2016-10-01 / Shorts

New Stamping Grounds

World’s Largest Philatelic Library Celebrates Grand Opening
Julia King

The American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte has nearly three miles of shelving space to hold one of the world’s largest collections of philatelic literature, but it’s one 24-cent stamp that will hold a lot of attention at the Bellefonte museum’s grand opening on Oct. 28 and 29.

“One of the most exciting stamps, which will be on display during the grand opening, will be the Inverted Jenny,” says Tara Murray, librarian at the American Philatelic Center. The rare collectors’ item was stolen in the 1950s and only recently recovered.

But more than stamps will be on display: After a yearlong $2.6 million construction project, the library has been upgraded to a 19,000-square-foot facility. “The renovations make the building a more modern facility,” says Murray. “We tried to continue the style of the historic Match Factory throughout the building.”

The 2½-story library now features a bright and spacious interior equipped with open stacks and large tables as well as a cozy reading lounge, children’s area and gift shop.

“There’s lots to see in the building,” Murray says. “Some will be interested in the architecture, while for more serious collectors there will be opportunities to buy and sell stamps and covers.”

The American Philatelic Center is home to more than 800,000 volumes and special collections dating back to the very early days of stamp collecting.

The Philatelic Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days, with a cocktail hour and celebration dinner on Oct. 28 featuring keynote speaker David Beech and a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on Oct. 29. Beech was the curator of the Philatelic Collections at the British Library from 1983 to 2013.

Tickets for the grand opening dinner are $100, which includes a $25 donation to the American Philatelic Society. Visit to learn more.

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