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Gibraltar Stamps

Issues of 1937-1950

For Gibraltar stamps, the big event of 1937 was the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

For collectors that like pictorial stamps and commemorative stamps, here is where the fun begins!

During the reign of King George VI, the stamps of Gibraltar went through a complete transformation.  The repetitive small-sized definitive postage stamps of prior years, all having a central vignette with the profile of the king, were gradually phased out, and they were replaced by large-format pictorial definitive postage stamps.  With very few exceptions, all the definitive postage stamps from 1938 have either been wide-format or tall-format pictorial stamps, though they still have the profile of the monarch integrated somewhere into the designs. 

The reign of King George VI also introduced a greater number of commemorative stamp issues.  Since that time, the number of commemorative stamp issues of Gibraltar have far exceeded the number of concurrent definitive postage stamp issues.

One can still specialize in production errors, plate varieties, coil stamps, booklet stamps etc., but now the stamps include interesting historical or cultural subjects, as well. 

For the philatelist, the pictorial definitive issues of 1938-1949  are actually very complex, as will be seen further below, and there are quite a few very expensive varieties in the series.

The three Gibraltar stamps shown above (Sc. #104-06) were issued on May 12, 1937, the day of the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, formerly the Duke and Duchess of York. 

It was an event that, a year earlier, would have seemed extremely unlikely, as the Duke of York had NOT been the heir to the throne upon the death of King George V.  It was the coronation of a man that NEVER WANTED TO BE KING, and the devoted wife that would drive him to become one of the most beloved monarchs of the 20th Century.

These stamps are engraved, perforated 11 x 11 1/2, and they are printed on paper with WMK 4 - the Multiple Crown and Script CA watermark.

The designs of the coronation stamps feature the facing portraits of the king and queen, with coronation regalia around.

The fourteen definitive Gibraltar stamps shown directly below were all issued between 1938 and 1949.  With only two exceptions, they are all pictorial definitive postage stamps, all showing the Rock of Gibraltar or historical sights in Gibraltar.

These stamps are all engraved, and they are printed on paper with WMK 4 - the Multiple Crown and Script CA watermark.

They are separated into groups, with their attributes and descriptions following each group.

  • 1/2 P.  (1938 - Scott #107) - King George VI.
  • 1 P.  (1941 - Scott #108) - Bay, Ships, and Rock of Gibraltar.
  • 1 1/2 P.  (1938 - Scott #109) - Bay, Ships, and Rock of Gibraltar.
  • 1 1/2 P.  (1943 - Scott #109A) - Bay, Ships, and Rock of Gibraltar.

These designs are similar to those of the King George V pictorial definitives first issued in 1931, but the Pillars of Hercules have been added at the sides of the vignette.

  • 2 P.  (1944 - Scott #110B) - Rock of Gibraltar, North Side.
  • 2 P.  (1941 - Scott #110) - Rock of Gibraltar, North Side.
  • 3 P.  (1942 - Scott #111) - Europa Point.
  • 5 P.  (1947 - Scott #112) - Europa Point.

Europa Point is the southernmost point of Gibraltar.  It is a flat area at the end of the Rock of Gibraltar that is accessible to tourists.  On a clear day, one can see North Africa, on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar, from there.

  • 6 P.  (1938 - Scott #113) - Moorish Castle.

The Moorish Castle is described, in detail, in the Rock of Gibraltar - A Brief History page in this category.

  • 1 S.  (1942 - Scott #114) - South-Port Gate.

The South-Port Gate, once known as the Africa Gate, is one of the three Gates of Gibraltar in the Charles V wall.  Constructed in 1552, it is one of the fortifications of Gibraltar, built to defend and to permit access to the southern borders of the colony. 

  • 2 S.  (1942 - Scott #115) - Eliott Memorial.

The Eliott Memorial is a statue of General George Augustus Eliott, the First Baron Heathfield (1717-1790), commissioned in 1815, to honor his command of the Gibraltar Garrison during the Great Gibraltar Siege (1779-1783).  The statue is located in The Convent (Governor's Residence) and is flanked by four 18th Century howitzers.

  • 5 S.  (1938 - Scott #116) - Government House.

The Government House, called The Convent today, has been the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar since 1728.  It was originally a Convent of Franciscan Friars, completed in 1531.

  • 10 S.  (1943 - Scott #117) - Catalan Bay.

Catalan Bay is a small bay and fishing village, located on the eastern side of the Rock of Gibraltar.

  • 1 £.  (1938 - Scott #118) - King George VI.

Nine of the fourteen stamps in this set come in two or more perforation varieties.  They are as follows:

1 P.

Sc. 108
Sc. 108a
Sc. 108b
Sc. 108c

Perf. 13
Perf. 14
Perf. 13 1/2
Perf. 13 1/2 - Wmk. Sideways - Coil

1 1/2 P.

Sc. 109
Sc. 109b

Perf. 14
Perf. 13 1/2

2 P.

Sc. 110
Sc. 110a
Sc. 110c
Sc. 110d

Perf. 13
Perf. 14
Perf. 13 1/2
Perf. 13 1/2 - Wmk. Sideways - Coil

3 P.

Sc. 111
Sc. 111a
Sc. 111b

Perf. 13
Perf. 14
Perf. 13 1/2

6 P.

Sc. 113
Sc. 113a
Sc. 113b

Perf. 13
Perf. 14
Perf. 13 1/2

1 S.

Sc. 114
Sc. 114a
Sc. 114b

Perf. 13
Perf. 14
Perf. 13 1/2

2 S.

Sc. 115
Sc. 115a
Sc. 115b

Perf. 13
Perf. 14
Perf. 13 1/2

5 S.

Sc. 116
Sc. 116a
Sc. 116b

Perf. 13
Perf. 14
Perf. 13 1/2

10 S.

Sc. 117
Sc. 117a

Perf. 13
Perf. 14

The two Gibraltar stamps shown above (Sc. #119-20) were issued October 12, 1946 to celebrate the Return to Peace at the end of World War II.

The designs feature a view of the Thames River in London, with a view of the Parliament buildings in the distance.

The two Gibraltar stamps shown above (Sc. #121-22) were issued on December 1, 1948 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Wedding of Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George (King George VI) and Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon (Queen Elizabeth).

The 1/2 P. stamp is photogravure and perforated 14 x 14 1/2.  The One Pound stamp is engraved and perforated 11 1/2 x 11.

The four Gibraltar stamps shown above (Sc. #123-26) were issued on October 10, 1949 to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Universal Postal Union.

The designs are as follows:

  • 1 1/2 P. - Mercury and symbols of communications.
  • 3 P. - Plane, ship, and hemispheres.
  • 6 P. - Mercury scattering letters over the globe.
  • 1 S. - UPU Monument in Bern, Switzerland.

The four pictorial definitive Gibraltar stamps shown above (Sc. #127-30) were overprinted on August 1, 1950 to celebrate the Adoption of the Constitution of 1950.

This was Gibraltar's first constitution establishing their self-government.  Under the constitution, Gibraltar has almost complete internal self-government through an elected parliament.  The head of state is the British monarch, represented by the Governor of Gibraltar.  The British government has responsibility for the defense, foreign policy, and internal security of the colony.

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Gibraltar Postage Stamps

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Issues of 1937-1950