Eighty years ago, on 12 May 1937, King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey and the first stamps of his reign went on sale in April and May 1937. George VI was ‘catapulted’ onto the throne by the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII, five months earlier. Edward had reigned for less than a year, having only succeeded his father, George V, in January 1936. The coronation of Edward VIII had been fixed for 12 May 1937 and it was decided to go ahead with this date for the coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
British George VI definitives
Soon after Edward VIII’s abdication, the Post Office started work on the George VI definitives. They seemed eager to get the Edward VIII stamps off sale and wanted the first of the new George VI definitives available by Coronation Day. Optimistically they hoped to get the new designs finalised by 22 January but that deadline was missed. The King had made it known that the new stamps ‘should follow generally the design of the recent Edwardian issue but …should be somewhat more ornamental’.
To find out more, see the latest GSM.