Stamps as Witnesses of History is not a book about the history of stamps as such. It is a book about how stamp issues since Rowland Hill invented the first adhesive postage stamp in 1840 have “witnessed” the seismic global political developments over the years. It is a guide to political philately, which aims to show how stamp issues have reflected and have related to key political events.
Thus stamps of the North German Confederation marked a major stepping stone to German unification, a truly momentous political event, whilst selected African stamps of the 1960s celebrated the independence of many emerging African states from European colonial empires.
The book is arranged geographically, covering the whole world. For each country entry, the major political developments are listed chronologically on the left hand side with contemporaneous stamps, supported in some instances by relevant commemoratives, on the right hand side.
Ruth Lea CBE, a professional economist, is currently the Economic Adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group. In her extensive career she has also worked at the Centre for Policy Studies, the Institute of Directors, ITN, Lehman Brothers, Mitsubishi Bank and Thames Polytechnic (now the University of Greenwich) and was a civil servant for 16 years, including postings at the Treasury, the DTI, the Civil Service College and the Central Statistical Office. From an early age she has been intrigued by stamps as tangible evidence of actual global historical and political events or, more indirectly, their anniversaries. From an early age she was intrigued by “stamps as witnesses of history”.