United Kingdom: Commonwealth Games

Monday 8th August will be the last day of the 2022 Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham, England. The featured image is of a stamp from an issue commemorating the sixth running of the event, then referred to as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games held in Cardiff, Wales in 1958. The Commonwealth Games is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations – a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire – including Australia, Canada, India, Jamaica, Malaysia and New Zealand, all of which have hosted the games.

The first British Empire Games were held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada, although an earlier event was held in London in 1911 known as the Inter-Empire Championships which is often cited as a precursor to the modern Commonwealth Games. Events scheduled to be held in Montreal, Canada in 1942 and Cardiff, Wales in 1946 were cancelled due to World War II. The event was then run successfully as the the British Empire Games to 1950, then as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games from to 1966 and the Commonwealth Games from 1974.

1958 Great Britain, British Empire & Commonwealth Games, 3d stamp
1958 Great Britain, British Empire & Commonwealth Games, 3d

The home nations of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) compete separately, as do all British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Saint Helena and Turks and Caicos Islands) and  Crown Dependencies such as Guernsey, Isle of Man, and Jersey. The most successful country at the Commonwealth Games is Australia with more than 2,400 medals, followed by England and Canada.

1958 Great Britain, British Empire & Commonwealth Games, 6d stamp
1958 Great Britain, British Empire & Commonwealth Games, 6d

The 1958 stamp issue comprised three stamps of denominations 3d (lilac), 6d (mauve) and 1s.3d (green) printed by Harrison & Sons Ltd. on paper with St. Edward’s Crown watermark. Each stamp includes an image of a dragon, the emblem of Wales and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the head of the Commonwealth.

2022 Commonwealth Games Birmingham, England stamps
2022 Commonwealth Games Birmingham, England

All of the countries that have hosted the Commonwealth games have released commemorative issues and in many cases, multiple issues. Other countries that have issued stamps commemorating the Commonwealth games include Anguilla, Ascension Island, British Virgin Islands, Cook Islands, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Gambia, Guyana, Hong Kong, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nauru, Norfolk Island, Papua & New Guinea, St Helena, St Kitts, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Tristan da Cunha, Turks & Caicos Islands and Uganda. This year, the Royal Mail issued a set of stamps to commemorate the 22nd Commonwealth Games hosted in Birmingham, England. More than 500 athletes are taking place in the 2022 event across 72 teams including 54 countries and 18 territories. The next Commonwealth Games will be held in the State of Victoria, Australia.

To view postal issues of the Great Britain, 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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