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Making Connections: 8 The Philatelic Collection

Walker Library / Special Collections / Making Connections

The Philatelic Collection

Started in 2021 to support the Distilling, Fermenting, and Brewing Collection, our philatelic collection has expanded to reflect and enhance all the unit’s collections and collecting interests. These materials are not commonly collected within academic special collections. By including these types of materials, we have expanded our collections in a different direction and provide additional viewpoints and research opportunities with the collections.

The use of philatelic materials can also reflect changes in communication technology and transportation infrastructure, as well as economic shifts. For example, the use of airmail stamps and covers became widespread in the early 20th century, reflecting advancements in aviation technology and the increased demand for faster mail delivery. What you see in the cases are topical philatelic groupings centered around our primary research collections.

At the most basic level, postage and revenue stamps are the physical representation of the amount paid for a service or taxes on a commodity. Delving in deeper, philatelic materials, such as stamps, postal covers, and postcards, can offer a unique insight into history, culture, and politics. These materials provide a snapshot of the era in which they were issued, offering a glimpse into the values, traditions, and events that were important at that time. Additionally, the designs and images on these items often reflect their era’s the artistic styles and aesthetic preferences.

Collections: Philatelic; Warden Collection for Equine Studies; Robert Allen Ragland Sr. Memorial Civil War Collection.


J.W. Scott, 1879

A “beginner” album aimed at the young person, the Youth’s Companion is arranged by country and provides spaces for the stamps of the collector’s choice. Many of the stamps are not in good condition but are excellent examples of what would be contained in a classical stamp collection. Highlights include an 1863 United States 2-cent Andrew Jackson, known as “Black Jack”; an 1841 Two Penny “Tuppance” Blue from Great Britain, and a 1900 cover from Hangchow (Hangzhou)to Nashville.



The United States Postal Service prohibits any “non-incidental depiction of alcohol” on US postage stamps. Shown here are three examples of alcohol-related stamps that are permissible.

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Brian Webb, 2022

This fine letterpress book provides an in-depth look at David Gentleman’s postage stamp designs for Great Britain. The book’s illustrations are hinge-mounted postage stamps. Highlights include the 1966 World Cup stamps, the Twelve Days of Christmas stamps issued in 1977, as well as a printing of one of the original engravings created by Gentleman for the stamp, issued in 1966, marking the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

The United Kingdom’s Postal Museum conducted a brief interview with David Gentlemen.

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Don Clark, 2018

This pictorial pop-up book was issued in conjunction with the Dragon postage stamp series. The complete four-stamp series is mounted in the inside front cover.



The world’s first pop-up stamps were issued by the Netherland Post (PostNl) on October 8, 2012 in honor of children’s book week. Designed by Fleur van der Weel, the sheet conveys illustrations of plants and animals. The picture changes from 2D to 3D when a cardboard slider is pulled. On the part of the stamp that folds out, a bird and a butterfly are pictured taking flight, while the trunk of an elephant and the neck of a giraffe are displayed in the horizontal area underneath. PostNL made a video about the stamp where you can see it in action.