Glossary: D


These are the very familiar, every-day postage stamps which feature the monarch’s head and are sold over a long period of time. The first low value definitives picturing Queen Elizabeth II are called Wildings because the portrait was taken by the firm of Dorothy Wilding, Ltd. The current portrait Queen’s Head has been used on definitive stamps since 1967 and is probably the most reproduced portrait of all time. This portrait was designed by Arnold Machin, so current definitive stamps are also known as Machins.
What was less well known until recently is that Machin designed his sculpture using a photograph of the Queen taken by Professor John Hedgecoe. In 2001, however, Professor Hedgecoe successfully took Royal Mail to court after it denied his part in designing the stamps. If you are interested in this history, you will enjoy our Wildings cover signed by Professor Hedgecoe. From 2005, Buckingham Covers has produced covers marking new definitives.


This refers to the postage value given on a stamp such as 20p or £1.12. Sometimes stamps are issued with non-value indicators (NVIs) such as “1st class”. However, NVI values are periodically reviewed. When all the postage values on one cover are added together, that gives the face value of the cover. For example, the Woodland Animals cover illustrated here has a face value of £1.40 (5 first class stamps worth 28p each).

Dorothy Wilding

Dorothy Wilding was the photographer who took the image of Queen Elizabeth II used on the firstdefinitives of her reign in the early 1950’s and 1960’s. They became known as ‘Wildings’.


The term “double” simply refers to a cover have two of something. It can be used to describe the number of signatures (a “double-signed” cover has been signed by two different people) or the number of postmarks (a “double-postmarked” cover has two different postmarks). A double-postmarked cover often commemorates two different but relevant dates. For example, our Icons of 1969 cover illustrated here is postmarked twice on the last day of Concorde and on the date of the last Blue Ribband crossing of the QE2.