Bechuanaland Collection Page Scans
Updated - May, 2022

The Bechuanaland King George VI set of stamps were printed from 1937 until about 1952. The stamps were printed by Waterlow who also produced the stamps of Aden, Antigua, British Guiana, and many other colonies. Generally speaking, the Waterlow stamps did not tend to have dramatic perforation changes - like the De La Rue issues, and the colors are pretty consistent. The best way I have found to sort them is by comparing the paper and gum as seen from the back.

This page was created using information presented by W. J. W. Potter & Lt. Col. R. C. M. Shelton in their "The Printings of King George VI Colonial Stamps" which was published by Stamp Collecting Ltd. in December, 1952. The publication listed tables for each of the countries' issues that were included. That listing is the starting point for this page.

The pages are from my collection, and I used my own numbering system to identify them, which looking back was a mistake, so let me clarify for you how to decipher them. The stamps are listed in chronological order based on the printings listed by Potter & Shelton. I tried to associate the stamps with the current Commonwealth Catalogue, which at that time was printed by Bridger & Kay. So you will see BK01, etc. That would correlate with CW 1 in the current Murray Payne Commonwealth Catalogues which I added to the description for each stamp, so ignore the "BK" notation. The Gibbons and Scott Catalog numbers are also included in the scans. There are sometimes some additional stamps included. These tend to be color shades or minor flaws I noticed as I sorted my stamps.

The primary difference I have seen in all of the Waterlow printed King George VI stamps has been the appearance of the paper and gum as seen from the back. I like to put them against black paper and view them under twin spotlamps. Early printings (1938) tend to have a creamy appearance; 1940 era printings tend to be a little less creamy and the paper appears thicker (or less opaque); 1943-1944 printings tend to be on paper that appears thinner (more transparent) with gum that is slightly whiter than the earlier printings; and later printings from the late 1940's thru early 1950's tend to exhibit a brighter, whiter appearance. This is all relative and it really helps to have multiple stamps to compare as you are making these evaluations. I sometimes use other Waterlow countries' stamps as I make my decision about these printings. The ones shown below are from the St. Helena set which are a good tool because of the color changes which are limited to specific time periods. Send me an email if you want to know what stamps can be used to build your own paper and gum chart.


In every case when you are trying to sort King George VI stamps by printing, start with the high values - for Bechuanaland that means the 2/6 and 10/ issues first. There are less printings and they tend to be spaced out in terms of when they were printed. So you should see noticeable differences. When you have isolated the high values, use them to compare to the lower values. It will help you determine the stamps that were printed during the same time period. The rest is a process of trial and error. You will notice that I don't sell these stamps by printing. That is because I can't be totally sure about when they were printed. I just sell them by catalog number.

There is also a link to David Studd's Crown Agents report for Bechuanaland showing the printings he documented. I don't have permission to share it, but David's web site has gone inactive. So hopefully he won't mind. Unfortunately the Crown Agents did not report any color information, so you will have to try to figure that out for yourself. My pages were created before I obtained a copy of the report, so it does not include this information.

The pages are from my collection based on the Potter & Shelton descriptions which are not complete, and are identified by the Commonwealth, Gibbons, and Scott numbers in that order. See the Excel spreadsheet link at the bottom of this page for a full list of printings. I will revise my posts when I have completed the new pages with this information. The page images were scanned in a larger size and at a higher resolution so you can more easily see the details used in viewing them. Feel free to select the page and let it download to your screen and save it to your hard drive for viewing. If you are using a PC, selecting the page will typically open it in Microsoft Photo Viewer (or whatever you are using as your default). From there you can enlarge the size for more close-up viewing. If you are using a phone - go find a PC or a Mac. The images are 1200 pixels wide and you will go mad trying to view them on your phone.

Please be patient if it takes a few minutes for each page to load.

Bechuanaland Collection Page Scans
Commonwealth # Stanley Gibbons # Scott # Description and Page Link
1-11 118-128 124-136 Bechuanaland 1937 Set - Page 1
      Bechuanaland 1937 Set - Page 2
      Bechuanaland 1937 Set - Page 3
      Bechuanaland 1937 Set - Page 4
David Studd's Crown Agents Report for Bechuanaland
Excel Spreadsheet study of printings for Bechuanaland

This article was written to help you identify your stamps.
Please feel free to ask a question, or suggest a correction.

Comments or Questions feel free to write
Bechuanaland King George VI Stamps for sale
Web pages describing various sets from the British Colonies
Index to KGVI Stamps Web Sites
Web pages with links to full page scans from the KGVI Stamps Reference Collection
Index to KGVI Stamps Collection Page Scan Sites
Links to other British Colonial Stamp Sites