“Royal Warrants are a mark of recognition to individuals or companies who have supplied goods or services for at least five years to HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales. Warrants have always been regarded as demonstrating excellence and quality, and are highly prized.”
- Royal Warrant Holders Association
The pre-eminence of Stanley Gibbons Limited in the field of philately was endorsed by the Royal Warrant of Appointment which was granted to the Company by King George V in 1914.
Stanley Gibbons was the first stamp dealer or philatelic publisher to receive such an honour, which we continue to hold to this day.
The first serious Royal Collector was Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria's second son. Before his death he sold his collection to his elder brother, who became Edward VII. He in turn presented it to his son, the future George V. Some of this collection now forms the core of the world famous Royal Philatelic Collection, which is housed at St James's Palace in London.
The Company is honoured to continue its association with the Royal Philatelic Collection supplying stamps, publications and advice and assistance, when requested.
History of the Royal Warrant
The first rewards for this loyal service were Royal Charters granted to the trade guilds, later known as livery companies. The earliest recorded Royal Charter was granted by Henry II to the Weavers’ Company in 1155. In 1394 Dick Whittington helped obtain a Royal Charter for his own Company, the Mercers, who traded in luxury fabrics.
By the 15th century Royal tradesmen were recognised with a Royal Warrant of Appointment. An early recipient was William Caxton, England’s first printer, who was appointed King’s printer in 1476.
Over the centuries Royal life and tastes changed. Henry VIII appointed Thomas Hewytt to ‘Serve the Court with Swannes and Cranes’ and ‘all kinds of Wildfoule’. The Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520 was largely put together by Royal tradesmen. Charles II’s 1684 list of Royal tradesmen included a Sword Cutter, an Operator for the Teeth, and a Goffe-club Maker. Among the tradesmen supplying the Royal Household in 1789 were a pin maker, a mole taker, a card maker and a rat catcher.
In the late 18th century Royal tradesmen began displaying the Royal Arms on their premises and stationery. But it was Queen Victoria who ensured Royal Warrants gained the prestige they enjoy today. During her 64 year reign the Queen and her family granted more than 2000 Royal Warrants, eight times as many as the Queen’s uncle, George IV. They included companies such as Fortnum & Mason, Schweppes, and Twinings, which still hold Warrants today. Women granted Warrants included a Modeller of Wax Flowers, a Chronometer Maker and a Silversmith.
Royal Warrants continue to be a prestigious mark of recognition to those who are regular suppliers of goods and services to certain members of the Royal Family.
From the early 19th century, Royal Tradesmen held an annual dinner to celebrate the Sovereign’s birthday. When they gathered on 25 May 1840 for Queen Victoria’s birthday they decided to form ‘The Royal Tradesmen’s Association’. It began with just 25 members but numbers rose steadily. In those days it was an exclusively male organisation, although if ‘a lady or firm of ladies’ held a Royal Warrant they could ‘appoint a gentleman to represent them.’
In 1907 the Association received its first Royal Charter and became The Royal Warrant Holders Association. In 2007 The Queen regranted the Charter. Today most Warrant Holders belong to the Association.
Stanley Gibbons’ world famous stamp shop at 399 Strand, London is a collector's paradise, selling everything you could need – stamps, catalogues, albums, accessories, and much more...