Collection gets new Keeper
From January 1, 2003 Michael Sefi became only the sixth
ever Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection following the first
ever time that the position had been openly advertised – previously
it had been filled on the recommendation of the previous incumbent.
The appointment was been confirmed by Buckingham Palace following
the retirement of the previous Keeper, Charles Goodwyn, at the end
of last year after just over seven years in the prestigious post.
Sefi (pictured, right) was previously Deputy Keeper of the collection
and this position has now been taken by Suresh Dhargalkar (who was
previously the Conservator of the collection). Sefi and Dhargalkar
are based at St. James’s Palace in London where the collection
is kept in a bomb-proof safe, and the offices of the Royal Philatelic
Collection are also based.
Speaking to STAMP MAGAZINE Sefi revealed that 2003 won’t see
too many public exhibits of parts of the world famous collection,
but said: ‘There is the possibility of a fairly substantial
exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington next year’.
With regard to his plans for the collection Sefi said: ‘We have
quite a lot to do internally in “housekeeping” terms,
such as completing the King George VI mounting. We have various plans
which we are formulating. Conservation is an area that we are having
to look at – some of the more popular material is beginning
to show its age. In the longer term, we may have to look at remounting’.
Sefi is already a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London, and
has been a member of its council since 1991; is a part-time consultant
to the British Philatelic Trust (a charitable trust which promotes
the educational aspects of philately), and is a past President of
the Great Britain Philatelic Society.
Michael Sefi follows Charles Goodwyn (Keeper from 1995-2002); Sir
John Marriott (from 1969-1995); Sir John Wilson (from 1938-1969);
Sir Edward Bacon; and J.A. Tilleard who were the previous five Keepers
of the world famous collection.
The exact date of the start of the Royal Philatelic Collection is
unclear although it has its roots in the 19th century. It’s
widely acknowledged that the driving force behind it was King George
V who used to spend three afternoons a week working on it when he
was in London. The collection now belongs to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth
II and, according to our estimates, it is worth in the region of £200
The collection’s most famous recent addition is the Kirkcudbright
first day cover of May 6, 1840 featuring a block of 10 Penny Blacks
(shown here) which was acquired in 2001 from Stanley Gibbons for £250,000