World Stamps

By Denise McCarty

Ireland withdraws stamp over image dispute

January 31, 2014 08:09 AM

  • Ireland withdrew this stamp at the last minute because of questions about the identity of the man shown in the foreground. Ireland’s post office, An Post, originally reported that the photograph pictures Capt. Jack White, a cofounder of the Irish Citizen Army.

Ireland’s An Post halted the sale of a stamp on what would have been its first day of issue over a possible case of mistaken identity.

The stamp honors the Irish Citizen Army and features a black-and-white photograph of the army in the background and a close-up of one of the men, presumably army cofounder Capt. Jack White, in the foreground.

A publicity photograph from An Post is shown nearby. The name “Captain Jack White” is inscribed vertically on the far right.

The stamp originally was to be issued Jan. 23. Instead of releasing the stamp on that date, however, An Post issued the following press release: “An Post has deferred the issue of a stamp commemorating the Irish Citizen Army due to the emergence of new information regarding an image on the stamp.

“The 60c [€0.60] stamp, scheduled to issue today (Thursday), features a photograph of a man believed to be Captain Jack White, a former British Army Officer who volunteered, in 1913, to train the new Irish Citizen Army.

“This image, which was researched and verified, has been widely used over the years in academic journals and other publications. However, following advance publicity for the stamp yesterday, a number of historians have disputed the veracity of the image saying the man depicted is not Jack White.

“‘We are deferring this stamp issue until such time as this matter has been clarified,” a spokesperson said.

At least one pane of 15 stamps has been offered for sale by a dealer in Ireland. A report on this sale appears on this page.

According to information published in the first 2014 issue of An Post’s new-issue bulletin, Irish Stamps, The Collector, Ger Garland designed the stamp, and it was printed in a quantity of 136,000.

The cost to print the stamp was €4,000 (approximately $5,500), according to news reports in Ireland, including coverage on RTE, Ireland’s national public service broadcaster, and in The Irish Times and the Irish Independent newspapers.

Also according to these reports, Leo Keohane, an expert on White and author of an upcoming biography on him, discovered the apparent error.

In a statement, Keohane said: “Over the years I have become familiar with various images of White. I can categorically state that the man portrayed on the stamp is not Jack White.

“I would also add the following: It is obvious from his place in the photograph [second man from the right in the front row] that the man is a junior officer. White, as the overall Commandant, would never have stood in such a position.”

The man pictured on the stamp may be Vincent Poole, according to his grand-nephew also named Vincent Poole. An article by Olivia Kelly in the Jan. 25 The Irish Times said that the National Postal Museum of Ireland, who supplied the photograph, supported that claim. Vincent and his brother Christopher Poole both were part of the Irish Citizens Army.

A small group of trained trade union volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army was formed in Dublin during the strike of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union in 1913 to help defend workers in clashes with police.

An Post issued three stamps Aug. 22, 2013, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this strike, known as the general lockout. Those stamps feature Jim Larkin, James Connolly and Constance Markievicz.