The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand Library

The "formation of a library of stamp literature" was one of the principal objects of the formation of the Society in 1888. Unfortunately, the original library was destroyed by the Lampton Quay Fire of 1906. The current library dates from that point.

Philately at the advanced research level involves serious historical inquiry. In addition to the consideration of stamps and covers it analyses cancellations, postal routes, methods of mail transportation and delivery, locations of stamps on a pane or block, methods of printing, types of paper, inks, adhesives (or lack thereof) and printing errors. The Library obtains publications according to the priorities below; running across the common collecting themes of stamps, postal history, postcards, thematics, postal services, etc.:
  1. New Zealand topic, or any Philatelic topic where published in New Zealand or by a Society member. Includes New Zealand Dependencies & Antarctica.
  2. Australia and other local Pacific Islands.
  3. Military, Maritime, Aerophilately, Thematics
  4. General philatelic interest
    1. Exhibiting, Forgeries, Cinderellas/Revenues, Postal History.
    2. Journal Indexes and Bibliographies.
    3. Stamp production technical aspects
    4. Specialist catalogues.
  5. Great Britain
  6. Anything else deemed of interest by the Librarian (Redeeming Feature)
As of 2015 the Library held around 1400 books and monographs, over 500 catalogues and dealer listings, 300 exhibition publications and 360 journal titles. Around 1000 specialised auction sale catalogues and a further 100 different issuers of general auction sales are retained.  Many items of grey literature and more ephemeral material are held in the Miscellaneous Papers section. Finally, over 120 copies, some in colour, of various exhibition entries and members’ collections are also held. The Listing of the Library of the Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand is available to anyone.

Members are welcome to browse the Library during normal Office hours. Books may be borrowed by members in person, or by mail within New Zealand (for the cost of postage). Selections of a reasonable number of pages may be scanned or copied for members for 40c/page with a minimum charge of $4, plus postage (in the case of copies). Requests should be emailed to the Office.

To assist with finding some of "hidden treasures" within the Library, a bibliography of special exhibition publications, Society anniversary monographs, various regional or stamp dealer journals, etc--sorted by Publication or Subject/Age is available.


Since its formation in 1888, the RPSNZ has been generating and accumulating paper and various items of ephemera. Through the efforts of a previous Archivist, the late Robin Startup, the Society's Archive was sorted, documented and boxed.Papers relating to the Society itself, notably minute books and the like, have been donated to the public Alexander Turnbull Library manuscript collection. The remaining items are held in the Library and can be perused onsite by members. Copies of most items can be made upon request, at a charge.

A full description of the Archive holdings, including those now at the Alexander Turnbull Library, is available to assist researchers into the stamps of New Zealand and the history of local philately.

Listing of the Archives of the Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand

Online Library

Although the Society was formed in Wellington, collectors outside the area were invited to join from the outset. Fees for non-Wellingtonians were lower, partially in recognition of the fact that they would have less access to the library. Today, our membership is spread across New Zealand and around the world. The provision of access to our widespread membership was a key object of the re-development of the Society's website in 2020.

The Online Library provides access to digital copies of items, respecting copyright rules and in a cost effective manner. Members of the public (and internet search engines) are able to discover the titles of files available but the contents of files can only be viewed by members (who log in to gain access). Content which is freely available to all is found within the Resources section.

Members of the Society, and the public, are welcome to contribute content for the members only or free sections. Email the Office for details.

Initially, the Online Library contained a complete set of issues of the New Zealand Stamp Collector, a decade of issues of Royal Lines and a small selection of other items. Newsletters, journals, magazines and auction catalogues will be added as we receive them in digital format. We will also add recordings of Society Zoom meetings, and work is underway to digitize all of the handbooks and monographs we have published since 1888.