DCSIMG

Pre-Treasury Competition

Two pence lettersheet design printed by John Dickinson on silk-thread paper for an 1837 government report.
Two pence lettersheet design printed by John Dickinson on silk-thread paper for an 1837 government report. Specimens like this were attached to each copy of the report.
Two pence lettersheet design printed by John Dickinson on silk-thread paper for an 1837 government report. Specimens like this were attached to each copy of the report.

After Rowland Hill published his first pamphlet, in 1837, ideas for postal stationery and stamps came from many sources. The Royal Philatelic Collection includes several surviving examples of these early designs from before the Treasury Competition. Most are associated with leading figures in the postal reform story.

A letter written by Henry Cole in 1839, requesting an estimate from the printers Perkins, Bacon and Petch for a Charles Whiting design.
A letter written by Henry Cole in 1839, requesting an estimate from the printers Perkins, Bacon & Petch for a Charles Whiting design. A letter written by Henry Cole in 1839, requesting an estimate from the printers Perkins, Bacon & Petch for a Charles Whiting design. A letter written by Henry Cole in 1839, requesting an estimate from the printers Perkins, Bacon & Petch for a Charles Whiting design.
A letter written by Henry Cole in 1839, requesting an estimate from the printers Perkins, Bacon & Petch for a Charles Whiting design. A letter written by Henry Cole in 1839, requesting an estimate from the printers Perkins, Bacon & Petch for a Charles Whiting design. A letter written by Henry Cole in 1839, requesting an estimate from the printers Perkins, Bacon & Petch for a Charles Whiting design.

Samples produced by the paper manufacturer John Dickinson showcased his patented, silk-thread “Dickinson paper.” Used in banknotes, the paper was designed to prevent forgery. Dickinson may have created his examples based on designs by Charles Whiting. Whiting was a printer in London whose interest in postal reform dated to at least 1830.

Sheet printed in 1839 by the Mercantile Committee for Postage, including stamp designs by James Chalmers.
Sheet printed in 1839 by the Mercantile Committee for Postage, including stamp designs by James Chalmers.
Sheet printed in 1839 by the Mercantile Committee for Postage, including stamp designs by James Chalmers.

James Chalmers, a bookseller in Dundee, developed stamp designs (he called them “slips”). Copies of his designs appear in a sheet printed by the Mercantile Committee for Postage, a business group that promoted postal reform and lower rates. Henry Cole was the driving force behind the Mercantile Committee. After enactment of postal reform, he became Rowland Hill's assistant at the Treasury.


Additional "Pre-Treasury" designs exhibited in The Queen's Own: Stamps That Changed the World:

John Dickinson penny envelope design, 1837
John Dickinson penny envelope design, 1837
John Dickinson penny envelope design, 1837
John Dickinson two pence envelope design, 1837
John Dickinson two pence envelope design, 1837
John Dickinson two pence envelope design, 1837
Treasury Competition: Essays and Related Designs »