Royal Silver Wedding – Commonwealth 1948

Part of the Iconic Stamp series. Click here to see the full list of Iconic Stamps.

King George VI had never expected to become King, but acceded to the throne upon the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII, in 1936 (the ‘year of the three Kings’). He turned out to be a popular monarch, having been a staunch figurehead during the years of the Second World War, and his Queen Elizabeth was also held in high regard.

Following the success of previous ‘omnibus’ issues, it was natural that another would be forthcoming for the Royal couple’s Silver Wedding. Unlike earlier issues, it was planned that every colony would issue two stamps, a high value (typically £1) and a low value (typically 2½d).

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This turned out to be a most unpopular move with stamp collectors. A boycott of the issue was proposed on the grounds that the face value of the stamps was simply unreasonable; beyond the budgets of many collectors and certainly not necessary for postal purposes. The boycott was partially successful and initial sales were nowhere near the levels of previous omnibus issues.

The years have smoothed over the contemporary fuss and the stamps are now much sought after. The colonial type bears a fine double portrait and it is a handsome presence in any collection.

Did you know...

  • The colonial low values were printed in photogravure by Waterlows, the high values in a combination of recess-printing and typography by Bradbury, Wilkinson.
  • The St Vincent £1 stamp was originally printed in black but the whole consignment was ‘lost in transit’. It was reprinted in bright purple. The only known examples in black are in the Royal philatelic Collection.

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