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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  |  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  |  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.

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  |  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.

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.