Edward Stanley Gibbons (21 June, 1840 - 17 February, 1913) was an English philatelist and founder of Stanley Gibbons Ltd, publishers of the famous Stanley Gibbons stamp catalogue and other stamp-related books and magazines.
Between 1961 and 1871 Gibbons was developing his own stamp business, however there is no evidence to suggest that he had advertised prices prior to 1864. In 1867, Edward’s father died and Edward took over the business. However, by this time he was heavily involved in stamp dealing and the pharmaceutical business his father had left him was sold.
Gibbons moved to Gower Street (London) in 1875. Gibbon's first wife, Matilda, died on 11th August 1877 in Devon from a wasting disease, marasmus. The Post Office Directory lists the main occupier of the Gower Street property as ‘Stanley Gibbons & Co publishers’ or ‘Stanley Gibbons & Co postage stamp dealers’. In 1887, Gibbons married his assistant and housemaid, Margaret Casey and in 1890, sold his business to Charles Phillips of Birmingham for £25,000 and retired. In 1891, Phillips opened a shop at 435 The Strand, as well as keeping the office at 8, Gower Street.
In 1892, two years after he had retired from business, Stanley brought the property “Cambridge Villa” in Cambridge Park, East Twickenham. It was an impressive residence in a fashionable area of suburban London, near the banks of the Thames, alongside Marble Hill House (built by George II for one of his mistresses). Gibbons lived there until 1911. The house was demolished in 1960.
In 1894, Gibbons witnessed the crash of the Orient Express at Tirnove in Bulgaria. A pencil drawing of the crash, appears in his scrap book. A newspaper cutting headed "Honolulu, January" was also found in the scrapbook, refering to a resolution to burn stocks of obsolete Hawaiian stamps. Gibbons was present at the fire and described the experience as "sad". During this time, he was on his second world tour and was on route to Japan.
Margaret died on 23rd November 1899 of cirrhosis and a few years after her death, Gibbons was in Calcutta and Rangoon. The scrapbook contains a duplicate passport issued at Rangoon on December 1901 for a Mrs Gibbons, his third wife, Georgina. In 1903, Gibbons was in Ceylon. The Society of Genealogists archive contains a newspaper article titled, Reminiscences of a Stamp Collector- Mr Stanley Gibbons (sic) in Colombo. The cutting is not dated, but is presumably from 1903 as it refers to the recent issue of stamps with King Edward VII’s portrait. When asked around this time if he still collected Stamps, Gibbons replied that he had specialised collections in six countries, but rarely brought any stamps because they were too expensive. Further visits seem to have been made to Ceylon judging by the existence in the scrapbook of souvenirs for Colombo Empire Day Celebrations and Edward VII’s Birthday Celebration Dinner in Colombo (November 1906).
Gibbons' death was recorded on 17 February 1913 at his nephew's apartment at Portman Mansions, just off Baker Street, although it was rumoured he had died in the arms of a lover at the Savoy Hotel and was subsequently transported to his nephew's house. His death certificate gives his occupation as, "A retired Stamp Collector" and the cause was stated as, ‘Coma, Haemorrhage of the Brain, secondary to Extensive Valvular Disease of the Heart with Atheroma of Endocardium and the Blood Vessels accelerated by enlarged prostate’. He is buried in Twickenham cemetery.
Gibbons' string of wives, all but one of who died relatively young, his swift remarriages and his background in pharmacy has given rise to suspicions of ill-doing on his part, however, evidence for this is conjectural.