2019 marked the anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two. That conflict had a dramatic impact on life in Britain, and some of those changes are captured in this limited edition display set – The WWII Emergency Banknote and Stamp Limited Edition Set. At the centre of the display is a British £1 note the likes of which you may have never seen before.
DISTINCTIVE WORLD WAR TWO £1 NOTE FOILS NAZI PLOT
Many of us remember the days before 1988 Britain still had a £1 note in circulation. Although that 1980’s note was much smaller than it’s earlier 20th century counterpart, it had the same familiar green colour scheme that had featured on every single pound issued since 1922.
Every pound that is, except a special emergency issue released very early in World War Two.
Even before war broke out in September 1939 Treasury officials were concerned that the Germans were going to forge British currency. As it happens, these fears were realised in 1942 when it was found the Nazis were using forced labour in their prison camps to create millions of pounds worth of notes, intending to air-drop them over Britain permanently de-stabilising the economy.
However, the Bank of England took swift action and in March of 1940, just seven months after the outbreak of war, a dramatically different £1 note was released into circulation, rendering useless any old-style green coloured notes that may have been forged.
These new emergency issue notes had a distinctive blue and pink colour scheme.
They were also the first British notes to feature a security thread running through the paper. So successful was this security measure that it became a permanent feature of British bank notes, and is still found in our paper £20 and £50 notes of today.
These £1 notes in the wartime colour scheme of blue and pink were issued for the duration of the war, finally being replaced by the original green style notes from before the war in 1948.
With this swift action the Bank of England headed off almost certain economic chaos at the hands of a German plot.
An original of this blue and pink coloured wartime £1 notes is included in this new limited edition display. Although circulated, it is in presentable condition, especially given its age.
SPECIAL WARTIME ISSUE BRITISH STAMPS
The impact of war was also visible on Britain’s postage stamps. It quickly became evident that resources needed to be conserved and at every given opportunity.
With this aim, the six lowest value postage stamps were all printed with lighter coloured backgrounds to conserve ink. This may seem trivial at first, but in an era before electronic communications, when virtually everything was sent by post, the savings were quite considerable. The result is that for a short two year period, 1941-1942, the ½d, 1d, 1½d, 2d, 2½d and 3d stamps were all in ‘muted’ colours.
The WWII Emergency Banknote and Stamp Limited Edition Set includes a full set of all six different stamps, and all of them in unused, mint condition.
The final items included in this special WWII Emergency Banknote and Stamp Limited Edition Set are the nation’s tribute to Sir Winston Churchill. His impact on the conduct of the war and on Britain’s resolve cannot be understated.
When he died in 1965 the world mourned: he was given the honour of a state funeral, a tribute usually reserved only for the monarch, and at the time it was the largest in world history, with representatives from 112 nations in attendance.
Britain released two stamps in commemoration of this great man – a 4d and 1s3d values – and both are included in this set. They are also in unused, mint condition.