Elizabeth II stamps 1965-1970

The period of the mid 1960s saw a revolution in British stamp design and stamp-issuing policy.

As a result, the collection reflects the increased number of issued stamps in its holdings of artwork (adopted and unadopted) and essays.

British Ships registration sheet
Prince of Wales sheet
General Anniversaries sheet
4d Machin head stamps, 1967
Gentleman Album design
Churchill Commemoration
Salvation Army sheet
Post Office Tower sheet
British Technology sheet

High values

For high values printed recess we also have metal dies, rollers and printing plates. In addition, all stamps are kept in registration sheets for every format including booklets and rolls.

‘Off with her head’

Part of the revolution in design was the attempt to remove The Queen’s head from stamps. We hold the album of experimental designs prepared by David Gentleman in 1965-6, and also most of the artwork on which that is based.

There are also a large number of essays showing different forms of The Queen’s head and ideas for its replacement.

The Machin head

One other result was the development of a replacement for the Wilding definitives. We hold all the submitted artwork leading up to the accepted design by Arnold Machin. Many stages are represented by plaster cast models by Machin.

Phosphor trials

At the same time watermarked paper was phased out and various phosphor trials were undertaken. In preparation for the change-over to decimal currency in 1971 many colour trials of Machin definitives were carried out at Cambridge. These are all part of the collections.

Stamp Artwork Online

Commemorative stamps, stamp artwork and registration sheets can be viewed on our online catalogue.


The best way to see all our philatelic and postal history collections is by appointment with the Senior Curator, Philately, Douglas Muir. To make an appointment, please call 020 8183 0067 or email archives@postalmuseum.org.