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Philatelic Collections - Introduction

Tasmania: Original drawing based on the locally produced 1853 one penny value. At the 16th April 1870 meeting of the Philatelic Society, London, the Treasurer Mr. P. Furse, proposed that "A postal collection be formed by the Society". This proposal was seconded and carried unanimously, and Mr. Furse headed the list of contributions by donating 'a complete set of the Roman States adhesives'. As far as can be ascertained from surviving records, although the collection continued to receive additional material, the impetus appears to have been lost until May 1907 when the Furse proposal was revived and amplified. On the suggestion of H.R. Oldfield, the Council made the important decision to form a reference collection of stamps, forgeries, reprints, photographs and other objects of value for reference. The primary purpose was 'to assist the Expert Committee (which had been previously formed in 1894), by building up a permanent basis for comparison in anticipation of the day when the generous facilities hitherto afforded by Stanley Gibbons Limited and W.H. Peckitt, of utilising their vast and valuable stocks, must necessarily come to an end'.

Philatelic Collections - 2016 Current Projects and Activities

Recent new acquisitions comprise further sections of the Dr. Ray Ceresa collection of Russian Forgeries 1917 – 1923 and the balance of the Francis Kiddle Philatelic Congress of Great Britain collection, along with various other items. This material is now being assimilated into the main reference resource of the Society. During 2015 the conservation team remounted the Armenia section of the Dr. Ceresa collection in readiness for displaying at the June 2016 AGM. The UPU Foreign Collection is currently being checked country by country, removed from the present albums and binders and archived into a standardised system with protectors. Additionally, a start is being made to integrate the present 'scattered' collections of 19th and early 20th century world forgeries, and this will continue into 2017 and beyond. When completed, this will form a world-class reference facility for forgeries, benefitting the Expert Committee and members of the Society who wish to carry out research work of their own.

Philatelic Collections – A Selection of Society Collections Held

Members of the Society and others have made a number of generous donations ranging from single items to major collections and the list below, although not exhaustive as it is continually being updated, gives an indication of the range currently available for study:

  • H.C.V. Adams Collection – King George V Great Britain Essays and Proofs
  • David Bernhard Collection – Nevis
  • Dieter Bortfeldt Collection – Great Britain
  • Louis Bradbury Collection – Bahamas
  • Dr. Ray Ceresa Collection – Armenia and Russia Forgeries
  • Col. A. W. Chambers Collection – Great Britain
  • Clements Collection – Tasmania
  • T. E. Clougher Collection – Canada and Prince Edwards Island
  • David Cohen and Lt. Col. J.B.M. Stanton Collection – Chalon Head
  • James Cummings Collections – Australia, Denmark, Great Britain, Norway, New Zealand
  • Donald C. Gray Collection – Netherlands
  • Dr. Theodore Groom Collection – Greece Large Hermes Heads
  • Richard William Thomas Lees-Jones Collection – Canada
  • Walter Manley Holman – King George V 1935 Silver Jubilee
  • P. C. Swann Collection – Newfoundland
  • Universal Postal Union Foreign Collection
  • Edward Desiré Ermanos van Weenan Collection – Tasmania and Victoria
  • Winstanley Collections – Great Britain, South Africa, SW Africa, British Empire
  • Dr. Francis Ernest Wood Collection – Sungei Ujong
  • The British Somaliland Collection.
Click here to see a selection from the collections

Philatelic Collections - How to view a Collection

All collections held by the Society are available for members to view and study under restricted and secure conditions. If you wish to make arrangements to view a collection, please contact the Curator, Philatelic Collections, stating your interest, collections that you would like to view and reason (if any) for research. Please note that it is not practicable to view material on meeting days. You can contact the Curator, Philatelic Collections by letter or email.

Please write to:
Curator, Philatelic Collections
The Royal Philatelic Society London
41, Devonshire Place
London W1G 6JY

Or send an email to with the subject line 'FAO Curator Philatelic Collections'