Kenya, Uganda & Tanganyika Definitive Issues
from the 1938 Set

Updated - December, 2018
 

The King George VI definitive set from Kenya, Uganda & Tanganyika has always been a popular set with collectors and specialists as well. The set features a number of interesting designs and colors. For the specialist, it combines a number of perforation varieties and color shades which occurred over a number of printings from 1938 until 1954.

This set includes a number of major and minor print flaws and the Rope Not Joined (Die I) in the first printing of the 50c issue, 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 KUT set. You can access a complete list of Richard's articles from this KGVI Stamps hosted site.

The stamps were initially issued perforated either 13.25, or 13 x 11.75 depending on the value. Later printings of the values were perforated 14, 13.25 x 13.75, 13 x 12.5 or 12.5. The first step in sorting the KUT issues is to check the perforation. 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, in my opinion.

Once you have checked the perforations, start comparing the colors of the various values. 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, especially for the stamps perforated 13.25 x 13.75 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 nine 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.

In addition to the perforations and color changes, some of the Pound value stamps were printed on both chalk and substitute (no chalk or substitute) paper. Chalk paper was used to provide a better impression and to help against cleaning cancellations from higher value stamps for reuse. It is actually a coating that is applied to the paper prior to printing. There are several tests for chalk paper. One option is to use a silver coin which will draw a pencil-like line when rubbed gently against chalk paper. I do this in the white border. If you don't want to make a line, try looking for a shiny coating on the paper when viewed under a good light source. You can also rub your finger across the face of the stamp. It will slide easily over the chalk coated paper, and will feel like it is catching against the ordinary paper. Another test is the quality of the impression. The chalk treatment was used to insure a better quality printing. For the record, the term chalk is not scientifically accurate, but it is the term that has been used in the catalogs.

One other aspect of this set is the new head plate dies that were created for the 20c and 10/ issues. New dies are created to deal with damage that occurs from use over time. If you look at the 1938 and 1950 versions of the head plate below, you can see the effect of wear from use on the details and sharpness of the images. Understanding how to isolate the die is one of the components necessary to properly identify the steel-blue shade. See the images below for a comparison of the dies over time. They also appear on the KGVI Stamps more detailed overview of the 10/ printings as listed by Potter & Shelton. Other die changes can be found in the center of the 1/ and 3/ Perf 13 x 12.5 issues. You will see more detail in the upper center of the image.

1938 Printing
Initial Head Plate
Early Use
1950 Printing
Initial Head Plate
Late Use
1952 Printing
New Head Plate
1954 Steel-Blue Printing
New Head Plate
 

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 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.

 
CW 1 - SG 131 - ST 66
1c Black &
Reddish-Brown
Perf 13.25 - Comb
CW 23 - SG 131a - ST 66a
1c Black &
Red-Brown
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
CW 23f - SG 131ag - ST 66a
1c Black &
Dark Brown
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
     
CW 23g - SG 131aj - ST 66a
1c Black &
Red-Chocolate
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
CW 8 - SG 132 - ST 67
5c Black &
Green
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
CW 9 - SG 133 - ST 68
5c Chocolate &
Orange
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
     
CW 33 - SG 133a - ST 68a
5c Chocolate &
Orange
Perf 13 x 12.5 - Comb
CW 10 - SG 134 - ST 69
10c Chocolate &
Orange
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
CW 16 - SG 134b - ST 69a
10c Chocolate &
Orange
Perf 14 - Line
     
CW 11 - SG 135 - ST 70
10c Black &
Green
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
CW 34 - SG 135c - ST 70a
10c Black &
Green
Perf 13 x 12.5 - Comb
CW 35 - SG 136 - ST 71
10c Brown &
Grey
Perf 13 x 12.5 - Comb
     
CW 2 - SG 137 - ST 72b
15c Black &
Red
Perf 13.25 - Comb
CW 24 - SG 137a - ST 72
15c Black &
Red
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
CW 25 - SG 138 - ST 73
15c Black &
Green
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
     
CW 3 - SG 139 - ST 74c
20c Black &
Orange
Perf 13.25 - Comb
CW 17 - SG 139a - ST 74d
20c Black &
Orange
Perf 14 - Line
CW 26 - SG 139b - ST 74
20c Black &
Orange
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
     
