Sunday, 22 January 2012

Great Britain - Sunday Stamps

The use of postage stamps started in Great Britain with the famous Penny Black in 1840.

Penny Black (reproduction)
As the stamps were only for internal use the country's name was not included on the stamps; later it was agreed internationally that British stamps did not need the name but all should contain the sovereign's head. In fact there has only been one stamp that has included the name Britain - the stamp commemorating the Festival of Britain in 1951.
Use of the Penny Black was discontinued when it was replaced due to the black colour not showing postmarks clearly. The Penny Red took its place.

I have only one stamp showing Queen Victoria who reigned from 1837-1901 and I have shown this before.
Queen Victoria 1851
There is another stamp of the same value and colour as this. The difference between lies in the design; the stamp I've shown has 16 dots around each corner, the other only 14.

After Victoria Great Britain had four Kings as shown on these stamps from my collection.
Edward VII (1901-1910)
I've shown a reproduction here as my Edward VII stamps are so heavily postmarked.

George V (1910-1936)
Edward VIII (1936)
These are the only four stamps issued for Edward VII before his abdication.

George VI (1936-1952)
These early stamps from George VI's reign include the commemorative for his coronation.

Our present Queen came to the throne in 1952 and is to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee this year.

Elizabeth II
The first stamps issued became known as the Wilding issues as they were based on a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by photographer Dorothy Wilding. Variations on this theme were used until 1967, when the Machin issues were introduced. The Machin design is a profile of the queen on a solid back ground.

Machin issue
In 1971 the currency was decimalised so the stamps changed again for the new values.

Decimal currency
 To save stamps from Great Britain you have always needed to recognise different water marks. In addition technical improvements in printing mean you also need to be able to identify graphite lines on the back of the stamp, phosphor bands (all over, single or double), position and design of the demonination value.There are literally hundreds of varieties.


With the advent of first and second class postage rates the demonination has been removed and in my opinion the design has been ruined by unsightly postage class numbering.

First and Second Class Postage.
 As you can see there is also a different stamp and charge for large envelopes. Postage rates have gone up by over 4000% since Queen Victoria''s days. She would not have been amused.

To amuse yourself further you should view other stamps at Viridian's Sunday Stamps

6 comments:

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I remember most of the old ones from my father's collection. he tried hard to interest me in his collections. He succeeded as far as postcards were concerned.

shelly said...

Everything starts in Britain. Hairstyles. Great tea.....

Joy said...

I always like the elaborate nature of the Edward VII stamps which form a nice contrast with the George V

Postcardy said...

Interesting history. I didn't realize that the country name was never included. I like the stamps showing large portraits, but I think the way the stamps include tiny portraits now spoils the rest of the stamp design.

viridian said...

To add to Shelly's comment: Tiaras! The Queen wears the same one in each portrait. I've not seen the stamps with the big 1st and 2nd notations. Must be for internal mail, yes?

thanks for participating. I needed to see some of the Queen today.

VioletSky said...

It is an oddity that none of the stamps ever name the country - but I guess the Queen's face is recognizable enough.

I am quite confused regarding the direction of the monarch's profile and perhaps that is due to Canada doing things a bit differently that GB?