Scandinavian Collectors Club


Iceland Postal Rates 1870-2009 by Brian Flack. 246 pages, 8 ¼ by 11 ¾ inches, wire bound, soft covers, Scandinavia Philatelic Society, Norfolk, United Kingdom, 2009. £16 plus postage to SPS members, £20 plus shipping to non-members from Terry Wagg, SPS Librarian, 28 Philip Nurse Rd., Dersingham, King’s Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6WH, United Kingdom. Payment details, including PayPal, from


            The author first published his book on Iceland postal rates in 1998. This edition has been updated and also expanded in several areas like airmail to the Allied zones of Germany, additional classes of mail including commercial documents, samples, newspapers and materials for the blind, and the complex rates for parcels both domestic and abroad. The first chapter deals with inland rates for letters, post cards, money orders, COD and express fees, printed matter, registration, and value declared insurance. Special motor bus (Bílpóst) rates for parcels were in effect from 1933 to 1942. The internal rates are listed by “period in effect” from 1870 to 2009.

            Chapter 2 focuses on surface rates to Nordic countries from 1870 to 1992. Although special rates to Denmark and the Faroe Islands existed in the early 1920s, mail to Norway, Sweden, and Finland remained at foreign UPU rates until each country joined the Nordic Postal Union between 1922 and 1935. Surface rates to Europe and elsewhere were abandoned in 1992 in favor of airmail fees for Class 1 and Class 2 mail.

            The third chapter addresses surface mail to all countries outside Scandinavia for the period 1875 to 1992. The periods that they were in effect are clearly defined in appropriate tables that apply to letters, post cards, printed matter, small packets, registration, AR service, express, postal money orders, COD, and insured mail.

            Airmail rates are covered in the next chapter beginning with the supplemental or additional charges for air service. By the 1950s, rate tables became more complex with Scandinavia and then other European airmail, together with destination group rates for the rest of the world. The air rates are for 1928 to 2009. The tables are invaluable as rates changed frequently and existed for short periods of time. Examples of short periods are February 1, 1978 to April 30, 1978; and August 1, 1980 to October 31, 1980. The airmail rate tables take up nearly 100 pages.

            Author Flack includes rates for pioneer flights such as those by Italo Balbo, Richard Light, and Thor Solberg as well as Zeppelin flights that carried Iceland mail. One chapter deals with local delivery rates from 1882 to 1970 when the local post was replaced by domestic rates. Parcel rates to other countries also have a separate chapter.

            AR or Avis de Réception rates are discussed briefly as they were the UPU mandated rates. A bibliography of sources concludes the book. For postal history collectors, this book by Brian Flack is a must-have. The typeface is easy to read and occasional color illustrations of covers add to the eye appeal.


Alan Warren