CW 26a - SG 139ba - ST 74
20c Black &
Deep Orange
New Head Die
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
CW 36 - SG 140 - ST 75
25c Black &
Red
Perf 13 x 12.5 - Comb
CW 4 - SG 141 - ST 76b
30c Black &
Deep Blue
Perf 13.25 - Comb
     
CW 18 - SG 141a - ST 76a
30c Black &
Deep Blue
Perf 14 - Line
CW 27 - SG 141b - ST 76
30c Black &
Deep Blue
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
CW 27a - SG 141b - ST 76
30c Slate-Black &
Deep Blue
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
     
CW 27b - SG 141b - ST 76
30c Black &
Violet-Blue
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
CW 28 - SG 142 - ST 77
30c Purple &
Sepia-Brown
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
CW 29 - SG 143 - ST 78
40c Black &
Deep Blue
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
     
CW 12 - SG 144 - ST 79a
50c Deep Purple &
Black
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
CW 12b - SG 144b - ST 79a
50c Dull Claret &
Black
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
CW 12c - SG 144c - ST 79a
50c Brown-Purple &
Black
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
     
CW 12d - SG 144d - ST 79a
50c Reddish-Purple &
Black
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
CW 37 - SG 144e - ST 79
50c Red-Purple &
Black
Dot in Scroll Left of Kenya
Perf 13 x 12.5 - Comb
CW 37b - SG 144ea - ST 79
50c Red-Purple &
Black
Dot Removed in Scroll Left of Kenya
Perf 13 x 12.5 - Comb
     
CW 13 - SG 145 - ST 80a
1/ Black &
Brown
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
CW 13a - SG 145a - ST 80a
1/ Black &
Dark Brown
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
CW 38 - SG 145b - ST 80
1/ Black &
Brown
Perf 13 x 12.5 - Comb
     
CW 38a - SG 145ba - ST 80
1/ Black &
Deep Brown
New Center Die
Perf 13 x 12.5 - Comb
CW 5 - SG 146 - ST 81a
2/ Maroon &
Bright Mauve
Perf 13.25 - Comb
CW 5a - SG 146 - ST 81a
2/ Maroon &
Dull Purple
Perf 13.25 - Comb
     
CW 19 - SG 146a - ST 81b
2/ Maroon &
Purple-Mauve
Perf 14 - Line
CW 30 - SG 146b - ST 81
2/ Maroon &
Purple-Mauve
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
CW 14 - SG 147 - ST 82
3/ Blue &
Black
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
     
CW 14a - SG 147a - ST 82
3/ Dark Blue &
Black
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
CW 39 - SG 147ac - ST 82a
3/ Dark Blue &
Black
New Center Die
Perf 13 x 12.5 - Comb
CW 6 - SG 148 - ST 83a
5/ Black &
Carmine
Perf 13.25 - Comb
     
CW 20 - SG 148a - ST 83b
5/ Black &
Carmine
Perf 14 - Line
CW 31 - SG 148b - ST 83
5/ Black &
Carmine
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
CW 7 - SG 149 - ST 84a
10/ Pink &
Bright Blue
Perf 13.25 - Comb
     
CW 7a - SG 149 - ST 84a
10/ Lake &
Blue
Perf 13.25 - Comb
CW 21 - SG 149a - ST 84b
10/ Deep Purple &
Deep Ultramarine
Perf 14 - Line
CW 21a - SG 149a - ST 84b
10/Red-Purple &
Bright Ultramarine
Perf 14 - Line
     
CW 32 - SG 149b - ST 84
10/ Purple &
Blue
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
CW 32a - SG 149b - ST 84
10/ Purple &
Steel-Blue
New Head Die
Perf 13.25 x 13.75 - Comb
CW 15 - SG 150 - ST 85a
£1 Black &
Crimson
Perf 13 x 11.75 - Comb
Chalk Paper
     
CW 22 - SG 150a - ST 85
£1 Black &
Crimson
Perf 14 - Line
Chalk Paper
CW 22a - SG 150ab - ST 85
£1 Black &
Crimson
Perf 14 - Line
Substitute Paper
CW 39a - SG 150b - ST 85b
£1 Black &
Crimson
Perf 12.5 - Line
Chalk 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
       
KGVI KUT Stamps for sale based on the identification from this article.
       
Index to KGVI Stamp Description Web Sites
       
Links to other British Colonial Stamp Sites