R M Phillips Collection
The former National Postal Museum was in part established to house the collection. Today, The Postal Museum has taken over responsibility for caring and developing access to the Phillips Collection.
The Phillips Collection is an essential resource for the understanding of postage stamps and philatelic research. It contains the world’s very first, first day cover – that of the Penny Black. It also includes 1839 Treasury Essays for pre-paid postage, Rowland Hill letters and unique proofs and studies of stamps such as the Twopenny Blue and the Penny Red.
The Penny Black Changed the World project in 2005-2006 – supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund – has allowed for all 45 volumes of the Phillips Collection to be digitised (pages that contain only text have not been digitised as the text is copied in the relevant catalogue entry).
How to use the Phillips Collection online
You can view the digitised albums by:
- Searching the catalogue directly. Enter a search term and enter “POST 141” (the archive POST class for the Phillips Collection) into the finding number box. This will limit your search to the Phillips Collection.
- Click the album links below. These are arranged by each volume created by RM Phillips:
- Volume I – Pre-1840 documents and essays for adhesive postage stamps and postal stationery including 1839 Treasury Competition essays.
- Volume II – 1837-40 essays and proofs of adhesive stamps and Mulready stationery, with Mulready stationery as issued.
- Volume III – 1840-41 1d unused.
- Volume IV – 1840-41 1d Plate 1 used.
- Volume V – 1840-41 1d black and 1d red plates 2, 3, 4 and 5 used.
- Volume VI – 1840-41 1d Plates 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, used.
- Volume VII – 1840 2d blue, plates 1 and 2, unused and used.
- Volume VIII – 1840-41 colour, paper and cancellation experiments including ‘rainbow’ trials.
- Volume IX – 1839-90 Mulready stationery and other printed envelopes.
- Volume X – 1840 1d black used on covers.
- Volume XI – 1840-44 cancellations on imperforate line-engraved.
- Volume XII – 1840-71 cancellations on line-engraved.
- Volume XIII – 1841-62 1d imprimaturs.
- Volume XIV – 1841-53 imperforate 1d red unused, with some perforated used examples.
- Volume XV – 1841-53 imperforate 1d red used.
- Volume XVI – 1841-55 imperforate 1d used (continued).
- Volume XVII – 1841-55 1d used on covers.
- Volume XVIII – 1841-54 imperforate 2d blue plates III and IV unused and used.
- Volume XIX – 1850-55 2d Plate 4 unused and used.
- Volume XX – 1841-53 imperforate 2d plates III and IV used on covers or piece.
- Volume XXI – 1854-78 line-engraved essays and proofs.
- Volume XXII – 1848-54 trial separations, including rouletting, comb perforation and experimental perforation; Prince Consort essays; 1854-62 perforated line-engraved 1d and 2d unused; 1855-62 imperforate varieties used.
- Volume XXIII – 1854-57 line-engraved 1d red perforation 16 and perforation 14 used.
- Volume XXIV – 1854-57 2d plates IV, V and VI used.
- Volume XXV – 1857-62 1d rose-red, die II, alphabet III, perforated, unused and used.
- Volume XXVI – 1857 1d rose-red, die II, Alphabet II, Reserve Plates 15 and 16 and Alphabet III, Reserve Plate 17, mostly used.
- Volume XXVII – 1861 1d rose-red, Alphabet IV, Plates 50 and 51, mostly used.
- Volume XXVIII – 1864 1d red inscribed with plate numbers, mostly imprimaturs and unused multiples.
- Volume XXIX – 1858-79 2d, ½d and 1½d imprimaturs, unissued stamps and the issued stamps unused and used.
- Volume XXX – 1847-54 embossed adhesive stamps, essays, proofs and the issued 1/-, 10d and 6d unused and used; embossed postal stationery proofs and as issued.
- Volume XXXI – 1855-72 surface printed essays, proofs, imprimaturs and ‘specimens’.
- Volume XXXII – 1855-72 3d to 1/- values, essays, proofs, imprimaturs, ‘specimens’ and the issued stamps unused.
- Volume XXXIII – 1865-72 1/- and 2/-, 1880 2/- brown, 1872-73 6d and 1873-83 2½d, 3d and 6d, essays, proofs, imprimaturs, ‘specimens’ and the issued stamps unused.
- Volume XXXIV – 1873-79 1/-, 4d and 8d values, essays for 9d, 10d and 2/- values and 1880-83 3d to 1/- values, essays, proofs, imprimaturs, ‘specimens’ and the issued stamps unused.
- Volume XXXV – 1855-83 surface printed values to 2/- used including rare ‘abnormals’ and 1/- Stock Exchange forgeries.
- Volume XXXVI – 1867-82 5/- to £5 values, proofs, imprimaturs, ‘specimens’ and the issued stamps unused and used.
- Volume XXXVII – 1880 Consolidated Contract, 1879 essays for the low values, 1880 proofs and imprimaturs and the issued ½d to 5d stamps unused.
- Volume XXXVIII – 1881-84 schemes for improved stamp designs.
- Volume XXXIX – 1881-84 Unified 1d and 2/6 to £1 (also 1891 £1 green), proofs, imprimaturs, ‘specimens’ and the issued stamps unused and used including broken frame varieties of the £1.
- Volume XL – 1883-84 Unified 1½d to 1/-, proofs, imprimaturs, ‘specimens’, unissued stamps and the issued stamps, mostly unused.
- Volume XLI – 1887-1901 ½d to 1/-, essays, proofs, imprimaturs, ‘specimens’ and the issued stamps unused; 1894 reply stamp essays; 1901 King Edward VII essays.
- Volume XLII – 1887-1900 ½d to 1/-, unused multiples showing marginal markings.
- Volume XLIII – ‘Postal Fiscals’, Railway Letter and Parcel Post stamps, essays, proofs and as issued [newly written up in 1990s].
- Volume XLIV – Private Companies’ and Post Office Telegraph stamps, Military and Army Telegraph stamps, proofs, ‘specimens’ and as issued; De La Rue ‘dummy’ stamps.
- Volume XLV – Postage and Revenue stamps overprinted ‘SPECIMEN’.
- Engine Turning – A sheet showing specimens of engine-turned backgrounds, numbered 1 to 28, inscribed ‘Perkins, Fairman and Heath’.
- Silver Wyon Medal – The 1837 Wyon medal in silver.
- Bronze Wyon Medal – The 1837 Wyon medal in bronze.