14 September 2020
The first high values of the Queen’s reign have long interested collectors thanks to the beautifully produced artwork depicting the home nations’ iconic castles. Find out more and see recent prices paid in our latest stamp guide.
The Castle High Value stamps issued during September 1955 completed the first definitives series of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.
Four denominations gave GB its first pictorial set, with each stamp depicting, alongside the monarch’s image, a castle from one of the home nations that make up the United Kingdom.
- 2s 6d
- 5s 0d
- 10s 0d
Earlier GB high values had already displayed pictorial designs – the 2s 6d HMS Victory, and the 5s 0d White Cliffs of Dover in George VI’s reign for example – but the Castles of September 1955 formed a cohesive set with a unifying theme.
It is important to stress that these high values were not commemorative issues; they were the second part of the Wildings definitives issue (½d to £1), all displaying the Dorothy Wilding portrait of the monarch.
The high values added the vignette showing one of the selected castles framed by stonework and foliage. It has been argued that the regional castles motif was a response to rumblings of nationalistic sentiments that called, in addition to other changes, for postage stamps that reflected Scottish, Welsh and Irish sentiments.
How much should you pay for a 1955 £1 black?
First, be sure that you are bidding on, or buying, the correct stamp, first issued on 1 September of that year. Re-printings followed, and all were perforated 11 x 12; but they can be distinguished by their watermarks, or lack of watermarks.
The £1 of 1955 has the St. Edward’s Crown and E 2 R Multiple watermark; while the re-issued £1 of 1959 has the St. Edward’s Crown Multiple watermark. The later, 1967 and 1968 re-issues were on un-watermarked paper.
John Noble Stamps of Ashstead, Surrey recent offered this example, described as a 1955 £1 black, unmounted mint stamps with an almost invisible gum crease, at £60 with free shipping
Seller steve4591 of Grantham, UK, a long-time eBay user, recently had this specimen, described as a 1955 fine, mint, non-hinged marginal stamp, selling for £75, plus 75p postage
At a 2013 Grosvenor Auctions sale in 2013 the 1955 set of four mounted on a Waterlow & Sons Limited presentation card sold for £300
This is one of four illustrated covers in a 2012 Grosvenor lot, each neatly cancelled by ‘PRESTON/BRIGHTON’ CDS and each with one stamp from the set. The complete lot sold for £920
UK long-time eBay seller, bozzystamps, Cornwall offered this example at £3.50 b.i.n., plus £1 postage, describing it as a decent quality used 1955 one pound value