The Stamp Atlas


336 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-458-80330-8




Reviewed by R. Ficek

R. Ficek was Branch Head, Palmerston Library, Toronto Public Library.


One of the most exciting moments in the life of a young stamp collector is when he or she is presented with the album of an older collector — usually a relative. Sorting through this collection, one soon comes across older stamps which, while they look somewhat familiar, are usually overprinted with cryptic inscriptions or geographical names which appear in no existing gazetteer. Up to now such stamps, usually thought of by their owner as being invaluable, remain at the back of the collector’s album waiting as a lucky indentification. What has been lacking is now supplied by Stuart Rossiter — who died four years before the book was finally updated and completed — and John Flower.

Rossiter, a noted British philatelist, and Flower, a cartographer, have produced in the Stamp Atlas what amounts to a postal history of the world. The atlas gives a brief history of each stamp issuing authority (country or geographical unit) and details the changes in the boundaries of countries and territories. It explains which stamps were first used and issued; how the many changes have been reflected in the postal markings and the operations of the post. Some 144 maps interlocked with textual information enable the stamp collector to gain, in addition to a knowledge of the numerous boundary changes, a range of other important philatelic facts such as the dates when stamps were subsequently issued or re-issued for a particular territory, after a “natural break” ( for example a coup d’etat).

The atlas is intended for the novice and weekend collector and is especially valuable for those hard-to-identify stamps issued by the turn of the century imperialist powers with territories in Asia and Africa.

The Stamp Atlas should become a standard item on the reference shelf of the general collector.


Rossiter, Stuart and John Flower, “The Stamp Atlas,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024,