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British Commonwealth Revenues
J.Barefoot Ltd, 8th Edition 2008

Dingle Smith

All revenue collectors will be familiar with the British Commonwealth Catalogues written and published by John Barefoot in the United Kingdom. It is a delight therefore to review the latest edition of this comprehensive listing of British Commonwealth adhesive revenue stamps. It is now many years since the first edition appeared and the last (7th edition) was published in 2002. The new version has 381 pages A4 pages, an increase in length of about 20%. The information for some of the earlier entries is updated, prices revised and the extra pages describe material not listed in earlier editions. The new entries include `modern’ revenues as well as additional high denomination values of classic material. This is truly the A (Aden) to Z (Zululand) for British Commonwealth revenues.

The introduction which defines the content and presentation is essentially unchanged. Following the pattern of the earlier editions neither the revenues of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Indian States nor embossed stamps are included. However care has been taken in addressing the difficult task of pricing and, in contrast to some stamp catalogues, the changes aim to reflect current retail prices rather than applying a constant percentage increase to the majority of entries. The prices `…represent typical retail prices for good used copies’. However stamps that are more commonly found in mint condition, sometimes remaindered, are indicated by an * and in these cases used copies command a higher price. Helpfully for a commercially available listing reference is made to other catalogues and listings, both those published by Barefoot Ltd and by others. Details are also given of leading revenue societies.

My own collecting interests are dominated by the revenues of Australia and Australian States so naturally I avidly turned first to those sections. There are extensive updates taking advantage of new listings of South Australia by Martin Walker and to the pricing guide and other information given on the Dave Elsmore web site. The changes apply especially to the Beer Duty stamps although there is still considerable scope for future change. The same applies to the Patent Office Fee stamps, for example it is almost certain that for the 1978 issue the $4, $8, $12, $15, $16 and $30 values were never issued; certainly nobody has yet recorded a mint or used copy of these. I mention these two examples because, with other enthusiasts, I am engaged in preparing material that will substantially update the currently available published accounts. The lesson here is not for specialist collectors to criticise the Barefoot listings because one has additional information but to ensure that such information is sent to John Barefoot for inclusion in his next edition! This is the only way that our collective knowledge will progress. John Barefoot is always pleased to receive such additional information and this is confirmed by the long list of contributors acknowledged in his introduction to this (and earlier) editions.

All collectors, exhibitors, judges and dealers interested in revenue stamps should obtain a copy of this latest edition. The cost is L30 which includes basic (surface) postage, additional charges for airmail postage to given on his web site. There is also, for the first time, the option of purchasing the catalogue with coloured illustrations for which the price is L60.

Copies can be ordered directly either via the web site, or by post to J Barefoot Ltd, PO Box 8, York YO24 4YZ, UK.

*The FIP Commission for Revenues cannot assume any responsibility concerning the statements made on this page Reviews outside the Bureau members.
Therefore, we welcome different opinions and shall publish them in order to create a forum for discussion.