There are three 'bibles' for Tasmanian collectors. Basset Hull produced the reference work for all aspects of Tasmanian philately in 1890 as 'The Stamps of Tasmania'. The increased interest in the collecting of postal history in the many years after this was published resulted in the 'Green books' otherwise known as the two volumes of 'Tasmania – Postal history and Postal markings'. Much has been discovered since their publication and articles and listings can be found in Philately from Australia produced by the Royal Philatelic Society of Victoria and 'The Courier' published on a regular basis by the Tasmanian Philatelic Society. Magpie Publications also produced a series of extremely useful volumes listing and rating post offices, postmarks and reproducing the many Acts and postal notices from 1803 to 1891. The Revenue and Railway stamp collector is catered for by the catalogues published by Craig and Ingles on these subjects and a cursory reading of these catalogues shows the variety in the issues available for study. A number of significant auctions catalogues record major collections offered over the years, especially since 1986. These provide key references to many items discovered since the major literature works were published and also provide a sense of the rarity of important items of Tasmanian philately.
A brief reference to the key correspondences which are known in connection with Tasmanian philately is warranted. As you gather together covers you will be regularly reminded of the Tattersall's lottery operation in Hobart whose correspondence has provided the backbone for much of the later postal history and markings of all Australian colonies. There are also the Leake and William Johnstone correspondences which added significantly to known world Tasmanian covers and were the source of many key markings. William Crosby and Pigeon & Son covers are also part of the tapestry of Tasmanian philately as is the R.E Smith correspondence from the later nineteenth century and into the twentieth century. There are few Tasmanian collections that do not contain items from these correspondences. To gain an understanding the subject better and in assessing the scarcity of items as they turn up.
There are few comparable fields as provided by Tasmania in philatelic terms where there is a chance of completion, the variety of philatelic subjects is wide and the possibility of discovery and adding to the store of knowledge is offered.
A forthcoming auction devoted entirely to Tasmania philately is being offered by Charles Leski Auction in Melbourne on November 18th 2003. It represents a unique assembly of the full scope of Tasmanian stamps, postal history, revenues and postal stationery produced by the colony. It is appropriate that it coincides with the 150th anniversary of the first Tasmanian stamp and the bicentenary of European settlement in Tasmania. The sale includes significant Gold winning collections formed by collectors who have tasted the joys offered by the philately of the island colony. Perhaps this is the opportunity to start a new challenge or build an existing collection and even discover why they chose to collect Tasmania.