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Collecting Stamps: The 1924/25 Empire Exhibition Stamps

GB Stamps for the 1924 and 1925 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley The British Empire Exhibition, held at Wembley in Middlesex close to London during 1924 & 1925, was officially opened by King George V on 23rd April 1924. At the time the British Empire consisted of 58 countries and only Gibraltar and Gambia were not represented. At a cost at the time of £12 million this was the largest ever exhibition staged anywhere in the world and over 27 million visitors attended while it was open.

Stamps commemorating the exhibition were issued for both 1924 and 1925. The stamps all featured similar designs to that shown here. The penny value was red and penny halfpenny value brown. The first day of issue for the 1924 stamps was 23 April 1924 - the day King George V opened the exhibition - and the 1925 printing was issued on 9 May 1925. Apart from envelopes posted by visitors many different letter cards, postcards and souvenirs were produced commemorating the exhibition. Collectors today tend to refer to the stamp sets as being either the "1924 Wembley" or "1925 Wembley" commemorative issues.
Around 25 different special postmarks, many featuring the lion logo, were used during the exhibition in both years. The most commonly seen examples are those used on regular mail. The parcel handstamps, registered marks and specific exhibitor postal markings can be very scarce.

First Day Covers for the stamps are very collectable and, depending on condition and postmarks, prices can easily exceed a £1,000 for the most desirable. The 1925 stamps on FDC are very much more valuable than the 1924 issue as many collectors at the time did not recognise the new 1925 stamp as a proper new issue meaning far fewer were serviced with FDI postmarks.

Collectors should note that the stamps were only sold at the exhibition which means examples bearing first day of issue postmarks from other parts of the UK away from the exhibition (or London) are extremely rare. A number of forgeries bearing Rhyl postmarks on the 1924 issue turned up in the 1970s so excercise caution.

Several postal stationery items - including pre-paid postcards, envelopes and letter cards - were produced for both years of the exhibition. While First Day of use cards are very collectable, the 1925 stationery items are far more valuable than the 1924.

The stamps for both years were recess printed by Waterlow & Sons. In 1924 the stamps were normally line or comb perforated whereas only comb perforated examples are found for the 1925 stamps.

New GB postage stamps still influenced by Arnold Machin

Arnold Machin Centenary Stamps

Years after his passing in 1999, Arnold Machin is still making a huge impact on British stamp design. Perhaps the most interesting use of his iconic Queen's head design is on the latest Post and Go stamps which many collectors believe will prove to be the start of a new generation of postage stamps where services and values are overprinted at the point of sale on pre-printed stamp designs.

It therefore seems fitting that the centenary of Arnold Machin's birth was the subject of Britain's first ever commemorative Post & Go stamps.

Printing The London 2012 Olympics Definitive Stamps

Squared Circle Postmarks

Did You Know?

Did you know:  The Penny Black was issued on 6th May 1840 and is generally recognised as the first postage stamp in the world. A few stamps were released to the public on 1st May 1840 by mistake. Covers showing May 1840 use of the Penny Black are very valuable and those pre-dating 6th May are extremely valuable. Another stamp was issued two days later after the Penny Black called the Twopenny Blue. Value aside, it is a similar design to the Penny Black - but obviously coloured blue instead of black - and, although less famous than the 1d black, is actually rarer and more valuable.

Recent British Stamps & Philately Articles

Do Stamps or Stamp Collectors Have Any Future in the Digital World?
Back in the July issue of Stamp & Coin Mart Tim Clegg wrote a good opinion column advocating, if not wholesale changes, the need for some significant relaxation in the rigidity of our hobby's organisation. His primary concern is trying to rejuvenate the hobby in order to spark enthusiasm among youngsters. [...]

MIDPEX 2013 Will Create New Post & Go Stamp Variety for Collectors
The 2013 Midpex exhibition is returning to the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre near Leamington on 6th July 2013 and looks set to be bigger and better than ever with more than 60 dealers and some 40 specialist societies planning to take part. For the first time a Royal Mail Post & Go machine will be available for use. [...]

British Postmarks - The Brighton Maltese Cross Cancellation on Victorian Stamps
Brighton seems to have begun with quite a normal Maltese Cross in 1840 but this apparently wore badly and GPO records indicate that a replacement was issued during September 1841. However, before the replacement was issued, a distinctive local Cross also seems to have been used. [...]

New GB Post & Go Stamps to Feature Cattle Breeds at Stampex
Royal Mail will complete their series of Post & Go stamps featuring British Farm Animals during Autumn Stampex this year. The last of the series will highlight well known examples of British cattle breeds. [...]

New Premises for The British Postal Museum and Archive Receive Planning Consent
The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) has announced that their planning application for a new home at Calthorpe House, near Mount Pleasant sorting office in London, has been approved by the London Borough of Camden. Granting planning permission now means that the BPMA is another step forward toward realising the move of its unique collections to a new and accessible home. [...]

Guernsey Post Issue Prince William 30th Birthday Stamps
Prince William celebrates his 30th Birthday on June 21st this year and, on 8th May, Guernsey Post issued a set of six stamps to mark the milestone. [...]

30th Anniversary of The Falklands War Special Postmark
2012 marks thirty years since the invasion of the Falkland Islands and subsequent war between the United Kingdom and Argentina and a special postmark is available from Royal Mail's London Special Handstamp Centre to commemorate the anniversary. [...]

Talk by the Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection at The British Postal Museum and Archive
Marking The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, Michael Sefi, the Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection introduces and discusses aspects of this famous collection at The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA). [...]

Masters of the Post: A Complete History of the Royal Mail
Penguin Books is scheduled to publish "Masters of the Post", a complete history of the Royal Mail, on 3rd November 2011. Based upon the comprehensive archives of the Royal Mail, Masters of the Post details the great personalities and amazing stories from the postal services history over some 500 years. [...]

