Beauties and the Beast
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. In Part 2 we studied the lovely Coronation stamps of Great Britain.
In this the final part of the Coronation series I'd like to study two vastly different issues: one that, to me, offers beauty in its simplicity; and one that has, over time, been heralded as downright ugly.
Australia was one of eleven territories to opt for its own design. This proved to be an excellent choice, for the resultant issue was nothing short of stunning! The design was the brainchild of one F.D. Manley. Frank Davies Manley, born in Lambeth, London, England on 24 October 1894, was a gifted artist who went on to be one of, if not the most, prolific stamp designers in Australia. He designed some of Australia’s most iconic stamps.
Australia issued three stamps for the Coronation. All were of the same design, but with different colours and denominations. All three stamps were perforated 15 x 14.
The first stamp is the 3½d Scarlet...
The second stamp is the 7½d violet. My favourite of the three colours....
The third stamp is the 2/- dull bluish green...
Now to the beast, as it were. This stamp probably needs no introduction! The ugly duckling award goes to... Canada.
Canada's 4 cent violet Coronation stamp was based on a stunning portrait of the Queen taken by Yousuf Karsh.
So what went wrong?? Well, let me tell you a little story. The design of Canada's Coronation stamp was placed in to the hands of Emanuel Hahn, who was a freelance artist. Hahn based his design of the Queen's head on a plaster cast that was made, based on the Karsh protrait. The deviation from the Queen's likeness had begun.
When the design was complete it was given to engraver, Silas Allen. Allen asked the Post Office for a copy of the original portrait as he didn't like the look of the portrait within the stamp design. He was refused access. Dubious, Allen set to work. He created a Die proof that to him was awful, and he hoped the Post Office would agree. But they didn't!! They accepted the Die proofs!! Allen must have been stunned. Apparently Silas Allen never got over the negative publicity of the design.
So, the ugliness of this stamp has nothing to do with its designer OR engraver. The blame must fall squarely on the shoulders of those who approved the Die proofs!!
Stay Stamp Crazy!!