Coils and coil leaders

Coils and coil leaders

Stamps were printed for use in machines, by guillotining the sheet printings, and were delivered from the printers in rolls, or coils. These varied in value and denomination, and identification was put on a wrapper fixed to each roll. This wrapper is known as a coil leader, as the first stamp of each roll is attached to this strip of paper.

½d green coil leader

The information contained on the wrapper is :-
  • Red wax seal : This is the official seal placed on the delivered roll by the Post Office Supply Department, and is only removed when the roll is installed in a machine.
  • 5 : Positional row number showing the row on the sheet from which the roll was made up. This is a printer's reference.
  • Harrisons : Printer's name
  • (Y) : Stock Letter, the Printer's identification for the type of roll
  • 1,920 : The number of stamps in the roll.
  • ½d : the denomination of the stamp.
  • Delivery...: Instructions for installing in the machine.
  • Price £4 : Total value of the roll for costing.
  • GVI : The monarch whose image appears on the stamp, in this case George the Sixth.

Two more examples of ½d coil leaders, but on the later stamp issue of 1941 the pale green, instead of the dark green.

½d coil leaders

1d red coil leader

The differences in this coil leader are the Identification letter (Z) for the 1d value, the positional row (10) and the total value £8. The paper of the coil leader was usually the same colour as the stamp. These coil leaders are becoming quite scarce, and it is very difficult to get a complete run of the leaders of any one value with the positional numbers of from 1 to 12.

coil join 4d stamp

Rolls of stamps which are not continuously printed, are made up by joining rows of stamps from sheets, the join being made with the sheet margin. The stamps were joined either vertically or horizontally for different types of vending and dispensing machines. The definitive stamps are 14mm wide and 19mm long, so a sideways-issuing machine has a larger centre core than the vertical issue. The horizontal join shown here on the 4d light ultramarine stamp is clearly visible.

This next example is of the 3d pale mauve, and the coil is also one joining the stamps horizontally, I do not have a vertically joined strip in the George VI collection. Note in these examples how the watermark is easy to see and identify.

coil strip 3d stamp

coil join 3d stamp

definitive stamps
Definitive stamps inverted watermarks
High Value stamps
Coil stamps and leaders
Sheet markings
Stamps in booklets
Forces Mail and Airletters
Commemorative issues
Wartime slogans

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