Bernard Peyton Specialized Collection of Peru

Finding Guide

Prepared by Thomas Lera, Winton M. Blount Research Chair, The Council of Philatelists Research Committee, and Charles C. Wooster, President of the Peru Philatelic Study Circle.

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Letter from Carpintero, Pedro P. Rivera to Senor Don Jose A. Oyague. This letter is the only one known from Chorillos (Numeral 7) to Lima. The postmark and ink were supplied by Perkins Bacon Co. to the Pacific Steam Navigation Company (P.S.N.C.) in 1847 with the stamp. These stamps were never used by the P.S.N.C. and were subsequently donated to the Peruvian post office in December 1857 for a local trial to determine the usefulness of postage stamps prior to a nationwide introduction of postage stamps. They were only used for three months in Lima, Callao and Chorillos.


The Bernard Peyton Collection consists of 13 volumes of stamps, proofs, essays and covers from Peru from 1779 - 1897.


Bernard Peyton of Princeton, New Jersey, donated several significant specialized South American philatelic collections to the Smithsonian’s national philatelic collection.

The specialized collection of Peru, Volumes 1 – 13, was donated on May 24, 1961 (Accession Number 233750).


This significant international collection was donated by Bernard Peyton to the Smithsonian national philatelic collection. Most of the collection was formed by Arthur Linz, a prominent philatelic writer, before being acquired by Peyton in the 1950s. The collection begins with a comprehensive pre-stamp postal history of Peru. One very important volume relates to the 1857 Pacific Steam Navigation Company issues, including an outstanding assemblage of essays and proofs, the largest known mint multiples of each of the two values and a 1 Real on cover.

Later issues are very specialized and comprehensive with rarities, varieties, multiples, cancellations and covers. Emphasis is on each of the classic issues, 1858-73, often with a full volume devoted to each issue. There is a modest amount of back-of-the-book material as well.

Finally, of considerable importance is an outstanding collection both off and on cover of the British Agencies in Peru and concluding with several fabulous U.S. and Peru combination covers.