Here is a fresh challenge for the World in London team: San Marino – one of Europe’s smallest countries. Does London have anything fascinating and Sammarinese to feature in our World in London blog? Of course it does. We turned to Jenny Karlsson at the British Postal Museum and Archive for this latest foray into London’s incredibly varied multicultural offering.
San Marino is one of the world’s smallest countries, but did you also know that it is world famous for its beautifully designed stamps?
The British Postal Museum & Archive in Clerkenwell, London holds all the stamps that have ever been produced by the state until 1995 in its vast philatelic collection. A few of these can be seen in the images above.
The first San Marino postage stamps, produced in 1877, were a definitive stamp edition depicting the Three Towers of San Marino at Monte Titano.
Commemorative stamp editions were introduced in 1894, the first one being dedicated to an important historical event in the history of San Marino: the inauguration of the Public Palace, seat of the government and parliament and heart of the institutional and political life of the country.
Over the years, the attractive designs of San Marino’s stamps have been extremely popular with stamp collectors around the world, and it is estimated that 10% of the republic’s revenue is generated by the sale of its postage stamps to international collectors.
The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) is the leading resource for British postal heritage. It is a combined museum and archive, bringing together The Royal Mail Archive and a Museum Store. Its unique collections include posters, photographs, staff records, telegrams, postal vehicles and pillar boxes, as well as all British stamps that have ever been produced and a wide range of international stamps.
The BPMA cares for the visual, written and physical records from over 400 years of innovation and service, illuminating the fascinating story of British communications. Records in The Royal Mail Archive are designated as being of outstanding national importance.
The British Postal Museum & Archive’s current display features treasures from the collections such as sheets of Penny Blacks and evidence from the Great Train Robbery, as well as unique items from the world’s first airmail flight that took place in 1911.
For more information, or to find out about upcoming exhibitions or events, see www.postalheritage.org.uk.
Have you spotted anything else from the tiny San Marino in London? Some of their famous wine, perhaps? Let us know in the comments below.