Liechtenstein may be one of the smaller European states such as Luxembourg, but philatelically it has much more to offer than some would expect. Windels, born at Schaffhausen in 1942, has concentrated since the 1980s on the Principality of Liechtenstein and its chequered history, which was strongly influenced by the former Austrian and Austro-Hungarian monarchy until the 20th century. Supported by Götz Schneider, he succeeded in initially developing a specialised collection, then he acquired the important Liechtenstein collection of Rolf Goldschagg of Munich, and thus a wealth of information came together that is unparalleled. His exhibit has won Gold and Large Gold several times and was shown in 30 frames (!) in the Court of Honour at NABA 2018 in Lugano.
Windels documents the early period of pre-philately, partly with unique covers, among them a folded letter sent by courier mail from Vaduz dated 9 June 1622, which is still the earliest known letter from Vaduz. Incoming and outgoing mail is covered, and then on over 40 pages the use of Imperial and Royal Austrian stamps used in Liechtenstein from the 1850s onwards. A documentation of Swiss postage stamps used in Liechtenstein in 1921 follows, as do chapters on Swiss postcards, postage and airmail stamps. Even military, air mail and field post in Liechtenstein between 1927 and 1948 are not left out.
The focus, however, is on Liechtenstein's own issues, which were issued from 1912 to 1953, at first in Austrian krone currency (until 1920), and then from 1921 in Swiss currency. Looking at all the essays, proofs, multiples, even sheets, as well as usages lifts up the heart, for one has hardly ever seen such a variety. If you include official and postage due stamps, there are almost 100 more pages on which unusual material captivates the viewer's eye. Proofs signed by the designers, imperforate instead of perforated issues (some of which are not yet even catalogued), "good for printing" proofs of the Vaduz souvenir sheet (this one also imperforate, of course). There is probably nothing that does not exist, at least in this exceptional collection.
This book deserves every recommendation for Liechtenstein collectors. For others who might want to follow Windels' example some day it is indispensable, for what one sees here can hardly be found in any catalogue, at least not in this variety and clarity.
— Wolfgang Maassen (AIJP)
size 25,5 x 34 cm, 216 pages, numerous color illustrations, hardcover with dust jacket, bilingual German/English, collection pages in German only.