The first Queen Elizabeth II stamps were produced when the General Post Office commissioned well known photographer Dorothy Wilding to capture a suitable image of the the Queen shortly after her ascension to the throne. The photo ultimately chosen was a profile of the Queen wearing a crown which would continue to be the photograph of choice on the stamps for the next fifteen years. Today, Queen Elizabeth II stamps from this time period are known as "The Wildings".
While the General Post Office has it's own process for developing and approving stamps and their associated designs, the ultimate approval lies with the Queen herself. All stamp designs are presented to her and must receive royal approval before the General Post Office can begin production of the stamps. Since the inception of "The Wilding" style stamps, more iterations of Queen Elizabeth II stamps have been produced. There are numerous options when considering purchasing a Queen Elizabeth II stamp including time period, design, and quality of the stamp which all influence the final price of the product. Buyers should be aware of the different choices available to them to ensure they make the best purchasing decision to suit their needs.
History of the Elizabeth II Stamps
Queen Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of the Commonwealth realms. The Commonwealth realms include the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Jamaica. Queen Elizabeth II succeeded her father in 1952, thus necessitating new stamps. The first version of Queen Elizabeth II stamps were the Wilding issues. Wilding issues were used until 1967. One June 5, 1967 Machin issues were introduced. Machin issues are very simple designs, with one solid colour background. Machin issues fell into such favour amongst the British people that they implanted themselves as the most commonly used stamp of the United Kingdom.
Variations in Machin Issues
Although Machin issues persist as the stamp of choice in the United Kingdom, the design has seen many different variations. For example, the background colours have changed and were printed in limited quantities. There have also been extensive changes to the printing process and well educated collectors can identify subtle differences that resulted from the different processes used to create the stamp. Amongst Queen Elizabeth II stamp specialists, there may be hundreds of varieties that are undetectable to the laymen.
Cost of Mint Condition Elizabeth II Stamps
Since Elizabeth II stamps are typically very common and are in circulation, it is possible to obtain a mint condition Elizabeth II stamp for literally, the cost of one stamp. However, the versions of the stamp that are currently being used are not of much value to the enthusiast or collector. Instead, collectors value the versions of the stamp that are more rare or unique. These can range in price from very affordable to extremely expensive. Queen Elizabeth II stamps are an essential part of any legitimate stamp collection, putting them in high demand among sophisticated collectors.
Condition of Elizabeth II Stamps
Mint condition stamps are those stamps which are in its original state of issue. This means although the stamp may be old, it is unused and has all of the original adhesive still affixed to it. Ironically, a mint condition stamp may appear to be in poor condition to more casual buyers. Mint condition stamps may be damaged, but is still considered to be in mint condition as long as it is unused. There are also variations of mint condition which include mint hinged,, mint mounted, mint no gum, unmounted mint, and mint never hinged..
Mint vs. Used Condition
Mint stamps are almost always more valuable than stamps in a lesser condition. This results from the fact that very few stamps are bought without the intention of being used, therefore few unused stamps survive long enough to accrue any value. Also, stamps may be damaged when used in the mailing process, so mint condition stamps are often in better overall condition. In some limited instances, used stamps may be more valuable than mint condition stamps. This occurs when a collector's edition was issued and more collectors retained the stamps than the amount of stamps actually used for mailing purposes.
Stamp Collecting Market
A seemingly infinite number people engage in stamp collecting all around the world. This is advantageous to both buyers and sellers because there is such an active market where individuals can buy, sell, or trade their goods. Many clubs and organisations are directly dedicated to stamp collecting, including numerous clubs that specifically deal with Elizabeth II stamps. These are best utilised when the buyer is seeking an extremely difficult to find, or rare type of stamp, because dealers and brokers charge an ultra-premium price. For prospective buyers who are new to the hobby or seeking more popular stamps, they are often easy to find and are usually reasonably priced.
For newer buyers, stamp appraisers and appraisals are a great way to test your knowledge. As a prospective buyer, it's always recommended to consult either an individual stamp appraiser, or an appraisal business, in order to confirm that a stamp is in fact worth as much as the buyer believes it should be. When choosing a stamp appraiser, prospective buyers should seek those accredited by either the American Philatelic Society (APS), or the American Stamp Dealers Association (ASDA). Many appraisers may actually charge a nominal fee to assist prospective buyers in their search for the perfect stamp. To newer buyers who aren't looking for rare and expensive stamps, or are indifferent in regards to the authenticity of the stamps, this service may be unnecessary. However, for buyers who are on the cusp of spending a lot of money, it may be prudent to consult a professional to ensure that they get what they pay for.
Types of Mint Condition Elizabeth II Stamps
There a handful of different types of Elizabeth II stamps available on the market. The Wilding and Machin types have their own subsets of stamp versions to choose from as well. There are decimal low value and decimal high value stamps, which are directly related to the decimal currency that was used. The decimal values were just a way of identifying the stamp, much like a serial number. A small number of pre-decimal value stamps exist, and these are typically much more valuable. There are also limited edition stamps with a variety of colours and backgrounds for those collectors that are more interested in aesthetics that appeal to them personally. Though many different types exist, most have the same basic look of Queen Elizabeth's profile, as only two base models have ever been produced.
How to Buy Mint Condition Elizabeth II Stamps on eBay
eBay has a wide variety of mint condition Elizabeth II stamps available for potential customers to browse through. With their wide selection of types and prices, eBay makes for a great place for both new and experienced buyers to begin their search for the perfect stamp. A general search is most often a good starting point because it provides prospective buyers with the broadest range of results. This type of search can be performed by simply typing into the search box on any of the eBay pages, words related to the product, such "Elizabeth II stamp" or "mint condition Elizabeth II stamp". Buyers who have already narrowed their search to something more specific, may include those terms in the search, such as "Maching" or "Wilding".
Queen Elizabeth II is arguably one the most influential figures in British history. Rightfully, many stamps have been produced to commemorate her rule and her many achievements. She began her role as Queen in 1952 and has certainly left her mark on the world. Stamp collectors around the world value and appreciate stamps that depict her. Interestingly, although there have been many versions of stamps produced related to Queen Elizabeth II, most of them are very visually similar. This makes it even more important for prospective buyers to educate themselves because often the difference between a valuable and an average stamp are very nuanced and difficult to discern.
Mint condition stamps are the most highly prized by collectors, and often demand the highest price. New and experienced buyers alike should not be shy about consulting with stamp appraisers to avoid costly purchasing mistakes. The positive side is that there is a healthy and active market surrounding stamps which virtually guarantees buyers should be able to find the stamp that fits their needs and budget. Mint Condition Elizabeth II stamps are an attractive and valuable addition to any stamp collection and buyers can be assured that eBay provides the most options, both in terms of price and style.