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Philatelic Collections: The Fletcher Collection

The Fletcher Collection of Great Britain, was formed by Mr. Hugh Greenwell Fletcher over the period of his lifetime, and is breathtaking in its conception and scope.When he died in 1968 at the age of 86, the collection was bequeathed to the the Bruce Castle Museum in Tottenham, which was once the home of Sir Rowland Hill. The collection was transferred to the British Library in 1989.

Great Britain - Dockwra Post: 1682 'PENNY POST PAID' Dockwra handstamp on letter posted at Lime Street to Warwick Lane in London.

Great Britain - Dockwra Post: 1682 'PENNY POST PAID' Dockwra handstamp on letter posted at Lime Street to Warwick Lane in London.

The collection spans a period of over 300 years and illustrates the development and operation of the post and its associated services. Originally comprising some three hundred volumes, the collection has now been re-housed in archival boxes, and is stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.

Great Britain: 1865-67 10d. red-brown abnormal (watermark Emblems) plate 1 used at Constantinople

Great Britain: 1865-67 10d. red-brown abnormal (watermark Emblems) plate 1 used at Constantinople

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Half of the collection is of pre-adhesive material, and this part of the collection is arranged by Post Office Service or type of marking, and then alphabetically by town. There is a 1682 letter carried by the original London Dockwra Post, and a study of the handstamps once the Government took over the service. The collection includes a remarkable group of early 19th Century 5th Clause Posts. The Uniform Rates include seventy-three examples of the 1839-1840 handstruck 4d. (including used on 5th December 1839, the first day of the new rate, from Dublin, Edinburgh, and Glasgow), and during the subsequent period of the Uniform 1d. rate - rare private prepaid envelopes printed by Baraclough in brown (illustrated), and by Buchanan in blue.

Great Britain: 1857 envelope bearing 1856-58 1d. red used within London, with 'NORTHERN DISTRICT / N' postal code label attached.

Great Britain: 1857 envelope bearing 1856-58 1d. red used within London, with 'NORTHERN DISTRICT / N' postal code label attached.

The second half of the collection comprises an exceptional range of stamps (mainly used), with plate reconstructions throughout the Queen Victorian period - including for each of the plates of the 1840 1d. black.

The line-engraved issues include numerous first, second, and third state impressions of the 1840 1d. black and 1841 1d. red. Individual rarities include 1841 1d. red-brown plate 77A “B(A)” with “A” square blank, and a good example of 1864-79 1d red plate 77 used. The 1864-79 1d. plate number issues also include plate reconstructions of all plates to 225.

Highlights of the surface printed issues include abnormals, with 1862-64 3d “white dots”, two examples of the 9d. “hair lines”, 1865-67 10d watermark Emblems, 1867-80 6d. mauve plate 10, and 1873-80 4d green plate 17.

Rare officials overprints include “I. R. OFFICIAL” 1884-88 watermark Crowns £1 JC (showing frame-break variety), and an unused example of 1884-88 watermark Orbs £1.

Later issues include 1902-04 King Edward VII 6d. “I. R. OFFICIAL” overprinted “SPECIMEN”, and 1935 Silver Jubilee 2½d. Prussian blue.

The collection also includes sections of postal stationery with complete uncut sheets of Mulready 1d and 2d. (both envelopes and lettersheets of each value). There is a Mulready 1d. lettersheet used on 2nd May 1840. Later issues include an extensive group of embossed envelopes with advertising rings.

There is an interesting section of Great Britain used abroad, including covers showing mixed issue frankings from Danish West Indies, Nicararagua, and Beirut.

Contact

Philatelic Collections
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7635
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7780

E-mail: philatelic@bl.uk