Elizabeth II stamps until 1964

Scotland 3d stamp.

Scotland 3d stamp.

Northern Ireland 6d stamp.

Northern Ireland 6d stamp.

3d Shakespeare Festival stamp.

3d Shakespeare Festival stamp.

Windsor Castle definitives.

Windsor Castle definitives.

Scout Jubilee Jamboree sheet.

Scout Jubilee Jamboree sheet.

General Letter Office sheet.

General Letter Office sheet.

Freedom from Hunger sheet.

Freedom from Hunger sheet.

Red Cross Centenary sheet.

Red Cross Centenary sheet.

Forth Road Bridge sheet.

Forth Road Bridge sheet.


From 1952 to 1964 the British Post Office had a very conservative stamp-issuing policy. There were only 20 commemorative issues and 16 of these were in the last five years. However, a lot of work went into the designs of the low and high value definitives.

Regional stamps

Regional stamps (now called Country definitives) were also introduced in 1958 for:

  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Guernsey
  • Jersey
  • the Isle of Man

For all these issues, our collections hold all the artwork (adopted and unadopted) and the essays produced.

To find out more on this topic please see our online exhibition Lions, Leopards, Unicorns & Dragons: The first "Regional" stamps.

Shakespeare – the first 'commoner' on a stamp

In 1964 the first stamp to show a 'commoner' (i.e. not a noble) was issued for Shakespeare. Our collection has a large number of proofs of unaccepted designs for this issue, and also for the 1953 Coronation issue.

Registration sheets

The collections also contain all the registration sheets for these stamps in all formats and those overprinted for use in Tangier and the Gulf (Bahrain, Kuwait, Muscat and Qatar).

Printing equipment

The Castles definitive stamps were printed recess and we also have metal dies, rollers and plates for these.

In-line with mechanisation…

For new automatic cancelling machinery in sorting offices, lines were printed on definitives so that the machines could "read" them on envelopes.

At first these were black graphite lines on the reverse of the stamps. Later they became transparent phosphor lines on the front. The collection contains a number of trials of these and then sheets of all the issued definitives.

Stamp Artwork Online

Commemorative stamps and stamp artwork can now be viewed on our online catalogue.

1953 Coronation

1957 World Scout Jubilee Jamboree

1957 46th Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference

1958 International Geophysical Year

1958 Commonwealth Games

1960 General Letter Office

1960 Europa

1961 Centenary of Post Office Savings Bank

1961 CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations)

1961 Seventh Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference

1962 National Productivity Year

1963 Freedom from Hunger

1963 Paris Postal Conference Centenary

1963 National Nature Week

1963 9th International Lifeboat Conference

1963 Red Cross Centenary

1963 Commonwealth Cable

1964 Shakespeare Festival

1964 International Geographical Congress

1964 International Botanical Congress

1964 Forth Road Bridge

Access

Our philatelic and postal history collections can also be viewed by appointment with the Senior Curator, Philately, Douglas Muir. To make an appointment, please call 020 7239 2570 or email info@postalheritage.org.uk.

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