George VI Dies - Dates of First Sale

by Maurice Buxton

Quite by chance (when I was looking for background information on the changes in KGVI registered envelopes at the BPMA), I stumbled across a typed sheet that listed the first sale dates of the postal stationery issued to the public in 1939-40. Since I haven't seen those listed anywhere, I thought they might be of interest to PSS members.

The sheet was in the file POST 52/684 (Stamped Stationery - Postage envelopes - Registered letter envelopes - George VI issue and variations) and the dates given were as follows:

Date of First Sale
Thin (Single) 29 March 1940
Thin (Reply)
Stout (Single)
Foreign (Single)
Foreign (reply) 29 March 1940
Lettercards 25 January 1940
A 8 February 1939
Commercial 8 February 1939
N 10 March 1939
Registered Letter Envelopes
F 29 April 1939
F Selling Price added 9 December 1939 old price
F with revised compensation note April 1940
G 19 April 1939
G with revised compensation Note. Selling Price added. 19 February 1940 old price
G2 (for REPS) 8 December 1939 (First issue)
G2 address of sender on front and back omitted March 1940
H 4 May 1939
H with revised compensation Note. Selling Price added. 19 February 1940 old price
H2 23 June 1939
H2 with revised compensation Note. Selling Price added. April 1940 old price
K 2 May 1939
K revised compensation note and selling price added 13 June 1940 new price
Telegram "A1" Forms 25 July 1939
½d, 1d, and 1½d embossing dies brought into use by I.R. Department, on material sent in by public 1 May 1939
2d embossing dies, ditto 24 July 1939
2½d embossing dies, ditto 28 July 1939

These dates do appear to be actual first days of sale as reported back by postmasters, not the days of issue from the Stores Department (Stamp Section, Somerset House). A letter in the file sent out by that department to a number of Head Postmasters around the UK, dated 19th April 1939, reads:

"Introduction of Registered Envelopes embossed with King George VI Postage Stamps.

As contemplated in the notice which appeared in the Post Office Circular of the 12th April, King George VI Registered envelopes are now being issued from this Department in response to requisitions. A small supply of the "G" size is being sent to you to-day and I shall be glad if you will have these at once placed on sale at your Head Office Counter for a day or two, reverting thereafter to the sale of the George V envelopes until the stock is exhausted.

As in the case of the Postage envelopes, perhaps you will kindly advise me of the date upon which the first sale of George VI Registered envelopes is effected.


Putting a new issue on sale for a short while, and then reverting to the existing issue until it was sold out, appears to have been standard practice at the time – c.f. the instructions for the new KEVIII and KGVI adhesive stamp issues, which were to supply them for the first week or so, and then to use up the current stock.

(This article is reproduced from the May 2012 issue of The Postal Stationery Society Journal)