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The Edward VIII “Accession” Issue

On 20 January 1936, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, came to the throne as King Edward the Eighth. The first stamps with his portrait (½d, 1½d, 2½d) were issued on 1 September, with the 1d value following on 14 September. This issue, the result of a public competition was to be known as the “Accession” series and it was proposed to produce 2 additional sets, in the same format used for the previous monarch with values to £1. King Edward VIII abdicated the throne on 10 December 1936 and no further stamps bearing his image were issued. Many members of the public believed that these stamps would be valuable, as an abdication of the throne was so unusual and as the stamps were only on sale for a relatively short time. This was not the case and today the stamps are very common, and of only very low value.

It was several months from the abdication and coronation of his brother until the availability of the first George VI stamps. In fact, Edward 8th stamps were still being dispensed from stamp machines until the very beginning of 1938. As the standard postal rate stamps of the period, they were sold in huge multi-million quantities and to make these even more common many people made a point of hoarding them, believing that they would become valuable. For many collectors along with the “Romantic” and “Royal” associations with the “Simpson” affair, many people have collected this issue for nostalgic reasons. Philatelicly, there are a few varieties in the printing and collectors are often able to produce an interesting exhibit from these, the range of dated covers, control numbers etc. However one of the prizes from this issue are the “Specimen” overprints, lot 8674 in our Hunters 8th November sale, of which only 30 sets were produced This would indeed be one of the “Jewels in the Crown” of any collection of Philatelic Royalty.


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