The first British stamps of the 1900s

Surface printed on Imperial  Crown watermarked paper
Imperial Crown watermarked paper

There’s an interesting theme over at Sunday Stamps today at See it on a Postcard: “Issued in the 1900s”. Our website was created initially to celebrate Victorian line-engraved stamps from the 1800s, but Queen Victoria had a very long reign and the very last stamps to be issued while she was on the throne actually appeared in 1900. So what better stamps to illustrate this theme!

The ‘Jubilee Issue’ British stamps first appeared in 1887, but it was only pure coincidence that this was also the year of the Golden Jubilee of the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne in 1837, as they had been planned for several years before their eventual issue. Surface printed on Imperial Crown watermarked paper, rather than line engraved, they included a first for British stamps with some of the values being printed in two colours.

1st January 1887: ½d, 1½d, 2d, 2½d, 3d, 4d, 5d, 6d, 9d and 1 shilling

24 February 1890: 10d

15 September 1892: 4½d

Which takes us up to the 20th century and the first changes to the stamps:

  • 17 April 1900: the halfpenny value was reprinted, changing its orange-vermillion colour to blue-green
  • 11 July 1900: the one-shilling value went from a single colour dull green to a two-colour scheme of carmine rose and green.

In the immediate aftermath of Queen Victoria’s death in 1901 this classic design was reused in 1902 for the first stamps issued for her son and heir to the throne King Edward VII.

Don’t forget to head over to Sunday Stamps to see more postage stamps issued in the 1900s.

2 replies on “The first British stamps of the 1900s”

These are fascinating stamps. The oldest British stamp in my eclectic collection is one of these. Not in the best of conditions, but I like it anyway.

Sorry about the issue with the blog. I hope it will be solved soon.

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