Published on January 15th, 2019 | by Sam Rose
Stamp Classics and 150 Years of the Royal Philatelic Society
In the first of their special stamps releases, Royal Mail have launched Stamp Classics and pay tribute to 150 years of the Royal Philatelic Society.
The Royal Mail have made an exciting start to their special stamps releases for 2019 with the Stamp Classics issue. Dedicated to the stamps significant during the reigns of six of Britain’s monarchs, this release also celebrates the 150th anniversary since the founding of the Royal Philatelic Society. The designs have been crafted in a chronological order, beginning with the reign of Queen Victoria and concluding with Elizabeth II, who also officially opened the Postal Museum during her reign in 1969.
1st Class – Queen Victoria (£1 Green of 1891)
The Queen Victoria £1 value was changed to green on the 28th of January 1891, this design having originally been issued in brown-lilac in 1884. Its horizontal design replaced an earlier £1 released in 1878. The ornate style is typical of the stamps of the reign, many of which were created to help prevent forgery. The corner letters, changing from stamp to stamp in the sheet, served this very same purpose.
1st Class – King Edward VII (2d Tyrian Plum of 1910)
In order to reduce costs, a move from two-colour stamps saw the King Edward VII 2d re-designed. In April 1910, it was then also printed in Tyrian plum. Post Offices still held stocks of the former 2d, so the new stamp was not released. Upon the death of the King, the Postmaster General decided that the stamp would not be issued to the public. Only one is known to have been used, on an envelope addressed to the Prince of Wales which arrived on the 6th of May 1910, the day on which he became King George V.
1st Class – King George V (2s 6d of 1913)
The high values of King George V (known as the ‘Seahorses’) are widely regarded as classic stamps of the world. The design was created by Bertram Mackennal with the lettering being produced by George Eve. The 2s, 6d and 5s were issued on the 30th of June 1913, with the 10s and £1 being released on the 1st of August 1913. Four different printers produced the stamps, and the work of each is identifiable.
£1.55 – King Edward VIII (1 ½d of 1936)
Ambitious plans were made for Accession, Coronation and Permanent issues for King Edward VIII, although only four values of the Accession set were issued. These were the ½d, 1½d and 2½d on the 1st of September 1936 followed by the 1d on the 14th of September. In April 1936, a 17-year-old student called Hubert J Brown submitted a speculative design to the Postmaster General. This then became the basis of the issued stamp.
£1.55 – King George VI (Penny Black Centenary ½ of 1940)
The Post Office planned to celebrate the centenary of the Penny Black and invited stamp designs to be submitted from the public. However, following the outbreak of war, the issue was abandoned until December 1939. Plans to issue the special stamp resumed after this, as the Postmaster General felt that the decision had been a premature one. The King, in consultation with the Queen, favoured a design submitted by Harold Palmer. This was then issued on the 6th of May 1940 in six different values from ½d to 3d. The size was deemed unusual for British stamps at the time.
£1.55 – Queen Elizabeth II Coronation (2 ½d of 1953)
To celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on the 2nd of June 1953, four stamps were issued on the day that followed. As was regular occurrence back in that point of history, many designers were invited to compete with over 75 ideas being submitted. Four were then chosen, each from a different artist including: Edgar Fuller (2½d), Michael Goaman (4d), Edmund Dulac (1s 3d) and Michael Farrar-Bell (1s 6d). As a result, the designs are a mixture of different styles.
150 Years of The Royal Philatelic Society
The Stamp Classics special stamps issue also pays tribute to one of the oldest societies in the philately circle, The Royal Philatelic Society. Formed in April 1969, the societies patron soon became the future King George V just years later in 1896. He later granted the society permission to use the Royal Arms. In more modern times, the society promotes the study of philately through regular meetings, exhibitions, prizes, publishing articles, maintaining a library and collection of stamps. It also publishes the journal, The London Philatelist, and regularly organises activities to take place at London Stampex.
Own a Piece of History with Stamp Classics
These detailed reproductions of six illustrious stamps throughout six different British monarchy reigns are truly an exceptional addition to any philatelist’s collection. Available in a slick Presentation Pack from the Post Office Shop, this esteemed collector’s item celebrates the history of stamps in Great Britain across the reigns of our five previous monarchs and current day Queen Elizabeth II, ranging from 1840 when the Royal Mail introduced the adhesive postage stamp to the world, through to 1969. The pack also explores the designs and information behind the classic stamps associated with each monarch’s reign within the last 150 years.
Also released as part of the Stamp Classics issue are a set of seven Stamp Cards featuring an enlarged image of each of the individual stamps contained within this collection and a Miniature Sheet which gathers the designs together on a singular formatted piece of fine paper.