12 - 14/9/2008


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The Royal Philatelic Collection for PRAGA 2008

As is appropriate for a  world stamp exhibition, thousands of precious postage stamps will be exhibited and it is certain that every single one will find its admirers, who will carefully inspect every single detail or who will at least stop in front of it. However, already now it is apparent that two of them will attract the greatest attention; perhaps, every single visitor will come to see them. No wonder, as they are the two most famous stamps in the world – a  legendary red and blue Mauritius. In the Hall of Fame, an exhibit of the British Royal Collection will be displayed, comprising these first-class rarities, which perhaps everyone has heard of. They are even so famous that outside our field they are considered a  synonym for rarity of the highest degree – well, who has not come across the comparison, Rare as a  blue Mauritius… And, since such an opportunity does not come along every day, it is certain that a  lot of non-philatelists will take advantage of it, from which some perhaps due to these inaccessible peaks of world philately will establish contact with our field – and later on they will become collectors as well. After all, how many hobbies are there in the world, in which you can be a  colleague of a  crowned head without becoming penniless on the very first day. Anyway, the great-grandfather of the current British monarch, King Edward VII, was an eager stamp collector, followed by his son, King George V  and grandson, King George VI. All of them were reputable members of the oldest philatelic society in the world, London Royal Philatelic Society, and George V. was even its vice chairman. It was even him, at that time as Duke of York, who at the beginning of the last century purchased the Blue Mauritius, for his collection, which has been located here for more than a  hundred years. The collection itself has its roots in the middle of the 1960’s and is one of the oldest continuously extended philatelist collection in the world. It is therefore a  great honour for our exhibition that the British Queen acceded to the request of the organisation committee and lent out these attractive stamps along with several other rarities. And this is certainly not the first time, because at several previous exhibitions PRAGA visitors had the opportunity to admire rarities and unique objects from this world-famous collection, which is continuously being extended: one of the relatively recent acquisitions – a  letter with ten first stamps in the world, sent on the day of issuing – will be a  part of the borrowed collection as well. Certainly, none of us would like to miss this scarce opportunity – to see world rarities with your own eyes.


The Kirkcudbright cover, a  first-day cover with ten penny blacks, mailed on 6 May 1840, the first day it was valid. Around 70 examples are known, but this is the only one with more than two stamps.

“Kirkcudbright cover” – actually a  wrapper – bearing ten penny blacks used on the first day of validity 6 May 1840. The cover was bought by The Queen in2001. The next largest multiple on first day is a  pair!


A Mulready prepaid envelope, postmarked on the first day of official use, 6 May 1840. Rowland Hill thought (incorrectly) that prepaid postal stationery would be more popular than stamps


The valuable Post Office Mauritius 'Ball' cover from 1847. The name comes from the fact that the wife of the Governor used the first issue of the stamps to frank invitations for a  fancy dress ball


„Seahorse“ stamp issue

Original design by Bertram Mackennal for the 1913 Great Britain high values



 "Reproduced by gracious permission of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to whom copyright belongs"



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