queen victoria Stamps

The first country to issue postage stamps is a fascinating playground for the stamp collector! The stamps issued during Victoria’s reign can be roughly grouped into the 3 basic printing methods employed, each producing very different stamps which are easy to identify.

  1. Line engraved issues. Starting with the 1840 1d black and 2d blue and ending in 1879 when the last of the Penny Reds with small plate numbers hidden in the designs were issued.
  2. Embossed issue. An expensive printing process employed between 1847 and 1854 to produce 6d, 10d & 1 shilling imperforate stamps with a raised unprinted Queens head.
  3. Surface printed issues. Utilised from 1855 to the end of the Victorian period which produced much higher quality stamps including the bicoloured 1900-92 “Jubilee” series.This reign gives us the rarest GB stamp, the famous 1864-79 1d red plate 77 a used example of which changed hands in 2016 for around £500,000.

It is possible to build a large collection of Great Britain Victorian stamps without ‘breaking the bank’. Those seeking normal quality examples can often pay less than 10% of Stanley Gibbons catalogue prices with only the finest examples being worth around the full catalogue valuation. It is normal for philatelists to build their collections and enjoy upgrading quality as they continue. Further continuance may take the stamp collector into postmarks, proofs, blocks, postal history, postal stationery and many other exciting fields of philately. We recommend the excellent listings in the Stanley Gibbons catalogues, for those wishing to specialise further we also recommend their Great Britain Specialised Stamp Catalogue Volume 1 “Queen Victoria” which is packed with interesting and useful information including proofs, plate flaws, “Specimen” overprints and much else.