Quick stamp guide: King George VI stamps – Victory, June 1946


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George-VI-Victory-3d-84345.png George VI Victory stamp 1946
Discover more about the King George V 'Victory' stamps of June 1946, issued in Great Britain to celebrate the end of the Second World War.

Celebrating WW2 victory with stamps

Calls to prepare a ‘Victory’ stamp were made as early as 1941 in a bid to boost morale amongst government workers, but the suggestion was quickly shelved. 

Two years later, sealed packages containing special ‘Victory Bells’ postmarks were sent to postmasters, with strict instructions to only open them when peace was restored.

The postmarks were duly used to cancel stamps after VE Day in 1945, but the public wanted celebratory stamps too.

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Peace and Reconstruction stamps

The Post Office eventually relented and issued stamps a year after Victory in Europe had been declared, but the more conservative theme of ‘Peace and Reconstruction’ was chosen, the values reflecting the rebuilding process rather than any celebrations.

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The Victory stamp designs issued on 11 June 1946 were as follows:

  • 2½d - bright ultra - symbols of reconstruction and industry; ship, factory, tractor and house
  • 2½d - designed by HL Palmer
  • 2,700,000 copies of the 2½d were printed, and 2,565,271 were sold
  • 3d - violet, dove of peace and symbols of construction
  • 3d - designed by Reynolds Stone
  • 375,000 copies of the 3d were printed, and 359,881 were sold
  • Both stamps have 14 x 14.5 perforations
  • The stamps were printed by Harrison and Sons Ltd in sheets of 120 on GVIR watermarked paper

Stamp varieties

According to the official post office files, a 3d stamp was found with seven instead of six berries on the dove's olive branch. However, this excitement faded when it was realised that this defect occurred as often as one in ten or twelve stamps. After June most of these were identified and destroyed by the GPO, but reports of sales came in as late as October.

Another variety was spotted on the 2½d, on which the ship was occasionally found to have an extra porthole.

Overprints were issued for Tangier only, with 5,000 copies of each value being printed.

Discover more about King George VI stamps