Helen Kingsbury Zirkle  (1898 - 1976)


Born in San Francisco on 30 June 1898, Helen Emily Kingsbury received a B.A. and M.A. degrees from Bryn Mawr College. She married Dr Conway Zirkle professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, an eminent botanist and biological scientist, in October 1923.

In 1964 Helen Zirkle wrote one of the most informative books about the stamps of Manchukuo, "The Postage Stamps and Commemorative Cancellations of Manchoukuo", published by The Collectors Club of New York. There was only one edition of this book and sadly it is now out of print. She also wrote extensive articles on the subject of collecting Asian stamps for philatelic magazines and wrote more generally about stamp collecting for the Encyclopaedia Britannica. She is listed in Who's Who Among American Women as a philatelist.

In her book Helen Zirkle, with the help of others, published a list of 85 authorised commemorative cancellations used by the Government of Manchukuo Postal Service together with an interpretation (pages 94 to 126). These are numbered 1 to 85, and specialist collectors and dealers will often refer to a Zirkle number when describing such cancellations, you can see all of these cancellations here.

The Postage Stamps and Commemorative Cancellations of Manchoukuo by Helen Zirkle is also the basis of the postal rates used in this website and for the numbers of stamps printed in each issue, although these do not always agree with other works on the subject.

From the tone of her book it is clear that Helen Zirkle hoped her work would be of use to collectors and her copyright notice states "Any part of this book may be quoted by giving proper credits". Hopefully this will do.

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