It’s been a good year for new and updated specialized catalogues for the Latin American collector with four catalogues recently published.
First up is the Cefibol catalogue – Especializado en Filatelia Boliviana by Daniel Gonzalez Fernandez. This is a substantial, full color catalogue that improves considerably upon my aging Cefilco alternative.
The first Cefibol catalogue was published on compact disc back in 2007 but for 2022 the publisher has gone for a traditional hardcopy paper edition. At nearly 600 pages, it contains over 3000 color images.
The catalogue commences with the British Post Offices Abroad stamps of Cobija followed by half a dozen pages on the Garcia ‘Challas’ issue, the precurser to the Condors. We then get fifteen pages of Condors, including illustrations of multiples and color varieties.
Whilst the volume takes us through to 2020, the real value of the work is in the earlier years with its depth of detail on the numerous shades and varieties. Even up until the 1950’s though, the varieties are coming thick and fast. A good example is the 1944-55 postal tax stamp (RA3-RA22), of which Scott has 23 entries. This is somewhat trumped by Cefibol’s 169 varieties. Lots to get stuck in to.
Specimens, covers and proofs are also included and priced. Cefibol uses its own numbering system for each stamp but the equivalent Cefilco, Yvert, Michel and Scott numbers are all cross-referenced alongside. Sanabria is also referenced for the air mails. Valuations are in US dollars and the text is in Spanish.
Price: US $65. Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org for postage costs. As of writing, the catalogue can also be found on Delcampe.
Nicaragua to 1940: A Philatelic Handbook
This superb work is a masterclass in transitioning hardcopy catalogues into digital reference works. What’s more, it represents remarkable value: the digital files are provided free of charge to members of the Nicaragua Study Group with an annual electronic subscription costing a mere $10 per annum.
Nicaragua is arguably the most complex of the Latin American countries with its plethora of surcharges, overprints and their myriad variations. If you love varieties, you’ve come to the right place.
Back in 1988, Clyde Maxwell produced the first edition of the Handbook, inspired by “finding the most difficult country to make my speciality”. This hardcopy edition has now been digitised, updated and augmented by Michael Schreiber and William Blampied. The second edition was published to pdf as a draft in 2020 and a final edition (Version 3) in July 2022.
I use the term’ final’ lightly as new discoveries will always come to light. The beauty of the digital edition is that it can be updated relatively quickly and inexpensively, becoming more of a dynamic resource. The Handbook is available as a high resolution download, meaning that images and overprints can be magnified considerably to help easier identification: very helpful when needing to study detail or spot possible forgeries.
The Maxwell ‘Value Rating System’ has been retained: this provides a useful understanding of comparitive scarcity. Rather than adopting fixed pricing, the Handbook then suggests checking sales realisations online. It is important to note that this is as much ‘catalogue’ as it is ‘handbook’. Every recognised stamp and variety from every issue has its own listing but this is heavily augmented by a textual narrative and notes that help explain the background and context.
Lastly, I would note that Michael Schreiber has recently published ‘The Postal Stationery of Nicaragua’, again in the digital format. This is a perfect accompaniment to the Handbook and provides another 270 pages of heavily illustrated cards, wrappers, envelopes and aerogrammes, together with benchmark values based on the documented quantities known.
Price: Free of charge to Nicaragua Study Group members. English language. Contact Michael Schreiber at email@example.com for further details
Catalogo Especializado de las Estampillas del Peru
This new edition of the renowned specialized Bustamante catalogue (last published thirty years ago) was covered earlier in the year. See The Bustamantes of Peru
Planned to be published in five parts, Parts 1 and 2 have now been issued. As with Nicaragua above, the catalogue will only be published as a digital edition. As a security measure, each copy is personalised to the buyer: your name will appear on every page.
The first ten pages of Volume 1 are dedicated to the Pacific Steam Navigation Company issue, followed by a very detailed appraisel of the first issues. It concludes with the triangle overprints in 1885 with Volume 2 continuing onwards. Sections on identifying forgeries, together with accompanying illustrations prove very useful. Further volumes will be released over the coming months.
Price: US $50 for each Volume. Spanish language. Contact Cafilbust at firstname.lastname@example.org for payment details.
Catalogo de Estampillas del Paraguay
It’s been a long while since a comprehensive catalogue of Paraguay was published. In 1947, Victor Kneitschel printed his seminal work on the philately of Paraguay and there hasn’t really been anything since to supercede it.
This new work by Jose Jimenez illustrates the profligacy of the Paraguayan postal authorities over the intervening years. In contrast to Kneitschel’s petite volume, this new title weighs in at over 2 kilos (nearly 5lbs). Much of this comprises glossy wallpaper and won’t necessarily be of interest to collectors of earlier Paraguay, although the thematic index is excellent.
You will still want a copy of Kneitschel for its level of detail but this new volume excels in one particular area: it’s illustrations. Nearly 8000 images are captured within its pages. For the earlier material, this includes many varieties; imperfs, inverts, overprints and so on.
There is good coverage of specimens (all illustrated), essays, a small section on the 1868 fakes and coverage of the attractive but little-known 1934 Chaco War cinderellas. Also included is a solid section on officials, telegraphs and a dedicated chapter to the ‘Campana’ (rural) overprints.
Catalogue pricing is in US $ and tends to mirror Scott. It’s a limited edition publication with a print run of just 200 copies.
Price: US $40 plus shipping. Spanish language. Contact the author at email@example.com for further details.
Staying on the theme of catalogues and handbooks, congratulations are to be offered to Guillermo Gallegos and Joseph Hahn who were awarded the Crawford Medal in June for their magnum opus, The 19th Century Issues of El Salvador, reviewed here.
The Crawford Medal is awarded by the Royal Philatelic Society London for “the most valuable and original contribution to the study and knowledge of philately in book form…”.