Commonwealth

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Julia Lee  |  Dec 01, 2010  |  0 comments

The Ionian Islands’ only set of stamps, issued in 1859, comprised the undenominated (½d) orange, (1d) blue and (2d) carmine Today, the Ionian Islands are a magnet for tourism, inspired by films such as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

But in the 19th century, this small archipelago off the west coast of Greece was thought of mainly as a strategic base for a naval fleet.

The islands had been passed from the Venetians to the French, to the Turks, to the Russians and back to the French again, before they were made a British protectorate in 1815.

Julia Lee  |  Dec 01, 2010  |  0 comments

Burma 1938 1r purple and blue, with the tail-feathers of a peacock embracing the head of King George VI The medium values had attractive pictorial designs Lower Burma had been progressively occupied by the British as part of India in 1826 and 1852, and in 1885 General Sir Harry Prendergast was dispatched with 10,000 troops to acquire Upper Burma and complete the conquest.

In what became known as the Third Anglo-Burmese War, the troublesome King Thibaw, who had hoped to reunify his country, was banished to serve out the rest of his days in exile.

At a stroke, Burma became the largest province in British India, and the use of Indian stamps was extended to the newly annexed territory.

John Winchester  |  Nov 29, 2010  |  0 comments

St Vincent's first high value The Caribbean island of St Vincent thrived for many years as a simple plantation economy, but after the emancipation of slave labour in 1833 its development required an efficient postal system.

In 1852 a post office was opened at Kingstown, the capital, where British stamps were used initially, cancelled by the distinctive ‘A10’ oval postmark.

But on June 4, 1860, a Post Office Act paved the way for the colony to issue its own stamps.

 |  Nov 04, 2010  |  0 comments

Rarity is always relative, but there are not many stamps of which only one example is believed to exist.

One such is the British Guiana 1c of 1856.

Such is its legendary status that the history of its ownership is as interesting as that of its design, printing and usage.

John Winchester  |  Nov 02, 2010  |  0 comments

Mint copy of the octagonal 4a The East India Company, which had a monopoly on the carriage of mail to and from British India, was still using antiquated hand-struck stamps into the 1850s.

A commission reviewing its efficiency suggested the introduction of adhesive stamps, akin to those of Great Britain.

However, the cost of commissioning Perkins Bacon to engrave copper plates and recess-print these would be prohibitive, so a cheaper local approach was required.

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