Isfila Turk pullari ve antiyeleri katalogu 1863-2010 [Turkish stamps & postal stationery catalogue 1863-2010]
By M. Ziya Agaogullari and M. Bulent Papuccuoglu. Also known as ISFILA Specialized Catalog of Turkish Stamps. In Turkish and English. Multiple volumes, color illustrations. Recently, “postal stationery” section was separated into another volume. Second-hand only (newest edition is sold out).
Reviewer: Richard Rose
APRL Locator: Volume 1 [IP 000040711, IP 000040714]; Volume 2 [IP 000040712, IP 000040715]; Volume 3 [IP 000040713, IP 000040716]
The two primary catalogs for Turkey are Türk Pullari Kataloğu and the ISFILA Specialized Catalog of Turkish Stamps.
In its current format, the ISFILA catalog (begun in 2002) lists, describes, illustrates, numbers and prices each stamp (in Turkish lira), along with quantities produced (when known) and the printer. Major varieties are listed, but not exhaustively, errors are not included. At the end is a concordance of ISFILA catalog numbers to the Michel catalog.
Stamp catalogs for Turkey are useful beyond issues from the Republic of Turkey. Its predecessor, the Ottoman Empire, began issuing postage stamps in 1863, and at that date the Empire included present-day Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the former Palestine, Libia, as well as Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Kosovo and some Romanian shoreline. In addition, the Ottomans governed most of present-day Greece outside the core area, Crete and the Aegean islands.
A list of Ottoman post offices in the late 19th century would cover this entire area, and postmarks on Ottoman stamps will reflect this. So, collectors of these contemporary countries will include Ottoman stamps and covers as precursors, material which will be found only in a catalog of Turkish stamps.
Eventually the catalog was divided into two volumes, the second volume containing local issues, charity and Red Crescent stamps, Turkish Cyprus, Hatay, and postal stationery. This last category includes postal envelopes, pre-stamped postcards and special postmarks. ISFILA catalogs are strictly postal and do not include revenue or fiscal stamps, unless they have been altered for postal use (and many were).
Two years ago, the postal stationery section got its own catalog, the rest of Volume 2 merged back into volume 1, and the price raised to TL 150 (about $16) [excl. shipping]. The price is manageable for a 600+ page book, but the new 2021-2022 catalog is already sold out, indicating a smaller than usual production run. Ordinarily, the catalog can be purchased via Isfila.com. For the time being, one should find older ISFILA catalogs (preferably the two-volume version) for sale via the internet marketplace.