The South African Philatelist

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The below listed publications are available and can be ordered from the Philatelic Federation


Contact person: Andre du Plessis at



Prices mentioned are quoted in SA currency,  postage not included







Anglo Boer War Stamp Souvenirs by Birkhead and Groenewald.  2014, 56 p, softcover. R235.00


The Cape stamps with ‘Kuruman Besieged”, the ZAR stamps with Vryburg “VR Special Post” and the ZAR revenue stamps with “VRI” (issued at Zeerust) are rated as souvenirs since there is no record or evidence of their postal validity.  Yet these elusive items are keenly sought by collectors and their histories are part of the canvas of war


The Legacy of Lydenburg by Birkhead and Groenewald.  2009, 78 p, softcover. R295.00


It was the overprinting of ZA Republiek stamps at Lydenburg which angered the British military authorities and put a stop to ‘local stamp issues’.  Souvenir covers were made at Lydenburg and while few genuine postal items are recorded, forgeries were quick to appear, especially of the spectacular variety of the overprint letter R with a ‘long tail’


Die Machadodorp-briefkaarte van die Anglo-Boereoorlog by Gerrit H Jonkers and Joh Groenewald.  2006, 56 p, softcover. R215.00


The ZA Republiek government left Pretoria ahead of the British onslaught and moved to Machadodorp, where a special Staatscourant (government gazette) was printed on the back of ZAR postcards to declare Machadodorp the seat of government.  Then followed a local postcard produced by the Staatsdrukker-te-velde (government printer in the field).


Die Pietersburg-seëls van die Anglo-Boereoorlog by Carel Breedt and Joh Groenewald.  2007, 109 p, softcover. R280.00


When stamps ran out in ZAR administered regions of Transvaal, a newspaper press at Pietersburg produced rudimentary stamps.  To validate these, an official had to initial all 54 000 stamps by hand.  The printing contract tells how the printer was paid in stamps, and an amazing story unfolds.  Full sheets of all printings are illustrated


The Postmarks of Rhodesia 1988-1980 by Jon and Jenifer Barry.  1998.  A4 format, 447 p, hard cover with dust jacket.  R270.00


Comprehensive coverage of postal offices, with postmarks illustrated, dates of use recorded, maps, name changes and historical notes.


The Pseudo-Siege of Schweizer-Reneke by Birkhead and Groenewald.  2005, 63 p, softcover. R280.00


Stamps of both the Transvaal republic and the Cape Colony were handstamped with the word ‘Besieged’, and were then within days sold out to eager troops.  Hardly any were actually used on letters.  Siege ?  No, the town was isolated but not besieged, as the contemporary record and postal history reveals


Railway Postal History of South Africa by H S Hagen and S P Naylor.  1998, 279 p, hard cover with dust jacket.  R380.00


Description of railway letter post system, listing of station post offices and travelling post offices, study of the franking of railway mail, review of official railway stationery, postal history details of royal trains and special and commemorative train trips.  Profusely illustrated


The Riddle of Rustenburg by Birkhead and Groenewald.  2007, 79 p, softcover. R280.00


The 52 days of the first British occupation of Rustenburg are set out day by day, with the story of the stamps and the mails interwoven.  The official ZAR stamps overprinted “VRI” in Pretoria were available yet not used; instead ZAR stamps were locally handstamped “VR” and used on outgoing letters – an intriguing history.  Numerous forgeries are described


Die Vryburg-seëls van die Anglo-Boereoorlog by Groenewald.  2010, 90 p, softcover.  R315.00


The first special stamps of the Anglo-Boer War came within weeks into the war.  Vryburg in the Northern Cape was occupied as a preventative measure, a mail link with Transvaal was arranged, and Cape of Good Hope stamps were overprinted “ZAR”.  The ZAR postmaster-general was annoyed but later relented, and many souvenirs were made


The Wherewithal of Wolmaransstad by Harry Birkhead and Joh Groenewald.  1999, 59 p.  (2005 update supplement of new material that appearing during the centenary of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), softcover. R185.00


