William Collins, Sons & Co. was a Scottish printing and publishing company founded by a Presbyterian schoolmaster called William Collins in Glasgow in 1819.
The company had to overcome many early obstacles but eventually found success in 1841 as a printer of Bibles.
In 1848 William Collins’ son, also named William, developed the firm as a publishing venture, specialising in religious and educational books. The company became William Collins, Sons & Co. Ltd. in 1868.
Collins broadened its publishing range in the 20th century. In 1917, with Sir Godfrey Collins in charge, the firm started publishing fiction. All but the first six Agatha Christie novels were published by the company and many others from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.
Collins ultimately became a diverse and prolific company, publishing a wide range of titles. In 1990 it merged with US publisher Harper & Row to form HarperCollins, which today is one of the world’s leading English language publishers.
Collins is used a variety of handstamped security overprints, all seemingly confined to SG 172.