Life and career
Lowe is regarded by philatelists as the father of postal history, having published many definitive works on the subject and having introduced the term in his first major book Handstruck Postage Stamps of the Empire 1680-1900 in 1948. In 1970 he was awarded the Lichtenstein Medal by the Collectors Club of New York.
He started his philatelic career at Fox & Co. in 1926 and then established his own firm, Robson Lowe Ltd., in Regent Street, London, in 1926. He moved to 50 Pall Mall in 1940 and ran an auction business from Bournemouth starting in 1945. For health reasons he was unable to serve in the military during World War Two. Lowe refused to sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists due to the refusal of the organisers to remove the name of South African Adrian Albert Jurgens, whom he considered a stamp forger.
Lowe was a larger-than-life character and something of a raconteur. According to one story, while playing cards in South Africa, and possibly after several drinks, he won an orange farm, but was able subsequently to swap it for a stamp collection.
As well as being a pioneer in postal history, Lowe was one of the first to recognise the potential of revenue philately which had been long neglected. In 1990, he was the first President of The Revenue Society.
Lowe was responsible for the publication of many of the key works in philately. His personal magnum opus was The Encyclopaedia of British Empire Postage Stamps which he never quite finished but which stands as a monument to his life's work. The encyclopaedia was based on the earlier Regent series. In 1974 he received the Crawford Medal for Volume 5 of The Encyclopaedia of British Empire Postage Stamps and in 1991 he became the first stamp dealer to be made an Honorary member of the Royal Philatelic Society London.
- The Encyclopaedia of British Empire Postage Stamps
- Vol. 1, Great Britain and the Empire in Europe, 1948. (Second edition 1952)
- Vol. 2, The Empire In Africa, 1949.
- Vol. 3, The Empire in Asia, 1951.
- Vol. 4, The Empire in Australasia, 1962. (Supplement 1976)
- Vol. 5, North America, 1973. (One volume ordinary edition and two volume deluxe edition)
- Vol. 6, Leeward Islands, 1990.
- The Regent Stamp Catalogue, 1932.
- The Regent Encyclopaedia of Empire Postage Stamps, Halcyon Book Company Ltd., London, 1935.
- Handstruck Postage Stamps of the Empire 1680-1900, H. Joseph Ltd., 1937. (Second edition 1938)
- The Work of Jean de Sperati, 1955.
- The Codrington Correspondence, 1743-1851, 1951, 2nd impression 1968.
- British Postage Stamps of the 19th Century 1st ed. 1968, 2nd ed. 1979.
- The Kings of Egypt and Their Stamps 1860-1960, 1969.
- 1922 Ireland, 1972.
- Brunei 1895 Star and Crescent Issue, 1973.
- The Uganda Missionaries, 1974.
- The De La Rue Key Plates, 1979.
- Indian Field Post Offices 1903-04, 1979.
- The Gee-Ma Forgeries, 1980. Forged overprints and cancellations of China, Japanese Occupation, Great Britain and Tibet.
- From China and Tibet: A commentary on letters written by missionaries working in the interior. 1844-1865, 1981.
- The Oswald Schroeder Forgeries, 1981. A study of this little known forger.
- British Line Engraved Stamps Repaired Impressions, 1855-1879, 1982.
- The De La Rue Punch Book, 1987.
- The Knights of Malta, The Lazara Correspondence, 1987, 1789-1797 period, the French Revolution.
- Historical Letters to Gratious Street, London 1570 - 1601, 1988.
- The Oneglia Engraved Forgeries Commonly Attributed to Angelo Panelli, James Bendon, Limassol, Cyprus, 1996. (with Carl Walske).
- The Work of Jean de Sperati II, 2001. (with Carl Walske).
- "Lichtenstein Medal". Collectors Club of New York. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- "Who Was Who In British Philately". British Philatelic Trust. 2003-10-09. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- Kiddle, Francis (1997-09-17). "Obituary: Robson Lowe". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
- "More on Robson Lowe, Philatelist and Pioneer Postal Historian" by Dave Hill in Stamp Lover Vol. 102, December 2010, p. 158.
- "American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame". American Philatelic Society. Retrieved 2009-03-27.