Australia
King George VI 1937 Definitive Issues

Updated - February, 2018
 
Thanks to Robert Farquharson for his help with this site.
 

Identifying stamps from the Australia King George VI 1937 definitive set is a matter of determining the perforation, identifying the paper types, noting the presence of a watermark, resolving the differences between the 3d print dies, and then sorting the color for some of the stamps. The images were used from 1937 until as late as 1956 for a few values. Ultimately all of the King George VI issues were replaced with new designs starting in 1942, and eventually by the Queen Elizabeth II issues beginning in 1953.

The initial printing of the 1/2d thru 1/4d stamps was perforated 13.5 x 14. Beginning in 1938 the perforation was changed to 14.75 x 14. A Stanley Gibbons Instanta Gauge is the best type to use to check the perforations on these stamps. This type of Gauge uses a continuum of lines to more accurately check the perforations compared to the type of Gauge that uses pre-sized dots.

Most of the stamps from this series were printed on paper watermarked with multiple crowns and C of A. Later printings of some of the lower values were printed on paper with no watermark. If you have trouble determining the watermarks on these stamps, try looking at them face down against black paper. The watermarked paper shows at least some of the watermark fairly clearly. The unwatermarked paper shows nothing when viewed against black paper. Since most of these stamps were watermarked, only the unwatermarked stamps will be identified.

There are two predominant paper types found for these stamps - the original thicker paper that was typically chalk coated, and a thinner paper. Finding the paper type is best done looking at the stamp from the back side. Place the stamp against black paper and look at it with a strong light. The thicker paper will not tend to show the black paper thru the stamp, but the thinner paper will allow some of the black color to be viewed the the more transparent stamp. Examples are shown below of both paper types.

Various dies were produced for the 3d issues, probably to deal with an initial design flaw where the T and A in POSTAGE were joined at the base. Unfortunately, the printer couldn't seem to get it right so additional dies were produced. These can be determined by looking at POSTAGE to the right of the crown. These dies are illustrated with enlarged images below. Additional differences to the line under the King's chin are illustrated in the Commonwealth and Stanley Gibbons catalogues. You should know there are also color and perforation changes for this value.

Color shades can be difficult to sort, especially when you only have a couple of stamps to compare. They typically occur when the stamps are printed after the initial printing. Today we have computer color matching, but during this time it was done by hand with components that might differ from the original ink formula. I like to place the stamps against black and then white paper and view them under a strong light. The images shown attempt to show the colors, but they do not show them as well as viewing the stamps in person. So use the images as relative indicators.

In addition to the basic stamps, some of the values were issued in coil or booklet form. The coils can be found by looking at the perforation between the vertical stamps. The holes are either larger all the way across, or will vary from smaller to larger and back to smaller holes as you look across the stamp. Coil stamps were printed from normal sized sheets and then were cut and joined by gluing each of the strips together to form the coil. You can see the coil joins which appear on every tenth stamp. These are illustrated in the images below.

The catalog numbers shown are from the 2008 Commonwealth King George VI Postage Stamp Catalogue (CW), 2013 Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue (SG) and the 2011 Scott catalog (ST). The descriptions are from the Commonwealth Catalogue, unless they do not list the color shade. Please contact Murray Payne to obtain a copy of this publication. You can access the other publishers using the "Links to British Colonial Stamp Sites" at the bottom of this page. The catalogues list these stamps by watermark, so you will note the order seems different than you might be used to seeing. For this article, the stamps were listed by value and in order of the date they were issued.

The images were saved in a larger size and at a higher resolution so you can more easily see the details used in sorting them. Please be patient if it takes a few minutes for this page to load.

Thick, typically chalk surfaced paper
Thin, typically uncoated paper
       
1937 Stamp Illustrations
       

CW 1 - SG 164 - ST 166a
1/2d Orange
Perf 13.5 x 14
CW 18 - SG 179 - ST 166
1/2d Orange
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 18a - SG 179 - ST 166
1/2d Brown-Orange
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 56 - SG 228 - ST 223A
1/2d Orange
Perf 14.75 x 14
Unwatermarked
       
CW 18b - SG 179b - ST 166
1/2d Orange - Coil Pair
Perf 14.75 x 14
Note varied horizontal perf hole size
CW 56c - SG 228c - ST 223A
1/2d Orange - Unwatermarked Coil Pair
Perf 14.75 x 14
Note horizontal coil join
       
CW 2 - SG 165 - ST 167
1d Emerald-Green
Perf 13.5 x 14
CW 19 - SG 180 - ST 180
1d Emerald-Green
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 19a - SG 180 - ST 180
1d Emerald-Green
Thin Paper
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 20- SG 181 - ST 181
1d Purple-Brown
Perf 14.75 x 14
       
CW 20a- SG 181a - ST 181
1d Purple-Brown - Coil Pair
Perf 14.75 x 14
Note varied horizontal perf hole size
CW 3 - SG 166 - ST 168
1-1/2d Lake-Brown
Perf 13.5 x 14
CW 21 - SG 182 - ST 168a
1-1/2d Lake-Brown
Perf 14.75 x 14
       
CW 22 - SG 183 - ST 181B
1-1/2d Emerald-Green
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 4 - SG 167 - ST 169
2d Scarlet
Perf 13.5 x 14
CW 4a - SG 167 - ST 169
2d Pale Scarlet
Perf 13.5 x 14
CW 23 - SG 184 - ST 182
2d Scarlet
Perf 14.75 x 14
       
