George VI Definitives

Although ½d, 1d and 1½d values were issued in 1938 and the 3d in 1941, the other values in the King George VI definitive set did not replace the second pictorials until 1947.

The design shows George VI in the uniform of an Admiral of the Fleet.

The stamps

The plates for the pence values were produced by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co who printed the stamps in the UK. The stamps were issued in sheets of 240 organised as 10 rows of 24 with paper watermarked NZ and star and perforated 14 x 13½. Only ½d, 1d and 1½d values were issued in 1938.

The 1½d value was issued on 26 July for the Empire Airmail Scheme by which letters could be sent by air to any part of the British Empire for the low cost of 1½d. It can therefore be regarded as an airmail stamp although this was only until September 1939 when airmail rates were increased by a factor of twelve to 1/6 due to the outbreak of World War II.

half penny 1d pennyhalfpenny

Due to the increase in postal rates in World War II, the stamps were now of the wrong colour as laid down by the UPU. The ½d and 1d were issued in new colours in 1941 along with a 3d value. The 1½d was issued in its new colour in 1944.

halfpenny 1d pennyhalfpenny 3d

There was now little demand for the ½d and 1½d values and surplus stocks of the replaced colours would normally have been destroyed. However, stocks of the 2d pictorial value were low due to bombing damage to De La Rue's works in London and so these values were surcharged and issued in 1941.

1d o/p 2d o/p

The need for further values of the George VI definitive set was delayed due to the use of three other issues as definitives: the second pictorials; the 1940 Centennial Issue and the Peace Issue of 1946. However, at last in 1947, the rest of the set was issued.

2d 4d 5d

6d 8d 9d

The shilling values were also issued in 1947, printed by De La Rue.

1/- 1/3 2/- 3/-

Postage rates were increased on 1 January 1953 with 3d becoming the standard rate for a letter. To prepare for this the 1d value was surcharged 3d in late 1952. In September 1953, the ½d value was issued surcharged 1d.

3d surcharge 1d surcharge


The above information is taken from The Postage Stamps of New Zealand Vols 2 and 4, published by the Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand in 1950 and 1964. All scans were made by the author.