Commonwealth

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Mark SBD  |  Jul 28, 2017  |  0 comments

Champlain celebration Canada 1908 Quebec Tercentenary ½c sepia, portraying the Prince and Princess of Wales 1908 was a champagne moment in Canada’s history, and the Tercentenary of Quebec was celebrated by a fine recess-printed set of portrait and pictorial stamps.

The first successful European colony in mainland Canada had been established in 1608, when the French navigator Samuel de Champlain retraced the voyages of discovery made more than 70 years earlier by his fellow countryman Jacques Cartier.

A small settlement at the confluence of the St Lawrence and St Charles rivers, initially simply named l’Habitation, would eventually grow into Quebec City.

Julia Lee  |  May 17, 2012  |  0 comments

Between 1848 and 1851, more than 43,000 Britons settled in Natal, as Durban became a flourishing centre of trade in southern Africa.

By 1857 the colony duly got its first postage stamps, in the unusual form of embossed impressions in plain relief on coloured paper.

Two years later these were replaced by recess-printed stamps making use of the well-known Chalon portrait of Queen Victoria.

John Winchester  |  Apr 19, 2012  |  0 comments

It was a brief encounter, but a momentous one.

Charles Holmes, a young writer from Melbourne, peered across the vast rocky Australian outback to the west of Alice Springs, anxious to obtain photographs for a newly launched travel magazine.

Barely discernable in the shimmering haze, he picked out a magnificent example of Aboriginal manhood.

John Winchester  |  Mar 14, 2012  |  0 comments

Many collectors recall the hectic events of August 18, 1966, when the ‘England Winners’ reprint of the World Cup 4d stamp went on sale.

More than 150 million copies of the original stamp had been printed, so when it was made known that the new issue would consist of only 12 million, speculation ran riot.

Jostling in post office queues was widely reported, supplies were quickly exhausted, and copies were changing hands for 40 times their face value.

John Winchester  |  Mar 09, 2012  |  0 comments

Britain’s 1964 International Botanical Congress stamps highlighted the talents of the husband-and-wife design team of Michael and Sylvia Goaman.

They had previously produced botanical designs for Sierra Leone’s Flowers set in 1963.

Printed in photogravure by Harrison & Sons, this attractive multicoloured issue seemed to mark the newly independent nation’s determination to make an impression on the philatelic world.

John Winchester  |  Jul 05, 2011  |  0 comments

Arthur Bartlett from New Brunswick was a trader in dry goods and drapery.

But in his spare time he was a philatelist, no doubt itching to become a stamp dealer.

Fortunately, one of his friends was none other than Donald King, the Postmaster of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and this acquaintance was to provide him with a unique opportunity.

John Winchester  |  Jul 05, 2011  |  0 comments

It was under Egyptian rule that Sudan’s first post offices opened in 1867, using a combination of Egyptian stamps and local cancellations.

In this vast territory of nearly a million square miles and arduous desert terrain, the camel was the means by which the mail was delivered over long distances.

There was British involvement in the Sudan in the 1870s, as Colonel Charles Gordon was appointed Governor of the country by the Khedive of Egypt, but direct responsibility came only after British forces occupied Egypt in 1882.

John Winchester  |  Jul 05, 2011  |  0 comments

The portrait of Queen Victoria which had been used for Queensland’s first stamps in 1860 was based on Alfred Chalon’s fine watercolour of 1837, depicting her as an elegant 18-year-old Princess during her first royal engagement, the State Opening of Parliament.

The recess-printed issue was a fine opener for the colony, and showing the Queen looking so youthful, even though she was by now in her 40s, was understandable flattery.

Few, however, could have anticipated that stamps bearing this portrait would still have postal validity after she had died of old age! The ‘Small Chalons’ of 1860 ruled the roost for 19 years and became a symbol of Queensland.

John Winchester  |  Feb 08, 2011  |  0 comments

ABOVE: North Borneo 1894 5c black and vermilion, depicting the great argus pheasant Mention British North Borneo to a Commonwealth collector and a number of responses are possible.

He may be beguiled by some of the most attractive and innovative issues to emerge at the end of the 19th century.

Equally, he may be confused by the seemingly endless array of cancelled-to-order remainders, printer’s waste, improbable perforations, spurious overprints and downright forgeries that exist.

John Winchester  |  Jan 21, 2011  |  0 comments

ABOVE: The top value had a magnificent portrait of King George V in the uniform of the Gordon Highlanders The Falkland Islands had enjoyed its own stamps since the 1870s, but its most memorable set had to wait until 1933, when it marked the Centenary of British Administration in some style, with its first truly pictorial series and its first printed in two colours.

It was early in 1833 that Britain had sent two warships to expel South American insurgents from the islands, and when the 24-year-old Charles Darwin arrived on HMS Beagle that March he was greatly relieved to see the Union flag flying aloft.

But the situation remained tense, and a few months later rebellious gauchos would run amok, slaughtering eight islanders loyal to Britain.

John Winchester  |  Jan 05, 2011  |  0 comments

Jamaica, the largest island in the British West Indies, was the very first British colony to operate its own postal service, having a post office established shortly after it was siezed from the Spanish in the 17th century.

But for two centuries the colony’s governors failed to implement an efficient service.

In the end London threw down the gauntlet.

John Winchester  |  Dec 22, 2010  |  0 comments

Did rubber tapping techniques really undergo radical change between 1935 and 1938? Today more than 70% of natural rubber comes from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

But in 1935 the British colony of Ceylon was a very important producer, and it was keen to reflect this in its pictorial definitive series of 1935-36.

Four of the 11 values were recess-printed by De La Rue, and the other seven by Bradbury Wilkinson.

John Winchester  |  Dec 21, 2010  |  0 comments

1899 Zanzibar 2r depicting Sultan Hamoud bin Mohammed, from the second series recess-printed but with a second colour added by letterpress The British Empire was always alert to developments in Zanzibar in the 19th century, because of its strategic importance for trade along the east coast of Africa.

Imperial influence was clear from the fact that an Indian post office was opened there in 1868, and the Heligoland-Zanzibar treaty of 1890 formally established a British protectorate over the island.

Initially Indian and later British East African stamps overprinted with the word ‘Zanzibar’ were used.

John Winchester  |  Dec 13, 2010  |  0 comments

The Turks & Caicos 2s and 3s Stamps depicting the seal of a colony seemed to be a favourite recommendation of Colonial Secretaries in the late 19th century.

Instructions to the Crown Agents frequently urged the use of a single design with a central device to convey the badge.

Precisely this approach was suggested for the first combined issue of the Turks & Caicos Islands in 1900, and the result was something of a classic in conveying the economic raison d’être of one of the least heralded corners of the Empire.

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