Notes from the Past

H. M. King George V
Famous Philatelists Series

The world-famous British Royal collection, which is always the major attraction at any stamp exhibition at which portions may be shown, was largely formed between 1890 and 1930 by the Duke of York, who, upon the death of his father in 1910, became King George V.

The collection is housed in 350 volumes in the Stamp Room at Buckingham Palace, although neither King George VI nor Queen Elizabeth II have taken the active philatelic interest in it that was the great pleasure of their father and grandfather, respectively.

The Duke of York, then Prince George, was a collector by the time he was a 13-year-old naval cadet.

Shortly after the turn of the century, he came to the conclusion that, even with his connections and the stamp sources that they opened up, it was impossible to be a general collector if any degree of completion was desired.  So he began to restrict his activities to the British Commonwealth issues.

In 1893, the Duke joined the Philatelic Society, London, and was made honorary vice-president.  He became president in 1896 and held the position until he ascended the British throne in 1910.

He was greatly influenced by his friend the Earl of Crawford and developed a similar approach to philatelic study.

His only attempt at exhibiting competitively was in 1906 at the London International Stamp Exhibition, where his entries won two silver medals.

It became the custom in the philatelic trade to give the King "first pick" of any important collections that came on the market, and over the years the Royal Collection grew to impressive proportions.

Since his death in 1936, the collection has been maintained and portions are regularly seen at important exhibitions around the world.

- Kenneth A. Wood
This is Philately - Volume Two G-P
Van Dahl Publications 1982
Posted May 14, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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