The first commemorative stamp issued, was for the Coronation which took place on May 12th 1937, the stamp was on sale the next day.
It was designed by Edmund Dulac, printed in photogravure by Harrisons in sheets of 120. Watermark Block GviR and crown. The quantity sold was 388,730,000.
This stamp had many constant flaws, perhaps the best known is the "pearl in orb", which shows a pale round spot in the orb. It appears on the first stamp, 18th row on all dot cylinders.
These stamps were issued on 6th May 1940 to commemorate the centenary of the first adhesive postage stamp. The design by H. L. Palmer showed the 'Wyon' medallion portrait of Queen Victoria as used on the first Penny Black, with the current one of King George VI. There was only one control number G40 used for the printing and the cylinder numbers used for the stamps were as follows
½d - 1, 3, 6, 1d - 1, 2, 3, 5 1½d - 2, 3 2d - 1, 2, 3 2½d - 2, 3, 4, 5,7
3d - 5.
The quantities sold are staggering:-
½d - 82,896,960, 1d - 232,903,680, 1½d - 40,412,800, 2d - 121,065,120,
2½d - 312,957,440 and the 3d - 22,128,000. The huge number for the 2½d (nearly 313 million) is due to the fact that this was the basic letter rate at the time, yet this is only one commemorative issue of stamps, which does not include the normal definitive issues. This indicates the sheer volume of basic mail generated at the time. As a matter of interest, the population of Great Britain at that times was about 44 million.
These two stamps were the first 'symbolic' stamps to be issued with 'modern' designs, and caused some controversy at the time. H. L. Palmer designed the 2½d using the olive branch and symbols of reconstruction. Reynolds Stone designed the 3d with the same ideas, but with the dove and different symbols.
Quantities sold :- 2½d 307,832,500 3d 43,085,800.
Royal Silver Wedding 26.4.1948
Designed by G.T.Knipe and Joan Hassal from photographs by Dorothy Wilding, the 2½d was printed in sheets of 120 (20x6), cylinders 1,4,5 and 6 were used. The £1 was printed in sheets of 20 (4x5) and only Cylinder 1 was used.
Liberation of the Channel Islands 10.5.1948
Issued to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Liberation, these were for use primarily in the Channel Islands but were on sale at 8 Head Post Offices in Great Britain. The 1d design was by J.R.R. Stobie and the 2½d from a drawing by E. Blampied, showing islanders gathering vraic, or seaweed.
There was only one cylinder used for each stamp, number 2 for the 1d and number 4 for the 2½d. Quantities sold : 1d 5,934,000, 2½d 5,398,000
Olympic Games 29.7.1948
To commemorate the Olympic Games which were held in Britain that year. They were photogravure printed in sheets of 120 by Harrisons. There were four designers for this set.
- 2½d Globe & laurel leaf Percy Metcalfe C.V.O. Qty sold 155,350,000
- 3d "Speed", Abram Games, Qty sold 32,554,000
- 6d Olympic symbol, Stanley D. Scott. Qty sold 24,397,000
- 1/- Winged Victory, Edmund Dulac. Qty sold 32,187,000.
Universal Postal Union 10.10.1949
The first step towards an International Postal Union was taken in 1863 when the Unites States called for a conference in Paris. However, little progress was made at this time, as no agreement could be reached, but the idea remained popular and in 1874 the German Dr. Von Stephan called a conference in Berne, which founded the General Postal Union, established by the "Treaty of Berne" to co-ordinate postal services internationally. The name was changed in 1878 to the Universal Postal Union. The 75th Anniversary of this Union was commemorated by these four stamps, which also had four designers.
- 2½d two hemispheres, Mary Adshead. Qty sold 135,150,000
- 3d U.P.U. monument, Berne, Percy Metcalfe C.V.O. Qty sold 16,450,000
- 6d Concordia, globe & compass. H. Fleury. Qty sold 11,450,000
- 1/- Posthorn and globe. George M. Bellew M.V.O. Qty sold 11,300.000
Festival of Britain 3.5.1951
This was staged in 1951 to show the world that Britain was still Great. It was held 100 years after the first similar exhibition was staged at the instigation of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's Consort. The 2½d was designed by Edmund Dulac and was intended to symbolise "Commerce and Prosperity". The 4d by Abram Games showed the symbol of the Festival with the two dates 1851 and 1951.
Numbers sold : 2½d 260,142,000 4d 22,197,000
Definitive stamps inverted watermarks
High Value stamps
Coil stamps and leaders
stamps in booklets