06 March 2012
We review the recently published COLLECTING BRITISH FIRST DAY COVERS 2012: 31st edition by Adrian Bradbury ...
The subtitle ‘The complete guide to the variety of first day covers and postmarks available for each Royal Mail stamp issue’ says it all. This latest volume includes issues to November 2011, in the same detailed format as previous volumes.
The Commemorative stamps are dealt with first, followed by definitives which have been subdivided to make it easier for the reader to use. For each issue, the lists of special postmarks are comprehensive and prices are given in two columns – plain and illustrated covers for earlier items, phosphor and non-phosphor sets where relevant, and ordinary and official/sponsored covers from 1967 onwards.
The book is profusely illustrated with reduced colour illustrations of many covers placed alongside the appropriate set; however it is not possible to show all the variations of postmarks and covers. These number a staggering 30,000 items and may be seen and downloaded at the publisher’s fully searchable web site (www.bfdc.co.uk/postmarks). The definitive items are similarly well covered, and divided into various sections to make each less cumbersome.
The general collector may not be aware of the nuances of first day cover (FDC) collecting, and be surprised by some of the valuations. It is worth having a copy in your library even if you don’t collect FDCs. The publisher, though not a retail dealer, has tried to provide realistic prices for all the latest commemorative issues, including various price ranges as appropriate, via a range of sources.
This is a quality 250-page paperback, which is now in full colour. The price increase to £20 is the first for five years, and those years included the expensive operation to convert to full colour printing, so this is excellent value; nothing else on the subject provides so much.