Charles James Phillips

Charles James Phillips

After a distinguished career spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries in London as the owner of Stanley Gibbons & Company, Charles Phillips sold the firm and moved to New York City in 1922 to open a brand new business under his own name. A doer and a giver, he became a beloved and respected member of that city’s philatelic community most especially his deep involvement and leadership activities with the Collectors Club.

While at Gibbons, he saw to the building and selling of all the great collections of that time. He wrote Fifty Years of Philately: The History of Stanley Gibbons (1906). He edited and wrote in Gibbon’s house journals, The Monthly Journal, and The Stamp Advertiser and Auction Record. Phillips also wrote articles in Gibbons Stamp Weekly, especially on collections and rarities he had sold or helped build.

In 1922, Phillips emigrated to the United States where he became a well-known rarities stamp dealer. He wrote extensively in Stamps and in his own journal, Philatelic Classics, about his friendships and relationships with the great collectors. His books include The Duveen Collection of Rare Old Postage Stamps: a Brief Description of Some of the Rarities of this Famous Collection (1922), and Denmark 1851-1899: Detailed, Descriptive, Priced Catalogue of the Early Issues, Together with Lists and Prices of the Numeral Cancellations (1925). He also wrote a popular book, Stamp Collecting: The King of Hobbies and the Hobby of Kings (1936).

Phillips was retained by the estate of Arthur Hind to advise it on the sale of Hind’s world famous collection of rarities and classic stamps. It was in 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression. Phillips and Hind’s philatelic secretary, William C. Kennett Jr., arranged and sold at auction Hind’s U.S. and Confederate States stamps, obtaining prices that were higher than most observers believed possible under the circumstances.

He was one of the original group of philatelists who signed the Roll of Distinguished
Philatelists in 1921. In 1939, the Collectors Club of New York presented him its Award of Merit for his long service to it and to all philately, naming him both an International Stamp Dealer” and “A World Famous Philatelist.” These combined titles can only be accorded to a handful of individuals over the years.

We are grateful to the APS Hall of Fame Committee for much of the preceding.