Great Britain's First Ever Commemorative Stamps

25 May 2018  Fri

On 23rd April 1924, Great Britain issued its first commemorative stamps. Affectionately known as “The Wembleys" or “British Empire Exhibition postage stamps”, they marked the first day of the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley.

As we all know, that Great Britain is the first country in the world to issue postage stamps. The First Postage Stamp or Penny Black, issued in the year 1840 was a definitive stamp. In following years, Great Britain issued hundreds of stamps which were all definitive. No commemorative stamps had yet been issued by the British Post Office.

The First Ever Commemorative Postage Stamp came in circulation 84 years after the realease of the First Stamp. They take their name from the British Empire Exhibition which opened in Wembley in 1924. The exhibition was a showcase for goods and produce from the Empire countries and ran for two summer seasons, attracting 27 million visitors.

To coincide with the opening, the British Post Office issued a Red 1d and a Brown 1½d stamp. The stamps depict Harold Nelson’s British Lion (later known as the Wembley Lion) with rising sun and the left facing portrait of King George V in an oval vignette.

Such was the success of these stamps that they were re-issued the following year when the exhibition reopened in the summer.

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