World War One postcards at the British Library Philatelic Collections


18 June 2014
imports_CCGB_worldwaronepostcard_84676.png World War One postcard
The British Library Philatelic Collections boasts a wealth of postcards from World War One, on all manner of themes, as Matt Hill found out during a recent trip to the museum… ...
The British Library Philatelic Collections boasts a wealth of postcards from World War One, writes Stamp & Coin Mart Editor Matt Hill, on all manner of themes, from the state of the post office and the importance and emotion of soldiers receiving letters from home, to the shooting down of German Zeppelins over British skies.

I was lucky enough to visit Head Curator of the Philatelic Collections, Paul Skinner, at the British Library recently, in preparation for the special World War One Centenary issue of Stamp & Coin Mart.

The incredible collection of stamps, essays, proofs, postcards and postal history held at the Library is probably the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world, and it is always a great pleasure to chat with Paul and his new colleague Richard Morel (both pictured) at the Library.

A visit to the Library is always a treat!

As we discuss potential articles for the magazine, Paul and Richard delve into the archives to reveal more and more fascinating material, and the vast collection of World War One postcards provides an evocative insight into the times. It's wonderful to be able to share many of the postcards with readers in the digital and print editions of Stamp & Coin Mart.

On the array of postcards, life in the trenches is captured on evocative designs that are bright with colour – a distinct departure from the usual sepia tones through which we recall the Great War.

One of the postcard collections, of 300 sheets with up to four postcards on each sheet, was the work of wartime canteen worker Mrs Wary who asked the soldiers she was serving to send her or bring back postcards during their tours of Europe.

The results are astonishing, with a range of styles and subjects shown.

World War One postcard - the language of stampsA second collection was recently donated to the Library by renowned philatelist Robert Johnson, a recent signatory of the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists. Johnson’s collection, entitled ‘Postal Humour’ focuses on the post office and many of the cards give an insight into the state of the postal services during the war, both at home and abroad.

Read much more about World War One stamps, postal history and postcards in the

Your in-depth guide to the stamps of the era…
• Prisoner of War issues
• Evocative WWI postcards
• Propaganda 'Cinderella' stamps
• Postal history of 1914
• The latest stamps marking the WWI centenary

…and much more.

Download the issue right now or order our print edition and we'll send it to you.

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