The primary source book by Norman Collins, “The Crown Agents Requisition Books” - a compilation of postal supply orders from the Mandate era - was one of the last books I acquired, just a few months ago. Until then I’d built my philatelic library piece by piece, subject by subject, sparing no expense or effort in acquiring the books I needed to progressively understand different periods and subjects. Here though was a book whose name I came across from time to time but felt that as a compilation of orders it contained information that I wouldn’t really need know.


However as I became more immersed in philately and began specializing more in very specific subjects, like Mandate coil stamps, booklets and paper types, I found this source mentioned more and more, not just as a source of order quantities but as a primary - almost exclusive - source from which information was being extrapolated and conclusions inferred, sometimes by way of linkages between specific stamp types and orders which appeared in the compilation. Particularly when I began encountering stamps that didn't match the published data, such as dates of use or paper types used, I felt I had to get the book - urgently - and I did, but quite quickly I found many inconsistencies with the information and upon further research I reached the conclusion that this source is vastly incomplete and that at a minimum we must be very careful drawing conclusions from it. This article shares my research and findings:

After an unexpected absence I’ll try closing the week with something interesting: this is mail from the last transport of mail out of besieged Jerusalem in 1948, 27 April.


What is it: a 24 April 1948 postmarked business-card sized cover, deposited at the Jerusalem head post office and charged the 10 mils letter rate.


By its small dimensions it actually qualifies for what the Mandate post termed “embarrassing postal packet” (in Hebrew, more accurately “troublesome mail” - doar mafriim)

New research shows that the domestic air mail service that existed in Palestine a) lasted much longer than previously known, and b) included not just mail between Tel Aviv and Haifa, but also mail from Jerusalem. All the details are in the latest edition of my free Handbook ( - see the relevant entries starting 28 Oct 1938 until August 1940.


In short, mail was flown (by Palestine Airways) between Tel Aviv and Haifa (and vice versa) from 28 October 1938 using the Tel Aviv Municipal Air Port (i.e. Sde Dov).