Lester G. Brookman

Lester G. Brookman

Lester Brookman is still a legend in our hobby even today and was, in his time, one of the foremost authorities on 19th century United States stamps. He began as a stamp dealer in 1934, and his Brookman’s U.S. Price List was used by thousands of stamp dealers throughout the country as the medium for pricing their stamps.

In 1947, he wrote a two-volume work, The United States Postage Stamps of the 19th Century, published by Harry L. Lindquist, editor of STAMPS Magazine and which he expanded into a three-volume set in 1967. The APS Writers Unit 30 presented him its Grand Award in 1968 for this edition, which was a philatelic bestseller. To say the very least, the book is a classic and one of the four or five most important books ever written on United States stamps. To many, it is a “bible” of classic U.S. philately.

Brookman was also editor of The American Philatelist from 1941-1945. He was one of only several people to have received the John N. Luff Award twice: first in 1946 for Exceptional Contributions to Philately and again in 1948 for Distinguished Philatelic Research. Brookman signed Great Britain’s prestigious Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 1950. Following his death in 1972, he was deservedly named to the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame.

Brookman was a beloved figure on both the collector and dealer sides of philately. In the mid-1950s, he was shot and wounded in a robbery of his store in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Laid up for several months with the rather severe injury which had threatened his life, he received hundreds of letters and cards from philatelists and dealers throughout the world. (Many of these original letters and cards are in this magazine’s archives and will be published some time in the future.)

Though his store in Minneapolis was a bit out of the geographical mainstream of philatelic dealing (which was, in essence, centered in places like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles), it was not unusual to walk into his shop and see several nationally-known collectors and dealers sitting around chatting with Brookman—or perhaps enjoying a card game in his backroom.

We are grateful to the Hall of Fame section on the American Philatelic Society website (www.stamps.org) for some of the writeup that appears above.