"From my Collection"
Some interesting examples from our collections
THE ELIZABETHANS - NEW AND NOT SO NEW
The 1950s saw the introduction of new definitives (regular stamps) across the Commonwealth bearing the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in place of that of the King George VI who had died on 6 February 1952.
In the case of the Crown Colonies and Protectorates, the new stamps were procured through the Crown Agents and in the main printed by Bradbury Wilkinson, De La Rue or Waterlow & Sons. In most cases recess-printing was used, resulting in attractive stamps with the "high quality feel" obtained from this process, as can be seen in the accompanying examples from Fiji.
In most cases, a country's new definitives, with the possible exception of the high values, would came from the one printer, be of the same size (albeit in horizontal or vertical formats) and would either feature completely new designs or the current King George VI designs but with a change of the royal portrait.
For some reason however, the new sets for the South Pacific territories of British Solomon Islands, Fiji and the Gilbert & Ellice Islands each came from more than one printer, resulting in a variety of sizes, and in the case of the British Solomon Islands and Fiji new designs were mixed with adaptations of the KGVI designs.
This Fiji set issued in 1954-56 shows the work of all three printers, the seven De La Rue products at the top being brand new designs, including the small size stamps based on the renowned Annigoni portrait of HM the Queen. The remainder of the set use designs that first appeared in 1938-50.
With some 50 colonies and protectorates involved, the changeover took several years, the first Elizabethan stamps being the Gold Coast 2½d definitive issued on 19 December 1952, whilst the last of the King George VI Falkland Islands stamps were not replaced until 1960. In some cases, the timing was affected by the recent issue of new King George VI definitives, some just after the King's death and indeed the GviR appeared on the New Hebrides definitives released as late as April 1953.