on British India and Ceylon Pub 1892 with plates.

The Postage Stamps, envelopes, wrappers, postcards and telegraph stamps of British India and Ceylon published by the Philatelic Society of London in 1892. Only 500 editions were printed. Bound edition and rare. 100 pages plus addenda plus plates.


Published in 1892 in an edition of 500 copies by The Philatelic Society, London (now the Royal), this is considered to be the first handbook on the postage stamps of India.

​This book came about from the visit to India of T.K. Tapling, Vice President of the Society and the second biggest stamp collector of the 19th century (after Ferrari), in the winter of 1889. Until then not much was known about the lithographed and typographed stamps of 1854-55; Tapling set in motion the process of discovery of how these stamps saw the light of day by digging into official records. The book starts by presenting two papers on the First Issues of India – the first by Douglas Garth, Honorary Secretary of the Society and the second by the famous T. K. Tapling. It then gives detailed descriptions of each of the stamps printed in India from 1854 onwards. Not just postage stamps but also official stamps, telegraph stamps, letter sheets, envelopes, and post cards. Essays, proofs, and reprints are then discussed. A similar listing follows for Ceylon. At the end comprising some 56 pages is the Appendix containing copies of the “Official Correspondence” that took place relative to the first issues; this final section is very important as one can understand the history behind and the efforts taken in printing these stamps and especially the role played by H.L. Thuillier, Deputy Surveyor-General and the man credited with surmounting many obstacles on the way.

The book has been privately and beautifully Hard Bound (I would think that it is late 19th or early 20th century binding) in Half Brown Leather and Brown Cloth with raised bands and gilt lettering on spine. Contains some 160 pages of text and 24 plates or “sheets of autotype illustrations” in a customised back pocket. The hard covers show some amount of wears and fading on the top. However for a work of this age, the book and the plates are in great clean condition without any wormholes or markings or spotting (except on the front flyleaf and title page). The binding is solid and the pages are in superb shape and show no signs of brittleness or tears as is common in this work.