As part of the London 2010 Festival of Stamps a year long exhibition The British Library Philatelic Rarities will be on show in the permanent Philatelic Exhibition area at the British Library, 96, Euston Road, St Pancras, London, NW1 2DB. Admission free.

Over forty of the library’s great philatelic rarities have been selected to be specially featured. Included in the exhibition are the unique America 1765 1d Revenue proof sheet; the introduction of which prompted widespread opposition and the cry “no taxation without representation”; the famous Canada 1851 12 pence black in an unused pair, Cape of Good Hope 1861 4d vermilion error of colour in pair with normal 1d used; a rarity of Great Britain – the 1858-79 1d plate 77 unused; an example of the Hawaii 1851-52 Missionary 2 cents used; the unique cover bearing two examples of India 1854 4 annas with inverted head; the iconic Mauritius 1847 Post Office 1d red used on ‘Ball’ cover and 2d blue unused; Spain 1851 2 reales blue error of colour used; and USA 1918 24 cents Curtiss Jenny error ‘centre inverted’ unused. The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see many of the most significant items in philately and all in one place – The British Library.

In association with this exhibition a new booklet Treasures in Focus Stamps has been published, and is exclusively available from the British Library Shop or via the British Library Online Shop at:  Price £3.99.

From Sunday 9th to Saturday 15th May at 11.30 each day a philatelic Curator will conduct a tour of the British Library’s Philatelic Exhibition, (which is on permanent public show in 1,000 display frames of about 80,000 items). These exhibits have recently been rearranged and as well as including The British Library Philatelic Rarities exhibition, will also show the first half of the Tapling Collection countries Afghanistan to Mexico, including the fabulous Great Britain collection), which has not been on public display for some time.

Other collections on display include the Mosely Collection of British Africa to 1935; The Bojanowicz Collection of Poland postal history 1938-1946; The Model Collection of Germany 1945-46 local provisional stamps; The Harrison Collection of die proofs 1911-37, engraved by J.A.C. Harrison; The Fitz Gerald Collection of World Airmails to the 1930s (selected pages); The Bailey Collection of Spanish Civil War 1936-39 (selected pages) and The Langmead Collection of Great Britain and Ireland Telegraph stamps.

Other exciting activities that are planned to take place during the period of the year long London 2010 Festival of Stamps will include a series of presentations, which will be staged monthly throughout the year and on a daily basis during London 2010 International Stamp Exhibition from the 10th to 15th May. For details see web page at:

Due to our involvement with London 2010 Festival of Stamps our Philatelic Researchers Room will be closed from 1st to 31st May.

Visitors are also encouraged to visit the Sir John Ritblat Gallery Treasures of the British Library which includes illuminated and literary manuscripts, Magna Carta, music, maps and views and sacred texts, and the exhibition Conservation Uncovered at the Centre for Conservation to discover how precious items are conserved.

The Library, which is adjacent to St. Pancras International Railway Station, has café and restaurant facilities which overlook the King’s Library of George III and are close by to the Philatelic Exhibition, in the Entrance Hall.

The British Library web site is at: and its Philatelic Collections web pages are at:

Further details
We are pleased to let you have further details of our events for the Festival which can be found at: and then go to the link: British Library Philatelic Collections – at the London 2010 Festival of Stamps.  These pages give the programme of Presentations, Tours and some information about the exhibition The British Library Philatelic Rarities which opens on Monday 1st February and continues to the end of December 2010.