Proposed Memorial Issue
The death of King George V on 20 January 1936 prompted a letter to The Times proposing the issue of a mourning or memorial stamp. Three weeks of correspondence followed, largely in favour of a memorial issue, and suggestions included the 1½d stamp printed in black or with a black border, or a special issue based on the Penny Black. The Post Office was not keen on the idea, but the new King, Edward VIII, was, and he suggested a surcharged issue in support of the King George V Jubilee Trust, which was to become a Memorial Fund.Harrison & Sons, the stamp printer, was asked to develop ideas, initially suggesting the 1½d definitive in mourning colours of black or violet, or with a changed portrait, and the inscription ‘IN MEMORY’, with rosemary, symbolising remembrance, in place of the dolphins. Later suggestions included stamps printed in two muted colours, with the overprint ‘KING GEORGE V MEMORIAL’.
Although the idea of a charity surcharge had been dismissed in 1924 (for the British Empire Exhibition stamps), this time the mood was felt to be right. The possible designs were shown to a meeting of the Jubilee Trust, but subsequently the King found none of the suggestions acceptable.
No work was carried out on the issue between April and September 1936, when the idea was briefly revived as a Memorial Fund stamp with a sale price of 1/-, but it was decided not to proceed further, as the Post Office has never been in favour of charity issues.
Seventeen of the essays produced for the issue went missing, or were destroyed, probably within the offices of the Jubilee Trust, and nine were subsequently traced in private hands.