Filament Menu

Stamps as witnesses of History – Ruth Lea CBE

New book looks at history through the postage stamps of the time

By leading economist and philatelist Ruth Lea CBE

Despite the growth of emails and the decline in the number of people sticking stamps on envelopes, over 5 million people around the world are still passionate about stamps. However, there is far more to stamps than meets the eye. Stamps tell a story about their times and of particular moment is history. Amazingly, with so many books on the history of stamps themselves, there are no books on the history that the stamps themselves commemorate.

Ruth Lea CBE has filled this gap with such  a comprehensive book on the subject that it will probably never be equalled. At 600 fully illustrated pages, “Stamps as witnesses of history” (Filament Publishing) will appeal not just to philatelists but also to lovers of history.

Since Rowland Hill invented the first adhesive postage stamp in 1840 have “witnessed” the seismic global political and historical developments over the years. This book is a guide to political philately, which aims to show how stamp issues have reflected and have related to key political and historical events.

“Stamps as witnesses of history” 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.

Author 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 was intrigued by “stamps as witnesses of history”.

REVIEW from Sandafayre

“Stamps as Witnesses of History / A Guide to Political Philately” by Ruth Lea.

A few weeks ago a lady dropped by our offices and left a copy of a book she had recently published. “Stamps as Witnesses of History / A Guide to Political Philately” is a tremendous piece of work. The author is Ruth Lea CBE, many of our British clients will remember Ruth from her appearances on television as the ITN Economics Editor and from her other TV appearances. This can only scratch the surface of Ruth’s professional achievements but most importantly, at least from my point of view is that she attended the same school as my father and she is a stamp collector!

The book itself is a large colourful hardbound 608 page tour de force which is not primarily about stamps, as stamps. It is a guide of how stamp issues have reflected and witnessed global political developments since Rowland Hill invented the first postage stamp in 1840 and most of the illustrations (at a guess around 6000!) are of stamps contemporaneous with the events she describes. If you love stamps and history then you should always have this book close to hand.



Title: Stamps as Witnesses of History

ISBN‐13: 978‐1‐912635‐02‐3

Author: Ruth Lea


Size in mm: 297 x 210 x 35

Pages: 608 Full colour

Binding: Hardback

Age: A

Book categories: WCG: Stamps, philately

JP: Politics and government…

WDH: Hobbies

Publication date: 30th May 2018

Filament Publishing Ltd, 16 Croydon Road, Waddon, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 4PA.

Telephone: 020 8688 2598 Fax: 020 7183 7186 Mobile: 07802 211587


Gardners Books, 1 Whittle Drive, Willingdon Drove,

Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6QH

Contact: Customer Care

Telephone no: 01323 521777

Fax no: 01323 525504

Email address:

Website address: