Philatelic Materials in Archival Collections: Their Appraisal, Preservation, and Description

Peter Roberts
2007 The American Archivist  
70 T h e A m e r i c a n A r c h i v i s t , V o l . 7 0 ( S p r i n g / S u m m e r 2 0 0 7 ) : 7 0 -9 2 A b s t r a c t Many archival collections contain significant quantities of material related to postage stamps and postal history. Many philatelists are interested in researching them. This paper reviews some of the issues surrounding the disposition of philatelic materials and provides guidance for archivists in appraising, preserving, and describing them. A p p r a i s a l o f P h i l a t
more » ... e l i c M a t e r i a l P hilatelic materials, which include postage stamps and postally used covers, 1 are found in most archives and often are a significant component of manuscript collections. Archivists often discard envelopes to reduce the bulk of voluminous collections or because they do not consider envelopes worth keeping. 2 In some instances, the address and date information on the cover is lightly penciled onto the manuscript and enclosed in square brackets. It is, however, a misconception that postal covers lack archival value and therefore fail to merit retention. The determination whether or not to retain philatelic materials depends on the type of archival repository, the archivist's appraisal philosophy, and the ranking given to the appraisal criteria employed. Despite the fact that archivists often discard envelopes, repositories may, nevertheless, hold philatelic materials. Most commonly, archives retain entire 1 In philately, a cover is any postally used envelope, folded letter sheet, postal card, or other piece of postal stationery. 2 Two manuals recommending disposal of envelopes are
doi:10.17723/aarc.70.1.w3742751w5344275 fatcat:uzmjymyhy5ej7cqrhg4xwd27ym