1965 CHURCHILL COMMEMORATION

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1965 CHURCHILL COMMEMORATION

(Issued 16th August, 1965)

In mid-1965 the Post Office issued a flyer announcing that “Rhodesia in common with many other countries in the world, will pay tribute to the life of the late Sir Winston Churchill by the issue of a commemorative postage stamp”1

The design and printing of the stamp was, as usual, contracted to Harrison & Sons.

The Stamp Design

Gibbons Stamp Monthly produced a article in its issue of December 1965 entitled “An Issue is Born – Rhodesia “Churchill” – 1965, the contents of which is replicated below

“Rhodesia, in common with many other countries in the world, paid tribute to the life of the late Sir Winston Churchill by the issue of a (1s. 3d.) commemorative postage stamp, on August 16th, 1965. Several countries, including Britain and the United States, depicted "Churchill the Bulldog" as portrayed by Karsh. The Commonwealth omnibus issue shows Churchill with "St. Paul's-in-the-Blitz ", a theme already featured in one of the Battle of Britain stamps. But H. E. Baxter of Harrisons was more ambitious. With the blessing of his employers and of the Rhodesian authorities he set about depicting Churchill as statesman, soldier and writer, three roles in which he particularly excelled and for which he will ever be remembered.

Churchill's portrait in black is dominant in the design. It is based on a copyright photograph of Fox Photos Ltd. of London, E.C.1, reproduced here by their kind permission. It shows an older, more serene Churchill than the one who scowled at Karsh's lens. The Houses of Parliament, sword and quill are symbols which can be readily interpreted, while the Queen's portrait is a familiar version by Dorothy Wilding (copyright owned by Tom Hustler Studios). Mr. Baxter's main difficulty, once having established Churchill's portrait on the right of the stamp, was the balanced composition of the three diversely shaped elements-Parliament, sword and quill - leaving room for the country name, inscriptions and value. It transpired that these were most effectively displayed.

Fox Photos Ltd photo of Churchill

Preliminary pencil sketch showed quill behind the Tower

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The comparison of the artist's first coloured rough with the completed artwork, both illustrated here, is extraordinarily interesting, showing as it does the development of his ideas and the significant changes in the style of the sword and the inscriptions. At first, Mr. Baxter had in mind a mourning stamp - hence the words "In memoriam" and the black border which appear on the rough, but which were

sub sequently omitted. The wor d

"POSTAGE" eventually filled the space originally occupied by the years representing Churchill's life span which were moved to the bottom panel. The Clock Tower housing the famous 131-ton bell, "Big Ben” and the adjoining Parliament House are drawn in finer detail in the final stage. The clock face shows 9 o'clock, reminding us of the several occasions when the wartime B.B.C. (evening) news broadcasts were preceded by a clarion call from the Nation's leader (the artist had intended to depict the exact time of Churchill's death - five minutes past eight).

In the preliminary sketches the quill pen was placed behind the Clock Tower, and in the first rough the artist drew what was intended to be the building's reflection in the waters of the Thames (seen close to the point of the quill) until it was realised that this view of the Houses of Parliament, as beheld from Parliament Square, hides the river which is behind the building. But it is the cere-monial sword which shows the most dramatic change. As first drawn it was a sabre with its curve the wrong way in relation to the hilt. The firm of Wilkinson Sword Ltd. provided the model which finally graced the stamp, an infantry ceremonial dress sword with finely engraved hilt inscribed “ER" and sharpened only at the tip. There is still a tremendous demand for swords, not only from their traditional users, the cavalry, and other branches of the military services but also from overseas. Finally the 3d face value became 1s3d, the most used airmail rate in Rhodesia.

The stamp has merit. The dangers of "clutter” have been considerably offset by rendering the Queen's portrait and the various symbols in a uniform blue. What is perhaps most important -

Final drawing of the Clock Tower

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everyone will recognise Churchill and what he stood for.”

The finished artwork

Post Office publicity brochure, with black and white picture of stamp to be issued. Back page contains an illustration of the First Day Cover,

the first to be issued by the Post Office.

