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Royal 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’.

Conservation plans
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 million.

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
The Royal Keeper
 
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