GB 1 Penny Stamps

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A new initiative documented here, seeks to assemble the stamps to repeat this exercise for all definitive values from ½d to 1/-.

I will ignore the fact that until 1970 the stamps were "old money" 1d stamps and since then the decimalised 1p stamps.

There are surprisingly few 1 penny stamps in the 165 years from the issue of the Penny Black in 1840 until today. My approach in compiling the information is, as usual, to ignore the "invisible differences" between some stamps, i.e. watermarks, perforations, paper types, and graphite and phosphor identification strips (just this once, I will mention the simplified variants where I have the information).

Having included the 1929 SG435 which looks like a definitive but commemorates the 9th UPU Congress, it seems reasonable to show the only other three 1d GB commemorative stamps and complete the set. These are the 1924 British Empire Exhibition issue (GB's first commemorative), SG430 , the 1935 Silver Jubilee SG454 , and the 1940 Centenary of Postage Stamps issue, SG480 .

Enthused by the success of this page, I have embarked upon an assemblage all the GB £1 stamps, here. Links from the monarchs' names are to a page summarising their reigns and those of their ancestors.

Delightfully, in the same week that I finished the rewrite of this page, I spotted the September 2009 edition of Stamp Magazine including an article on the colours of GB definitives. This is just the sort of piece which makes you realise why assembling large numbers of small pieces of sticky coloured paper is so interesting and so much fun. It does, in less detail, a similar job to the page below for all values from ½d to 1/-. Their site seems to show some of their articles, presumably a while after publication, so I'll keep an eye open for a link.

All the GB definitives are now shown here.

Queen Victoria

Sc1, SG2
1d black
£3,750 / £225


Gibbons distinguishes between
SG1 "intense black" (£5,000 / £300) and
SG2, just "black" (£3,750 / £225).

All the other GB firsts are shown here .

I have indulged in the common modest conceit of buying one showing my initials.

Sc3, SG8
1d red-brown
£180 / £15


SG7 is the same design but printed from the Penny Black plates 1-11 and priced at £700 - £4,000 mint, £75- £250 used, depending on the plate.

Prince Consort essays

The first of my tangential excursions on this page is to the Prince Albert Consort Essay. These were not issued postally, but produced in 1850 by Henry Archer to practise his perforations on, having been advised not to play with images of QV. There are black, red-brown and blue examples. Further details here.

Prices range from a few hundred pounds to five figures for the rares examples, such as unperforated blues and browns (there are three known copies of each).

They are all "FJ"s

1d red-brown
£190 / £18


The simplified variants here are:
1854 SG17 wmk small crown perf 15 £190 / £18
1855 SG24 wmk small crown perf 14 £350 £45
1855 SG26 wmk large crown perf 16 £700 / £80
1857 SG40 wmk large crown perf 14 £40 / £9

Still looking for an "NB".

1d red
£15 / £2


Identifying letters top and bottom.

Sc79, SG166
1d brown
£15 / £10

GB SG166 GB SG166

Nearly an NB - still looking... [Nov 2011] Graham Kay has kindly sent a scan of an NB.

Sc89, SG174
1d mauve
£2.50 / £1.50

GB SG174

SG174, Die II has 16 dots in each corner. SG171 (Sc88), Die I with 14 dots is £125 / £25.

GB SG198 and SG221

It is unfortunate that the standard rate of postage (presumably) increased to 1½d in the 1880s (I'm still trying to find out exactly when). This meant that there was no 1d value in the 1883 issue (not that much of a problem as they were rather prosaic), and (more significantly) for the 1887 QV Jubilee and the 1902 KEVII issues which are rather attractive. The 1½d values SG198 and SG221 are shown here.

Edward VII

Sc128, SG219
1d scarlet
£2 / £1.50

GB SG219

There are shade, watermark and perforation variants.

This is the stamp in GB's first stamp booklet .

George V

Sc152, SG327
1d carmine-red
£4.50 / £2.50

GB SG237

SG336 has a different watermark £30 / £30

Sc153, SG341
1d red
£5 / £2

GB SG341

The difference between SG327 and 341 is the shading on the lion.

SG345 (£8 / £3) and SG350 (£15 / £8) have different watermarks.

Sc188, SG419
1d scarlet
£1 / £1

GB SG419

The 1912 SG357 has a different watermark.

