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Southern African Mails, Routes, Rates and Regulations 1806 – 1916
This well illustrated 600-page book, as well as featuring postal history, provides an overview of the main routes, rates and regulations.
Review by John Shaw MBE FRPSL and President of the South African Collectors Society:
This is the second major philatelic book by the author, the first being on the “Edwardians” of the four provinces which, in 1910, merged to form the Union; that book was a natural and fitting sequel to the marvellous book by John Easton on the De La Rue commonwealth stamps up to 1900, and this latest book is of the same high standard.
In 16 sections it covers, as the title states, the routes, rates and regulations of letters and postcards of southern Africa from the chaos and uncertainty of 1806 to the relative stability of 1916. The geographical coverage is southern Africa, as far north as the Rhodesias and Mozambique, but excluding Angola.
Again, the author divides the book into logical groups each of one or two sections so that the reader of, say, Natal has everything to hand about Natal contained in that group and does not have to cross reference other sections, and I quite happily live with the fact there is inevitably some small duplication of information.
Apart from the listings of postal rates there are frequent references to important players in southern Africa and the influence they had on events; this, and the chronological listings of important events is both fascinating and extremely useful. Brian states the book is not an in-depth study, but more an overview; however, with 572 pages, it is more than that, and the author weaves a wonderful tapestry of the development of southern Africa which has enhanced my knowledge and appreciation of the country I collect. It is a valued reference book in my own library.
The book is profusely illustrated, including wonderful covers and is a high quality production. One cover has a personal touch, being sent by Gordon Trotter, Brian’s great uncle, who lived most of his life in Vryheid a small town which over a period of 25 years was in four different countries! It started existence in the New Republic, then became part of the Transvaal, was later ceded to Natal and, in 1910 became part of the Union of South Africa – what a wonderful story! Serious collectors, especially those relatively new to the subject, would find this an invaluable addition to their libraries.
The book has been awarded the FEPA literature medal for research in 2017, and a large gold medal and the Grand Prix at the Verona International Philatelic Literature Exhibition in 2018.