United Kingdom: Platinum Jubilee

This weekend, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II – a Platinum Jubilee. Stamps issued almost 70 years ago commemorate the coronation rather than the accession but comprise more than 100 stamps issued across 68 countries.

The accession of Queen Elizabeth II, aged 25, took place on 6 February 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI. In accordance with tradition, she was proclaimed queen by her privy and executive councils shortly following the Kings death but it was not until more than a year later that the coronation was held at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. Not surprisingly therefore, the first United Kingdom stamps following accession was not the commemorative coronation issue but the first definitive issue featuring the new monarch.

United Kingdom 1952 Wilding Definitive 1½d stamp
United Kingdom 1952 Wilding Definitive 1½d
United Kingdom 1952 Wilding Definitive 2½d stamp
United Kingdom 1952 Wilding Definitive 2½d

The first Queen Elizabeth II definitive issue was the ‘Wilding’, so named as the design featured the Dorothy Wilding photographic portrait of the Queen. The photographs were taken during a session held on 26 February 1952, just a matter of weeks after accession. The first stamps of the issue, denominations of 1½d and 2½d, were issued by 5 December 1952. Another 15 denominations would be released as part of this issue until 1954 although the design would be used for other definitive issues until 1967 when the design was replaced by that of Arnold Machin.

United Kingdom 1953 Coronation 4d stamp
United Kingdom 1953 Coronation 4d
United Kingdom 1953 Coronation 1s.3d stamp
United Kingdom 1953 Coronation 1s.3d
United Kingdom 1953 Coronation 1s.6d stamp
United Kingdom 1953 Coronation 1s.6d

The coronations commemorative issue appeared a day after the coronation on 3 June 1953. The issue comprises four stamps, all of different denominations and by different designers (although all except 1s.3d denomination feature the Dorothy Wilding portrait):

  • 2½d design by E. Fuller [Carmine-Red]
  • 4d design by M. Goaman [Ultramarine]
  • 1s.3d design by E. Dulac [Deep Yellow-Green]
  • 1s.6d design by M. Farrar-Bell [Deep Grey-Blue]

The stamps were printed by Harrison and Sons Ltd. on paper with the Tudor Crown watermark and perforated 15×14. The United Kingdom issue was accompanied by a further 102 stamps issued across 67 countries of the Commonwealth of Nations from Aden (South Arabian Federation) to Turks and Caicos Islands. In the majority of cases this was based on a common design, engraved and printed by De La Rue.

Aden 1953 Coronation 15c stamp
Aden 1953 Coronation 15c

To view postal issues of the United Kingdom, 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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