GB Overprints Society

GB postage dues (unauthorised provisional)

For one day (maybe two) in 1951 the postmaster in Bury St Edmunds overcame a temporary shortage of 1d postage due stamps by handstamping the 1d definitive stamp. Robson Lowe (1952) states that “Underpaid mails received on June 6 and up to the first delivery on June 7 (when he was instructed to stop using them) bore these stamps cancelled with the Bury St. Edmunds date stamp”.

It is possible that the postmaster was attempting to follow the strict letter of the Post Office regulations which requires that no item on which postage due is to be collected can be delivered “unless it bears Postage Due Labels to the amount of the surcharge”. The issue should therefore be treated as “unofficial” but “genuine”, i.e. not just for philatelic purposes.

None of the sources explain what caused this particular demand for 1d postage due charges on this date. The only change in postal rates recorded which could have caused it was a rise in the basic “printed paper” rate from 1d to 1½d on 1 June 1951. The demand for about 100 copies to be used in just one day at a single post office suggests that there was a mass-mailing of some kind, which would fit this hypothesis.

Note: this numbering system was drawn up by the Society for the website, and may not be used without permission.

King George VI

7 June 1951

GB G6 postage due 200

(image courtesy of Bill Barrell)

1          1d blue definitive handstamped “POSTAGE DUE”, unofficial overprint

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page last updated: 13 November 2006

gbos: GB Overprints Society