Identifying King George VI Stamps
Leeward Islands and Mauritius Head Plate Dies
Compare the forehead, cheek and mouth shading.
Die 1 - High Values on Chalk Paper Die 2 - All Values on Substitute Paper
Die 3 - High Values on Chalk Paper
If you are trying to sort the stamps of the Leeward Islands or Mauritius, you will need to understand how to identify the various Head Plate Die states. There are three Dies of the Head Plate that were used during the 15 years the stamps were printed. These Die Plate States can be used to help determine when a stamp was printed. The three Dies are shown below:

Identifying the three Die States

Die 1

Die 2

Die 3

Forehead - medium

Forehead - narrow

Forehead - wide
Die 1 Die 2 Die 3

Cheek - small spot

Cheek - almost no spot

Cheek - triangular spot
Die 1 Die 2 Die 3
Mouth - thin shading Mouth - less shading Mouth - thicker shading
Leeward Islands
used from 1937 to 1938
Leeward Islands:
used from 1942 to 1944

Leeward Islands:
used in 1942 and 1945 to 53
used from 1937 to 1938
used from 1938 to 1945
used from 1945 to 1948
Last used 10/11/1938
Last used August, 1945 Used until production ended

Notice that there is a difference in the inking on the King's forehead and cheek. The forehead shows medium blank area at Die 1, to a narrow portion at Die 2, and widens at Die 3. The cheek shows a crack in a few lines at Die 1, with almost no crack at Die 2, and a triangular spot at Die 3.

The shading to the left of the mouth is thin and well defined as a downward stroke joined by 3 horizontal strokes on Die 1. The shading to the left of the mouth is thicker on Die 3.

It should be noted that as damage occurred to Die 2, the spot on the cheek became more visible so it is possible to confuse it with Die 3. In most cases, the stamps produced from Die 2 were on ordinary paper, while the high value stamps produced from Dies 1 or 3 were on chalk paper. (There are a few exceptions, like the Mauritius 5R Die 3 on ordinary paper.) All of the lower values were produced with substitute paper.

Please be aware that every stamp is different, and variation will be found due to inking and other conditions that arose as the stamps were printed. Do not expect all stamps to easily fit into one of these states.

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.
Comments or Questions feel free to write
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