Sunday, April 17, 2011

Microstates : 03 Lundy

Lundy is the largest island in the Bristol Channel, lying 12 miles (19 km) off the coast of Devon, England, approximately one third of the distance across the channel between England and Wales. It measures about 3 miles (5 km) by 0.75 miles (1.2 km) at its widest. Lundy gives its name to a British sea area and is one of the islands of England.
As of 2007, there was a resident population of 28 people, including volunteers. These include a warden, island manager, and farmer, as well as bar and house-keeping staff. Most live in and around the village, Marisco, at the south of the island. Most visitors are day-trippers, although there are 23 holiday properties and a camp site for staying visitors, mostly also around the south of the island.

Owing to a decline in population and lack of interest in the mail contract, the GPO ended its presence at the end of 1927. For the next couple of years "King" Harman handled the mail to and from the island without charge. On 1 November 1929 he decided to offset the expense by issuing a series of private postage stamps, with a value expressed in "Puffins". The printing of Puffin stamps continues to this day. They have to be put on the bottom left hand corner of the envelope, so that the mainland sorting offices can process them: their cost includes the standard Royal Mail charges for onward delivery. Puffins are a type of stamp known to philatelists as a "local carriage label". Issues of increasing value were made over the years, including air mail, featuring a variety of people. Many are now highly sought-after by collectors.
Lundy Island continues to issue stamps with the latest issues being in 2008 (50th birthday of MS Oldenburg) and 2010 (Island wildlife). The value of the early issues has risen substantially over the years. The stamps of Lundy Island serve to cover the postage of letters and cards from the island to the nearest GPO post box on the mainland for the many thousands of annual visitors, and have become part of the collection of the many British Local Posts collectors. These stamps appeared in 1970s in the Rosen Catalogue of British Local Stamps, and in the Phillips Modern British Locals CD Catalogue, published since 2003. There is a comprehensive collection of these stamps in the Chinchen Collection, donated by Barry Chinchen to the British Library Philatelic Collections in 1977 and located at the British Library. This also the home of the Landmark Trust Lundy Island Philatelic Archive which includes artwork, texts and essays as well as postmarking devices and issued stamps.

Labbe's Specialized Guide to Lundy Island Stamps serves as a definitive guide to the issues of Lundy Island including varieties, rarities and special philatelic items.

As Lundy is not an independent country, nor is it recognised by UPU, the nice labels should be considered as cinderellas.  They remain popular among collectors.

Some of the Lundy stamps in my collection:

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