While the Second World War was still in its early stages there were calls for designs to be prepared for ‘Victory’ stamps. However, the idea was resisted, apparently at Cabinet level. The end of the war was marked by special ‘Victory Bells’ postmarks, in use for a month after both VE and VJ days.
However, as many of the Dominions started preparing Peace issues, and with requests coming from many Colonies to issue special stamps, pressure on the Post Office intensified. Following the announcement in January 1946 of Victory celebrations over the Whitsun bank holiday weekend in June, with Government approval the Post Office relented, agreeing to issue two stamps, 2½d and 3d, on Tuesday, 11 June 1946. Their theme would not be Victory, but ‘Peace and Reconstruction.
Various artists were invited to submit ideas, and after much deliberation work by Edmund Dulac, Reynolds Stone, and H L Palmer, a staff artist with the stamp printers Harrison & Sons, was favoured and taken to essay stage. Shown to the King, the choice went with the designs by Stone and Palmer.
In addition to the basic stamps, stocks were overprinted for sale in Tangier. The designs were not universally liked, the Post Office blaming the short time available to design and print the issue.