Wednesday, 27 March 2013

QEII Coronation Issue Part 2

The Great Britain Issue

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on 2 June 1953. To commemorate this momentous event 106 stamps were issued throughout the Commonwealth. 62 of these stamps were in the Omnibus format. In Part 1 we studied the story behind the Omnibus Issue.

Being the seat of the Commonwealth it was expected that Great Britain issue a set of stamps worthy of this event. Did they succeed? You be the judge…

In all, Great Britain issued four stamps commemorating the Queen’s Coronation. All four stamps had different designers. The final designs were reviewed and approved by the Queen, herself. Although the Coronation took place on 2 June, the stamps were not issued until 3 June, due to the fact that all post offices were closed on Coronation Day.

Three of the four Coronation stamps incorporated the three-quarter portrait of the Queen by Dorothy Wilding.  Let’s study these three stamps first.

The first stamp is the 2½d denomination. The designer of this stamp was E.G. Fuller.

The 4d denomination stamp was designed by M. Goaman.

The 1s 6d, the highest value stamp in the set, was designed by M.C. Farrar-Bell.

Now we come to the only stamp that did not incorporate the Dorothy Wilding portrait. The 1s 3d stamp was designed by E. Dulac. The portrait of the Queen in this stamp was Dulac’s own artwork. Dulac was also responsible for the design of the 1937 Coronation stamp of queen Elizabeth’s father George VI.

Sadly, Dulac died just days before the Coronation stamps were issued. He was 71. 

In the third and final installemnt of this series I'll study the Coronation stamps of two other countries, one set beautiful, the other downright ugly! Until then...

Stay Stamp Crazy!

Friday, 22 March 2013

QEII Coronation Issue Part 1

Where did the Omnibus design come from?

With the 60th Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation just around the corner, I thought it might be interesting to roll back the clock to have a look at the Coronation Omnibus Issue and its origins.

The date of the Queen’s Coronation was 2 June 1953, and it was expected of the Crown agents to produce stamps for 62 territories of the Commonwealth. It is this issue that will be the primary focus of this article.
Of course not all territories utilized this issue. Many simply didn't bother to produce Coronation stamps. Four territories - Bahrain, Eastern Arabia, Tangier and Kuwait – overprinted the British Coronation stamps. Eleven other territories including Australia and Canada used their own Coronation designs. Indeed Great Britain chose its own designs, but more on this later.
Sixty two territories of the Commonwealth issued Coronation stamps that were designed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co. The giant ask of printing this vast number of stamps fell on the shoulders of De La Rue.  
So where did this design come from? 
Before we answer that question let us break down this lovely stamp into its constituent parts. It was decided that this stamp be dual coloured, therefore two plates were required. The ‘key plate’ design which was the centre-piece of the stamp was based on a portrait of the Queen by Dorothy Wilding. Another Wilding portrait was used for the early Great Britain QEII definitives. This 'key plate' was uniformly printed in black.
Close-up of 'Key Plate' design

The second plate, known as the ‘Duty Plate’ created the frame of the stamp. The ‘Duty Plate’ contained the name of the territory and the denomination of the stamp, therefore 62 different sets of ‘Duty Plates’ were required. Also, within the sixty-two territories thirty different colours were used for printing.
Arrows point to the 'Duty Plate' 

So let us now return to the question: Where did this design come from? To answer that we need to look towards Grenada, particularly the definitive issue of 1953. The designers at Bradbury Wilkinson & Co. used this beautiful design as the basis for the Coronation Omnibus issue...

But it doesn't stop there. The Grenada 1953, indeed also the KGVI 1951, issues were based on an earlier, and lovely, design from the reign of Queen Victoria. In 1861 Grenada issued its first postage stamps bearing the colony name. The issue was stunning!

I mentioned earlier that some territories chose to issue their own designs. One of these being Great Britain herself. In Part 2 I shall study Great Britain's Coronation issue along with a few others. So until then...
Stay Stamp Crazy!!

