£1 Dual Currency Fonts , by John Gledhill
Published in Oct. 2014 "Postal Order News", Submitted by the Postal Order Society.
In PON 84 (p.17) Tony Whitehead illustrated the first recorded copy of a £1 with dual currency poundage, but with the large cursive “high value” font for the denomination £1 rather than the smaller font. In PON 85 (p.2 and front cover) Tony illustrated a further example of this scarce combination, this time overprinted for use in New Zealand.
Here, for comparison, are the scarce combination and the more usually expected format.
Figure 1 shows the more usual small font for “£1” used for dual currency, overprinted for Sierra Leone (Freetown, 9/2/72).
Figure 2 shows the item from PON 84, with the large cursive £1 font normally used for the higher values from £2 upwards. This example shows the poundage numerals deleted with a simple pen stroke, but not the word “Poundage”. It was issued in Willenhall, Staffs, on 11/7/71.
Figure 3 shows the similar item from PON 89, with the poundage deleted by a solid black bar – the slope of which suggests that this is a handstamp. It was issued in Cirencester, Glos, on 22/7/1971.
Figure 4 shows an example overprinted for use in New Zealand. The scan of the reverse shows the acorn watermark. This example was issued in Hamilton (NZ) on 12 Feb 1973. The revised reverse identifies it as Brill type BPO17.3, except that Michael Brill did not include the £1 value.
Figure 5 shows a similar item, issued in Auckland (NZ) on 24/10/1972.
Figure 6 shows the illustration from the front of PON 85, issued (as far as decipherable) in Petone on 20/4/1974.
It can immediately be seen that all of the examples except Figure 2 have serial prefix 1227 (Figure 2 has 1217). Less apparent is that the New Zealand overprints all use a taller narrower font than seen on any other New Zealand overprints.
Why should a special format overprint have been used? Possibly the larger font for £1 rendered the normal overprint unsuitable so a special setting was used. However this cannot be easily verified as no £1 dual currency postal orders with the smaller font have been recorded overprinted for New Zealand. (The Sierra Leone item in figure 1 is the only recorded example with any overprint.)
A further possibility is that the post office realised that this was not an intended combination of £1 font and dual currency, and used them up to overprint for New Zealand, after small numbers were released in the UK (figures 1 & 2).
Both UK examples are dated 1971, but the New Zealand items are much later.