Definitive Issues from the 1938 Set
Updated - December, 2018
The King George VI definitive set from Gibraltar has a number of interesting designs and colors. Like many of the King George VI stamps, it is a popular set among collectors. Unfortunately the designer ignored this concept when the printed the £1 value. It is a single color with a simple design. Certainly a missed opportunity in my opinion.
This set includes a number of major and minor print flaws, so there is a lot to look for if you buy a set of these stamps to study. See Richard Lockyer's article from Gibbons Stamp Monthly for more details on these aspects of the Gibraltar set. You can access a complete list of Richard's articles from this KGVI Stamps hosted site.
The stamps were initially issued perforated either 14, or 13.5 depending on the value in the 1938 to 1941 time period. Later printings of the values were perforated 13 x 12.75 beginning in 1942. The first step in sorting the Gibraltar issues is to check the perforations. I would suggest that you use a Perforation Gauge like the Gibbons Instanta Gauge to check your stamps. This gauge uses a continuum of lines on clear plastic. To use it, just slide the stamp edge along the lines until they match up with the perforations. This provides a much more reliable measurement than the gauges with the dots. If you don't have a reliable gauge, you can also measure a 2cm distance on the stamp and count the number of perfs. That is what the gauge is actually measuring, so it is a reliable measure of the perforations.
After you check the perforations, you will need to compare the watermarks. One watermark was used for this set - Multiple Script CA, but the paper was printed with many of the values watermarked either upright or sideways. See the examples below for what you will see as you look at the back of the stamp. This is a determining factor for some of the printings.
Once you have checked the perforations and then the watermarks, start comparing the colors of the various values that have more than one shade for that perforation. This is primarily true for the Perf 13 x 12.75 issues. You probably need a few copies of the stamps to accurately sort the surface and paper colors. I typically compare them against both white and black paper. Look for differences that are not too subtle. There was always variation during this time period, but typically the color changes result from mixing new ink for a second printing. They did not have computer color analysis during this time period, so things are just not exact, compared to today's technology.
As you compare colors for the stamps perforated 13 x 12.75 be aware that there were a number of printings that are generalized in the catalogues. One or two catalog listings might actually comprise as many as seven printings. I am basing this statement on the color descriptions and print dates listed in the "The Printings of King George VI Colonial Stamps" by W. J. W. Potter & Lt. Col. R. C. M. Shelton. Please consult this document if you want more details on the stamps from this set. You might also want to look at some of the articles written for the King George VI Collectors' Society by Frank Saunders. He adds some additional printings to what is covered by Potter & Shelton.
The catalog numbers shown below are from the 2008 Commonwealth King George VI Postage Stamp Catalogue (CW), 2013 Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue (SG) and the 2011 Scott catalog (ST). You can access any of the publication web sites from my Links to British Colonial Stamp Sites.
The listing below will include the perforation, watermark configuration and color description from the CW Catalogue for each value, except the 1/2d and £1 values. 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.
|Watermark Multiple Script CA - Upright
|Watermark Multiple Script CA - Sideways
This article was written to help you identify your stamps.
|Comments or Questions feel free to write
|KGVI Gibraltar Stamps for sale based on the identification from this article.
|Index to KGVI Stamp Description Web Sites
|Links to other British Colonial Stamp Sites