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Review of: The Sower, A Common Little French Stamp

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jim-fairfield
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Review of: The Sower, A Common Little French Stamp

#1

Post by jim-fairfield »

Hello everyone,

Since my evaluation of selected French catalogues a while back, I have bought both a book on French stamps and another French catalogue, and I would like to share with you my thoughts on these. This current posting is just on the book. I will be reviewing the catalogue shortly.

The book I’m reviewing is The Sower, A Common Little French Stamp by Ashley Lawrence, FRPSL (Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society, London). It is 252 pages in length and was published by the France and Colonies Philatelic Society of Great Britain in 2012. Since this publication is not new, some of you may already be familiar with it. If you are interested, you can purchase the book directly from the author by emailing him at ashleylawrence1000@gmail.com.

Mr. Lawrence has been studying the Sower stamps for most of his life, and we are fortunate that he has decided to share with us what he knows about them. His book is certainly the definitive book on the Sowers in English. We are also very fortunate that it is in English (most books that go this deep into French stamps are in French).

The book is delightfully written and is livened up with humor interspersed here and there. In addition, it is profusely illustrated (though most of the illustrations in the book relate more directly to our philatelic knowledge of the Sowers, one of my favorites is an illustration of a postcard from around 1900 with a Sower stamp on it; the postcard’s picture shows a rural French postman sitting in a small cart being pulled by a dog—ordinarily, it’s a bit difficult for me to get my wife interested in anything philatelic, but she loved this picture).

The book covers every aspect of the Sowers that I can think of, from the origins of the series, to the printing of the stamps and the papers used, reception of the series by the French public, and of course, in-depth detail on each denomination, design, and specialized type. Although Lawrence identifies the stamps by Yvert and Stanley Gibbons numbers, it is not hard to make the transition over to Scott because he also gives you all you need to know about the denomination, design, color, and type of each stamp discussed.

As an added bonus, the author provides information on additional types for the 15c lilac brown Cameo Sower issued from 1926 through 1937 (Scott No. 165 / Yvert or Maury No. 189). Both Yvert and Maury identify only two types for this stamp, but Lawrence gives us ample identifying information for all four of the types that exist. I have not found this information anywhere else.

I give this book five stars out of five.
Jim Shead - Fairfield, Iowa

Milo9696
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#2

Post by Milo9696 »

Cool!! Thanks tons for posting this.

jim-fairfield
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#3

Post by jim-fairfield »

Dear Milo9696,

Thanks for your comment. I do appreciate it very much.

I might add that in the months since my original posting regarding this book, I have been using it a lot to help me in identifying the more difficult Sower stamps: there are four Sower stamps that have as many as five to seven different types in Yvert and Maury -- types that I think in all cases are not listed in Scott. Lawrence's experience and knowledge in this area is invaluable. These stamps can be quite a challenge to identify and he helps a lot.

To show how hard some of these can be to identify, I have bought Sower stamps from a major American dealer (he places full-page ads in Linn's) that were identified incorrectly. I didn't say anything because some of the incorrect identifications ended up in my financial favor and some ended up in the dealer's favor, so in the end it was all a wash, and I figured it wasn't worth taking the dealer's staff person to task on it. But I am sure that there are American dealers who can work competently with Yvert or Maury, yet probably not that many -- I just have plenty of stamps already to work with, and so, I have not been looking for another dealer.

Also, I have found here and there a few other stamps in Lawrence's book besides Scott No. 165 / Yvert or Maury No. 189 that have types listed and described that I have found nowhere else (not in Maury, Yvert, Scott, or Stanley Gibbons).
Jim Shead - Fairfield, Iowa

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#4

Post by sforgca »

The Lawrence Sower book is quite good for any collector who wants to concentrate on the "Semeuse Camee" and was in my library
5359.jpg
Books on the subject and without a doubt the authority on the Sower is Storch who published a series (4 @ over 1000pages)
I would surmise a lot of information comes from Storch books. They are in French but after digitizing translations are simple
difficile-naissance-de-la-semeuse-1902-1907-academie-.jpg
Extracted pages from France 1907 Sower - Storch 1981.jpg
Poste-Française-J-Storch-Et-R-Françon-Semeuse.jpg

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