Stamp collectors and history lovers alike will love The Postal Service Guide to U.S. Stamps. This full-color, illustrated edition provides a comprehensive look at the history of stamps in the United States, from the first stamps issued in 1847 to today, with almost 4,000 stamps covered in all. It has been revised and updated and contains new stamp values for every category, including special issue, commemorative, definitive (regular issue), airmail, stamped envelopes, sheet stamps, booklets and much more.
This thick, colorful guide provides detailed listings and color illustrations for each stamp, along with Scott catalog numbers (refers to the “cott 2004 Specialized Catalogue of U.S. Stamps & Covers), dates of issue, quantities issued, and the values of used and unused stamps. There is plenty of historical information about the stamps, which wonderfully parallel our nation’s own amazing history, and the resource section provides even the most novice collector with everything they need to become an expert in no time.
Philatelists, or stamp collectors, will appreciate the year-by-year chronology of stamps issued, as well as the detailed information about what makes each stamp so unique and special. The glossary in the back of the book provides those not quite familiar with the art of collecting with the necessary terminology to understand the hobby, and the listings of stamp collecting organizations, literature and experts makes this the perfect all-purpose field guide for someone you know and love who loves stamps.
The book opens with a commentary and listing of the 2004 stamps, with following chapters covering different periods of history, beginning with the five cent Benjamin Franklin and the ten cent George Washington stamps, issued in 1847. To see the evolution of stamp design and sophistication speaks volumes about how our own nation has grown and evolved, leading up to the delightfully bold and colorful designs of 2004, which feature the beautiful Pacific coral reefs, the kings and queens of the arts such as Henry Mancini and Martha Graham, the magical art of Disney, and the awe-inspiring jewelry art of the Navajo.
The Postal Service Guide to U.S. Stamps is easy to use and, aside from its importance for stamp collecting purposes, really gives a rich historical perspective on our nation via the stamps we all use in our daily lives but rarely stop to give closer inspection. If we did, we would see tiny worlds of wonder that mirror our best and boldest and brightest, and remind of us the power of art to capture the past, highlight the present, and imagine the future. I can almost guarantee that if you are not already enamored of stamp collecting, after reading this book, you will be shamelessly calling yourself a “philatelist” and rushing out to the nearest post office to see what new stamps are set for issue in 2005.