When Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne the first priority for the Post Office, in terms of new stamps, were values for the basic letter and postcard rates, and the 1½d and 2½d stamps were issued on 5 December 1952. Over the following 14 months another 16 values were issued to complete the run to the 1/6d value. Then attention turned to the higher values.
Four high valued King George VI stamps - 2s6d, 5s, 10s, & £1 - had been issued on 3 May 1951 and it is reasonable to assume that sufficient quantities had been printed by Waterlows to last well beyond the untimely death of the king. The Post Office invited a number of artists to submit preliminary sketches and 67 designs were received. After much reworking of the design process the Queen approved the chosen designs in March 1955 and the first stamps were issued on 1 September. The 2s6d and 5s stamps were issued on 23 September.
The new stamps were also printed by Waterlow (in recess/intagliuo) until the end of 1957 when the contract transferred to De La Rue. The first stamps were printed on paper with the new E 2 R and St. Edward's crown, but from 1959 paper with the multiple crowns watermark was used. At the end of 1962 the printing contract was transferred to Bradbury Wilkinson who also printed the stamps on unwatermarked paper from 1967 until 1969 when they were replaced by the high-value Machin stamps.
The stamps in the new sheet are:
50p brown Carrickfergus Castle Northern Ireland - original 2s6d (2/6) value;
£1 red Caernarvon/Caernarfon Castle Wales - original 5s (5/-) value
£1 blue Edinburgh Castle Scotland - original 10s (10/-) value
50p black Windsor Castle England - original £1 value (strange that this has been downvalued).
The sheets are printed by Joh Enschedé Security Print using intaglio (recess) for the detail and litho for the background colour, perf 11x11½.
The images are from Royal Mail's Stamp Preview, and Philatelic Bulletin, and are Copyright 2005 by Royal Mail.
Norvic Philatelics have an exclusive FDC for this issue which is available with a choice of postmarks - Windsor L9476 or Edinburgh S9489 - Price £8.50
We also have special limited edition cover which will also have an original £1 Windsor Castle stamp of the 1955 design with the Windsor postmark - Price £12.50.
Royal Mail FDCs will also be available with any of the postmarks which will be shown here, at £5.00
Also available: Mint sheet - £4.25
Maximum cards will be added to the shop shortly.
All prices exclude postage & packing.
To order, please visit our online shop
For prices in foreign currencies - e-mail us.
Special postmarks available for the First Day of Issue are shown here: others may be shown when they are published.
| Ref FD509
Official Bureau FDI postmark
| Ref FD510
Official Windsor FDI postmark
| Ref E4680
Windsor Castle permanent postmark
| Ref L9477
50th Anniversary of the First QEII High Values, Windsor
| Ref M9485
Castles Miniature Sheet, Castle Rd, Birmingham
| Ref L9478
Castles - The Windsor Castle
| Ref L9476
50th Anniversary of the Castles High Values, Windsor
| Ref L9479
Castles Definitives, Windsor
| Ref L9480
Windsor Way, London W14
| Ref L9481
British Castles, Windsor
| Ref L9473
Castles High Values Windsor
| Ref W9493
Castles High Values Carnarfon
| Ref S9490
Castles High Values Carrickfergus Co Antrim
| Ref S9491
Castles High Values Edinburgh
| Ref S9489
The 1955 Castles Definitives, Edinburgh
| Ref S6040
| Ref S4188
| Ref W4191
| Ref L4177
| Ref S4185
This page updated 19 March 2005
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