Aleksander Stocki : Enigmatic Philatelist

 Roy E. Reader and George K. Kay

Cover of the Book 'Aleksander Stocki: Enigmatic Philatelist'.

How to Obtain the Book

The book (ISBN  9780954711511) can be obtained from the publisher: Roy E. Reader, 3 Stanhope Road, Sidcup, Kent, DA15 7HA (UK). Price: 14, including postage.

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The Book

Available now is a revised and enlarged edition of the book about Aleksander Stocki, the Polish-born army officer, philatelist and stamp dealer who went through his early life leaving controversy in his wake, this right from his days in Warsaw as officer and stamp dealer until his time in the Polish army in exile first in France from January 1940 and then in Scotland from June 1940 until the end of World War II and beyond.

This book aims to present an impartial survey of Stocki’s life and activities and, in so doing, explores the controversies that arose around him. Was he, for example, involved in some sort of skulduggery with the Warsaw-Tokyo Flight labels in 1926? Did this result in his being forced to leave the army? In France, was he involved in the pin-perforating of French postage stamps with the letters ‘WP’ supposedly for use on mail sent out by the Polish War Office in Paris? And were these stamps ever genuinely used on such mail? Moreover, how was it that he could turn up in Scotland with a lot of these stamps for sale? Also in Scotland, was genuine use ever made of the very many labels and small number of date-stamps produced by him supposedly for use by the Polish and other Allied Field Post Offices? Was he in reality the H. M. Smith whose name appears as author on the cover of a 1946 catalogue of wartime Polish philatelic material? And why did his sales drive in Poland in 1947-48 bring down the wrath of the Polish philatelic press upon him? Finally, how was it that he eventually seemed to disappear, with at least one person thinking he had gone to Palestine and another that he had set up a wholesaler’s business in the Bahamas, Malta or some other Commonwealth country? 

These, then, are some of the question that this book examines in its survey of Stocki’s life. In some cases it is clear whether the controversy around him was justified or not; in other cases, the reader will have to make his own mind up from the evidence. The book will certainly help the collector identify philatelic material produced partly or entirely by Stocki, and it will also help him decide for himself whether this material is worthy of his album or, as some claim, just of the dustbin. The book’s seventy-five pages include numerous illustrations, a catalogue of Stocki’s labels produced in Scotland and key documents now difficult or impossible to find. A small but hopefully helpful contribution to Polish philately.

Contents of the Book 

The Early Years
Stocki's origins; joining Russian Army; military experience in World War I and Russian Civil War; joining Polish Forces in resurrected Poland.

Between the Two Wars
The stamp dealer; contact with Lt Col. R. N. W. Larking; LOPP label for the Warsaw-Tokyo flight; resignation from Polish Army; civilian life.

From Poland to France
Stocki’s appearance in Paris; Military Geographical Institute; stamps perforated ‘WP’; departure for Great Britain.

The Early War Years in Scotland 
Arrival in Scotland; Military Geographical Institute Section, Perth; sale of ‘WP’ stamps; contact with Polish Field Post Office; production of date-stamps, letter seals, postage due labels and illustrated stationery; Norwegian, Dutch, Czechoslovak and American connections.
The Later War Years in Scotland
Transfer to Edinburgh; stamp business in partnership with Mildred Hodson; involvement with airgraphs; Association of Polish Philatelists in Great Britain.

The Post-war Years
Transfer to Glasgow; stamp business continues; postage-due investigation; Polish Forces in Great Britain disbanded; Stocki joins the Polish Resettlement Corps; demobilisation; sales campaign in Poland; name changes; cutting-up of covers; worldwide First Day Cover business; publication of catalogues, handbook and bimonthly magazine; other ventures; demise. 
Appendix 1 – Stocki’s Polish Labels 
Appendix 2 – Key Documents and Articles

Sources and References


Some Sample Pages from the Book

Other Sites of Possible Interest

Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Polen (Germany)
Cinderella Stamp Club (UK)
Czechoslovak Philatelic Society of Great Britain
Forces Postal History Society (UK)
France and Colonies Philatelic Society (UK)
Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum, London
Polonus Philatelic Society (USA)
Society for Polish Philately (UK)