In his masterly study on the postage stamps of Nepal (published in 1905/06), Major Evans does not even lose a single word on postmarks. To his generation of philatelists, the only thing that really mattered, were the stamps themselves.
This attitude was virtually maintained by Smythies and Dawson, in their monograph of 1945, although it must be said, in all fairness, that they did devote a little over a page to a chapter on miscellanea, entitled 'Forgeries and Cancellations'. It is in this odd company that the first, half-hearted attempt to tackle the native postmarks of Nepal was found.
In all, Smythies and Dawson vaguely describe sixteen types, despite the fact that well over 300 native cancellations and postmarks existed at that time. H. D. S. Haverbeck, who took over Smythies' and Dawson's types, was the first to show some photographs of cancellations and postmarks. Finally, in 1970, the late Robert D. West wrote an excellently illustrated article on First Day Cancellations.
No other author has, to the best knowledge of the authors, ever tried to give more than a general comment or two, on the subject of native postmarks.
It is obvious that this notable lack of information has prevented most Nepal collectors from fully enjoying and understanding their covers. It was hoped that the present volume will contribute towards reversing this situation as well as creating new interest in this fascinating field.
Apart from being a practical handbook, 'The Native Postmarks of Nepal' is, at ,the same time, a book on one of the most important aspects of the Kingdom's postal history. For this reason the authors have tried to give the reader as much supplementary information as possible.
As the title indicates, this volume deals with the native postmarks, i.e. those used by the Nepalese Post Office. On the other hand, the postal markings of the British-Indian Post Office in Kathmandu will form the subject of an entirely separate study (this, and several other projects, are being undertaken by various members of the NEPAL PHILATELIC STUDY CIRCLE, an international organization comprising many leading specialists and philatelic writers).
In the course of the research for this handbook the authors have personally recorded the postmarks and checked the dates of many thousands of native covers, ranging from exclusive exhibits to collections, dealers stocks, where, indeed, rarities are just as likely to be found.
In addition, several collectors kindly sent photocopies of their very best native covers, which included many scarce and some probably unique postmarks.
It is certain that these studies will lead to and facilitate further discoveries. It is anticipated that a number of additional types and subtypes will come to light and many periods of use which were quoted will eventually be extended by considerable margins.
In order to keep 'The Native Postmarks of Nepal' abreast with all new finds, one or more supplements were planned but so far not published.
The book is also available as softbound and hardbound version.
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