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Philatelic Collections: Overview

The British Library's collections originate from a number of institutions, primarily those derived from the British Museum library departments, where the Philatelic Collections were established in 1891 with the bequest of the outstanding Tapling Collection.

Since that time about 50 important Collections or Archives have been acquired by donation, bequest, or transfer from Government departments. An important consideration is that each collection or archive has been maintained intact, in order to preserve the original information in an archival context.

About half of the material held is of Great Britain, with large groups of British Colonial or Commonwealth, and a balance of Foreign countries. All of the collections and archives are listed under the following categories:

General Collections
Great Britain Collections
Air Mail Collections
Country Collections
Special Collections

A to Z of Collections (also available in PDF format)


Philatelic Collections
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

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


PDF files

The links below are to Adobe PDF files. Accessibility solutions and free Reader software are available from Adobe.