Sir Hans Sloane 2/- Issue proof 1873
On his death Sir Hans Sloane, 1st Baronet, (16 April 1660 – 11 January 1753), President of the Royal Society and physician, bequeathed to the nation his collection including books, manuscripts, prints, drawings, medals, coins, cameos and other curiosities. The bequest was accepted by an act of parliament passed the same year, and the collection, together with King George II’s Royal Library, was opened to the public at Bloomsbury as the British Museum in 1759.
In 1873, 120 years after his death, a proof issue of the two shillings (2/-) Sir Hans Sloane stamp was created, examples of which are presented here in the original blue-green with a secondary printing in ‘Sloane’ chocolate brown. The design derived from the Queen Victoria surface printed issue of 1867-80. An error in the corner numbering of the proof sheet resulted in the perhaps fortuitous lettering of BL BL (instead of BL LB) to be seen on the block of four stamps displayed. An example of the trial ‘bar’ printed sheet format is also displayed (printers Cadbury & Sons).
This issue was not published and no examples are known to have been released for public use. 100 years after this proof edition the British Library was founded.