Today is National Stamp Day, marking the anniversary of the world’s first postage stamp, the penny black, first issued 170 years ago; today also marks the 100th anniversary of the accession of King George V – the philatelist king. In celebration, and to mark London 2010 Festival of Stamps, Royal Mail has issued a new miniature sheet.
The Accession of King George V miniature sheet features a 1st Class stamp and a £1 stamp.
The 1st Class stamp features the familiar Machin profile of Queen Elizabeth II, superimposed over the profile of George V, designed by the Australian sculptor Bertram Mackennal and used on stamps from 1912-1936 (known as the “profile head”).
The £1 stamp shows the Mackennal profile on the right, while the left hand side shows the three quarter profile of George V engraved by JAC Harrison from a photograph by W & D Downey, the court photographers. Known as the “Downey head”, this profile was used on the first definitive stamps of George V’s reign, until the Mackennal head supplanted it in 1912. These are contained within wreaths with a crown centre top and a couchant lion on the lower edge.
The border of the miniature sheet features a detail inspired by the engraving of St George and the Dragon by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co from the 1929 ninth Universal Postal Union Congress stamps.
Two pictorial First Day of Issue postmarks are available; one features the George V crown, the other George V’s cipher.
The Accession of King George V miniature sheet is available from Royal Mail.
More information on the Downey and profile heads, and the commemorative stamps issued during the reign of George V can be found on our website.