Treasures of the Archive

by Alison Norris, 2010 Exhibition & Festival Officer 

As part of the London 2010: Festival of Stamps, the BPMA is providing an exclusive chance to see gems from our unique collection in Treasures of the Archive. The exhibition is now open in our Search Room at Freeling House, and will run until April 2011.

The ‘Old Original’ die, 1840, from which all Penny Black plates and most Penny Reds were made. OB1998.0391

The ‘Old Original’ die, 1840, from which all Penny Black plates and most Penny Reds were made. OB1998.0391

The BPMA is the only place in the world to hold sheets of Penny Black stamps. On display in the exhibition is a unique proof sheet, before the addition of the corner letters, together with the original die. Also on show is an example of the first ‘First Day Cover’ in the world, showing a Penny Black used on 6 May 1840, the first day of validity (from the R.M. Phillips Collection).

Other exciting exhibits include objects from the mail coach era such as a flintlock pistol, issued to mail coach guards to protect the mail from highwaymen.

Channel Islands Pillar Box. OB1996.653

Channel Islands Pillar Box. OB1996.653

Don’t miss the opportunity to see original evidence and investigation files from the Great Train Robbery, one of the largest robberies (in value) in UK history. It took place on 8 August 1963 in Buckinghamshire against a Travelling Post Office train (TPO) travelling from Glasgow to London.

The first pillar boxes in the UK were trialled on the Channel Islands in 1852/53 by the novelist Anthony Trollope, then a Post Office surveyor’s clerk. The exhibition offers a rare chance to see one of these boxes.

In addition to all of this, Treasures of the Archive features original stamp artwork and rare stamps, including the artwork commissioned by Royal Mail to celebrate Scotland winning the World Cup in 1978 and 16 colour trials for the 1929 Postal Union Congress £1 value, of which only three sets exist.

Proposed stamp issue for Scotland winning the World Cup, 1978, QEII 133/2

Proposed stamp issue for Scotland winning the World Cup, 1978, QEII 133/2

For further information on Treasures of the Archive and the online version of the exhibition please visit http://www.postalheritage.org.uk/exhibitions/treasures.

Proposed stamp issue for Scotland winning the World Cup, 1978, QEII 133/2

One response to “Treasures of the Archive

  1. The proposed Scotland stamp made me laugh. Extremely rare!

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