26th February 1952.

Monarchs down the centuries wishing to confirm their authority often struck heroic poses on coinage. It is little surprising that the dissolute and flamboyant George IV was the last monarch to be portrayed as a laureate Roman Emperor on British coins.

It shows the State Diadem made for George IV in the 1820’s and to be worn outside the Cap of Maintenance, and a feature worn by Queen Victoria on the 1840 Penny Black.

This tradition was continued Today in 1952 after a portrait session by society photographer, Dorothy Wilding, with the new Queen Elizabeth. It was this portrait to be used on the new series of Definitive Stamps, and which was to set the standard for later issues.

Pane of Wilding Stamps.

Pane of Wilding Stamps.

The Wilding Definitive postage stamps were set to run from 1952-1971 and were the first British stamps to feature graphite lines on the back and phosphor bands on the face, in the name of automation.

They were the first to feature stamps of high value, and to have regional emblems.

The Wilding portrait showed the Queen half-turned to the front, but later designers found it too large, and preferring a more impersonal side image.

It was also said to be inconvenient for the growing number of Commemoratives, Thus we see introduced the Machin Head design of 1967, though the older design was used for Regional Issues until the 1971 Decimalization.

Seventy-five designs were considered to frame the portrait and five were chosen with four symbolic flowers of each UK country.

The notion of Regional Design came after World War II, to bolster the Channel Islands tourism after its German occupation, and was eventually to be applied to all regions of the UK..

Ref: wikipedia.org/wilding_series/Image.

Ref: royalmailgroup.com.


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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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