The Society's Aims
The principal objects of the Society are:
- To promote, encourage and contribute to the advancement of the science and practice of philately.
- To inform members of the Society on all matters affecting any of its objects by meetings, discussions, displays, lectures, correspondence or otherwise; to assist and carry out philatelic research, and to print, publish and issue such papers, periodicals, books, circulars or other literary matters in support of these objects.
- To hold, either alone or jointly with others, promote, or subscribe, or assist with international or other philatelic exhibitions in the UK or elsewhere, and to offer and award prizes, medals or other recognition in connection with such exhibitions or for any literary work connected with philately.
- To establish and maintain a library and collections of stamps, designs, proofs, essays and other articles of interest relating to any of the objects of the Society.
The Society's Premises
The Society moved to its present headquarters at 15 Abchurch Lane, London EC4N 7BW, UK in 2019. In addition to large meeting rooms, there are members' and council rooms, a library, a museum and offices for the staff. Click here for further details.
Meetings are held from September to June, normally on alternate Thursdays. They are of two types: the first is of a formal nature, at which one or more papers are read accompanied by displays by individual members, and usually starts at 5pm; the second consists of a display of stamps, postal history etc. in the frames contributed by one or more members, with or without a written paper. This meeting is open from 1pm to 6pm. Tea is served to members and their guests at all meetings. Click here for further details.
The Library comprises a magnificent collection of several thousand philatelic works, handbooks, monographs and sets of journals and periodicals. These are available for consultation by members, and those resident in the UK may borrow up to three books at a time for up to four weeks. Click here for further details.
The Expert Committee
One of the most valued contributions to philately is made by the Expert Committee which was for a hundred years a committee of the Society, and which since 1983 has operated under the auspices of RPSL Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Society. Stamps and covers may be submitted to the committee who will give an opinion as to its genuineness or otherwise, and will issue a certificate accordingly. As part of its own reference material, the committee maintains a comprehensive collection of forgeries and fakes.
The Museum of Philatelic History
The Museum of Philatelic History is the home of the Society's archive and its museum collections, with artefacts and materials relating to postal administrations, printing, philatelic exhibitions, philatelic accessories and noted collectors, the records of the Society and of the Perkins Bacons printing company, and a vast collection of papers and research notes. The large collection of artefacts associated with the printing of stamps includes dies, transfer rollers and specimen plates. Perkins Bacon Ltd was founded in 1819 by a group of American engravers, printers and engineers who came to Britain to print banknotes. The company became pre-eminent in line engraved or recess printing which provided proof against forgery and was an obvious choice when the line engraved method was selected in 1840 for printing of the first adhesive postage stamps. Since its foundation the Society has built up a large archive of records and photographs that illuminate its many activities and interests over the last 150 years. These include records of the Society’s meetings and of events it has staged since 1890 when it organised an exhibition to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Introduction of Postage Stamps. It also contains extensive correspondence from prominent members, dealers and leading philatelists. In addition the archive holds a wide range of documents on many aspects of philatelic development and research. Click here for further details.
The London Philatelist
The Society has published its own journal, The London Philatelist, since January 1892. This has a worldwide reputation and is sent free to members ten times a year, as well as to a large number of other organisations at home and overseas. Click here for further details.
The Society's Publications
As early as 1873 the Society issued its first separate monograph on a specialised philatelic subject and since then has continued to publish major books at the rate of one or two annually. Society publications are available to the general public and at special discount to Society Members. Click here for further details.
The Society's Medals
Each year the Society offers four medals named after famous philatelists who were members:
The Crawford Medal - in silver-gilt is awarded for the most valuable and original contribution to the study and knowledge of philately published in book form during the relative period.
The Tilleard Medal - in silver is awarded for the best 1 p.m. display of any aspect of philately given by one, or not more than two, Fellow or Member during the relevant period.
The Lee Medal - in silver-gilt is awarded for the best 5 p.m. presentation of any aspect of philately given by one Fellow or Member during the relevant period.
The Tapling Medal - in silver is awarded for the best paper written by a Fellow or Member and published in The London Philatelist during the relevant period.
Click here for further details.
The Society is represented at all major International Exhibitions.