John Marriott; Keeper of Royal Stamp Collection

John Marriott, 78, who served for 26 years as keeper of Queen Elizabeth II’s stamp collection, died on July 3 in Godalming, southwest of London.

He managed Elizabeth’s private stamp collection--the most valuable in the world, according to Buckingham Place--from 1969 to 1995. The fourth person to keep the royal collection, Marriott was also president of the Royal Philatelic Society from 1983 to 1986.

The stamp collection, kept at St. James’ Palace, was started by Queen Victoria’s second son, Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, who sold it to his older brother, the future King Edward VII, in 1890.

It grew to include stamps from around the British Commonwealth.

Marriott helped manage its continued expansion and organized annual exhibitions. The queen knighted him in 1995.


Born in Stretford, Lancashire, Marriott studied mathematics at Cambridge University. During World War II, he worked with with code-breakers at Bletchley Park, north of London.