BIOGRAPHY: Harold J. Bard

In 1938, Harold Bard's first known stamp engravings were issued. They consisted of the definitive set issued in the Cayman Islands. For this set, he engraved the profile head of King George VI. The engraved die, for Waterlow & Sons, was numbered 15656 and dated 14 May 1937.

There is another profile head of the king, also engraved by Bard for Waterlow & Sons, but no further details are known about either year or issue. The die number, 16523, would suggest though, that the engraving dates from around 1939 or 1940.

Harold Bard engraved the dies for the British Castle definitives of 1955. The engravings were based on the Dorothy Wilding photograph of the Queen and the watercolour designs of Lynton Lamb. As early as the Spring of 1953 it was clear that the high values would be recess-printed and include the Wilding portait of the Queen. Bard finished his die of the portrait that summer. He had to wait a long time before he could engrave the rest of the design for it was only at the end of 1954 that the final designs were chosen.

While Bard was working on the master dies of the four stamps, the designer Lynton Lamb is said to have been rather pleased with Bard's work. He has been recorded saying that Bard  had 'made a beautiful job' of the 2s6d and 5s dies, and later commented that the master die for the £1 value 'makes a very beautiful stamp'. In fact, the £1 was declared the 'Most Beautiful Stamp in the World' by the International Art Society, then under the patronage of Prince Rainier of Monaco,

In 2005, the 50th anniversary of the British Wilding castles definitives was marked with a miniature sheet. The stamps reproduced on that sheet were made with the original dies engraved by Harold Bard. The castles were reproduced from their original dies. The only exception was the design for Windsor Castle. The original die was lost so the artwork for this particular value was computer-made, based on the original £1 stamp. The 'grotto' borders of all four values were all reproduced using the original die of the 2s6d value.

Sometime during his career (date unknown), Harold Bard engraved a test note for De La Rue / Giori. As luck would have it, it was a case of Bard doing The Bard, for the test note included a portrait of William Shakespeare! Bard 'hid' his signature on Shakespeare's left shoulder, next to the Bard's name.

You will find Harold J Bard's database HERE.