Identifying King George VI Stamps
Leeward Islands 5/ Issues
updated January, 2010

 CW 11 / SG 112
& Red
Yellow Chalk Paper
Die I
8/38 Issue
31,200 Printed
 CW 11B / SG 112A
Dull Yellow-Green
& Red
Yellow Paper - Striated
Die II
6/43 Issue
30,600 Printed

 CW 11B var / SG 112A var
Deep Yellow-Green
& Red
Yellow Paper - Striated
Die II
4/44 Issue
70,920 Printed
 CW 11C / SG 112B
& Deep Red
Yellow Chalk Paper
5/51 Issue
31,440 Printed

The KGVI Leeward Islands 5/ issues can be confusing to identify. This is due to the catalog description of these stamps, and the lack of good reference copies for comparison.

My reference for the colors of these stamps is "The Printings of King George VI Colonial Stamps" by W.J.W. Potter & Lt. Col. R.C.M. Shelton which was published by Stamp Collecting, Ltd. in 1952. The printing dates and quantities printed are from Study Paper No. 10 published by the King George VI Collectors Society in 1977, and authored by F.R. Saunders and M.R. Boyle. As you can see, there were four 5/ issues printed during the 14 years of production with a total printing of 164,160 stamps. For the record, the stamps were printed in sheets of 120 which comprised 2 panes of 6 x 10 with a center strip that divided the two frames. An example to show the center frame is inserted below:

Sorting these stamps is primarily a matter of observing three things: sorting for chalk paper, comparing the back of the stamps, and noticing the head color. It is assumed that you have multiple copies with noticeable differences, or the rest of this article will be fairly meaningless.

The first step is to sort by chalk paper. This can be done by using a piece of silver and lightly dragging it across the stamp. If it was printed on "chalk*" paper, a pencil-like line will appear. (I use the lower right corner outside of the design area. Practice this on junk stamps first - please.)

If you do not want to use the silver test, you can also look at the stamps under magnification. The chalky paper issues will have a richer color with a better impression than the substitute paper issues. You might also notice the horizontal striations on the substitute paper printings.

There are two chalk paper issues, the 1938 and 1951 printings. These printings differ primarily in terms of the the head color. The two non-chalk printings are the 1943 and 1944 issues.

Chalk Paper Printings

1938 Printing

1938 Printing

1951 Printing


The 1938 printing is found in two states, depending on whether the stamp has been tropicalized or not. The tropicalized version has yellow gum and takes on a deeper tone. The normal version will have clear gum and is easily mistaken for a later printing. However if you compare the red in both stamps it is virtually the same.

The 1951 printing has a vivid red color that is unmistakable for any other 5 shilling issue. You will also note a difference in the green, but the red is the telling trait for this printing. Although this is a chalk printing, it is not as chalky as the first printing. The gum is clear with no coloration. Although printed in the same relative quantity as the first printing, this printing seems to be much more scarce than any other 5 shilling issue.

Substitute Paper Printings



 1943 Printing

 1944 Printing

The substitute (non-chalk) paper issues are difficult to accurately distinguish from each other. There is a fuzzy appearance to both issues according to Mr. Saunders. He felt that the 1943 printing was a little duller, and the 1944 printing was a little deeper. But he did not feel secure in suggesting that either one could be distinguished. No catalog is likely to list the 1944 printing, so you can rest assured that your classification system will not likely be challenged. Both stamps have similar clear gum, so there is no difference there either. My candiate for the 1944 printing, shown above, is much deeper in color than the 1943 issue. It does have a deeper green color, a deeper red, and even the paper seems deeper.

Finally, we all wish that the Leeward Islands issued more of the large Keyplate Stamps. Recently, a practical joker - Anthony Cosentino; sent me this "find".

This is obviously a bogus creation, but it shows the power of computer tools like Adobe Photo Shop. Nice work Anthony.

Please do not treat the scans as totally accurate in terms of color. Internet Browsers do not clearly show the entire range of colors in the spectrum. The centers of all the stamps appear a little washed out due to the effects of my scanner.

This article is intended to help collectors identify their KGVI Stamps. Please feel free to write with additional information. It will be added to revised versions of this article. Thanks to Barry Moerke for his friendly persuasion in helping me update this article.

Comments or Questions feel free to write

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