Fritz Billig

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Fritz Billig
A Fritz Billig bookplate

Fritz F. Billig (1902 – 1986) was a Viennese philatelist and stamp dealer who fled to the United States after the Austrian Anschluss in 1938 and continued his career from Jamaica, New York. There he published a successful and long-running series of philatelic handbooks that are still regularly referred to by philatelists today.

Life in Austria[edit]

Fritz F. Billig was born in 1902.[1] He was a philatelist, stamp dealer, and philatelic author and with Otto E. Stiedl produced a 44 part handbook of philatelic forgeries between 1933 and 1938. He began to publish his handbook on postmarks in German which was continued in English from volume 8 in 1949. Publications by Billig won a silver medal at the Jubilee exhibition in Budapest 1934, the Prize of Honor at NABA Zurich 1934 and a bronze medal at OSTROPA 1935.[2]

In 1936 he founded and was the editor of the Mondial index to philatelic literature which was published loose-leaf in three languages and ran to over 200 pages before it was abandoned.[3][4] He appeared in the 1938 Blue Book of Philately where his address was given as 1 Herreng 6/4, Vienna, Austria,[5] however, he was forced to flee to the United States after the Anschluss where he continued his career in Jamaica, New York.[6]

United States[edit]

In the United Sates at the outbreak of the Second World War, Billig temporarily changed his name to Fritz Billings in order to avoid the anti-German sentiment current at the time[6] and traded as the Billings Stamp Co. His former partner in Vienna, Fred Rich, joined Billig in New York in 1945 and they operated the auction firm of Billig & Rich Inc. at 55 West 42nd Street in New York.[1]

From 1939 he began to publish Billig's Specialized Catalogues which eventually ran to 11 volumes, and from 1942, Billig's Philatelic Handbooks which reached 44 volumes.

Later life[edit]

In the late 1960s, the firm of HJMR Co. of Miami Beach, Florida, succeeded to Billig's business and reprinted the Billig Handbooks.[3] Billig died in 1986.[6]

Publications as author or publisher[edit]

  • Expert Billig's Großes Handbuch der Fälschungen (With Otto E. Stiedl)
    • 44 Parts 1933-38, published by Fritz Billig, Vienna. German language.
  • Billig's Handbooks on Postmarks (in English language from Vol. 8 onwards)
    • Vol. 1 Schweiz, Svizzera & Suisse, R. Botta.
    • Vol. 2 Baden, A. Grossmann.
    • Vol. 3 Italien, Italia & Italie, Prof. A. Carozzi.
    • Vol. 4 Lombardei & Lombardo-Veneto, Fritz Billig.
    • Vol. 5 Sizilien & Sicilia, Fritz Billig.
    • Vol. 6 Oesterreich & Austria-Italy Annullamenti, Fritz Billig, 1935.
    • Vol. 7 Samos, Ernst Hartmann.
    • Vol. 8 United States County and Postmaster Postmarks, H.K. Thompson, 1949.
    • Vol. 9 British Postmarks, with reference to the "1844" and subsequent numbered obliterations.” F. Hugh Vallancey, 1950.
    • Vol. 10 Japan Scenery Postmarks, Dr. H.K. Thompson, 1956.
    • Vol. 11 Postal Markings of the Allied Forces in Great Britain, 1940-46, Norman Hill.
    • Vol. 12 Illustrated Handbook of U.S. Naval Postmarks, Part I.
    • Vol. 13 Postal Markings of Spain, Theo. Van Dam, 1965.
  • Mondial index to philatelic literature. 1936. Loose leaf. Discontinued c. 1938.
  • Billig's Specialized Catalogues
    • Vol. 1 Austria, 1939.
    • Vol. 2 Czechoslovakia, German language, 1937. (Second edition, English language, 1942)
    • Vol. 3 Norway: The Plating of the First Issues, J. Jellestad, A, Odfjell & J. Anderssen, 1948.
    • Vol. 4 Greece, 1948. The Large Hermes Head.
    • Vol. 5 France Plating of the 20 Centimes Blue Laureated, General Dumont, 1950.
    • Vol. 6 Handbook of the Private Local Posts, edited by E.F. Hurt & L.N. & M. Williams, 1950.
    • Vol. 7 Canada: Catalogue of constant plate varieties, Hans Reiche, 1954.
    • Vol. 8 Rocket Mail, Stephen H. Smith, 1955. (Supplement 1958)
    • Vol. 9 Canada War Tax, The War Tax Study Group, Hans Reiche Chairman, 1959.
    • Vol. 10 Czechoslovakia, First Issue: The Hradcany, J. Velek, 1961.
    • Vol. 11 A Catalogue of the Revenue Stamps of France, Brainerd Kremer, 1962.
  • Billig's Philatelic Handbooks
    • 44 Volumes of mixed content from 1942. (see links below)


  1. ^ a b Negus, James. (1991) Philatelic literature, compilation techniques and reference sources. Limassol, Cyprus: James Bendon. p. 227. ISBN 9963762433
  2. ^ Source: Advertisement in Billig's Specialized Catalogues, Vol. 6, p.167.
  3. ^ a b Negus, pp. 160-161.
  4. ^ Negus, p. 146.
  5. ^ The Blue Book of Philately: "Who's Who" in the Stamp World. 2nd edition. New York: H.L. Lindquist, 1938, p.49.
  6. ^ a b c Birch, Brian J. (2013) Biographies of Philatelists and Dealers. 13th edition. Standish, Wigan: Brian Birch, pp. 375-376.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]