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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:  Philately is the actual study of stamps & items related to them but stamp collecting does not itself involve the study of stamps only building a collection. It is therefore possible to be a philatelist despite never owning stamps. For instance a phlatelist may study the stamps at an exhibition, in a museum, online or in books.

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. [...]

The Beginning and End of GB Postage Due Stamps Could Be an Opportunity
Postage Due stamps are perhaps the most forgotten stamps in British philately. Whether this is because of the restricted design choice, their intended use or their frequent placement seperately at the back end of catalogues, it's the overlooked stamps today which can often turn out to be the right ones to collect for the future. [...]

Wrong Xmas Postmark Used in Nottingham Mail Centre 29th October
As many readers will know, Royal Mail are featuring the names and locations of the 24 finalists of their Christmas Stamp Design competition in a "one day only" postmark this month. Along the way we've seen a few mistakes occur but we've documented one from the Nottingham Mail Centre yesterday which is particularly unfortunate for a competition finalist living in Derby. [...]

Royal Mail 2012 Olympics Promotional Stamp Enlargements Auction for Prostate Cancer Charity
Many stamp enthusiasts will remember the huge stamp enlargements produced by Royal Mail to promote the Gold medal winners stamps during the Olympic and Paralympic Games last summer. We learned today that Royal Mail have donated many of these foamex enlargements to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK and they are being offered right now in low start, no reserve online auctions. [...]

SG to Stamp on eBay? Stanley Gibbons Acquires BidStart
Britain's best known stamp dealers, Stanley Gibbons, have reportedly stumped up $1 Million to acquire the US trading platform which operates a person to person collectables trading website similar to eBay but focused on stamps and postcards. [...]

Special "Shetland Bus" Postmark for Scalloway Museum Opening by Jens Stoltenberg
The Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, will be opening the Scalloway Museum in the Shetland Islands on Thursday 17th May 2012 and a special Royal Mail postmark has been sponsored by the Shetland Bus Friendship Society to mark the event. [...]

BPMA Mail Rail Open Day Highlights Post Office Underground Railway
The Post Office Underground Railway - later renamed as Mail Rail during its 60th anniversary in 1987 - is a unique and iconic part of Britain's industrial heritage. It is the only example in the world of a dedicated underground rail system for transporting mail. [...]

New Royal Mail Stamps Celebrate Classic Scottish Steam Trains
On 8th March 2012 the Royal Mail will issue the scond part of their Classic Locomotives stamp issue which, this time, features the Classic Locomotives of Scotland. Here we run through the individual stamps and take a sneak preview. [...]

Stampex Exhibitions 2012
2012 dates have been announced for both the Spring and Autumn Stampex exhibitions during Olympic Year in London. [...]

Prospects looking up for classic British stamp values
While home grown demand for classic British stamps may be limited by the current period of austerity the blossoming economies in eastern Asia point toward an ever increasing catalogue value for GB collections. [...]

Royal Mail to Stop Using Counties in UK Postal Addresses
County names look set to be dropped from the official postal addresses used in the UK. Royal Mail is consulting on their plans to delete counties Postal Address Finder (PAF) database sold to companies and public bodies. [...]

You Can Contribute to the British Postal Heritage Wiki
The British Postal Museum and Archive (BPMA) website hosts a 'Wiki' that allows any user to add and edit pages to help build an extensive knowledgebase about Britain's philatelic and postal history for the benefit of all. [...]

What Should Postage Stamps Smell Like?
I'm all for new ideas and innovation to grow interest in stamp collecting and philately but some sweet smelling stamp issues seem a little too far off the wall for my liking. But perhaps I'm wrong? [...]

Queen Victoria Line Engraved GB Stamps 1840-1879

The earliest postage stamps issued in Great Britain used the Line Engraved printing process. Large print plates were engraved by skilled engravers. The printing process meant ink was applied on the plate with the excess wiped off before a paper sheet was pressed on to it so that impressions of the recessed, inked parts of the plate were transferred on to the paper.

For the line engraved stamps without plate numbers incorporated in to their designs it is only possible to distinguish between print plates used by studying the detailed variations of engraving, designs, repairs made and the alphabets used for corner lettering etc. This skilled aspect of philately has been made much easier for us today becuase of the many fine specialist reference books and catalogues published since victorian times.

Good quality Line Engraved stamps are always in demand. Take a look at the live online auctions for Line Engraved stamps ending shortly.

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.

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.

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

Machin Forum
The place to discuss the definitive stamp. Internet forum focused on the iconic QEII Definitive stamps featuring Arnold Machin's portrait of the Queen.

Footyphila Plus
Sports philately with an emphasis on football (soccer).

AK Philately
Adrian runs this interesting blog on all things philatelic from around the world.

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

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.

Belfast philatelic postmark The featured GB philatelic postmark for Saturday Oct 22 2016 is from Belfast.

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

Scotland & Northern Ireland Special Handstamp Centre
Royal Mail
Rutherglen D.O.
Duchess Place

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

GB Stamp Set Creates an A-Z of the UK

The Royal Mail has now finished what they announced as "a dramatic 26-stamp, alphabetical odyssey around the UK" featuring stamps showing iconic landmarks from across all four countries that make up the UK.

In 2012 Royal Mail completed the series with 14 stamps featuring places like "Station X" at Bletchley Park and the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle. The journey had actually begun when the UK A-Z Part One was issued back in October 2011. This comprised of twelve 1st Class stamps showing landmarks from A to L. The stamps took a fresh look at some of the UK’s most famous sights, ancient to modern and from spiritual to spectacular. Learn more about these stamps

GB Stamp Collecting & British Philatelic Publication News

The British Postmark Bulletin is published usually every two weeks or so by the Royal Mail. The Postmark Bulletin contains interesting articles related to postmarks together with details of current and future postmarks and how collectors can obtain them. Available by subscription from the Royal Mail Website at a current cost of £12.25 in the UK and Europe or £24.95 for subscribers outside Europe.

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.