Philatelic Collections in Libraries

Don Schilling did a recent post on his blog The Stamp Collecting Round-Up about the philatelic collections in the John Hay Library at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. His post was based on an article in The Herald News. That got me to thinking about other collections of philatelic objects other than books in libraries.  The most extensive philatelic collections in a library are those at the British Library. The website for the Philatelic Collections department of the British Library has extensive information about its collections. In additions to collections of postage stamps and other philatelic items, the British Library has one of the world’s largest philatelic literature collections. The New York Public Library is home to the Benjamin K. Miller Collection which has been written about in the book Rarity Revealed: The Benjamin K. Miller Collection by Scott R. Trepel with Ken Lawrence. That collection is considered to be one of the most outstanding collections of U.S. stamps in the world.  The Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame University include several philatelic collections in its Rare Books & Special Collections Department. One of those collection is “The Wolf Collection of Irish Postage Stamps” for which there is an online exhibit. The Navy Department Library has a collection of philatelic items related to the Navy and maintains information about this philatelic specialty on its website. I’m sure that there are other libraries that have significant non-book philatelic collections. If you are aware of any, make a comment below.

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  1. The German Museum of Posts and Telecommunication in Berlin is home to the stunning Frederick Philbrick collection of Essays and Printing Trials for the creation of the “Penny Black” as well as the first British stamps and postal stationery. Though not a library collection, the story of the history and rediscovery of this remarkable collection is told and beautifully illustrated in “Die Erfindung der Briefmarke – The Invention of Stamps”, authored by Andreas Hahn and published by the Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation, 2008.
    The collection was shown at the Royal Philatelic Society, March 1, 2008 ( and subsequently debuted in the United States at the Collectors Club, a “Union Catalog” philatelic library, on April 1, 2009 along with Alan Holyoake’s award winning display “The Introduction of the First Postage Stamp in 1840.”

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