World Stamps

New book highlights London museum’s collection

Jun 6, 2022, 10 AM

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

Earlier this year, a friend of mine, Douglas Muir, former senior philately curator for the Postal Museum in London, launched his latest book titled Just Large Enough: A Guide to The Postal Museum’s Philatelic Collections.

Just last month, he retired after a distinguished career with the museum. He was also one of the 76 individuals selected for inclusion in Linn’s Most Influential Philatelists 2022 special edition published in March.

With his retirement, I encouraged him to write an article for Linn’s, which he graciously did. His feature on New York return-to-sender labels appears in the June 20 issue.

But back to Muir’s new book. Sometimes it is easy for us to think that we know every last detail about a subject. Muir challenges those assumptions by going back to familiar resources in developing this book.

And the 16 chapters in Just Large Enough walk collectors through many snapshots in time from the beginning all the way through modern post & go vended postage labels.

The chapters in the book are as follows: “History of the Collections,” “The History of the Posts until 1839,” “Postal Reform & the Penny Black,” “Speeding the Mails, “Security Printing,” “Monarchs & Design,” “Not Only Stamps,” “Innovation,” “Modern Postal History,” “The Design Revolution of the 1960s,” “A Work of Real Quality,” “Modern Artists & Craftsmen,” “Trials & Tribulations,” “Stamps that Never Were,” “The Unexpected” and “Post & Go.”

Shown nearby is a page from the “Monarchs & Design” chapter that includes images of an unissued suggestion for a seahorse design for a King George VI stamp, a 1938 essay block of the College of Arms modified design, and a rejected design of another stamp.

Even if you aren’t a collector of Great Britain stamps, you will enjoy the stories related to the stamps and more.

The perfect-bound paperback book contains 300 pages and is available from the Postal Museum for £25 plus £25 shipping to the United States.

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