Universal Postal Union Anniversary
The Universal Postal Union effectively came into being on 9 October 1874. The idea was put forward that all members should commemorate the 75th anniversary in 1949, perhaps using common designs, and with a single printer. While such extremes were viewed as impracticable, agreement was reached that stamps be produced.
The Post Office, responding to a decision requested by the Colonial Office acting for the Colonies, soon announced four stamps, 2½d, 3d, 6d and 1s, to be issued on 10 October 1949 (9 October being a Sunday).
From the artists selected, including the four main stamp printers, 47 designs were received. Ideas from Mary Adshead, Hugo Fleury and Percy Metcalfe were immediately admired. However, it proved less easy to select a fourth choice plus two reserves: for these work by George Bellew, Abram Games, and a second by Percy Metcalfe were chosen. All six designs were essayed by the printers, Harrison and Sons, and shown to The King. He agreed with the four preferences.
In addition to the basic stamps, all four values were overprinted for use in British Postal Agencies overseas, namely Tangier, Bahrain, Kuwait and British Postal Agencies in Eastern Arabia (Dubai, Sharjah and Muscat).