West Africa Study Circle       


Collecting Gold Coast / Ghana: Pictorial definitives 1928-1952


Victorian material

EVII, GV Keyplates

Pictorial definitives 1928-1952

QE2 and early independence

Decimal period

pictorial GV
pictorial defs 1
pictorial defs 2

Until 1928 De La Rue had printed all issues for the Colony, but following a competition to design a stamp distinctive to Gold Coast, Harrison and Son were selected to print a set featuring Christiansborg Castle at Accra (fig. 8). Postal stationery items that were usually redesigned only for a change of monarch were also updated to incorporate this new design.
The Crown Agents were solely responsible for ordering and despatching stamps to each colony and in 1935 created the first omnibus issue to celebrate George V's Silver Jubilee. Gold Coast joined in this collective issue and indeed successive issues for the 1937 Coronation, 1946 Victory, 1948 Royal Silver Wedding and 1949 75th Anniversary of the Universal Postal Union. By the time of issue of these sets there were literally hundreds of post offices in Gold Coast and these larger stamps afford a good opportunity for collecting the wide variety of postmarks available. (Ref. 4).

Because the volume of mail had grown to include air, sea and land routes by the time that the Second World War arrived the disruption was greater. All letters, both civil and military, leaving Gold Coast were censored and there are a wide variety of censor marks to collect (fig. 9). West Africans were very generous in raising funds for allied aircraft and special Spitfire Fund labels were printed for that purpose of which only a small number seem to have survived on cover (also fig. 9). Volunteer forces were raised and Royal West African Frontier Forces saw service in East Africa and Burma.

The stamps of the first Christiansborg Castle set (1928) were of an equal size to the earlier key plate issues. However, in 1938 the first definitive set for George VI incorporating new drawings of the Castle was printed by Bradbury Wilkinson on larger format stamps (fig. 10). In 1948 there was a significant development when the second George VI set was introduced with a different picture on each of the twelve stamps.

Ref 4. Gold Coast Postmarks 1875-1957 (3rd Edition)– I Anderson, WASC