British stamps

Our collection comprises registration sheets, essays (trial stamps) and proofs of all stages of British stamp production from 1840 to the present day. We also hold selected metal dies and printing plates.

From 1924 the collections include all artwork, adopted and unadopted, for all issued and some un-issued stamps. Material is constantly added to the collections as we receive around 500 pieces of stamp artwork from Royal Mail every year.

Also included in our collection are stamps for overseas territories produced under the auspices of the British Post Office. This includes some artwork and essays. We also hold some material on stamps for British colonies. These were produced by the Royal Mint or the Inland Revenue at Somerset House.

The final element of our British stamps is the De la Rue material. This contains the correspondence and day books of the stamp printers De La Rue to about 1940. These are available in microfilm format in our Archive Discovery Room.


If you have a question about the collection or would like to see material in person please send your enquiries to [email protected]