Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oscar Berger-Levrault - French philatelist

Oscar François George Berger-Levrault (May 9, 1826, in Strasbourg – September 24, 1903, in Nancy) was a French philatelist. The invention of the stamp catalogue is attributed to him and to the Englishman, John Edward Gray.
Oscar Berger-Levrault was a bookseller in his birthplace, Strasbourg. Besides his work, he found the time to engage in philately. He was one of the first stamp collectors, who dealt with the scientific and systematic establishment of stamp collections. In the course of his philatelistic work, he published a stamp and postal stationery register ("Description of the stamps known to date") on September 17, 1861, which can definitely be referred to as the world's first stamp catalogue, although it was rather a list than a catalogue because of the complete lack of illustrations. 

However, it listed all of the 973 postage stamps known to the bookseller which had been issued around the world up to then.
Because Berger-Levrault was the first to make such a list, errors had crept in. 

It was used by Alfred Potiquet as a template for the first illustrated stamp catalogue issued in December 1861.
Although Berger-Levrault's philatelistic work was only intended for his friends and only 40 to 50 copies of it were produced, one copy found its way into the British Museum in London, where it can be found today.
Catalogues issued:  A page of the philatelic magazine, "Stamp Collector's Magazine" (London, 1868), describing the stamp catalogue issued by Berger-Levreault in June, 1867.Berger-Levrault O. Timbres-poste. — Strasbourg : Ve. Berger-Levrault & fils, 1861. — 12 p. Les timbres-poste: catalogue méthodique et descriptif de tous les timbres-poste connus. — Paris : Ve. Berger-Levrault et fils, 1867. — xiii, 147 p.

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