The story of how enthusiasts, working on a large dining room table one evening,  handstamped a number of stamps of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek with the initials of Queen Victoria; how the stamps were used, and how the wartime mails functioned around Wolmaransstad in the Western Transvaal


World War II: Prisoner of War and Internment Camps in South Africa and their mail by J B R Findlay and Rory Ryan.  2003, A4 format, 40 p, softcover. R130.00


After the start of the Second World War in September 1939 suspected ‘enemies of the state’ were interned in South and South West Africa, and their mail was censored.  Later, prisoners of war were brought to South Africa from war zones, including 97 000 Italians from north-eastern Africa.  All known camps are listed and camp marks and postmarks shown


Postal Cancellers of the Cape, 1853 – 1910 by  Franco Frescura. 2018, 213 p, softcover. R520.00


The colonial archives of the Cape’s Post Office were destroyed by the British military in 1900, leaving behind few records beyond a run of Postmasters’ correspondence files. As a result, we know little of the management of the GPO and the procedures that attended the day-to-day running of its affairs. Its policies towards the design and distribution of postal cancellers. The writer seeks to resolve many of these colonial puzzles and establish a credible history of the Cape Post Office

other publishers   




The Stamps of the Union of South Africa 1910-1961




An electronic version is available in the members area under Resources/Publications

The Concise Stamp Catalogue of the Republic of South Africa 1961-2014 by Robert Schmidt. Privately published by the author, 2014


Three volumes, A4 loose leaves in plastic pouches –

Volume 1: Commemorative Stamps, 88 p

Volume 2: Definitives, 67 p

Volume 3: First day covers, maxi cards, folders, 86 p

All three volumes available at R500.00 each, or the full set at R1 200.00


A most comprehensive work, with all items and variations listed and described in detail.  The loose leaves of the volumes make it easier to replace pages as required, and add more pages. The author received the J H Harvey Pirie PFSA Memorial Award for literature in 2014


The “Officials” of South Africa by Robert M Hisey and Ian A Matheson (2016)


Published in electronic format and available in USB drive at R400,00

The most comprehensive study and compendium of listings, data and illustrations on the Union of South Africa stamps overprinted ‘Official” and “Offisieel” (1926-1950).  Using their own top collections and previous research as base the authors were supported by other experts in the field to produce this remarkable work of reference.


South African Military Abbreviations and Acronyms by Jim Findlay.   South African Military Mail Study Group, 2009.  A4 format, 28 p, softcover. R90.00


This pioneering manual lists thousands of South African (and East African) unit and other abbreviations which may be found on military mail, from the Imperial occupation (1902 on), the Union (1910), both world wars, the Berlin airlift and Korean campaign, the Border War and in peacetime.  An important key for both postal and military historians


With the Postcart through Houtteniqualandt, Kannaland and the Lange Kloof by Pauw Steyl.   Privately published by the author, 2009.  A4 format, full colour, 219 p, softcover. R375.00

The book traces the history of the post over a hundred years in the original 1811 district of George, which embraced vast tracts of the Garden Route and Klein Karoo (the present districts of Knysna, Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn and George).  Amazing information surfaces in the archival records revealed in small print.  Places, postmarks of pioneering postal agencies, and covers are well illustrated, making the book a delight for the postal historian


Thematic Exhibiting by Wobbe Vegter.  Privately published by the author, Bellville, 2010.  A5 softcover, 63 pages. R 196.00


This user-friendly handbook is a most valuable guide for collectors who want to develop an award-winning thematic exhibit, explaining the hows and whys of thematic exhibiting.  Examples are used to explain the types of philatelic material that can be used, which material should not be used, the role of research, aspects of presentation, how to plan a one-frame exhibit, and the importance of a good title and plan for the exhibit. The late author was an acknowledged exponent on thematic exhibiting and included International regulations for thematic exhibits and the guidelines for evaluating such exhibits


Stamps that make you Smile by Volker Janssen Privately published by the author, 2021.  A4 softcover, R490.00


A collection of 80 of the best “Stamps that make you smile”


Available directly from the author at