Scotland 1st class regional

The Virtual GB Album

Pictorial Regionals

Scotland 1st class regional
Page 1
Scotland 1999

The pictorial definitives shown in this section of the Virtual GB Album are important for a number of reasons. First, they herald a departure from a 159-year tradition, starting with the Penny Black, of using the monarch as the main design element in low value definitives. Second, they probably indicate a movement towards colorful pictorials for all definitives, possibly eventually bringing an end to the ubiquitous Machin series.

Starting with the Penny Black in 1840, all definitives during Queen Victoria’s reign featured her portrait. The portrait was not only a symbol of Britain, it also acted as the identifier of the issuing country, since British stamps have never had a country name printed on them.

Although commemoratives were introduced in King George V’s reign in 1924, definitives retained the monarch’s portrait until 1951. At that time, during the time of King George VI, pictorial high values were introduced. Low values, however, retained the central portrait of the monarch.

Regional issues were originally suggested in 1946, but the first such issues did not appear until 1958. At that time, stamps were issued for six regions: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. (Royal Mail refers to these as “country stamps.”)

All of the regionals featured the Wilding portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that was then in use on national definitives. The portrait was surrounded by various symbols of each region.

Although the Wilding national definitives were replaced in 1967 with the simplified Machin design, the Wilding regionals continued in use until decimalization in 1971.

At that time, designer Jeffery Matthews adapted the Machin design for a new series of regionals. Matthews shrunk the Queen’s portrait and shifted it to the right. A single symbol at the upper left identified the region.

By then, Guernsey and Jersey had become postally independent, so decimal regionals were issued for the other four areas.

This basic design continued over the years, with stamps being issued as needed for new postal rates. The Isle of Man became postally independent in 1973, so no further regionals were issued for it after the initial group in 1971.

On June 8, 1999, Royal Mail discarded the Machin-Matthews design for Scottish and Welsh regionals. The long tradition of picturing the monarch on low-value definitives was abandoned.

The new stamps recognized the increasing self-government of the two regions. Earlier in the year, Wales elected its first National Assembly and the Scottish Parliament met for the first time in nearly 300 years.

On March 6, 2001, Royal Mail recognized the creation of the Northern Ireland Assembly with the release of pictorial definitives for Northern Ireland. On April 23, Royal Mail issued the first regional stamps for England, so citizens of each of the U.K.’s four major countries can use stamps for their own region. If a customer does not ask for a specific stamp, Royal Mail staff members are instructed to provide the new regionals to their customers.

The multicolored stamps each display a symbol of the region. A small cameo of the Queen in the upper right corner identifies these as British stamps, as it has on commemoratives since the 1960s.

There is no text on the stamps.
Scotland 2nd class Scotland 1st class
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Scotland 'E' Scotland 64p

These four Scottish stamps were designed by Tayburn. Three of the stamps are non-denominated, or non-value indicated (NVI), as they are called in Britain.

At the upper left, the stamp paying the second-class rate shows the Scottish flag. The design is taken from a painting by Anton Morris. The design of the flag is the Saltire Cross, a white x-shaped cross on a blue background. The flag is also known as the saltire. The Saltire Cross was the type of cross on which St. Andrew, Christ’s first convert and missionary, was crucified by the Romans in 60AD. In about 750AD, St. Rule of Patrae was told to take several bones of St. Andrew and travel to the westernmost part of the known world. He took them to a place near the present town of St. Andrews and erected a shrine.

Soon after, the Picts saw a huge saltire cross shining in the blue sky. Taking this as a divine omen, they defeated the Scots in battle and brought unity to what is now Scotland. The Cross of St. Andrew became the national flag of Scotland.

The stamp paying the first-class rate features a sculpture of the Scottish lion rampant by Frank Pottinger and Tim Chalk. The rampant position is rearing on the left hind leg with forelegs elevated and the right foreleg above the left. William, King of Scots (1165-1214) became known as William the Lion because he replaced the dragon on his arms with the lion rampant. Thereafter, a red lion rampant on a yellow background became the embloem of the Kings of the Scots.

The ‘E’ stamp at lower left pays the letter rate to Europe. It pictures a sculpture of a thistle, also by Pottinger and Chalk. The thistle became the national floral emblem of Scotland when a barefoot invader stepped on a thistle and screamed from the resulting pain, alerting the defenders to his whereabouts. The date and place where this occurred, however, is lost to history.

The 64p stamp, which pays the second weight step (10 to 20 grams) for overseas airmail, shows a tartan supplied by Kinloch Anderson of Leith, tartan suppliers to members of the Royal Family. The tartan, a patterned (checkered) woolen cloth, was first imported from France in the 14th century. It was first worn by the Highland Scots and became associated with Scottish clans and families towards the end of the 18th century.

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Last update: September 1, 2001 Copyright © 2001 by Larry Rosenblum Macintosh!