Rare Post Boxes

A few years ago I wrote my first post about post boxes – the ones you post letters in, not the mailboxes that belong to a house – and how many different ones there are. Recently I tracked down a couple of  Queen Victoria post boxes in my area and even more exciting (I know, it’s the nerd in me) I found a rare Edward VIII post box in the village where my daughter lives, so I got her to go and photograph it for me.

Britain got her first post boxes during the 1850s and shortly after the Post Office quickly settled on using the cipher of the reigning monarch on all letter boxes.

Cast Iron Queen Victoria Wall Mounted Post Box (1837 – 1901)

St Michael’s Mount Wall Mounted Post Box

VR stands for Victoria Regina, Regina being Latin for queen, denoting that Queen Victoria was monarch when the box was installed.

Below is the VR cipher that is found on Victorian pillar boxes – this one is located in Penzance. And if you look at my original post you will see the more elaborate VR cipher on the Penfold boxes.

Below is an example of the short-lived King Edward VIII – EVIIIR – cipher. King for less than a year, (Jan – Dec 1936) these are the rarest of the royal ciphers to locate.

So the only monarch I am missing from my collection is one from the reign of Edward VII  (1901 – 1910). There are several in London and also Norfolk and Merseyside, but only one in Cornwall. Looks like I am going to have to track that one down!

There are over 800 different types of post boxes in the UK alone. Perhaps you have an unusual one to share? If you do then please post it and link to this one in the comments or via a pingback. I’d love to see it.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

43 thoughts on “Rare Post Boxes”

    1. I have just read your post on the Aussie post boxes! Another bit of history I had not realised. I’ll definitely keep a look out for them where ever I go! Thanks for sparking an interest.

  1. Ever since you first posted, I’ve had my eye tuned in to Victorian post boxes. Here in Ripon and area there turn out to be quite a few, as befits a smallish market town.

  2. Eddie the eighth is a rare post-box indeed! I’m surprised they didn’t scrap them when they found out about his traitorous deals with Hitler.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

  3. The VR and your mention of Penzance reminds me of the finale of “The Pirates of Penzance”:
    —On your allegiance we’ve a stronger claim.
    We charge you yield, we charge you yield,
    In Queen Victoria’s name!
    —You do?
    —We do!
    —We charge you yield,
    In Queen Victoria’s name!
    —We yield at once, with humbled mien,
    Because, with all our faults, we love our Queen.
    —Yes, yes, with all their faults, they love their Queen.

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