THE ISSUED STAMP

Sir Winston Churchill

Catalogue Listings

SG2 RSC3 Value Description Print Colours

357 C66 1s3d Sir Winston Churchill Black & bright blue

a. “Scratch through Sword” flaw R2/1

Technical details

Stamp Sizes: 42 x 28 mm

Sheet size: 60 stamps (10 rows x 6 columns)

Artist: Harry Baxter of Harrison & Sons

Cylinders: 1A

Paper: Harrison & Sons, unwatermarked white paper with clear gum

(R C Smith describes the paper as “Pure white unwatermarked. Coated No. 3,

pure Arabic gummed”)4

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Perforations: Comb perforation 14¼ (SG 14½ - Mash Guide 14 x 14¼)

Imprint block: Bottom margin below columns 3 & 4 printed in black

Cylinder numbers: Bottom margin below column 5

Colour register: Boxed square “traffic light” in sheet edge bottom margin, below column 1 Sheet value: Top margin above column 1, printed in black

Sheet number: Separately printed left margin opposite row 1

Print numbers: 1s3d 436,000 (of which 20,000 were subsequently overprinted “Independence” in 1966)

(none of these numbers divide exactly into the number of stamps per sheet – 60)

Issue date: 16th August, 1965 (Notice No 4 of 1965) Withdrawal from sale: 15th October, 1965 (Notice No 4 of 1965)

Demonetarisation date: 1st February, 1969

Varieties

Below are varieties documented or seen, starting with the listed varieties within the Mash Guide4 (within yellow shaded tables), and those listed in the Rhodesia Stamp Catalogue3 and Stanley Gibbons2. The varieties in bold listed are considered by the authors of the Mash Guide to be the more important. Where possible, illustrations of the main varieties are shown.

Row Column Variety Stamp scan

1 1 Black spot on lower eye-lid of right eye

2 1

White diagonal line from quill, through sword-hilt, ending near right shoulder. Th C6-E8.

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2 6 White dot at 5 o'clock from bottom of Queen's

portrait. Th E3

4 6 Small flaw touching top of guard on

sword-hilt. Th B8

7 3 White mark between the Queen's eyebrows

9 6 Star in sky between quill and sword hilt. Th

C6

10 2 White mark on Queen's forehead just under the

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10 3 Small screen flaw to right of Queen's mouth.

Th C3

Unlisted varieties

Shift of black plate to left, giving white outline to part of Churchill’s portrait

Black printing appears over inked, or this could be a double print as there is a shadow to the value and country name.

(courtesy of Dave Trathen) Large black smudge bottom left corner

(courtesy of Dave Trathen)

Two vertical black smudges with white circles in middle.

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Vertical black smudges with white circles in middle.

(courtesy of Dave Trathen)

Black smudges to churchill’s forehead

(courtesy of Dave Trathen)

Block of 4 with multiple black smudges, including three with white circles in the middle.

(Source: Sotheby’s auction Johannesburg 13 May, 2008)

Smudging of blue ink from handle

(courtesy of Dave Trathen)

Thin blue line running through stamp and into margin

(courtesy of Dave Trathen) Black line running at slight angle through “Rhodesia” of both values. R3/1&2

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Black line running through “Rhodesia”

(courtesy of Dave Trathen)

White line caused by paper wrinkle or fold during printing

(courtesy of Dave Trathen) Thread on paper during printing causing squiggle

on Churchill’s forehead

(courtesy of Dave Trathen)

White patch in blue printing behind ‘TA’ of ‘Postage’, R1/6

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Presentation cards

Card with set of stamps Presented to

His Excellency the Governor of Rhodesia Hon. Sir Humphrey Gibbs K.C.M.G.,

C.B.E.

With the compliments of Lt. col. C.R. Dickenson, C.M.G

Postmaster- General

(Courtesy of Rod Kantor)

First Day Covers

The Post Office produced its first cover with this issue (Cover 27.1). In addition, other covers were produced privately, some of which come in different sizes. The cover numbering comes from the catalogue produced by Geoff Brakspear. Some of these covers are generic and used in several countries as the Churchill commemoration was seen as an ‘omnibus’ issue.

Cover 27.1 (Post Office)

197 x 127mm

Cover 27.2.1

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~ 10 ~ Cover 27.2.2 152 x 90 mm Cover 27.3 162 x 115 mm Cover 27.4 136 x 109 mm Cover 27.5 194 x 126 mm Cover 27.6 164 x 93 mm Cover 27.7 152 x 90 mm Cover 27.8 165 x 91 mm Cover 27.9 167 x 94 mm

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165 x 94 mm

RELATED MATERIAL

Spink Auction 29 April to 1st May 2014 Lot 1542

1974 Churchill birth centenary 14c photographic essay with the lower portion of the design hand painted in emerald green, affixed to further piece of photographic paper with simulated perforation (Est £600-800)

Issue not released

Bibliography

1. Post Office flyer

2. Southern & Central Africa – Commonwealth Stamp Catalogue published by Stanley Gibbons Ltd, 2nd Edition, 2014

3. The Rhodesia Stamp Catalogue 1983/84, published by Salisbury Stamp Company

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