Notes from the Past


Luxembourg was the first country to adopt the practice of selling stamps in handy booklets in 1895, and the idea was soon taken up in many other countries.  In Great Britain booklets were introduced in 1904; they were the first to be interleaved with pages of commercial advertising.  Nowadays booklet collecting has become a popular philatelic sideline; some of the early booklets have become items of considerable rarity, and fetch high prices.

British stamps intended for booklets come from special printings in a make-up of opposed panes, one of which is inverted in relation to the other.  In cases of faulty assembly, this  has occasionally resulted in tête-bêche varieties.  It also means that half the stamps from booklets have inverted watermarks.  The process of manufacture often results in the outer edges of booklet panes having trimmed perforations, giving certain stamps the appearance of being imperf. along one side.

An earlier production than any of the above was an advertising booklet with a Penny Lilac inserted through a slot in the cover, prepared for England by a private company with Post Office approval in 1891.  It was intended for sale from vending machines fixed to pillarboxes, but the experiment was short-lived.  This has been claimed as the world's first booklet, but it was not a true stamp booklet in the accepted meaning of the term which implies panes of stamps bound into the booklet by stapling or stitching.


A stamp booklet taken apart and displayed page by page is said to be 'exploded'.

- R. J. Sutton 6th edition revised by K. W. Anthony
The Stamp Collector's Encyclopaedia
Published 1966
Posted March 27, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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