Polish Exile Mail in Great Britain 1939-1949

It is rare to find a book about stamps which has just the right combination of being a catalogue and a history book. But when the friendly folk at Barefoot send me the book “Polish Exile Mail in Great Britain 1939-1949″ I very soon discovered this was one of those books.

Polish Exile Mail in Great Britain 1939-1949: cover
Polish Exile Mail in Great Britain 1939-1949: cover

Most books about stamps tend to be either a catalogue (and rightly so in most cases when they are advertised as catalogues of course) or a history book, with stamps included. This book however is quite different from most books about stamps I have. It has a series of chapters which each on their own could have been small separate books, but which combined into this one book gives a very thorough history of the Polish postal services in exile during the Second World war and the related postal services of the Polish armed forces.

The book comes with series and series of stamps, cancellations, stationary, listings of camps, dates, addresses (like the secret postal boxes used), censorship information, official documentation, anything to make it possible for the serious collector of this particular field within the postal history to discover anything about it.

The book has one major issue, an issue I have with all of the books produced by Barefoot: except for the cover (and the back) the book completely lacks in colour. That is not so problematic, although a small colour section with just the stamps for instance would have been nice, but what is troublesome is the quality of the reproduction of the postal pieces in the book. The fact that it is all in B/W is understandable, given the cost of colour, but even the B/W reproductions are not really up to standard, all the illustrations look like they were previously Xeroxed and only then digitized to be included by the layout department in the book. Continue reading Polish Exile Mail in Great Britain 1939-1949