One can take quite literally the claim of this book series to document the "most important stamp collections of our time", because this new volume of the EDITION D'OR series provides further proof. A collector must have been truly bitten by the philatelic "bug" to collect such a difficult, and for many a completely impossible subject. Some individual areas of this subject, such as the issues of the Steam Navigation Company, seem feasible. But to claim to collect the stamp issues of all private shipping companies up to 1900 would seem to be an impossibility.
The reason is clear: many of the stamps of these shipping lines are rare, even in comparison with the "Post Office" Mauritius stamps. This narrows down the scope considerably, especially as one must be lucky enough to have any access to such stamps and covers. This requires patience, perseverance, vigilance and, in particular, a persistent quest for perfection.
All this is known to the Swedish collector Jan Berg (born 1959). Berg has two hobbies: his company – he owns a successful building automation company – and philately, since he was seven years old. He began his exhibiting career in 1975 with a thematic collection ("Elephants") and, after a long break, returned in 2001 with a fine Samoa collection which was awarded the Grand Prix at Singapore in 2015. In this 58th EDITION D'OR volume the portrait of the collector written by his friend and passionate philatelist Jonas Hällström is well worth reading. Hällström also emphasises the arrangement of this collection of rarities, which is unparalleled in its perfection and use of blank space. There is much to be learned from this alone.
Even more instructive, however, is the collection itself, which has been awarded seven Gold medals since 2010, and between 2015 and 2018 six Large Gold medals and two Grand Prix awards in Scandinavia. Berg undoubtedly deserves this flood of medals, as the 136 pages of his exhibit contain many names of private shipping lines that most readers are unlikely to have been familiar with to date. Berg divides the abundance of these lines into six chapters, from Intercontinental via the Caribbean and America to Europe, Australasia and Africa including the Suez Canal Company. He succeeds in representing each line with the rarest of their stamps, and also their usage on correspondence. In addition, he has included many proofs, essays and colour trials, as can be seen for example with the issues of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company.
— Wolfgang Maassen (AIJP)
176 pages, hardbound with dust jacket, in English and German