Birds on First Royal Mail Pictorial Post and Go Stamps
Popular garden birds will feature on the new Post & Go pictorial stamps to be made available on September 17th in a small number of Post Office branches and the Edinburgh Philatelic Bureau. Post & Go stamps will be the first of a Birds of Britain series of pictorial stamps planned for issue by self-service Post & Go terminals. [...]

London 2010: Postage Stamps in the 21st Century
Take part in a FREE hour long panel discussion in London featuring guests from the Royal Mail, Stamp Magazine, The Stamp Advisory Committee and the security printers De La Rue to air views on stamp design and speculate on the future of postage stamps. [...]

Delcampe Tempts British Stamp Collectors Away from eBay
The specialist collector's auction website Delcampe displays nearly 25 million items listed from the various countries that participate. With more than 20 Million items actually sold now, the growth at Delcampe has been very impressive and means the site really is becoming a true competitor to eBay for buyers and sellers of stamps and other collectables. [...]

London 2010: Festival of Stamps to Also Feature Exhibitions & Events Around the UK
London 2010: Festival of Stamps is being billed as "a year-long programme to mark the centenary of the accession of George V - the philatelist king - and in celebration of stamps, stamp design and postal heritage". So what's in store for us? [...]

Postage Labels UK - A Blog Worth Following is a blog entirely devoted to UK ATM Philately which the webmaster, Brian Sinnott, has described as "a modern collecting alternative". The site is packed full of specialist knowledge and example images for this field of postal mechanisation philately. [...]

Edward VII GB Stamps 1902-1913

The stamps from the reign of Edward VII are an ever popular period for British stamp collectors and philatelists. Although only 19 basic stamps were issued during this period, the employment of three different printers means a huge array of variations exist relating to the paper, perforations and shades of printing ink. This explains why the Edward VII era is the subject of many specialised GB stamp collections.

Take a look at the live online Edward VII stamp auctions ending soon.

British Stamp & Philately Sites From Our Directory

Elite Stamps
US based online stamp auctions website that aims to highlight the cream of rare stamps and philatelic auctions from around the world.

Tractors on Stamps and Philatelic Covers
A page dedicated to collectors of farm tractors on stamps and covers.

Royal Mail Stamps Featuring Living People
Interesting article PDF file by Peter Jennings highlighting the current shambles of this once rigid Royal Mail policy.

Global Philately
Philatelic blog for all things philatelic, with a focus on the classics of the British Empire and Commonwealth

British Post & Go Stamps
Trace where any GB Post and Go stamp was issued from.

UK Aerophilately website for airmails, first flights, Concorde covers and many other flown covers etc.

Positively Postal
I am so passionate about the postal system that I set up the website Positively Postal...

Index of GB Machin Definitive Issues at Wikipedia
A simplified listing of the iconic Arnold Machin designed definitive issues in use in Britain since 1967.

Collect Indian Stamps
Every Indian Stamp has a story to narrate.The rich cultural heritage of India is brought alive through stamps.Stamp collect is no more just a hobby it's an educational avocation.This dedicated site on indian philately will keep you up to date with latest

Stampex Website
The Competitions at Stampex are held under the auspices of the Association of British Philatelic Societies.

The Whitehaven to Huddersfield TPO
Derwent Railway Society web page about West Cumberland's last Travelling Post Office (TPO)

GB First Day Covers
Search among thousands of British First Day Covers at

Centenary of the First UK Aerial Post

First UK Aerial Post Centenary

We wrote some time ago about the first UK Aerial Post in 1911 and how the centenary of the event was approaching. As expected the Royal Mail marked the centenary on 9th September 2011 with a special stamp issue featuring photos of the event and a miniature sheet shown above which is styled on the publicity posters which were used to advertise the original event.

Birmingham philatelic postmark The featured GB philatelic postmark for Saturday Sep 23 2017 is from Birmingham.

Collectors can get this special postmark applied by sending the stamped (minimum 1st Class rate) addressed envelope(s) to:

Midland Special Handstamp Centre
Royal Mail
Birmingham Mail centre
St Stephens Street

You can ask for any date (including public holidays) to be applied to your covers provided you send them to arrive on or before that date. It is advised you send a suitable return envelope also if you want the covers sent back protected rather than individually through the regular mail service.
We feature a different UK philatelic postmark every day so check back again

Recent GB Commemorative Stamp Issue

Royal Navy Uniforms GB Stamp Set issued 17th September 2009

This set of stamps depicts the traditions and development of Royal Navy Uniforms over more than two centuries. Issue date: 17th September 2009. Find out more at the Royal Mail website.

January 2010: British Design Classics: Classic Album Covers....

GB Stamp Collecting & British Philatelic Publication News

The Stanley Gibbons Collecting British First Day Covers Catalogue provides a comprehensive listing for FDCs for the 1840 Penny Black to very recent issues. The latest catalogue features more than 6000 illustrations of the various postmarks (including c.d.s. and machine slogans) used on the First Day of Issue for stamps and the pages feature illustrations of several hundred first day covers.

All the official FDCs (sponsored covers) are listed along with prices. Over the years your humble webmaster here at has used the information contained in this catalogue to identify many rare covers featuring scarce postmarks being sold as normal covers by unsuspecting sellers using the online auctions. Order from Stanley Gibbons or see if one is available in the philatelic catalogue online auctions.

Discover Philately

Royal Mail Copyright & Intellectual Property: Please note that most Royal Mail stamp designs and postmarks are the intellectual property of the Royal Mail. has permission to display images of Royal Mail stamps and postmarks on this website. We cannot give permission to other parties to use Roayal Mail's IP and any such enquiries should be made via Royal Mail Intellectual Property.