LAPE 2012 Special Stamp Catalogue of Finland 1856-2011 in two volumes. Each volume 6 ¾ by 9 ¾ inches, perfect bound, card covers, 400 pages (volume 1) and 560 pages (volume 2), Philatelic Service of Finland, Turku, 2011. ISSN 1797-0644, €39.9 (approx. $50) plus shipping from Philatelic Service of Finland, Satakunnantie 31, PL5, 20251 Turku, Finland.
Following the recent trend of Facit in Sweden and Norgeskatalogen in Norway, the LAPE 2012 catalog of Finland is now issued in two volumes. The unwieldy 864-page LAPE 2010 is replaced with two volumes containing a total of 960 pages. However, there is a significant difference between the Swedish and Norwegian catalogs compared with the new Finnish catalog. The first two issue the annual stamp catalog along with a postal history volume that is to be reissued every five years or so.
The Finish catalog is separated simply by time and to some extent type of issue. Volume 1 covers Finland stamp issues up to 1930 and volume 2 focuses on commemorative and charity issues as well as the modern definitives. Åland and other Finnish related areas fall in the appropriate volume.
The new volume 1 reproduces some interesting 18th century postal route maps. A brief discussion (in Finnish, Swedish and English) defines the prestamp courier mail, general post, crown/provincial mail, church mail, and mail during the cholera epidemic. This is followed with an illustrated description of cancellations: straight line, high and low box, single ring, double ring, and the Finland cancels introduced in 1888. Then the stamp listing begins with the famous oval issues of 1856.
New to this edition of LAPE, following the listing of the serpentine rouletted issues, is a value listing of those stamps used on domestic and foreign covers, by period of use and by destination. The 1875 issue listing is expanded to illustrate some of the paper and color varieties that help identify the printings. The text describing the Saarinen issues of 1917-1929 has been expanded in the new edition, in both Finnish and English, and some new illustrations added.
A major change is seen in the 1920s listings when comparing the 2010 and 2012 catalogs. The 1922 Red Cross and 1927 Independence anniversary issues are removed chronologically and placed in volume 2 of the 2012 catalog. Volume 1 continues with the M1930 definitives followed by bus parcel issues, fieldpost stamps, East Karelia, North Ingermanland, Karelia, Aunus, Christmas seals, shipping company stamps, Helsinki and Tampere locals, revenues, perfins, and postal stationery. The later definitives appear in volume 2.
Rate tables and a list of Finnish philatelic experts with their contact information conclude volume 1. New to LAPE and found in volume 1 is a presentation, in Finnish and English and with wonderful color illustrations, of the great Finland collector Luis Alemany of Spain. Each year the publisher will introduce a famous collector of Finnish philately. A short biography of Alemany and some pages of his grand prix exhibit are presented.
Volume 2 focuses on semipostal and commemorative stamps from 1922 to 2011. The 1930 Zeppelin overprint listing has been expanded to show overprint varieties. The stamp listings include values for first day covers.
The more modern definitives are listed in this volume as well, including the 1954, 1963, and 1973 series. The brief description of the 1954 series is tri-lingual. However, for the 1963 series, even though paper varieties and fluorescent tagging are described, only Finnish is used. The 1973 definitives are discussed in Finnish and Swedish. Volume 2 ends with listings of stamp booklets, slot machine stamps and booklets, and then a listing of the issues of Åland from 1984 to 2011. This section includes year sets and post office issued maximum cards.
The new 2-volume LAPE has added some nice features. However, unless the publisher offers each volume for sale by itself, Finland collectors will have to invest in both volumes.