ATA’s Handbook 167, What’s First? From Abacus to Zebra: The First Time Topics and Pictured on Postage Stamps, illustrates and describes more than 800 topical firsts. They range from common topics, such as the first ship to more esoteric ones, such as the first handshake.
What’s First? is arranged by decade, with the year of issue specified for each stamp. The arrangement makes it a fascinating window into the history, culture and events of each decade. Jack Gray’s entertaining narrative gives us people and events as we move through the decades. In the 1860s we are introduced to railroads, ocean liners and Abraham Lincoln. Dragons, astrology and many other topics are featured on the stamps of the 1870s. As we head into the 20th century, there is incredible variety in the topics, but lots of scenery (mountains, glaciers, icebergs) and animals of every description. Throughout it all, we see Queen Victoria go from young to old!
The book has two comprehensive indexes, one by topic and the other by country and Scott number. To learn some of the considerations the author used in selecting the "first" stamps, click here.
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What's First is also available in an electronic version on disc.
Softcover: 322 pages
Publisher: American Topical Association
Book Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 x 0.75 inches