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stamp printers by country

Companies E to K 

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    = Understood to be a current stamp printer.

Companies A-D       Companies L-R 
Companies S-Z


Eureka Printing Company

[George E] Eyre & [William] Spottiswood
Founded: 1724.

The company, started in 1724 by George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswood, became "printers to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty".

This firm of traditional book printers went into administrative receivership in 1995. They had produced several stamp-like labels promoting themselves and it is assumed that they were for use as part of a stamp printing tender process. There is no evidence that they ever produced postage stamps.

Format International Security Printers Limited, London.
Founded: [when?].
First stamp(s) traced by compiler: [when?].
Main printing process(es): Litho.

The catalogue for the Format Archive sale contained everything that was currently under the control of the liquidator; whilst the Metropolitan Police held a section containing St. Vincent and her dependencies. A sad end for a well-known British stamp printer.

Hanbury, Tomsett & Company, London.
First stamp(s) traced by compiler: 1932 (postal seals) for British Forces in Egypt.

Herbert Wood Hanbury co-founded Hanbury, Tomsett & Co. He was born in Leeds on 22 June 1876 and died in action on 17 September 1916.

Harrison and Sons Limited, London, Hayes and High Wycombe.
Abbreviation known by: H&S.
Founded: 1750.

Harrison and Co, 1839-1849, printers
Harrison and Son, 1849-1854, printers
Harrison and Sons, 1854-1920, printers
Harrison and Sons Ltd, 1920-1997, printers
First stamp(s) traced by compiler: 1881. Last stamp printed 1997.

Company origins can be traced back to Richard Harrison who, in 1557, was recorded as a freeman of "the mystery and art of printing". The company was founded: by James Harrison in London in 1750 and, until 1997, traded under the name of Harrison. The company logo changed over the years, but it invariably retained the hare, rye and sun play on words.

Harrison has produced stamps for over 100 countries, including all British postage stamps from 1934 until the 1980s.

In 1997, the De La Rue (DLR) group purchased Harrison's and, almost overnight, centuries of tradition were washed away as the company changed its name to De La Rue Security Print. There is clearly no room for sentiment in big business. A press release issued a while after take-over read:

"Harrisons gets vote of confidence from De La Rue: Harrison & Sons, High Wycombe, lives on in a major reorganisation announced by De La Rue, the giant international cash to cards group last week.

In a massive strategy review following De La Rue's purchase of Harrisons in mid-February, there were fears that the Harrison works could be vulnerable. In fact, De La Rue is to close its Dunstable factory and that security business will transfer to High Wycombe which will see substantial refurbishment.

However, Harrisons will lose banknote printing, which will move to Gateshead and other world-wide currency locations. Travellers' cheques will move from Gateshead to Washington and Harrisons, while all personal cheques will be manufactured at Peterborough.

Across the group there will be 400 redundancies with a significant number of employees transferring from the closed Dunstable factory to High Wycombe."

It had been rumoured in the collecting world that, aside from union-related problems at Harrison's which helped see its sale, DLR were not happy at the steady inroads being made into what they saw as 'their' bank note printing business. Harrison's are believed to have secured (stolen) a volume of around five percent of possible world-wide banknote printing business from DLR. One of the first changes at High Wycombe under the restructuring was the removal of all banknote printing capacity to the DLR Gateshead factory!

The last British commemorative issue under the Harrison name was the 1998 'Queen's Beasts' issue, which had been printed in readiness the previous year. The British definitive series of so-called 'Machin's' continued to use the Harrison imprint in the margins due to the heavy cost of changing cylinders. They gradually changed over to a DLR imprint from late 1998. So ended a proud era in British security printing.

Holders Security Press, London.
First stamp(s) traced by compiler: [when?] for Tanzania.

The House of Questa Limited, London and Byfleet.
Founded: I
June 1966 as Questa Colour Limited, then briefly Questa Colour Security Printers Limited and finally it was renamed The House of Questa Limited in 1969 to bring all company subsidiaries together under one name.
First stamp(s) traced by compiler: 1970 for Trinidad and Tobago (Carnival).

Main printing process(es): Litho, die-cut, gravure, hexachrome.

In June 1966, Questa was born. The founding directors were Wally Rodgers, Ken McAllen and Charles Haswell, who started business with a single colour Heidelberg lithographic press and a large bank overdraft!

The name of the company comes from "Quest" which means to seek, to aim, to have ambition and to explore. The balloon symbol, adopted as their logo, encompasses that image in The House of House of Questa.

Quality and reliability were soon by-words for the company and three more Heidelbergs were purchased. The Company's introduction to stamp printing apparently came by chance, and having completed the first contract successfully, were approached by the Crown Agents, the British Post Office and many other countries direct. Gradually, they became regular suppliers to these organisations. Their first introduction to stamp printing was with a 1970 issue for Trinidad and Tobago entitled CARNIVALS.

In 1969, House of Questa moved into custom-designed offices and factory complex and took the opportunity for a name change, as recorded above. They had regularly been approached with a view to take-overs and mergers, so it came as no surprise when, in 1984, John Waddington plc acquired the company. House of Questa absorbed the John Waddington Security Print division, as there was little point in Waddington having two printers of stamps in an already crowded market place.

Waddington held on to House of Questa until 1996 when they were taken-over by the MDC Corporation of Toronto, Canada, who have Ashton Potter of Canada and America in their printing group. The press release partly read "MDC Corporation of Toronto today (April 15, 1996) announced that it has signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire a 100% interest in a privately-held UK-based security printer serving European, Asian, African and Middle Eastern markets."

Having worked successfully for many years from its premises in Camberwell, London, Questa moved to a new location at Byfleet in Surrey in 1998. In fact, it had installed the above gravure press at Byfleet before it moved the balance of its printing operation there.

In September 2002, security printing giant De La Rue announced that it had bought Questa for around GBP3.2 million. Questa immediately pulled-out of the stamp tendering process that was at that time under way with Royal Mail.

The client base of House of Questa finished-up at in excess of one hundred countries and territories at the time of its final take-over and eventual demise.

Howitt Printing, Nottingham.
Main printing process(es): Litho.

Howitts are known to have printed stamps under contract for a major British postage stamp security printer sometime during the 1970s. They were absorbed into the large Communisis Group of companies in 2000, and rapidly sold on some months later in a management buy-out.

When discussing with the founder the stamp contracts, he could not recall for what countries they printed stamps and had no records on file.

Kynoch Press, [Where?].
First stamp(s) traced by compiler: 1974 for Cayman Islands and 1975 for Swaziland.
Main printing process(es): Litho.

The Kynoch Press, Birmingham, England (1876-1981) was the in-house printer for ICI (the chemical giant), but produced work for other companies, as well  - is this actually where the stamps for the Cayman Islands were printed? Further details sought.