Booklets are a convenient means of issuing a small number of stamps and providing protection for unused stamps while in one’s wallet, purse or desk. Initially booklet carried six stamps or labels (or multiples of 6) from 21 August 1931 (Figure 1) until 1983 when larger 8 stamp sizes were produced followed by other sizes. (Figure 2). Booklet stamps are usually seen with one or two imperforate sides. . There are over 200 identifiable booklets. From 1931 to 1956, booklet covers had a consecutive serial number and two digit year printed on the front, i.e., 32-50.
Booklet stamps are printed with different layouts and margins than regular sheet stamps. Until 1946, the 1d stamps were printed in combinations of 3 stamps and 3 labels (Figure 3) To make a booklets, selvedge or gutters are used for a place to hold the stamps in the cardboard fronts and backs. Booklets were first sewn, but later stapled and now stuck with heat-sensitive adhesive. Depending on how they are cut, watermarked stamps can have the paper watermark sideways or inverted.
Booklets can have different covers, (Figure 4) and, in some cases, inter-leafing to prevent sticking together. Until 1956, inter-leafing carried ads as did the covers. (Figure 5). Perforations may be different. In 1940, the stamps were changed from the se (Saorstat Eireann) watermark to the e (Eire). (Figure 6)
Modern, larger format, "prestige" booklets often tell the story of the topic shown on the stamps enclosed. (Figure 7). Prestige booklets are often overprinted for international shows. In geneeral, these are mainly aimed at collectors rather than general usage.
A smart collector takes a close look at booklets. There can be errors on the stamp, part imperforate, or inverted stamps panes. The cover and the back can have missing or changed printing or inverted backs. (Figure 8) Inter-leafs may also be inverted or missing information.
Many articles in The Revealer have addressed booklets and their varieties.
Illustrations from the collection of B. Clancy.