World Stamps

NPM to host 18th Maynard Sundman lecture Dec. 7

Nov 1, 2021, 10 AM

By David Hartwig

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum will host the 18th Maynard Sundman lecture Tuesday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time via the Zoom online platform. Admission to the lecture is free, but registration is required via the NPM website.

The museum will welcome James L. Grimwood-Taylor to discuss “The Origins, Birth, and International Reach of the Postage Stamp through 1847.” The talk will cover everything from the origins of writing and postal rates to the origins of postage and revenue stamps.

“The ancient Sumerians, the Italian merchants of the 14th – 16th centuries, the 17th-century Anglo-Dutch revenue authorities and the 18th-century Colonial American local revenue stamps will all be included,” said the Postal Museum in a news release about the event. “The explosion of postal rates in the 18th and 19th centuries, fueled by the wartime-raising of taxes in Britain and its American colonies, and later the United States, lasted long after peace was declared. It led reformers, such as Rowland Hill and others, to campaign for the introduction of cheap postage and to study how such a dramatic change could be made financially and administratively viable; they turned for an answer to revenue stamps for a postage prepayment model. The talk will conclude with a look at First Issue covers of the U.S., Switzerland, Brazil, Finland, Indonesia, Russia, and Trinidad in order to take the story up to July 1847.”

Grimwood-Taylor developed an interest in prestamp covers as a teenager. After college, he worked for 10 years in the postal history department of a London dealership. He then became an auctioneer. From 1988 to 2017, he served as the principal postal history describer at Cavendish Philatelic Auctions. He now works one day a week doing valuations of postal history.

He is a member of the Collectors Club and the postal history societies of the United States and the United Kingdom. He served as president of both the Great Britain Philatelic Society and the Society of Postal Historians. In 2008, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London. He was chosen to sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 2020.

In addition to five international gold medals as an international exhibitor, Grimwood-Taylor has authored more than 200 research articles, three books and a novel. His work won the 2021 Great Britain Philatelic Society President’s Prize and the Crawford Medal from the Royal Philatelic Society London.

Recently he has been working on a 500-page display to present to the Royal Philatelic Society in London, as well as a census of the earliest privately owned letters from around the world.

The National Postal Museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Washington, D.C., across from Union Station. The museum is currently open Friday through Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For more information about the museum, call 202-633-1000 or visit its website.

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