Clarence W. Brazer

Clarence W. Brazer

In 1924, Clarence Brazer, PhD, was quite happy to be a casual, yet serious, West Chestger, Pa., philatelist—and an architect of numerous New York office buildings from which he gained a formidable national reputation. And then, of course, he became a stamp dealer!

It was Brazer’s discovery of a huge cache of old salesmens’ essay and proof sample books from the early bank note companies that sent him on an odyssey that is still famous today. Brazer began his long series of papers and catalogs in 1938 with A Historical Catalog of U.S. Stamp Essays and Proofs, and soon became solidly ensconced on Nassau Street as a dealer in same. His dealing in these unique models for future stamps helped to popularize them—and until he died, he was the leading dealer in them.

Dr. Brazer was also the leading authority on United States proofs and essays. Through his efforts, the study and collecting of essays and proofs reached new levels of prominence. He helped build every important collection of his time.

His book, Essays for U.S. Adhesive Postage Stamps (APS Handbook – 1941) was based on the earlier works (1911–1912) of Edward H. Mason with additions, corrections and illustrations. Many of the illustrations were of essays and proofs formerly in the collection of the Earl of Crawford. A book, Dr. Clarence W. Brazer Essay–Proof Price Lists, 1937–1956 was compiled by Robert L. Markovits in 1982.

Brazer was Member No. 1 of the Essay-Proof Society which he served as Director (1943-1953) and editor of The Essay-Proof Journal (1944-1950). He became Editor Emeritus in 1951. (It should be noted that he was succeeded in the latter capacity—and for 30 years thereafter— by Barbara R. Mueller who, this year, will be honored as a signatory to the British Roll of Distinguished Philatelists.) Brazer received the American Philatelic Society’s John N. Luff Life Achievement Award in 1946 for Distinguished Philatelic Research.

[Editor’s Note: Some of the information contained herein came through the gracious assistance of the American Philatelic Society who placed Dr. Brazer into their prestigious Hall of Fame back in 1956.]