David Richard Beech MBE (born 1954) was the curator of the British Library Philatelic Collections from 1983–2013. He is a Fellow and past President of the Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL). In 2013, it was announced that Beech will receive the Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award for outstanding lifetime accomplishments in the field of philately.
As a child, Beech collected British private post stamps including railway stamps, college stamps, British circular delivery companies and bus parcel stamps but he ceased personally collecting stamps when he joined a firm of philatelic auctioneers in 1970. He is a cousin to John Holman.
Beech was a joint founder of the International Philatelic Libraries Association.
Beech is active in organised philately. In 1974 he became a member of the Exhibition Committee of the British Philatelic Exhibition and in 1980 he became a Council member of the British Philatelic Federation and subsequently of the Association of British Philatelic Societies. He was a member of the Council of the National Philatelic Society from 1981 to 1996. He was the Controller of Exhibits for the International Philatelic Exhibition London 1980 and a member of the Philatelic Committee and Court of Honour Design Group for Stamp World London 90. He is a member of The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand, The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada, the Collectors Club of New York, the American Philatelic Research Library and the Académie Europeénne de Philatélie. He is also a Trustee of the Revenue Philately Trust.
Career at the British Library
Beech became a curator at the British Library in 1983 where one of his first tasks was to build up a philatelic reference library which had increased to approximately 10000 volumes by 2003. He became head of the Philatelic Collection in 1991.
The Grinnell Missionary stamps
Beech was instrumental in the Grinnell Missionary stamps being expertised by the Royal Philatelic Society London in 2002 to 2004 and arranged access to the Missionary stamps held in the Tapling Collection at the British Library.
- New Zealand and Dependencies – A Philatelic Bibliography, Thames, New Zealand, 2004. (With Allan P. Berry & Robin M. Startup) ISBN 0-476-00516-7
- "Philatelic research at the British Library", Cross Post, The Friends of Postal Heritage, 10 (3), 2004, pp. 119–128. Download link.
- "Stamp albums in the Printed Book Collections of the British Library", Philatelic Literature Review, American Philatelic Research Library, 54 (1st quarter), 2005, pp. 16–24. Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- "New Zealand Philately at the British Library" in The New Zealand Stamp Collector, The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand and The New Zealand Philatelic Federation, 85, 2005, pp. 38–41. Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- "The British Library Philatelic Collections 1998 to 2005" a paper given at a meeting of the Royal Philatelic Society London, 17 November 2005. Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Philatelic Research – a basic guide" in Stamp Lover, National Philatelic Society, 100, 2008, pp. 101–104. Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- Great Britain and Ireland: The Carriage of Parcels by Tramway and Omnibus: Services and Stamps. London: British Library, 2008.
- "Notes for philatelic researchers" in The London Philatelist, The Royal Philatelic Society London, 118, 2009, pp. 8–11. Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- "The Printing Plate of the Mauritius 1847 Post Office Issue" in The London Philatelist, Vol. 121, No. 1392, Jan/Feb 2012, pp. 2–9.
- Birch, Brian. Biographies of Philatelists and Dealers, 9th edition, Standish, Wigan, 2008, p.184.
- National Postal Museum Honors Philatelic Achievement. National Postal Museum, 22 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Mr President- at The Royal Philatelic Society" by Peter Jennings in Gibbons Stamp Monthly, October 2003, pp.75–77.
- Profile at the Smithsonian National Philatelic Museum.
- "David Beech celebrates 20 Years as Head of The British Library Philatelic Collections, 1991–2011" by Peter Jennings in Gibbons Stamp Monthly, July 2011. Archive here.
- The London Gazette: . 16 June 2012.
- Pearson, Patrick. The Grinnell Hawaiian Missionary Stamps, The Expert Committee of the Royal Philatelic Society London, 2006, p.vi. ISBN 0-9553078-0-5.