The Bicoloured Stamps of Denmark 1870-1905 by Lasse Nielsen, 6 volumes, in both English and Danish, approximately 7 by 10 inches, hardbound, Copenhagen Philatelic Club, Denmark, 2001, ISBN 87-983015-5-1, approx. $300.


Nielsen has built on the earlier work of others who have written extensively about these stamps that were issued for use in both Denmark and the Danish West Indies over a period of 35 years. The complexity of the issues is seen in the tremendous number of varieties. Separate dies were used for the oval center design and the frame, thus leading to inverted frames.

The stamps were first issued in skilling values and later changed to øre values, and in DWI there were the cents issues. There were many printings of each value that provide a great variety of shades and printing flaws for the serious student. The stamps were printed by H. H. Thiele's printing house, and the historic background of this firm and many of the key employees are detailed in Volume I.

This volume also provides details on the execution of the clichés, the paper and the gum used, perforation and watermarks of the stamps, and the layout of the sheets. The usage and the cancellations found on these stamps are covered and there is a list of the earliest known uses. Other topics dealt with in the first volume are proofs and essays, reprints, postal stationery with these designs, forgeries, the provisional overprints, and a bibliography.

The remaining volumes II-VI provide details on the settings, printings, and plate flaws of each value, as well as studies of the frame varieties. The side-by-side bilingual English/Danish text flows well and appears to be carefully edited. Volume I has many lovely illustrations in color, which add up to a beauty to behold. The remaining volumes are extensively illustrated in black and white, and those pictures are very clear for the fly spec collector.

At the HAFNIA exhibition held in October 2001 in Copenhagen, Lasse Nielsen was presented with the FIP research medal for his many dedicated years of studying the classic issues of Denmark, culminating in this extraordinary work on the bicolor stamps. The citation concludes with, "This is a truly distinctive and definitive work, by a student already renowned for his research contributions to Danish philately, and is appropriately recognized by the award of the FIP Medal for Research to Mr. Lasse Nielsen."


Alan Warren