KGV Stamps : 1d Green

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KGV Issues : 1d Green

Why Green?

The postal rate in 1914 for ordinary letters was 1d.  The colour chosen for the ordinary letter was copied from Great Britain, who’s base letter rate colour was red.  The penny red Kangaroo and the 1d red KGV engraved and surface printed issues were consequently developed.

In 1918, a war tax was introduced of 1/2d per article, which increased the base letter rate to 1-1/2d, however the 1d red stamp remained and the new 1-1/2d stamp was issued in the black brown, then red brown.  This remained until further revisions of the postage rate in 1920, when the base rate was increased to 2d and the 2d orange was issued for the task.

Until now the colours of stamps were as the Postmaster General decided, there were no rules.  However in 1922, the Universal Postal Union Congress in Madrid introduced a series of international rules relating to the colour of stamps for international postage.  The effect was that Australia needed to change the colour of her issues in order to comply with the international treaty.  Amongst the colour changes the 2d Orange changed to Red which was back to the original colour for the base rate postage.  The 1d issue, consequently had to change from Red and Violet was chosen.

This situation operated for a year until postage rates were again changed, this time reduced by 1/2d, and the base rate now became 1-1/d.   The 1-1/2d changed to Red and the 2d issue changed from Red to Brown, the 1d was changed from Violet to Green.   It so remained through 6 changes of watermark and perforation until 1936 and the succession of King George the Sixth.

The Issues

The six issues of watermark and perforation are;

Large Single Watermark

Introduced in 1924, perforation 14, the colour was officially sage-green.  The printing was generally as for the 1d Violet and the 1d Red before it, and the already defined printing varieties continued, but only the plates 3 and 4 were used for printing.  This is why, as the Die 2 variety was on plate 2, the Die 2 or other plate 1 or 2 varieties in the green issues do not exist, except for the important change in the Small Multiple printings as noted later.

Large Multiple Watermark and No Watermark Printings

Due to lack of deliveries of the Large Single watermarked paper from England in 1924, it was first decided to use up the remainder of the stock of Large Multiple watermark paper used in the 1918-19 printings for the 1d Green.  The supplies continued to be late and local unwatermarked paper was used for a separate printing of the Unwatermarked 1d Green.  Again only plates 3 and 4 were used for these two issues.

Small Multiple Watermark

This is by far the most interesting of all of the times and issues of the 1d Green.  The introduction of the new paper in 1926 coincided with the purchase of the new 13.5 x 12.5 comb perforator and the teething problems of the new machinery gave us both the perf 14 and 13.5 x 12.5 1d Green issues.

Right plates were used again exclusively until June 1928, when the Left plates were reintroduced.

Attempts were made by the Stamp Printers to improve the quality of the stamp issues, especially during the time of John Ash, 1927 to 1936.  One major impact was the concerted effort to remove all of the known varieties in the issues and repair them to make all stamps effectively the same.  This means to philatelists,  that the plate varieties are mostly removed bit by bit of the 10 years or so.  In 1927 the ‘RA join” was retouched, by Dec 1928, when the Left Plates had been in use for 6 months, all the Die 2 varieties had been repaired.  This is why Die 2 stamps only occur in the small multiple 13.5 x 12.5 and are rare only being in circulation for 6 months.

A further Guide will provide greater detail of this era.

C of A

From 1931, the 1d green appeared on C of A watermark.  All plates were used, but fewer varieties existed after Ash had worked hard to improve the quality.


The 1d Green was a long running stamp instance, over the 6 issues and 12 years of use, about 2 Billion stamps were printed. No wonder then that 1d Green KGV are more than plentiful.  I hope, however, by showing that there are many different varieties, and interesting cases within these 2 Billion stamps, other philatelists will develop an interest in these interesting issues.


Kellow G (2007) Australian Commonwealth Specialists Catalogue Sections 3, 4 and 5, King George V.
Rosemblum A A (1966) The Stamps of the Commonwealth of Australia
Australia Post ( undated) The 1913 – 14 Recess Printed Series and the King George V Sideface and Pictorial Definitive Stamps.

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