 1982). Philatelic encyclopedia
    The Modern World. (Albany, Oregon, Van Dahl Publications, 1987). Maps of then-current stamp issuing countries and subdivisions that had stamps of their own in 1987, with an outline of their geography, history and economic status
    Where in the World? (Albany, Oregon, Van Dahl Publications, 1983). Atlas for stamp collectors with 6 sections: Gazetteer, Dead Countries maps, Maps of then-current stamp issuing countries with more detailed maps of smaller and lesser-known areas, Local stamps, Cross index of old and new city names plus English names that vary, References

    • Gerben


      Thanks for the suggested resources. I am familiar with the sites. They are great resources, that I regularly use. They are not on my list because, from he many sites out there, I have selected only those that I most frequently use. From the books by Kenneth A. Wood, I have ‘Where in the world?’ in my library. I must say that, although Wood provides a lot of information, I prefer the Stamp Atlas and the Scott Stamp Atlas for being more comprehensive.

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