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.
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.
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:
Stamp Community Forum
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.
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.
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