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The Vanguard

Stamp Collecting


The real big "Clayton" the - 1949 Royal Tour

This stamp (which is one of a set of four), was produced to commemorate the Royal visit by King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, as announced by Buckingham Palace on 6th March 1948, on the ship HMS Vanguard.

The tour was cancelled November 1948 owing to the ill health of the king, who for a period made a good recovery, but died on the 6th February 1952.

The stamps were printed but not marketed, and all were supposed to have been destroyed in a furnace.

None of the other 1949 Royal Visit stamps have been seen, but there are die proofs of the 2d (featuring King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the Treaty House at Waitangi); 5d (featuring King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Elizabeth) and 6d (featuring the Crown and Royal Sceptre).

Apparently not only the stamps but 84,850 FDCs printed by John Dickinson (NZ) were also held at the GPO awaiting the King's recovery but these were also destroyed - or should have been.

Two versions of the 3d die-proof exist, with and without AA guns on the port side. The designs were modified in 1951 for the proposed Royal Visit in 1952 with RMS Gothic replacing HMS Vanguard. This trip was cancelled on the death of the King and the stock - again except for a handful of archive examples - was destroyed.

So for the Crown Jewels stamp it was a case of third time lucky when it was issued for the Coronation.

HMS Vanguard was the last battleship ever built and second in size only to the Japanese Yamato class.

This particular stamp was advertised by Stanley Gibbons in Melbourne Auction in March 1999. It was purchased by my late father, and was described as one of only three or four known, but we know that one in Christchurch has been lost - presumably burnt with rubbish.

In order to concentrate on postal history, it was decided to sell this stamp in the Mowbrays International Auction in Wellington, November 2009. Bidding reached NZ$27,000 + $4556.25 in buyers premium = NZ$ 31,556.25

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