Lanarkshire Philatelic Society




Mr. Walter Simpson




"Fiji; The King George VI Definitives"


Mr. Andy Napier


The Lanarkshire Philatelic Society made visits to two very different parts of the world at their meeting on Friday evening. Walter Simpson led all to Gibraltar – a British Overseas Territory. It was explained that, in 1713, after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession in which the Anglo-Dutch fleet were victorious, Spain ceded the territory to Britain under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht.


In 1886 the first definitive stamps for Gibraltar were issued. These showed the head of Queen Victoria and were in values from ˝d to 1/-. In 1889, Spanish currency was introduced and the stamps were issued and printed in ‘Centimes’. This lasted till 1898 when British currency was reintroduced. Through the reigns of the next 4 kings, (Kings Edward VII; George V; George VI) a variety of definitive and commemorative stamps were issued - but no stamps were issued for Edward VIII. During 1918 the stamps (King George V) were overprinted with the words "War Tax". A set of stamps issued for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth ushered in her reign with new definitives and commemoratives. These included - among many others - stamp sets on Christopher Columbus; Prehistoric Wildlife; Birds of the Rock; Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson’s Death; Cruise Liners; Astronomy – and the Gibraltar Monkeys (Barbary Macaques) which live high on the mountain.


Throughout this display, Stamps, Covers, Miniature Sheets, Postmarks, Aerogrammes, Postal Stationery and postcards wonderfully presented and illustrated the postal history of "The Rock".


Members were them taken by Andy Napier to a remote island country in the Pacific Ocean – Fiji.  This was a specialised display – King George VI Definitives.  Information was given that in 1874 the British established the Colony of Fiji – it became independent in 1970.


The first King George VI definitive was issued on 5th April 1938 and a wonderful exhibit of Printers, Designers, watermarks and perforations of the stamps through the years was presented along with covers and postmarks. Also in 1938 the first pictorial stamp was issued – showing a design of the map of the islands that make up the country of Fiji. An interesting cover was that of a letter delivered by "Tin Can Mail" – passing steamers would seal inward mail in a 40lb biscuit tin and throw this overboard and a native "postman" canoeist would collect it! The display showed all the differing values of the stamps  – and the changes to the illustrations throughout the reign.  Registered Mail to and from Fiji was shown. The 30th November 1959 was the last day of use of the 5d issue – but the stock of stamps of this reign continued to be used to 1962.


The last pages of the display showed many errors on some of the sheets of stamps – the 1˝d 1938 stamp depicting an outrigger canoe with no-one sailing it – corrected in 1940; 1938  5d stamp of blue sugar cane was corrected in 1940 to yellow-green cane!


David Haig gave warm thanks for such a 2 wonderfully diverse and interesting displays presented by Walter Simpson and Andy Napier.


Our next meeting in the Caledonian Bowling Club, Motherwell Road, Hamilton, is on Friday, 29th September, 2023, at 7:30pm when Alan Rushworth will present his display of "Steamers".


Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.


More details of the Society’s programme - and much more information – can be obtained from our web site –