Mix and Match — Part 5.

by Walter Owen.

This months article takes a look at a few of the envelopes issued for the registered post service in Great Britain from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II, showing the increase in rates for postage and compensation.

This was prompted by the cover of a 50p pictorial booklet issued in 1993.

In my previous article I wondered where this series would lead me next and the answer is Registered Envelopes.

These seem to be a somewhat neglected field in the philatelic scene and, again, researching what I have in my collection has opened my eyes to the variety of envelopes issued in Great Britain.
There are also varieties within the issues with such differences as the placement of text.
To perhaps whet the appetite I have illustrated envelopes from four reigns. Unfortunately I have no examples of Edward VII and none were issued for Edward VIII. Anyway, to the subject.

In 1993, a series of four 50p booklets was issued with covers illustrating Postal History. The third edition, issued on July 6, 1993, showed Registered Postmarks and instructional markings indicating registration fee paid.(Figure 1)

Designed by Martin Newton and printed by Harrison and Sons Ltd., the contents were 1px2 and 24px2 on phosphorised paper. The pane illustrated shows the ink cylinders B36 and B5.(Figure 2.)

The inside of the cover shows postage rates for Inland letters, Airmail — Europe Letters and cards and Airmail — Rest of the World.
The registration service was used for the transmission of valuables or documents that needed to be assured of special treatment. Letters and packets posted had an 'accountable' label attached, with its own number (Figure 3.)

Registered Envelopes

Registered envelopes were issued as early as the reign of Queen Victoria and can form a complex and interesting collection. Various sizes were issued and they were allocated a distinguishing letter. The smallest was 'F' (3.25 inch x 5.25 inch) and the largest 'K2' (6 inch x 11.5 inch) Others issued were 'G', 'G2', 'H' and 'H2'.

Queen Victoria

Illustrated in Figure 4 is an 1888 envelope size 'G', (3.75 inch x 6 inch). The front of this envelope shows the blue lines associated with the Registration service, the large 'R' in the top left and the wording reads,
"REGISTERED LETTER. This letter must be given to an Officer of the Post Office to be Registered and a Receipt obtained for it."
Within the right hand square the wording,
"The stamp to pay the postage must be placed here." The reverse shows the compensation scale,
'INLAND REGISTERED LETTER POST. Compensation given for loss or damage to Inland Registered Letters according to following scale — An amount not exceeding:- £5 on payment of registration fee only. £10 on payment of a fee of 2d. in addition to registration fee, Subject to the Conditions in the published Regulations as to Insurance of Inland Registered Letters".
Above the scale and under the area covered by the sealing flap is:- "M'Corquodale and Co., Limited, Contractors." (Two lines) The 2d blue embossed Registration Stamp is placed in the centre of the sealing flap and has 3 circular florets in the bottom of the design. The flap seals on the back of the envelope.

An 1893 size 'F' envelope is shown in Figure 5 and on this issue there is an additional line of text at the top, reading:-

The bottom left now bears the inscription "FEE PAID." The 2d blue embossed stamp is slightly smaller and without florets and the flap now seals on the front of the envelope.
Under the flap is "McCorquodale and Co., Limited, Contractors." (One line)
This example shows a "SPECIMEN" overprint on the stamp. The compensation schedule on the reverse shows the scales from a fee of 2d with a limit of compensation of £5 to a fee of 11d covering £50.

King George V. Figure 6 shows a size 'F' envelope issued in 1912 with a 3d red-brown stamp including in the design the words "Registration two pence postage one penny" on the sealing flap which has rounded corners.

In the top left hand corner of the envelope is an oblong box bearing the text in three lines. On the bottom right under the sealing flap are the initials "D.M."
The text on the reverse now reads,
"Registration. Compensation is given for loss or damage in respect of Inland Registered Letters and Packets of all kinds and for the loss of Foreign and Colonial Registered Letters and Packets, subject to the limitations and conditions notified in the Post Office Guide."

King George VI. Illustrated in Figure 7 is a 'G' size envelope of 1949, which has a 5½d brown embossed stamp with text reading,
"Registration three pence Postage two pence halfpenny". It also has a 1d red embossed stamp added, reading "Postage One Penny". The square in the top left now also shows the envelope size and"Space on back for address of Sender" text. At the bottom left it reads "Registration Fee...d paid (See note on back)."

The text on the reverse advises that the fee of 3d covers compensation up to £5 and that, "To cover higher amounts extra fees must be paid as indicated in the Guide. When a higher registration fee than 3d is paid on an Inland Registered Letter the amount should be inserted in the space provided on the front of this envelope".

Queen Elizabeth II Figure 8 shows a 'G' size envelope issued in 1963 bearing on the sealing flap a 1/9 grey embossed stamp reading "Registration And Postage 1/9", plus a blue circle, "3d Minimum Registration Extra". The reverse shows that the 1/9 fee covers compensation up to £20 (Overseas up to £2-18-0)

Shown in Figure 9 is a 'G2' size envelope issued in 1971. The text at the top reads, "FORCES OVERSEAS REGISTERED LETTER RECOMMANDE" and the sealing flap bears an octagonal 15p Magenta embossed stamp reading, "Fee paid for Registration 15p". The text on the reverse reads,
"COMPENSATION Subject to the limitations and conditions notified in the Post Office Guide the registration fee of 15p covers compensation for loss up to £3.40 in the case of a letter sent to a place abroad.


This article has only skimmed the surface of an obviously complex collecting field and as usual finding the items to "mix and match" with the booklet cover has provided me with hours of interest.


Now I am off to poke around in the cupboard to find something to match for the next cover.

This article was first published in 'Stamp News' June 2001

Copyright EARS Leisurewrite 1999.

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next article in this series Mix and Match part 6