Every now and again, I have the opportunity to come across books about Customs Administrations, about the hobby of collecting Customs Insignia and Customs Badges, even occasionally about the origins of Customs itself. Below, please find attached reviews and details of these assorted books. If you know of some that are of interest, please send me the details.

Official Administration Histories


"The Collectors" - A history of Canadian Customs and Excise, Dave McIntosh, NC Press, 1984. ISBN 0-920053-29-7. A colourful history of the early Canadian Customs and Excise. "For a great deal of its history, Canadian Customs and Excise has operated on the far frontier. Some of its posts are still remote from any settlement. The customs officer often accompanied, and sometimes preceeded, the pioneers. Before the Mounties appeared, John Goodson collected duties on the Klondike Trail in the southern Yukon by camping on the shore of a lake and wading out in his hip boots to meet the gold seekers in their boats." (Introduction, 1984)

Revenue Cutter

Kings Cutters and Smugglers 1700 - 1855 by E Keble Chatterton, author of "Sailing Ships and Their Story", "The Romance of the Ship", "The Story of the British Navy", "Fore and Aft", Cover art (left) showing Revenue Cruiser chasing Smuggler Lugger. Before firing on a smuggler the cruiser was bound to hoist his Revenue colours - both pennant and ensign - no matter whether day or night (from the original painting by Charles Dixon, R.I.)This book was located on Project Gutenberg. Copy is avialable for download here .

Duty men

**New addition"The Duty Men" - The Inside Story of the Customs, Peter Gillman with Paul Hamann, BBC, 1987. ISBN 0-563-20507-5. After decades of being as secretive as MI5, HM Customs & Excisehave come out of the closet with a bang. After 12 months of negotiation Paul Hamann of the BBC was given unique access to an organisation that took pride in never having been filmed or opened its doors to anyone. The programmes enter the world of crack Customs target teams - a world of 'the need to know': confidential breifings, coded conversations, covert radios, secret surveillance; of the long grind of information gathering; of the 'lift off'; and finally the drama of the 'knock', with months of work hanging on everyone getting it right with split second timing and no second chances.


**New additionNarc - Inside the Australian Bureau of Narcotics, Bernard Delaney, the Bureaus former Southern Regional Commander, Angus & Robertson, 1979. ISBN 0-207-14010-3. Why is Australia being flodded with drugs? How did our problem grom from small beginnings? Why are the country's seven drug law enforcement agencies unable to do much about it? Bernard Delaney, a former Regional Commander of the Australian Bureau of Narcotics, has asked himself these painful questions. He has taken a close look at his six years as a Narcotics Agent and tells it as it is. Hew recalls some of his biggest busts, in which he caught several of Australia's best known criminals. He reveals how the Bureau accompanied smugglers on a mission to Indonesia.


"Sumgglers and Sailors" - The Customs History of Australia 1788 - 1901, David Day, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1992. ISBN 0 644 24751 7 and ISBN 0 644 25239 1 (leatherbound)"The early Customs officers were assigned to supervise trade and commerce, promote the manners and morals of their fellow pioneers and raise the all important revenue for the colonial treasuries....an unblushing account of the moulding of colonial Australia, as the Customs officers tried to impose order upon the often turbulent social and commercial landscape of the colonies."


"Contraband & Congtroversy" - The Customs History of Australia from 1901, David Day, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1996, ISBN 0 644 33151 8 and ISBN 0 644 35545 X (leatherbound)"It was Customs officers who were charged by the new Commonwealth government in 1901 with constructing and defending the tariff wall that was designed to protect Australia's growing industries while also providing revenue for the widening range of governemnt services and activities...It was Customs officers who enforced the tightening censorship imposed during the 1920s on everything from books and films to bubble gum wrappers and 'whoopie cushions'."


"A Pictorial History of The United States Customs Service", Arthur Settle, Crown Publishers, New York, 1975, ISBN 0 517 519070"This is the dramatic story of the United States Customs Service, one of the oldest government agencies in existence...this volume depicts the varied activities of this agency down through its long history, from the time when it was the infant nation's prime source of revenueto the present, when it still earns for the government more money than it spends."


"World History of the Customs and Tariffs", Hironori Asakura, World Customs Organisation, Brussels, 2002.This book details the development of Customs from ancient times in Mesopotamia through to the modern Harmonised System. There is some information contained within that relate to Customs symbols. A worthwhile and far ranging publication on the history of Customs throughout much of the world.

Customs Insignia related publications

  "Federal Law Enforcement Patches, Volume I" Image coming soon.
Sherrard_encyclopaedia_vol2 "Federal Law Enforcement Patches, Volume II" An illustrated reference manual, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Taylor Publishing Company Dallas, Texas, 1987, ISBN 0 914503 01 4Probably one of the seminal reference books of the current period detailing not only the insignia of the US Customs Service (referenced under Treasury), but also including many other federal agencies, including Defence, Justice, Interior and a myriad of others. A most worthwhile addition to any serious collectors reference library.
Sherrard_encyclopaedia_vol3 "The Encyclopedia of Federal Law Enforcement Patches" A Comprehensive Collectors Guide to Over 4,000 Federal Agency Patches in Striking Full Color, Raymond Sherrard, Korea, 1999, ISBN 0 914503 07 3An updated version of the seminal reference for US Federal insignia, updated with over 4,000 images of US Federal insignia. A most worthwhile addition to any serious collectors reference library.


"G-Men Badges", A chronology of Federal Law Enforcement Badges, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Senior, 2008, loose leaf three ring binder. This book is to US Federal badges what Raymond Sherrards books are to cloth insignia. A most worthwhile addition to any serious collectors reference library. If you are after only the history of the US Customs Service, there is a shorter booklet, copyright 2006, "US Customs Service"

Fictional Customs related smuggling stories

Lightfoot_book "Agent Undercover" John Lightfoot, Blake Publishing, Great Britain, 1998, ISBN 1 85782 2110The story of an undercover agent working with handlers in the Manchester office of the Drug Investigation Unit of Her Majesty's Customs & Excise