AIM Pilgrim Trust Remedial Conservation Grant – The Royal Philatelic Society London

One of the delivery books from the Perkins Bacon & Co. collection

The Royal Philatelic Society London – AIM Pilgrim Trust remedial conservation grant
Restoring the original bindings of the Perkins Bacon delivery books

The only Museum of Philatelic History in the world and founded in 1869, we tell the global story of stamp collecting with a view to promote education and enjoyment of the field. We hold the largest and most complete archive of the printing company, Perkins Bacon & Co., leading security engravers and printers of their time and perhaps most well-known for printing the world’s first stamp, The Penny Black in 1840. The archive is the only example of its kind in the world.

Originally, the delivery books would have consisted of a pair of books – one to record where parcels and orders were sent, and one which was taken out with the deliveries and written up the following day. These 11 delivery books are the only surviving pairs for the period 1840 to 1901 and the likelihood of loss of context or unique information was high before the conservation work. The books were also the only remaining examples with original covers; the majority of the collection was rebound in the 1990s with their original covers and spines not preserved.

Victoria Stevens was such an enthusiastic partner for the project and, not only carried out meticulous work in the conserving of items, but really helped to promote the project and the collection to a wider audience. Examples of the books were displayed in Stockholm as part of our 150th anniversary celebrations.

Thanks to this grant, these vulnerable items in this important collection have been preserved for current and future researchers. Our aim is to introduce more people to this fascinating resource and this project has helped to do this, not just in making the items suitable for handling and digitisation, but the related events (online and in-person) have raised awareness of the collection and the work needed to care for it. This has resulted in new volunteers offering their time and members offering financial donations towards conservation projects.

Nicola Davies, Head of Collections, The Royal Philatelic Society

Pictured: One of the delivery books from the Perkins Bacon & Co. collection