Friday, 15 March 2013

QEII Definitives - Jamaica 1956 (Part 4)

Jamaica 1956 Part 4

On 1 May 1956 Jamaica issued its first Queen Elizabeth II definitives. The set consisted of 15 stamps, all on paper watermarked multi-script CA. The series incorporated five different design formats. The series was recess-printed by De La Rue.

Because of the similarity of the two design formats for the final four stamps in this series, in this part we shall study these designs together. All of these four stamps are perforated 11½.

The final four stamps, which constitute the high values for this set, all incorporate the Jamaican Coats of Arms as the central motif. So let us delve a little into just what makes up the Coat of Arms of Jamaica...

The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Sandcroft, granted Jamaica its first Coat of Arms in 1661. Since then it has only been partially modified a couple of times, which included a revision in 1957. The Coat of Arms depicts a male and female Arawak, standing on either side of the shield which bears a red cross with five golden pineapples superimposed on it. The Crest is a Jamaican crocodile surmounting the Royal Helmet and Mantlings. The Latin motto, "Indus Uterque Serviet Uni", reads "Both Indies will serve one lord." In 1957 the motto was changed to read "Out of Many, One People". Click here to find out more information on the history of Jamaica.

Now let us turn to the final four stamps in this wonderful definitive set. The 3 and 5 shilling stamps are in landscape format, and they include a side-on portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The 3/- stamp is coloured black and blue. It was released on 12 August 1956.

SG 171

The 5/- stamp is coloured black and carmine-red. It was released 15 August 1956.

SG 172

The final two values of this set were printed in portrait format, and the Queen's head has been removed. Both of these stamps were released on 15 August 1956.

The 10/- stamp is coloured black and blue-green.

SG 173

The £1 stamp is coloured black and purple. This colour combination is, in my opinion, stunning!

SG 174

Stay Stamp Crazy!

Monday, 4 March 2013

QEII Definitives - Jamaica 1956 (Part 3)

Jamaica 1956 Part 3

On 1 May 1956 Jamaica issued its first Queen Elizabeth II definitives. The set consisted of 15 stamps, all on paper watermarked multi-script CA. The series incorporated five different design formats. The series was recess-printed by De La Rue.

In Part 3 we shall study the third design format, which consisted of four stamps. All of these four stamps are perforated 13½. All four stamps were released on 15 November 1956.

The first stamp in this the third design format is the 8d ultramarine and red-orange. The theme of this stamp is Blue Mountain Peak. Blue Mountain Peak is the highest mountain in Jamaica at 2,256 metres (7,402 ft), and it is the second highest peak in the Caribbean after Pico Duarte of the Dominican Republic.The Blue Mountains are considered by many to be a hiker's and camper's paradise.

SG 167

The second stamp is the 1/- yellow-green and blue. The theme of this stamp is The Royal Botanical Gardens, Hope. Hope Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica, was established in the late 1870s on 200 acres of land. Crops such as pineapple, cocoa, coffee, and tobacco were introduced to the island through the Gardens. 60 acres of garden was set aside to create a formal garden with the assistance of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England.

SG 168

The third stamp is the 1/6 ultram and reddish purple. The theme of this stamp is Rafting on the Rio Grande. Not to be confused with the Rio Grande that flows through Colorado USA, the Rio Grande is a large river in Jamaica, found in the parish of Portland. Rio Grande means 'Big River' in Spanish, and it was named as such by the Spanish who occupied Jamaica in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Rio Grande is a popular tourist spot. The river is especially popular for rafting.

SG 169

The final stamp in this design format is the 2/- blue and bronze-green. This stamp exists with an alternate colour, grey-blue and bronze-green, which was issued on 24 April 1958. The theme of this stamp is Fort Charles.Fort Charles is one of the oldest forts in Port Royal in Kingston. It was built by the British after Jamaica was taken from the Spaniards. The Fort was initially named Fort Cromwell after a general at the time, but was later redubbed Fort Charles.

SG 170

Stay tuned for the fourth and final part of this series. Until then...

Stay Stamp Crazy!!