The Milner Constitution of 1921 granted Malta a two-chamber government, with certain “reserved matters”, which included defence and public order coming under the direct responsibility of the Governor. As part of preparations for this great event, the government decided to mark this occasion by issuing a special set of postage stamps.
In May 1921 Malta was granted Self Government and it was decided that a new definitive set of postage stamps would be issued to commemorate the event. As a result of a competition announced on the 17th June 1921, the design suggested by E.Caruana Dingli was adopted for the ¼d to 6d and £1 values and that by G.Vella for the 1/- to 10/- values.
The design used for pence and £1 values depicted a helmeted emblematic figure representing Malta supporting a rudder with its right hand, and a seascape background containing the rock of St Elmo and a Gozo boat. The other design consisted of emblematic figures representing (male) Great Britain, supporting a Union Jack shield with his left hand, embracing (female) Malta who holds an olive branch in her right hand; the date 1921 (in Roman numerals) occupies the lefthand corner of the central design which is surrounded on three sides by a frame of tiny Maltese Crosses.