Sc185, SG430
1d red
£10 / £11

GB SG430

This, GB's first commemorative, is outside the brief of this page but is included to complete the set, as one of the three 1d GB commemoratives, see also SG454 and SG480 .

There was a very similar issue in 1925, the only difference being the year printed on it, Sc203 SG432, £15 / £25

Sc206, SG435
1d red
£2.25 / £2.25

GB SG435

This might be considered a commemorative rather than a definitive, but since I already have a copy, I will include it.

Sc211, SG440
1d red
50p / 50p

GB SG440

Sc227, SG454
1d red
£1.25 / £1.50

GB SG454

Silver Jubilee

The other GB 1d commemoratives are the 1924 SG430 , the 1940 SG480 and probably the 1929 SG435 .

Edward VIII

Sc231, SG458
1d red
60p / 50p

GB SG458
E8 essays

The brief, uncrowned reign of E8 resulted in a single issue of definitives, rather nicely simple and elegant in my view, following the rococo excesses of earlier stamps.

Had he not abdicated, there were plans for some splendid issues to coincide with Edward's coronation. These were detailed in the August 2005 issue of Stamp Magazine. The Post Office invited printers Harrison and Sons to provide suggestions for designs, and also Mr Wilmot of the GPO. Individuals, famous and otherwise submitted their ideas. I particularly like Harrison's Tower Bridge, although it was rejected by the Postmaster General. The other four designs are from the great Dulac, Wilmot and two more pictorials from Harrison's. Thanks to Richard West for the article and the British Postal Museum and Archive for the images, taken from the article.

George VI

Sc236, SG463
1d scarlet
30p / 25p

GB SG463
SG463 Nazi forgery SG463 forgery detail

The second stamp is an interesting variant, a German propaganda forgery, allegedly "produced at German Labour Camps" (according to Dauwalders, who had a large number available when this page was originally written in 2005). A close examination - click the image - reveals a Star of David at the top of the crown and a Hammer and Sickle replacing the 'D' in the denomination, shown also in the enlarged detail.

2006 commemorative

In 2006, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the issuing of stamps for the Three Kings in 1936, the Post Office released this miniature sheet (SG MS2658) showing the three 1d values (not stamps) plus a £3 QE2 which defined the price of the item.

Sc253, SG480
1d red
£1 / 40p

GB SG480

This commemorative is outside the brief of this page but is included to complete the set, as one of the three 1d GB commemoratives, see also SG454 and SG430 .

There was a similar issue in 1941 with a lighter background (wartime economy on the ink), SG486 30p / 30p.

Sc259, SG486
1d pale red
30p / 30p

GB SG486

This was presumably another ink-saving ploy - see previous stamp.

Sc281, SG504
1d light blue
30p / 30p

GB SG504

The change to blue was a UPU-driven attempt to standardise colours. Damned bureaucrats. Wikipedia notes 'Initially, countries typically made a random choice of colors for denominations. In 1896, the members of the Universal Postal Union agreed on green, red, and blue as the standard colors for inland postcard, inland letter, and foreign letter rates, respectively. This convention was gradually abandoned from the 1930s on however'.


Sc293, SG516
1d blue
20p / 20p

GB SG516

This stamp is available in numerous alternative configurations:

1955 SG541 watermark variation
1957 SG562 two graphite lines on the back
1958 SG571 watermark variation
1958 SG588 graphite lines again
1959 SG600 phosphor on the front, graphite on the back
1960 SG611 phosphor bands on the front

ScMH2, SG724
1d olive
10p / 10p

GB SG724

SG724 has 2 phosphor bands. The otherwise identical SG725 has one centre phosphor band

decimal curency

ScMH23, SG-X844
1d crimson
10p / 15p

GB SG-X844?

SG-X844 1p crimson 2 phosphor bands
SG-X845 1p crimson 1 centre band
SG-X846 1p crimson 'all over' phosphor
SG-X847 1p crimson 1 band left
SG-X847Ea 1p crimson 1 band right
SG-X925 1p crimson phosphor paper

1d crimson
10p / 10p

GB SG-Y1667

This is the stamp currently on sale (Jan 2005 ... and still in September 2009).

SG-Y1667 1p crimson 2 bands, elliptical hole in perf
SG-Y1743 1p lake 2 bands (from booklet)

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page created 3rd January 2005, rewritten 2nd September 2009 - old - new