Wilding Low Values from Sheets


This exhibit provides a detailed study of the first low value definitive issues during the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom. The title 'Wildings' given to these issues is derived from Dorothy Wilding, the proprietor of the photographic studio responsible for taking the initial portrait of The Queen.

The first stamps issued were the 1½d and 2½d values on 5 December 1952. A total of 18 different denominations were produced, the last being the 4½d on 9 February 1959. The series was replaced from 1967 with the introduction of the Machin series. Values which had not previously sold out were withdrawn from sale on 27 February 1970 and were demonetised on 1 March 1972.

As well as three different watermarks, the life of this series coincided with technology changes aimed at automation of the handling of mail. The introduction of graphite lines, fluorescent paper and different phosphor inks ensured that there is ample opportunity for study.

The structure of this exhibit is straightforward:
  • designs
  • general features
  • analysis of each denomination in turn
    • cylinders used
    • varieties
    • sample usages.
The complexity of this subject is immense, and in these pages it is only possible to cover the sheet printings; hence stamps produced in booklets and coils are excluded from this exhibit.

The Post Office archive at the Postal Museum in London provides an immensely important resource for researchers. This archive tells us that there were 286 cylinders produced covering the 18 denominations, printing 346.5 million panes of 240 stamps.

Items of greatest importance are highlighted by captions in red ink.


It is remarkable how little has been published on this important series of stamps. This leaves considerable scope for original research.

Allen G., "The Wildings. The First Elizabeth II Definitives", British Philatelic Bulletin Supplement No. 9, 2002.
Klempka E., The Dollis Hill Find, GBPS, Sutton Coldfield, 2013.
Muir D.N., A Timeless Classic - The Evolution of Machin's Icon, BPMA, London, 2007.
POST 52/735, "Record of storage and destruction of plates and cylinders ...", Postal Museum archives.
Rigo de Righi A. & Farrugia J., "The Wilding Designs", British Philatelic Bulletin, pp158-161, Vol. 23 No. 8 April 1986.
Stanley Gibbons Great Britain Specialised Catalogue Volume 3 Queen Elizabeth Pre-Decimal Issues, 12th Edition, Ringwood, 2006.
Walton F.L., "Wildings 1952 to 1967", British Philatelic Bulletin, series in four parts, Vol 55., Feb-May 2018.


Frame 1

  1. Title Page
  2. Introduction
  3. Portrait
  4. Border Essay
  5. Unadopted Essays
  6. Complete Essay
  7. Proofs
  8. Designs
  9. Designs
  10. Watermarks
  11. Perforation
  12. Perforation
  13. Perforation
  14. Paper Fluorescence
  15. Graphite and Phosphors
  16. Dollis Hill Phosphor Trials
  17. Dollis Hill Phosphor Trials
  18. Printers
  19. Printers
  20. GPO Samples of Phosphor Stamps

Frame 2

  1. ½d Orange-Red
  2. ½d Orange-Red
  3. ½d Orange-Red
  4. ½d Orange-Red
  5. ½d Orange-Red
  6. 1d Ultramarine
  7. 1d Ultramarine
  8. 1d Ultramarine
  9. 1d Ultramarine
  10. 1d Ultramarine
  11. 1½d Green
  12. 1½d Green
  13. 1½d Green
  14. 1½d Green
  15. 1½d Green
  16. 1½d Green
  17. 2d Red-Brown and Light Red-Brown
  18. 2d Colour Change
  19. 2d Light Red-Brown
  20. 2d Light Red-Brown

Frame 3

  1. 2d Red-Brown
  2. 2d Red-Brown and Light Red-Brown
  3. 2d Light Red-Brown
  4. 2d Light Red-Brown
  5. 2d Red-Brown and Light Red-Brown
  6. 2d Light Red-Brown
  7. 2½d Carmine-Red
  8. 2½d Carmine-Red
  9. 2½d Carmine-Red
  10. 2½d Carmine-Red
  11. 2½d Carmine-Red
  12. Marginal Arrows
  13. 2½d Carmine-Red
  14. 2½d Carmine-Red
  15. 2½d Carmine-Red
  16. 2½d Carmine-Red
  17. 3d Deep Lilac
  18. 3d Deep Lilac
  19. 3d Deep Lilac
  20. 3d Deep Lilac

Frame 4

  1. 3d Deep Lilac
  2. 3d Deep Lilac
  3. 3d Deep Lilac
  4. 3d Deep Lilac
  5. 4d Ultramarine
  6. 4d Ultramarine
  7. 4d Ultramarine
  8. 4d Ultramarine
  9. 4d Ultramarine
  10. 4d Ultramarine
  11. 4½d Chestnut
  12. 4½d Chestnut
  13. 4½d Chestnut
  14. 4½d Chestnut
  15. 5d Brown
  16. 5d Brown
  17. 5d Brown
  18. 5d Brown
  19. 6d Purple
  20. 6d Purple

Frame 5

  1. 6d Purple
  2. 6d Purple
  3. 6d Purple
  4. 6d Purple
  5. 6d Purple
  6. 6d Purple
  7. 7d Bright Green
  8. 7d Bright Green
  9. 7d Bright Green
  10. 8d Magenta
  11. 8d Magenta
  12. 8d Magenta
  13. 8d Magenta
  14. 9d Bronze-Green
  15. 9d Bronze-Green
  16. 9d Bronze-Green
  17. 9d Bronze-Green
  18. 9d Bronze-Green
  19. 9d Bronze-Green
  20. 9d Bronze-Green

Frame 6

  1. 10d Prussian Blue
  2. 10d Prussian Blue
  3. 10d Prussian Blue
  4. 11d Brown-Purple
  5. 11d Brown-Purple
  6. 11d Brown-Purple
  7. 1s Bistre-Brown
  8. 1s Bistre-Brown
  9. 1s Bistre-Brown
  10. 1s Bistre-Brown
  11. 1s Bistre-Brown
  12. 1s Bistre-Brown
  13. 1s 3d Green
  14. 1s 3d Green
  15. 1s 3d Green
  16. 1s 3d Green
  17. 1s 6d Grey-Blue
  18. 1s 6d Grey-Blue
  19. 1s 6d Grey-Blue
  20. 1s 6d Grey-Blue