Encyclopaedia of Jamaican Philately

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(by Derek Sutcliffe, BWISC Bulletin Sept 1978)

It is with deep regret that we have to report the death of Tom Foster, the leading authority on the postal history of Jamaica, on the 28th May, 1978, at the early age of 54, after a prolonged illness.

He was well known to all our members, and indeed, to collectors of the West Indies the world over. His book, The Postal History of Jamaica, 1662 - 1860, for which he was awarded the Francis Webb Memorial Trophy at the British Philatelic Exhibition in 1969, is the recognised modern handbook on this period of Jamaican postal history.

Many of the members will recall meeting him at the joint Convention with the ‘Roses’ last year at Warwick, where he ‘chaired’ the informal group of Jamaica enthusiasts, and as always was willing to give his advice, opinion and guidance on his favourite country’s stamps and covers.

His philatelic career reflects Tom himself; he was always delighted to travel anywhere in the country to give a display, and in the North of England was a visitor to most Societies, His last display was at Scarborough on the 5th December, 1977 just prior to his admission to hospital in mid-January.

At the time of his illness Tom was the Secretary of the Hull Philatelic Society, a post which he had held for 22 years, and was also a member of the Roses Caribbean Philatelic Society and the British Caribbean Philatelic Study Group, to mention but two of the Societies concerned with his major interest.

On a regional basis he was the Senior Vice President of the Yorkshire Philatelic Association, having held the office of Junior Vice President for the previous two years. Tom was one of the first collectors appearing on the Roll of Distinguished Yorkshire Philatelists, and was a familiar and friendly figure at many of the conventions and meetings in the County and elsewhere.

Internationally, Tom Foster will be remembered for his displays at many exhibitions, having been awarded various medals or trophies at Stampex in 1969 and 1970, and at B.P.E. in 1969. Indeed, his last accomplishment was the gaining of a ‘Silver’ at Stampex 1977 for his entry on Jamaican Censors.

He contributed to many publications, and perhaps will be best remembered in this context for his regular contribution of over 30 ‘Jamaica Newsletters’ and other articles to ‘Stamp Collecting’, and for his many other articles in the B.C.P.S.G. Journal and the Roses Caribbeana as well as other publications.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to Tom’s father, brothers and sisters, Tom never having married. He will be long and well remembered by his many friends the world over and all Jamaican and West Indies collectors will be the poorer for his absence, as will philatelists in general.

Tom Foster





Postal History of Jamaica Vol 1 (1662-1860)




Postal History of Jamaica Vol 2 (1860-1960s)


Unpublished Drafts for Volume 2


Stamp Collecting


Regular Newsletter and other articles

Jamaica Postal Stationery to 1969



Street Letter Boxes of Jamaica



Auction sale



Publications, Displays & Auctions