1966 World Cup Stamp

World Cup 1966

National jubilation greeted the English team’s victory in the 1966 Football World Cup, and The British Post Office announced a four penny commemorative stamp to mark the event (pictured).

Unfortunately, it also announced in advance that no more than 12 million copies would be printed.

At that time the normal daily usage of four penny stamps was 40 million, and panic ensued. People queued for the midnight launch at the Trafalgar Square post office, police were called out, windows were broken, there were unseemly scuffles, and throughout the country stocks were sold out on the day of issue.

Avid buyers toured sub-post offices cash in hand, and immediately – and for the first and only time – stamps were actually quoted on the stock exchange, rising from the face value of £2 a sheet to £30 on the same day. Meanwhile, dealers who were caught short had to offer ever higher prices for stocks to fulfil their normal standing orders.

A wonderful tale? No – within a short period the price had dropped again from two shillings and six pence to one shilling and six pence, and within the stamp trade to as low as ten pence once things had settled down.

Obviously buying at four pence and selling at five shillings was good news – but buying a sheet for £30 and discovering its value had dropped to £10 was not so funny, and many an unwary speculator had some harsh things to say about the stamp world.

Above: World Cup 1966 stamps with and without ‘England Winners’ text.

By Austin Cromie