Melville wrote over 100 books and his works are still some of the most common encountered in Philately.
In 1897 he wrote and self-published an eight page pamphlet called Stamp Collecting, priced at one penny. Fred was so embarrassed with the publication in later years that he bought up every copy that was offered for sale, with the result that it is now a very scarce item. In 1899 he became the editor of the philatelic section of a small journal known as Hardman's Miscellany. Soon afterwards he launched his own magazine, Young Stamp Collector which ran for six issues before merging with Stamp Collectors' Fortnightly. Melville also contributed philatelic articles to The Daily Telegraph, Wide World Magazine, The Straights Times of Singapore, the Illustrated London News and John O'London's Weekly.
His second philatelic book was The A.B.C. of Stamp Collecting (1903) which received a highly complimentary review in Morley's Philatelic Journal where it was praised as being "remarkably free from errors which are so often found in cheap guides to philately" despite having one fault in omitting telegraph and fiscal stamps. A new edition was published in 1922 as The New A.B.C. of Stamp Collecting. His 1908 book Postage Stamps worth Fortunes was translated into Swedish and Dutch and his last book, Modern Stamp Collecting, was published on 6 May 1940, the centenary of the issue of the Penny Black. Melville also edited the Postage Stamp (1909–1929), Stamp Collector's Fortnightly (1921–1939) and British Philatelist (1932–1939). He also wrote, still on a philatelic theme, The Lady Forger: an original play which was published by The Junior Philatelic Society. The play had its first performance in 1906 at the society's annual Concert-Conversazione at the Bijou Theatre, Archer Street, London. According to Brian Birch, Melville used the pseudonym Miss Fitte as a pun on misfit when writing about stamp errors.
Outside philately, Melville was editor of the Heartsease Library, Cosy Corner, Good Words and Sunday Magazine. Melville's skill as a journalist has been partly attributed to the training he received from the press baron Sir Alfred Harmsworth, later Lord Northcliffe, founder of The Daily Mirror and The Mail.
Read more about this topic: Fred Melville
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