George VI stamps

Our collections contain all of the artwork (adopted and unadopted) and essays for the definitive and commemorative stamp issues of George VI’s reign.

Many commemoratives were issued during the reign of George VI, as well as commemorative postmarks for Princess Elizabeth’s wedding and a special Channel Islands liberation stamp.

Of particular interest are three stamp issues which never came to fruition. The most important was a proposed issue for the union of France and Great Britain in 1940; this collapsed with the fall of France. In the collections is the entire history of designs and essays up to late June 1940.

Other proposed issues included Regional stamps and an issue for the birth of the King’s first grandchild (Prince Charles).

We also hold artwork, essays, or proofs, and registration sheets for all stamps issued in sheets, books and rolls. There are also sheets of overprinted stamps for:

  • Morocco Agencies
  • Wartime occupations
  • The Gulf after India became independent

Online Catalogue

You can find the George VI High Value Definitive Artwork here.
You can find the George VI Low Value Definitive Artwork here.
You can find the George VI Commemorative Registration Sheets here.

Access

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.

  • George VI Definitive Registration Sheets

    We hold original artwork, metal dies, plates and proof sheets for various definitive issues from the reign of George VI.

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  • George VI Coronation

    Following the abdication of King Edward VIII, the Post Office had just five months to prepare and issue coronation stamps for George VI.

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  • Centenary of first adhesive postage stamps

    Plans to mark the centenary of the Penny Black were abandoned when war broke out in 1939, but the Postmaster General later reconsidered.

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  • Proposed Anglo-French issue

    In the early days of the Second World War there were many calls for a joint stamp issue with France.

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  • Victory stamps

    At the end of the war the Post Office resisted calls to issue Victory stamps, but relented, issuing stamps with the theme 'Peace and Reconstruction'.

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  • Proposed issue for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth

    The Post Office felt the wedding of Princess Elizabeth was worthy of new stamps.

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  • Royal Silver Wedding

    The King and Queen's Royal Silver Wedding was marked following criticism at the failure to issue stamps for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth.

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  • Channel Islands Liberation

    Following the liberation of the Channel Islands representatives from the islands pressed the Post Office for ways to rejuvenate their tourist trade.

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  • 1948 Olympic Games

    The Post Office could hardly refuse to issue stamps for the 1948 Olympic Games, as the precedent has been established by previous host nations.

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  • Proposed issue for the Birth of George VI’s First Grandchild

    In 1948 a stamp issue was proposed to celebrate the birth of Prince Charles.

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  • Universal Postal Union Anniversary

    Stamps were produced to commemorate The Universal Postal Union's 75th anniversary in 1949.

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  • Festival of Britain Stamps

    The plan to celebrate the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851 with a Festival was accompanied by a request for a new range of stamps.

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