Identifying the Bermuda 10/
King George VI Stamps

Special thanks to Barry Moerke and Eric Yendall for their help in preparing this site.

Identifying the Bermuda 10/ King George VI stamps is a matter of comparing these components:

1. Perforation - there are three options - Perf 13 and 14 which are comb perfs, and Perf 14.25 which is a line perf. This page focuses on Perf 14 and 14.25 issues only. You will need a perf gauge that is capable of measuring a complete perforation range (it should be a series of lines) rather than just showing dots.Comb perfs are created by perforating row and all the columns at once. Line perfs are done one at a time. The result tends to show at the corners. The comb perf stamps will have smoother corners, and the line perf stamps will have some ragged corners. See our example on the StampID page.
2. Paper Coating - Chalk or Ordinary (called Substitute). A piece of silver will produce a pencil like line when dragged lightly over the paper. Use a lower corner for this test. Among the chalk paper stamps, there is also a factor of pitting. This is best seen with a 10x magnifying glass. You will notice what appear to be small black dots (actually bubbles). The degree of pitting can help determine some of these issues.
3. Ultraviolet Light - a UV light is used to test some issues.
4. Color - the variation in the center (head) color and frame colors helps determine some of the printings. Please be aware that there is a range to the colors on individual issues, so don't expect them to match exactly. Also, a computer monitor is not considered an accurate method of reproduction. So you may not see the colors accurately. I generally use a piece of black paper under two spotlights to compare my colors. The black seems to help most colors stand out better.

Please see our StampID page for additional details on using some of the tools described above.

The dispatch dates and color descriptions are per "The King George VI Large Key Type Revenue and Postage High Value Stamps 1937 - 1953" by Eric Yendall. This is a must for any Bermuda Keyplate Collectors. See your dealer for a copy.

The catalog numbers are from the 2008 versions of the Commonwealth (CW) Catalogue, and the Stanley Gibbons (SG) Catalogue. Please be aware that Gibbons does not list all the dispatches, so we have to make some debatable conclusions when assigning their numbers to some of these printings.

November 1937
CW 14, SG 119
Green & Deep Lake
Bright Green Chalk Paper
Comb Perf 14 x 13.75
January, 1939
CW 14A, SG 119A
Blue-Green & Red
Light Green Chalk Paper
Comb Perf 14 x 13.75
Look for chalk paper with a very bright paper color and the deep frame color. This is best determined as the chalk paper printing that does not have the Lake frame color. Also note the bluish-green head plate and the red frame color.
September, 1941
CW 20, SG 119B
Dull Yellow-Green & Dull Carmine
Green Chalk Paper
Line Perf 14.25

March, 1943
CW 14A, SG 119A
Yellow-Green & Deep Red
Light Green Substitute Paper
Comb Perf 14 x 13.75
This is best determined by finding the line perforation. Look for the lighter green head color on the substitute paper that is not on an emerald back.
November, 1944
CW 14A, SG 119A
Deep Green & Brownish-Red
Light Green Substitute Paper
Comb Perf 14 x 13.75
December, 1946
CW 14A, SG 119A
Deep Green & Dull Red
Light Green Substitute Paper
Comb Perf 14 x 13.75
Look for the deeper green head color on the substitute paper that is not on an emerald back. Look for the emerald back. It is similar in color to the Perf 13 issues.
June 1951
CW 24, SG 119E
Deep Green & Vermilion
Light Green Substitute Paper
Comb Perf 13.25 x 13
January, 1953
CW 24A, SG 119F
Deep Green & Dull Red
Light Green Substitute Paper
Comb Perf 13.25 x 13
The vermilion frame color is very distinctive on this printing. This is the Perf 13 issue with a red frame instead of vermilion.

Suggested steps in sorting these stamps. We assume you have a number of copies to compare, or this can be very difficult.

1. Measure the perforations. Separate into the Perf 13, 14, and if you are lucky the line perf issues.
2. Among the Perf 14 issues:
a. Check for chalk or substitute paper. The chalk paper issues will tend to have yellowish to brownish gum, the substitute paper issues will tend to have clear gum.
b. Assuming you have eliminated the Line Perf, the remaining two chalk paper issues can easily be sorted by comparing the head color. The 1937 printing has a very distinctive paper and frame color. The 1939 printing has a more blue-green center, and is red rather than the purplish-red (lake) color of the 1937 printing.
c. Regarding the substitute paper issues, the next step is to look at the backs. Isolate the emerald paper back of the 1946 printing. This is very much like both of the Perf 13 printings and is easily recognized.
d. The remaining two Perf 14 issues will be on substitute paper with brownish gum. Look at the head colors to make your decision. The 1943 printing is lighter in color than the 1944 printing. You should also note a difference in the frame colors between the deeper red and the brownish-red.
3. Among the Perf 13 issues:
a. Both issues will have substitute paper. The most telling difference is the vermilion frame in the 1951 printing. It is bright and fairly easily noticed. It should not look like any of the other printings.

Questions or Comments? Please send us an email. Looking for KGVI Bermuda Stamps? Check our price lists:
KGVI NH - KGVI Unused - KGVI Used
Links to other British Colonial Stamp Sites