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Europe/Great Britain : What are your favourite GB stamps?

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Guthrum
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06 May 2015
07:26:52am
I was browsing through Another Forum the other day when I came across a similar list-based posting, and was surprised that so few (well, none, actually) of people's favourite stamps coincided with mine. So I decided to make my own list, and maybe see if it matches anyone else's at Stamporama!

I set myself a couple of ground rules:

1. The stamp (actually set, because GB does not go in for single issues) had to be designed, rather than a photograph or reproduction. In fact, I mean drawn, or painted, which is both illogical and self-limiting, and implies an obsolete and 'Stuckist' view of art. Sorry 'bout that.

2. I interpret 'favourite' as implying 'pleasing to behold', rather than 'picturing subjects I am interested in, or approve of', and certainly not 'cost me big money' or 'has a lot of fascinating varieties'. Actually, I would like it to be 'conforming to the highest standards of graphic design as laid down by experts in the field' but I have no academic background in the subject, which is a pity.

I made a shortlist of ten sets, which included the submarines from 2001, thus breaking rule no.1, and the Post Office Tower set of 1965, which was roundly trounced as a design by a fellow SOR-man. So here are my top five, in chronological order. What do you think, and would you perhaps care to post yours?

First up, Richard Downer's 1973 pair commemorating the 19th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. I have no idea why that occasion merited a stamp issue, but find his contrast of black and gold alluring, as well as his uniquely wide margins.

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Next, Andrew Restall's 1975 yachts. By that time Royal Mail had given up exclusively using anniversaries or events, and simply hit on any subject that took their fancy. I am no sailor, but love these colours.

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Peter Murdoch's 1978 treatment of 'Energy Resources' offsets its necessary (but unpicturesque) structures against thoughtful and soothing horizontals:

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You cannot usually go wrong with British landscapes, and there are many examples on GB stamps. Sheila Fairclough's 1981 set for the National Trust is the best for me:

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Finally, the Kew Gardens set from 1990, by Paul Leith. This set owes something to the watercolourists of an earlier generation - Ravilious or Bawden - which I find appealing. I hope you do too, and are inspired to post your own favourite GB stamps!

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thebiggnome
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06 May 2015
09:59:58am
re: What are your favourite GB stamps?

They all seem a bit paint-by-number-y to me, but then opinions are like, well, you know. Still they're a lot better than this one:

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Personally I find these more pleasing:

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But frankly (again in my opinion) none of them hold a candle to US stamps such as these:

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Chris

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ronnya
06 May 2015
07:39:07pm
re: What are your favourite GB stamps?

Hi All, I prefer the earlier stamps such as the penny reds (sg43) and earlier. My pride and joy is the time it took to complete a sheet of plate 168 and also get onr of every plat on and off cover(excluding plt 77). I am now back and am preparing a five frame exhibit for a Stamp in Wellington NZ in October. It will include a lot of pre 1840 as well as 3 frames from 1840 to the penny reds. The beauty of stamp collecting is that that we can collect what we want and there are no really hard and fast rules. RonnyA

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Zipper
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Dogs are my favorite people. I hang with this one as often as I can.
06 May 2015
10:11:01pm
re: What are your favourite GB stamps?

2 penny blue & the penny black.

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Jansimon
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07 May 2015
06:05:38am

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re: What are your favourite GB stamps?

Here are two of my favourite sets with your set of rules in mind (otherwise I had also chosen some from the 1990s which I like a lot):

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What I also like in the Battle of Hastings set is that it was issued exactly 900 years after the battle. Nice little touch.

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Guthrum
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07 May 2015
07:03:29am
re: What are your favourite GB stamps?

I like both of those sets, Jansimon - they came somewhere in my top ten! Meanwhile, Chris has clearly exposed the shallows of my refined artistic tastes - paint-by-number-y indeed! His example of the child's design is interesting in that it provides a well-known non-expensive variety (same stamp, no 'T.Shemza' at bottom left), but children's designs, when used, have invariably been unsuccessful - as a primary school teacher for many decades I saw much better work than the Royal Mail ever managed to inspire. (Or, more likely, than their committee ever managed to select.)

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thebiggnome
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07 May 2015
07:58:08am
re: What are your favourite GB stamps?

I have been inspired to look through the catalog at more recent issues that I hadn't seen before. I found several I like including the fruits and vegetables with mustaches noses like Mr. Potatohead, but I don't think they meet your criteria. While not the most beautiful stamps in the world, I do like these:

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Chris

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Guthrum
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07 May 2015
09:51:33am
re: What are your favourite GB stamps?

Ha ha! These ones, and the vegetable set you mentioned, come under the heading of "Whimsical Stamps". There are quite a few of these, designed to add incalculably to the sum of human happiness.

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TheStampCellar
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08 May 2015
12:43:44pm
re: What are your favourite GB stamps?

Hi All,

Here is a set and a single that I really like...

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James


(Modified by Moderator on 2015-05-08 12:56:10)

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Bobstamp
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08 May 2015
05:38:32pm
re: What are your favourite GB stamps?

Those large KGVI definitives caught my eye a few years ago when I was working on my "Battle of the Atlantic Exhibit," especially after I learned that the colour of the 2s6d stamp had to be changed because of a wartime shortage of the brown ink.

Here's the relevant page from my exhibit:

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I'm puzzled about one thing: the newspaper article states that the rate for foreign airmail in 1942 was 2s6p, but I have several wartime airmail covers from Great Britain which are franked with stamps totalling 1s3p. Is the article wrong? If so, did the postwar rate double to 2s6p?

Bob

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Guthrum
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08 May 2015
07:04:46pm
re: What are your favourite GB stamps?

Bob, this page might be of interest:
http://greatbritainphilately.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/george-vi-international-mail-europe-war_25.html

That's a 1/3 airmail charge to Turkey. 2/6 seems excessive for an airmail letter - twelve times the inland price. You could buy a paperback book for 2/6 in 1960 (£8.99 now), and a pie and beans in the pub for 1/3 in 1966.

(For information, the following gives details of a shorthand you may find useful when referring to pre-decimal GB sums of money.)

The standard way of writing two shillings and sixpence was as on the stamp, two-oblique-six: 2/6. The more formal way was 2s. 6d. For twice that amount it was respectively 5/- and 5s.; for half 1/3 and 1s. 3d. (Note that the "s." did not stand for "shilling", but rather the Latin "solidus".)

Verbally, you would say two and six, or more commonly half a crown; five shillings, or more colloquially five bob (but never a crown, unless you were a numismatist); and one and three or one and thruppence (note pronunciation - not "three pence").

Other odd pronunciations were tuppence, not "two pence", and hape-ny, not "halfpenny". The odd penny after a shilling was spoken as one and a penny, not "one and one". A 3d. coin was a thruppeny bit.

When decimalisation began in 1971 teachers had to decide how to say "10p". We were told that the correct way was ten pence, and not ten pee. Writing money became a lot easier, although some children still struggle with the £ sign, which is really an old-fashioned capital L.

(My apologies if this is old news - I'm sure I'd need reminding of the distinction between nickels, dimes, bucks and other such words if pressed!)



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