A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Gift that Gerben van Gelder has given to us WW collectors

Gerben van Gelder
Stamp World History
We were in The Hague (Den Haag) last year March for an extended visit with our daughter, who works there, and one of my philatelic goals was to meet the author of the magnificent Stamp World History website*, Gerben van Gelder.

*Stamp World History website: Alas, presently not available. BUT, the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has this:

Update: Also, try this - seems to be a better link- 


Gerben had only started his website in June, 2015, yet he was publishing fully formed historical philatelic profiles, and his unbelievably accurate maps of countries almost daily. I had marveled at his superhuman output, and he said he had been preparing many years for this, and we were now witnessing the fruits.

German East Africa (Enlarge for review)
His philatelic maps are unlike any other that have been published before. They are information dense, they are layered, and they reward close study.

Note his German East Africa map show the German offices and local issues, the Caravan route!, the towns, villages and dates, and the areas covered by the Belgian, British (several), and Portuguese occupation issues. And this is one map, based on study of original materials and resources. !

And the country entry is accompanied by a historically dense essay, which illuminates his synthesis maps. 

Multiply this one map and historical accompaniment shown here by 373: the number of country profiles published until his last (Belarus), on November 28, 2016, and one can perhaps begin to understand the gift he has given philately, and WW collectors in particular.

He was quite clear that his maps and materials were allowed to be used freely (non commercially) by collectors for their own studies. A source acknowledgement of Stamp World History was all he requested.

The author and spouse in the low countries
I contacted him, and arranged for him to meet me by the Binnenhof, in Den Haag, near the train station. He would travel from Ultrecht, near his home town. We would perhaps have some Poffertjes with powdered sugar and butter.

But he called me that morning, as he was too sick to come that day. Life had thrown him a curve ball, and he was battling a serious illness, including chemotherapy.

It dawned on me that may be the reason he was covering Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Oceania first. Those were the parts of the world where he could contribute the most, as the philatelic history (and maps) were more terra incognita. Europe could wait.

My understanding is there were several countries still being prepared when he could work no more.

So readers and world wide collectors, enjoy his legacy - it was meant for us.

And perhaps ponder a bit on the genius - yes genius! - of Gerben van Gelder.


  1. I have many kind thoughts and deep appreciation for Gerben and his work.

  2. Jim,

    A very nice tribute to Gerben and his philatelic work. May he rest in peace...


  3. Very well done. Thank you Jim. I didn't really know Gerben or his site very well but the impact he had in people I know is remarkable.


  4. Thanks for the tributes to Gerben. His legacy will live on for generations with his creative Stamp World History.

  5. Sad news, indeed! I was one of the many who have followed his work on website. I'm sure that his legacy will help many generations of stamp collectors!

  6. I had looked at Gerben's website casually the way you do when you assume something is always going to be there. But I had no idea it had all been done so quickly and by one person. I could certainly tell it had been done very well. I hope the website he created can be archived somewhere for others' use. This is very sad news about Gerben's death, it goes without saying. Jim, your comments were excellent, and I only wish you could have had better luck in meeting him.

  7. Thanks Caitlin and Drew for your tributes. It is true, sometimes, we don't know what we had until it is gone.

  8. Have Gerben van Gelder's maps found a new web site since his passing? I've been searching for something like his wonderful maps to augment my albums. It would be a absolute shame to realize all his work has been deleted.

    1. Unfortunately, No.

      Hopefully, the family will find a way.

      As insurance (and in retrospect, smart of me), I did download all of his maps on his site before the site went away.

  9. Hi Jim,

    I note that the commentary above states that "He was quite clear that his maps and materials were allowed to be used freely (non commercially) by collectors for their own studies. " Have you made the maps available since you downloaded them?

    1. Some of them, when they were used for a revised blog post.

      I'm uncomfortable releasing all of them until it is clear that they will not be released any other way. I'm still hopeful.

    2. Hi Jim, You obviously have contact details for the family. Have you asked them whether they plan to release the maps, or whether they would be happy for you to do so?

  10. Here's the final copy of Gerben's site in the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20180811150123/http://www.stampworldhistory.com:80/

    1. Thanks very much for the link! I posted it at the beginning of this post for greater attention.

  11. Very nice tribute to Gerben. i have deep appreciation for his and ofcourse your work Jim. im a fairly new collector. started with the smithsonian a stamp from every country.. graduated to the lardog's extended version and now i come across Gerben's website and blown away by his charts and maps. i see a chart of malaysia that takes me 5 mins to understand what i did reading for 5 weeks.

    i searched everywhere for the excel list he made for the stamp issuing entities to no avail. i think u could help me to it.

    1. Thanks Arun for your kind comments about Gerben: His maps are indeed packed with information. I actually don't remember about Gerben's excel list, so can't be of help there.

  12. thanks for your reply jim. the page where the excel link of stamps-issuing-entities was attached is here. The the excel itself had not been backedup by the webarchive.. https://web.archive.org/web/20170805003310/http://www.stampworldhistory.com/stamps-issuing-entities/

    1. Arun -thanks for the link. I see what you are talking about - alas I never obtained the excel country list.

  13. I am Kousik Nanda from India.

    When my hero, my teacher, Mr. Gerben van Gelder alive in his last days, I am very much lucky that I able to chat 2 times with him. That was october 2016.

    😢 But unfortunately he passed away.

    Only this blog is now his last memory.I want to thanks to this people in this blog.

    But Mr. Gerben van Gelder was an great historian, good man. He deserve more than that. His work is remarkable for all time.

    In india, I belongs from a village. In 2016 in our village internet connection was very slow.Now it is very good. But that time due to slow speed , I copy every web page and every map, every chart from his website.

    I open, this blog almost every day. Read all comment again and again. I feel sadness as same all of you.

    Also I studied on the path of Gerben van Gelder. I studied world history with the help of stamp, categories them.

    At last i think I want to publish my work as pdf books. But this work is not full of mine. Mr. Gelder also help me. I elaborate and expensively logically devide territories more than him.

    I want to use his map. So this work authorship will be both mine and Mr. Gerben van Gelder.

    I want to ask you people (who are the fan of Mr.Gerben van Gelder) that if I able to do so then it is good for all?
    Actually I want a permission, a courage from you. Because I think it takes a decade to finish it. But I publish it volume by volume starting with southern asia.

    My mail id


    1. Very nice reading your ambitions Kousik Nanda. Good luck with your goals regarding publishing. I will say it is tricky using Gerben's maps in a published printed format without formal permission from his heirs. I know Gerben felt comfortable with people using his maps as long as it was in a non-commercial and educational environment. That is why I feel OK using his maps with my internet blog posts, as there is no commercial interests. And it is important that his maps are available for the philatelic community.

  14. Hi Jim. Do you know if anyone has tracked down a copy of Gerben's Stamp Issuing Entities spreadsheet? I can see from the discussion above that you didn't have a copy back then. From the description on his archived document it looks like a useful document to have. Thanks

    1. Sorry Stephen, but I don't have it and don't know where it can be obtained. Jim