George VI stamps

Our collections contain all of the artwork (adopted and unadopted) and essays for the definitive and commemorative stamp issues of George VI’s reign.

Many commemoratives were issued during the reign of George VI, as well as commemorative postmarks for Princess Elizabeth's wedding and a special Channel Islands liberation stamp.

Of particular interest are three stamp issues which never came to fruition. The most important was a proposed issue for the union of France and Great Britain in 1940; this collapsed with the fall of France. In the collections is the entire history of designs and essays up to late June 1940.

Other proposed issues included Regional stamps and an issue for the birth of the King's first grandchild (Prince Charles).

We also hold artwork, essays, or proofs, and registration sheets for all stamps issued in sheets, books and rolls. There are also sheets of overprinted stamps for:

  • Morocco Agencies
  • Wartime occupations
  • The Gulf after India became independent


The best way to see all our philatelic and postal history collections is by appointment with the Senior Curator, Philately, Douglas Muir. To make an appointment, please call 020 7239 2570 or email

Image of Definitives


We hold original artwork, metal dies, plates and proof sheets for various definitive issues from the reign of George VI.

Image of Coronation


Following the abdication of King Edward VIII, the Post Office had just five months to prepare and issue coronation stamps for George VI.

Image of Centenary of first adhesive Postage Stamps

Centenary of first adhesive Postage Stamps

Plans to mark the centenary of the Penny Black were abandoned when war broke out, but the Postmaster General later reconsidered.

Image of Proposed Anglo-French issue

Proposed Anglo-French issue

In the early days of the Second World War there were many calls for a joint stamp issue with France.

Image of Victory


At the end of the war the Post Office resisted calls to issue Victory stamps, but relented, issuing stamps with the theme 'Peace and Reconstruction'.

Image of Proposed issue for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth

Proposed issue for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth

The Post Office felt the wedding of Princess Elizabeth was worthy of new stamps. But it also felt there was insufficient time to prepare an issue.

Image of Royal Silver Wedding

Royal Silver Wedding

The King and Queen's Royal Silver Wedding was marked by following criticism at the failure to issue stamps for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth.

Image of Channel Islands Liberation

Channel Islands Liberation

Following the liberation of the Channel Islands representatives from the islands pressed the Post Office for ways to rejuvenate their tourist trade.

Image of Olympic Games

Olympic Games

The Post Office could hardly refuse to issue stamps for the 1948 Olympic Games, as the precedent has been established by previous host nations.

Image of Proposed issue for the Birth of the King's First Grandchild

Proposed issue for the Birth of the King's First Grandchild

The story of a proposed issue to celebrate the birth of King George VI's first grandchild (Prince Charles).

Image of Universal Postal Union

Universal Postal Union

The idea was put forward that all members of the Universal Postal Union should commemorate the organisation's 75th anniversary in 1949.

Image of Festival of Britain

Festival of Britain

The plan to celebrate the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851 with a Festival was accompanied by a request for a new range of stamps.

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1948 Olympic Games

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