St Lucia: A Case of Unfortunate Timing

The 1936 King George V definitive issue was to be the first St Lucia definitive set for more than 20 years, replacing the portrait illustrations that had dominated for half a century. It was an impressive pictorial set of 12 pictorial designs in values from ½d to 10/ and each featuring a portrait of the King. However, in a case of unfortunate timing, the stamps went on sale on March 1, 1936, a couple of months after the death of the King in January. It had been too late to withdraw the issue but inevitably it would not remain in circulation for as long as was originally intended.

That said, the set of 12 stamps should be celebrated as a stunning pictorial definitive set depicting seven St Lucia landmarks derived from a series of photographs released to the printers, De La Rue, based in London. These views were recess printed as vignettes in black surrounded by an elaborate colour border comprising scrolls and foliage and a face-on portrait of King George in the top right-hand corner – except for the 10/ where a profile portrait appears centre-right. The designs are particularly effective as the colour of the border extends into the vignette, softening the definition between the vignette and the border. The issue was printed on paper with Multiple Script CA watermark and perforated 14. Perforation variations of 13×12 exist for the ½d, 1d  and 1½d  values.

  • ½d Port Castries [Bright Green]
  • 1d Columbus Square [Brown]
  • 1½d Ventine Falls [Scarlet]
  • 2d Port Castries [Grey]
  • 2½d Columbus Square [Blue]
  • 3d Ventine Falls [Dull Green]
  • 4d Port Castries [Red-Brown]
  • 6d Columbus Square [Orange]
  • 1/ Port Rodney, Pigeon Island [Light Blue]
  • 2/6 Inniskilling Monument [Ultramarine]
  • 5/ Government House [Violet]
  • 10/ Badge of the Colony [Carmine]

1936 George V Pictorial Definitive Set featuring scenes of St Lucia

Two of the designs, featuring Government House and Columbus Square scenes, were retained for the subsequent 1938 King George VI pictorial definitive issue. These were of a smaller format, incorporated changes to the border design and included the half-portrait illustration of the King. One additional point of note is that the original 1936 King George V issue included a misspelling of ‘Colombus Square’ on the 1d and 2½d denominated designs which was corrected on the latter 1938 King George VI issue of the 6d denominated stamp.

To view postal issues of St Lucia, please visit the M&S Philately HipStamp store.

Published by nigelmandsphilatelycom

Nigel Matthews has been a philatelist for more than 30 years. He has a particular interest in the postal history of the Caribbean including associated British Commonwealth countries (incl. Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Monserrat, St Lucia, St Vincent, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos) as well as Cuba, Danish West Indies, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Netherlands Antilles and Puerto Rico.

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