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Philatelic Collections: General Collections

The British Library Philatelic Collections are the National Philatelic Collections of the United Kingdom. The Collections were established in 1891 with the bequest of the Tapling Collection, and now about 50 important collections or Archives are held, all of which have been acquired by donation, bequest, or transfer from Government departments.

The Tapling Collection

United States of America: 1869 Shield, Eagle, and Flags design 30c. showing variety 'flags inverted' used.

United States of America: 1869 Shield, Eagle, and Flags design 30c. showing variety 'flags inverted' used.

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Formed by Thomas Keay Tapling, MP, and bequeathed in 1891. The coverage is worldwide, and is of postage stamps and postal stationery (with some telegraph stamps) for the period 1840 to 1890, and is virtually complete in all basic issues. Apart from the rarities, the collection is strong in unused examples, with excellent ranges of shades, and includes essays, proofs, blocks and covers. It is probably the only major collection formed during the 19th century which remains intact.

Article on the Tapling Collection

The Supplementary Collection 

Tasmania: 1855-71 Chalon Head design, 1d., 2d., 4d., and 6d. die proofs in colour.

Tasmania: 1855-71 Chalon Head design, 1d., 2d., 4d., and 6d. die proofs in colour.

The Supplementary Collection [to the Tapling Collection] contains chiefly British Commonwealth material donated between 1900 and 1922, mainly by the Crown Agents. It is almost all unused, with some important proofs.

Article on the Supplementary Collection

The Campbell-Johnston Collection 

Pictured (right): United States of America: 1915 Suffragette label.

Pictured (right): United States of America: 1915 Suffragette label.

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The Campbell-Johnston Collection is of poster stamps mainly advertising exhibitions from circa 1850 to the 1920s. Given in 1932 by Mrs Florence Campbell-Johnston and formed by Louis Campbell-Johnston.

The Crown Agents Collection

Pictured (left): Malayan States - Johore: 1922-40 Sultan Sir Ibrahim $500 unused.

Pictured (left): Malayan States - Johore: 1922-40 Sultan Sir Ibrahim $500 unused.

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A collection of unused British Commonwealth issued stamps produced by the Crown Agents, covering the period 1922 to the present. Material given from 1900 to 1922 is included in the Supplementary Collection.

The Crown Agents, Philatelic and Security Printing Archive 

St. Helena: 1922-37 1d. colour trials prepared for the 1/6d., 2/6d., 15/- and £1, the 2/6d. approved, other values rejected.

St. Helena: 1922-37 1d. colour trials prepared for the 1/6d., 2/6d., 15/- and £1, the 2/6d. approved, other values rejected.

Includes essays, artwork, proofs, colour trials and associated records for postage and revenue stamps, postal stationery, covers, postal orders, and paper money produced by the Crown Agents mainly for British Commonwealth countries. The Archive is extensive and covers the period from about 1900 to recent date, but some types of material or records are of a lesser span.

Article on the Crown Agents, Philatelic and Security Printing Archive

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Collection 

Jamaica: 1921 'Abolition of Slavery' 6d. prepared for use but unissued, examples watermarked Multiple Crown CA, and Script CA.

Jamaica: 1921 'Abolition of Slavery' 6d. prepared for use but unissued, examples watermarked Multiple Crown CA, and Script CA.

British Commonwealth postage stamps, revenue stamps and postal stationery, from about 1890 to 1992. Transferred from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1992.

Article on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Collection

The General Collection 

Great Britain - Postal Stationery: 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee 1d. Envelope, hand-painted essay.

Great Britain - Postal Stationery: 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee 1d. Envelope, hand-painted essay.

A collection of all small acquisitions from all over the world from 1922 to the present.

The Harrison Collection 

Jamaica: 1932 Wag Water River, St. Andrew 2½d. die proof in colour.

Jamaica: 1932 Wag Water River, St. Andrew 2½d. die proof in colour.

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Chiefly British Commonwealth and Great Britain die proofs engraved by J.A.C. Harrison between 1911 and 1937. Given by H.W.P. Harrison in 1963.

Article on the Harrison Collection

The Heys Collection 

A collection of stamps and cards issued by amateur radio operators in Europe, 1930-97, presented by John Heys in 2001.

The Imperial War Museum's Stamp Collection 

A collection that covers the postage stamps issued during, or associated with, the 1914-18 First World War, and is strong in issues for the former Ottoman Empire. On loan from the Imperial War Museum.

The Kay Collection 

Pictured (right): Stellaland - Revenue: 1886 overprinted with monogram 'JPM' (inverted) 10/- vermilion pair imperforate between, unused.

Pictured (right): Stellaland - Revenue: 1886 overprinted with monogram 'JPM' (inverted) 10/- vermilion pair imperforate between, unused.

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A collection of British Commonwealth Revenue stamps to about 1940. Formed by A B Kay and given by his children Miss Nora Kay and Mr F R Kay in 1949.

The McInroy Collection

Comprises meter stamps of Great Britain and the world up to 2003. Donated in 2004 by Dr R McInroy. Extensive.

The Mosely Collection

Blue diamond stamp

Pictured (right): Cape of Good Hope: 1861 so-called "wood-block" issue 4d. deep bright blue, pair used.

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Formed by Dr Edward Mosely, the collection is of British Africa postage stamps to 1935. Mainly unused, particular strength is material from the Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius and Rhodesia. The Mosely Collection was donated in memory of her parents Dr & Mrs Edward Mosely of Johannesburg, by Mrs Florence Hester Kathleen Cunningham in 1945.

Article on the Mosely Collection

The Turner Collection 

A collection of World forgeries of stamps issued to about 1900, formed by S R Turner and bequeathed in 1973.

The Universal Postal Union Collection 

Postage stamps and some postal stationery issued by U.P.U. member countries from 1874, comprising specimen or unused examples, as distributed by the U.P.U. Extensive.

The Wilson-Todd Collection 

The collection covers the postage stamps issued during, or associated with, the 1914-18 First World War, and is strong in War Tax issues, mainly unused. Formed by James Wilson-Todd and presented by Lady Wilson-Todd.

Pictured (above): Cameroons Expeditionary Force: 1915 5/- on 5 mark., the surcharge showing variety inverted 'S', unused.

Pictured (above): Cameroons Expeditionary Force: 1915 5/- on 5 mark., the surcharge showing variety inverted 'S', unused.

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