The book you hold in your hands, like all serious books, was a long time in coming. The research took me a good three years, and I hope that you enjoy reading the stories as much as I have enjoyed in writing them.
The word “rare” is described as “uncommon”. However for a stamp collector, the word “rare” usually means an essence of mystery and romance. For a stamp to be both “rare” and “famous” is the ultimate philatelic attribution. Philatelists, be it the schoolboy ones or the dyed in the wool types, are very emotional and passionate about their hobby. Stamp collectors are justly proud of being different from all other hobbyists.
This book gives the stories of some of the world’s rarest stamps. Most of the stamps described herein are those that philatelists call “classics”- issues that were made in the period 1842 to 1875. The establishment of the Universal Postal Union in 1874 resulted in the increase of prepaid worldwide correspondences and necessitated the increased production of postage stamps. Stamps were mass produced, new postal experiments were conducted and path breaking innovations made. The postal services too got an impetus both in the pre and post war years. The hobby of Philately too took wings in this period, and many eminent statesmen and royals gave their patronage to it.
This book will probably offend many philatelic purists. However this eclectic mix that I have presented is purely my own personal choice. It was a daunting task to decide which stamps to leave out, rather then select the stories that should be narrated. Every philatelist dreams of finding a rarity, a dream that hardly ever becomes true. This book will allow you to share the philatelic dreams of those for whom these dreams came true.