Betram William Henry Poole

Betram William Henry Poole

Though to some it may be hard to believe, Bertram W.H. Poole, who became a world-renowned stamp dealer, was one of the original signatories to enscribe his name on Great Britain’s Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 1921. Considering that King George V was the very first signatory, Mr. Poole was in very good company. And so were Americans Dr. Carroll Chase, Clifton Howes, John N. Luff, William Ricketts, and Charles Severn (a member of this Hall of Fame, as is Charles J. Phillips).

Poole was one of the most prolific writers and editors in philatelic history. He began his philatelic career in 1899 in London, writing numerous monographs and contributing to several leading journals of the time.

He edited The West End Philatelist and The Philatelic Journal of Great Britain. His monographs included all seven of the West End Philatelist Handbooks (1908-1910) on various British Colonies and Bulgaria. He also wrote monographs on Dominica, Seychelles, Sarawak and South Africa. His writings were regularly featured in the pages of America’s Weekly Philatelic Gossip right up until Poole’s death in 1957.

Poole was an active stamp collector, with specialist collections of Haiti and South and Central America. He served as a judge at the 1913 International Philatelic Exhibition in New York City. He had moved to the United States just before this exhibition, and soon afterwards relocated to Los Angeles where he settled and became a noted dealer and auctioneer.

He wrote fourteen monographs on European and British Colonial stamps which were published in the Mekeels Handbook series between 1912 and 1923. Poole also wrote The Standard Philatelic Dictionary (1922) and The Pioneer Stamps of the British Empire (1957). He contributed numerous articles to the journals of his time, including his own Philatelic Opinion (1912-1931).

Bertram Poole is one of a handful of great British philatelists who moved to, and set up business in, the United States. )

[Our thanks to the American Philatelic Society for some of this information, and to Herbert Trenchard, author of this biography.]