At the British Library you can study stamps and postage material. We have millions of philatelic items covering every country and period. Our collection includes airmail envelopes, original artwork and printing plates.

Collection guides

The Philatelic Reading Room in the British Library

Philatelic Reading Room

To explore our philatelic materials, please contact our Philatelic Reading Room and make an appointment.

If you can, try to contact us at least 10 days before you intend to visit. We'll ensure our experts are available to help you.

You'll need a Reader Pass

Email: philatelic@bl.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7635

Blog posts

Sailing Away To A Distant Land - Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs - final post

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Posted by Mahendra Mahey, former Manager of British Library Labs or "BL Labs" for short [estimated reading time of around 15 minutes] This is is my last day working as manager of BL Labs, and also my final posting on...

Lu Tianjiao: The First Female Stamp Designer of the People’s Republic of China, 1934-2021

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Since the nineteenth century, women of all backgrounds have been involved in postage stamp production. Primarily issued by governments for the prepayment of mail, stamps also carry complex visual, textual, olfactory, tactile, and audio messages making them inherently cultural. They...

BL Labs Awards Symposium 2020, Rewind, Reflections, Box-sets and Seasons Greetings

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Posted by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs. This action packed, detailed 'rewind' and festive bumper edition blog post about last week's largest ever BL Labs Awards Symposium 2020, contains some hidden seasonal gifts🎁(if you read very carefully) to bring...

Shortlist and voting for BL Labs People's Choice: Public Awards 2020 announced! Last chance: Book BL Labs Symposium!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Posted by Mahendra Mahey, Manager of BL Labs. Screenshots from the 10 BL Labs shortlisted entries for the Public Awards 2020 After much deliberation and intense discussion with key people from the BL Labs Advisory board and British Library we...

More blog posts

Related events

Exhibition FREE

The Philatelic Exhibition

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Discover some of the rarest and most significant stamps from one of the world's greatest collections

View all events

Library experts

Paul Skinner

Lead Curator, Philatelic Collections

Richard Morel

Curator, Philatelic Collections

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

British Library Philatelic Collections

A Wikipedia category list of all our collections

Royal Philatelic Society, London

The oldest philatelic society in the world