CW 23d - SG 184a - ST 182
2d Scarlet - Coil Pair
Perf 14.75 x 14
Note varied horizontal perf hole size
CW 23e - SG 184a - ST 182
2d Scarlet - Coil Pair
Perf 14.75 x 14
Note larger sized perf hole size and coil join
       
CW P1 - SG 184 - ST 182
2d Scarlet - Booklet Pane of 6
Perf 14.75 x 14
       
CW 23c - SG 184 - ST 182
2d Scarlet
Thin Paper
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 24 - SG 185 - ST 182B
2d Purple-Mauve
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 24b - SG 185a - ST 182B
2d Purple-Mauve - Coil Pair
Perf 14.75 x 14
Note varied horizontal perf hole size
       
Die I - TA joined at base Die I - TA less joined at base Die Ia - T angled at base Die Ib - T not angled at base
CW 5 - SG 168a - ST 170a
3d Deep Blue - Die I
Perf 13.5 x 14
Chalk Paper
CW 5a - SG 168 - ST 170a
3d Dull Blue - Die I
Perf 13.5 x 14
Chalk Paper
CW 6 - SG 168b - ST 170a
3d Dull Blue - Die Ia
Perf 13.5 x 14
Chalk Paper
CW 7 - SG 168c - ST 170a
3d Dull Blue - Die Ib
Perf 13.5 x 14
Chalk Paper
Note the definition of the wattle leaves and berries under POSTAGE.
CW 5 has less definition in this area. This is known as White Wattles.
       
CW 7a - SG 168ca - ST 170
3d Blue - Die Ib
Perf 13.5 x 14
Uncoated Thinner Paper
CW 25 - SG 186 - ST 183
3d Blue
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 26 - SG 187 - ST 183A
3d Purple-Brown
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 26a - SG 187 - ST 183A
3d Purple-Brown
Perf 14.75 x 14
Thin Paper
       
CW 8 - SG 170 - ST 171a
4d Green
Perf 13.5 x 14
CW 27 - SG 188 - ST 171
4d Green
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 59 - SG 239a - ST 293
4d Green
Perf 14.75 x 14
Unwatermarked
CW 9 - SG 171 - ST 172a
5d Dull Purple
Perf 13.5 x 14
       
CW 28 - SG 189 - ST 172
5d Dull Purple
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 10 - SG 172 - ST 173a
6d Reddish-Brown
Perf 13.5 x 14
CW 29 - SG 190 - ST 173
6d Reddish-Brown
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 29a - SG 190a - ST 173b
6d Red-Chocolate
Perf 14.75 x 14
       
CW 29b - SG 190 - ST 173
6d Greyish-Brown
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 60 - SG 230b - ST 295
6d Purple-Brown
Perf 14.75 x 14
Unwatermarked
CW 11 - SG 173 - ST 174a
9d Sepia-Brown
Perf 13.5 x 14
CW 30 - SG 191 - ST 174
9d Sepia-Brown
Perf 14.75 x 14
       
CW 30a - SG 191 - ST 174
9d Sepia-Brown
Perf 14.75 x 14
Thin Paper
CW 61 - SG 230c - ST 298
9d Chocolate
Perf 14.75 x 14
Unwatermarked
CW 12 - SG 174 - ST 175a
1/ Dull Green
Perf 13.5 x 14
CW 31 - SG 192 - ST 175
1/ Dull Green
Perf 14.75 x 14
CW 62 - SG 230d - ST 300
1/ Grey-Green
Perf 14.75 x 14
Unwatermarked
CW 13 - SG 175 - ST 176
1/4 Pale Magenta
Perf 13.5 x 14
(Gibbons Description)
CW 13 - SG 175a - ST 176
1/4 Deep Magenta
Perf 13.5 x 14
(Gibbons Description)
       
CW G236 - SG 153 - ST C4
1/6 Purple
Perf 11
Unwatermarked Chalk Paper
CW G237 - SG 153a - ST C5
1/6 Brownish-Claret
Perf 13.25 x 13.75
Chalk Paper
Watermark C of A
   
CW G237a - SG 153a - ST C5
1/6 Dull Purple
Perf 13.25 x 13.75
Chalk Paper
Watermark C of A
CW G237 - SG 153b - ST C5
1/6 Dull Purple
Perf 13.25 x 13.75
Thin Uncoated Paper
Watermark C of A
CW 15 - SG 176 - ST 177
5/ Red-Claret
Chalk Paper
CW 15a - SG 176a - ST 177
5/ Red-Claret
Uncoated Tinted Paper
CW 15b - SG 176a - ST 177
5/ Red-Claret
Uncoated White Paper
       
CW 16 - SG 177 - ST 178
10/ Dull Purple
Chalk Paper
CW 16a - SG 177a - ST 178
10/ Dull Purple
Uncoated Paper
   
CW 17 - SG 178 - ST 179
£1 Bluish-Slate
Chalk Paper
CW 17a - SG 178a - ST 179
£1 Bluish-Slate
Uncoated Paper
       

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

Comments or Questions feel free to write
 
King George VI Australia Stamps for sale based on the identification from this article.
       
Index to KGVI Stamp Description Web Sites
       
Links to British Colonial Stamp Sites