Britain's Most Successful Stamp

The Stamp Man

The Stamp Man

2018-10-29 13:06:46

The King George V High Value Seahorses (1913-39)

The stamp I have for you today is an all-time classic.

I recommend everyone should have this stamp in their collection.

It is, after all, Britain’s most successful stamp issue, with worldwide recognition.

It is a masterpiece of design and printing quality. As they say, they don’t make them like they used to!

Take a look for yourself…

It takes us back in time…

A time when Britain ruled the waves and commanded the largest empire in history.

One noble piece of paper that encapsulated the meaning of being “proud to be British”.

It was first printed on the cusp of World War I.

The stamp depicts Britannia being pulled through the waves by a powerful team of horses accompanied by a striking portrait of King George V.

The imagery of the stamp made a bold statement to the world. In a way, it was designed as a small piece of propaganda.

Britain remained all-powerful, defiant and in command of the seas at that time of Anglo-German naval tensions.

It also marks a major turning point in history…

Soon Britain would be thrown into the First World War and millions would die in a most horrific period of history. Ultimately, this would mark the beginning of the end of the might of the British Empire.

This history is one of the reasons the Seahorse stamps have an iconic status amongst collectors to this day.

The longest reigning stamp

The Seahorse stamps were the most successful British stamps ever issued.

They were in circulation longer than any other British high value stamp for 26 years from 1913 to 1939.

They truly define King George V’s monarchy in one simple picture.

They were so popular they were overprinted across the empire in Ireland, Bechuanaland, British Levant, Morocco Agencies and Nauru.

A beauty to behold

The intricacy of the design is the credit of the renowned Australian sculptor, Bertram Mackennal.

King George V, an avid collector himself, personally approved the designs.

They are beautifully engraved, being produced by the intaglio recess printing method. This meant they were of higher quality than most stamps before and after. You can really feel the engraved lines indented into the paper.

Four printing contractors were used (Waterlow & Layton, De La Rue, Bradbury Wilkinson and Waterlow & Sons).

Well-centred mint Seahorse stamps with full original gum are scarce and highly sought after by specialised collectors. Very fine neatly cancelled used examples are even scarcer.

With four different printers involved and a wide range of shades to hunt for (due to the difficulty in buying printing inks during the First World War), Seahorses are a collecting area in their own right.

They are so popular that many collectors in the past and today have focussed their entire collection on just this stamp issue.

A major collection of Seahorse stamps (“The Leonard Licht Collection”) is appearing in auction next month. It will be interesting to see price realisations and whether this high profile sale proves a catalyst for prices to rise of Seahorse stamps.

Limited availability 

As I said, it is not easy to find high quality well centred examples of this finest of British stamps.

I have managed to secure two exquisite quality Seahorse stamps for you.

1915 10 shilling deep blue, De La Rue printing, SG411 (specialised catalogue number N70(2))

This is one of the hardest examples to find, being a rare deep blue shade, printed in 1915 by the famous printers, De La Rue.

It is even rarer due to its perfect quality:

  1. Very fine and fresh
  2. Unmounted with full original gum
  3. Full perforations
  4. Superb centring 

In other words, it is in the finest condition you could find.

The stamp has shown its investment pedigree. The SG catalogue price at the turn of the century was £1,750. It is listed in the most recent SG catalogue at a price of £5,500 ($7,306).

That works out at 214% growth over 18 years. To put that into context, it would be comparable to putting your money in a bank that paid you 7% interest at the end of each year for the past 18 years.

You can see why so many more people are turning to stamps and other collectibles as an alternative to having money festering in low interest bearing bank accounts.

I am able to offer you this stamp at the discounted price of £5,000 ($6,641) (9% discount to SG catalogue price). This is a good deal. A premium on the SG catalogue price could be justified based on the exceptional quality of this example. 


Your second option is a superb used example…

1913 £1 Green (deep shade), Waterlow printing, SG403. Accompanied by certificate of authenticity from Royal Philatelic Society (RPS).

As I said earlier, quality used examples are even rarer than mint examples. They are very scarce in such superb quality as this one.

The £1 stamp value was dropped when the printing contract was moved from Waterlow & Layton to De La Rue. The £1 Seahorse has an almost mythical air amongst collectors.

Despite their rarity, used Seahorses have not proven quite as strong an investment in recent history. The SG catalogue price for this stamp at the turn of the century was £1,080, (including the 35% premium for well-centred, lightly used).

The most recent SG catalogue shows it valued at £1,890 ($2,510), (up 75% in 18 years).

In my opinion, used high quality examples of the £1 Seahorse are very reasonably priced considering their rarity. As such, there is plenty room for significant price appreciation in the future.

I am able to offer you this stamp at the discounted price of £1,500 ($1,992) (21% discount to SG catalogue price). I would be surprised if this one doesn’t sell quickly at this price.


Every collection deserves a Seahorse.

Last Chance

This is your chance to secure Britain’s most successful stamp and an important piece of philatelic history.

Call us today on +44(0)1534 639998.

Or email me directly at

Kind regards


Mike Hall

CEO, Just Collecting

PS. Did you know… King George V, Britain’s most famous stamp collector, spent three afternoons a week on his stamp collection.

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