Local, regional and national stamps lurk in the catalog listings

May 24, 2012, 10 AM

By Janet Klug

The glossary of philatelic terms on the Linn's web site defines local stamps as: "Stamps valid within a limited area or within a limited postal system. Local post mail requires the addition of nationally or internationally valid stamps for further service. Locals have been produced both privately and officially.

"Local stamps issued for local use only" are among those that will not be listed in the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, according to the catalog listing policy section found in the catalog's introduction. However, there are many exceptions to this rule.

In fact, there is even a special catalog number prefix "L" for local stamps listed in the Scott standard catalog. However, while some of the stamps listed with this catalog number prefix meet Linn's definition of locals, many do not.

For an example, let's look at the stamps issued for the Australian Antarctic Territory. The largest territory in Antarctica claimed by any nation, the Australian Antarctic Territory covers approximately 42 percent of the entire landmass. Other nations have claimed parts of the same territory.

The first Australian Antarctic Territory issue in 1957 included a 2-shilling stamp (Scott L4), shown in Figure 1, that cleverly flaunts Australia's territorial claim with a map in its design.

Although this and all other Australian Antarctic Territory stamps have catalog numbers prefixed with "L," the stamps do not match Linn's definition of a local stamp. A note at the beginning of the catalog listings states, "All stamps are also valid for postage in Australia."

Guernsey and Jersey in the English Channel and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea are not a part of the United Kingdom, but are dependencies of the British crown. In 1958, the British General Post Office issued regional stamps for all three dependencies. The stamps were sold only in the dependencies' post offices, but were valid for postage anywhere in the United Kingdom.

The 3-penny Queen Elizabeth II stamps (all three are Scott 2) from each of these dependencies are shown in Figure 2.

These stamps were based on and bore a resemblance to the British Queen Elizabeth II Wilding definitive stamps in use at that time. The Scott catalog editors did not assign catalog numbers prefixed with the letter "L" to these stamps, although they are similar to Australian Antarctic Territory stamps in issuance and use.

Guernsey and Jersey established independent postal administrations and began issuing their own stamps in 1969, and the Isle of Man followed suit in 1973. Unlike the regional stamps issued by the British General Post Office, these stamps cannot be used to mail letters in the United Kingdom.

Listings for all of these stamps are found in the Scott standard catalog immediately following the listings for Great Britain.

Figure 3 shows a Guernsey 13p Point Robert, Sark Island stamp (Scott 134).

A Jersey ½d Elizabeth Castle and Queen Elizabeth stamp (Scott 7) with sailboats in the foreground is pictured in Figure 4.

Figure 5 shows a Manx 31p Karran Fleet, Sumatra stamp (Scott 258).

In 1983, Guernsey began issuing stamps for Alderney, one of its islands. The stamps of Alderney are valid for postage throughout the bailiwick of Guernsey.

The Alderney 34p Saunders-Roe Saro Windhover stamp (Scott 22), shown in Figure 6, depicts an aircraft flying over a pasture with Guernsey cows.

In 1958, the British General Post Office also began issuing separate definitive stamps for three of the four nations that comprise the United Kingdom.

The 3d Queen Elizabeth II stamps from the first issue for Wales and Monmouthshire, Scotland and Northern Ireland are shown in Figure 7 (all three are Scott 1).

England, the fourth nation in the United Kingdom, got its own definitive stamps beginning in 2001.

Shown in Figure 8 is an English 40p Oak Tree stamp (Scott 10). The stamp appears to be embossed, but it is a clever trick of creative design and printing.

The regional stamps for England, Wales and Monmouthshire, Scotland and Northern Ireland are located in the Scott standard catalog in the listings for Great Britain just after the Mulready postal stationery envelopes and lettersheets and before the Machin definitive stamp listings. The catalog numbers for these stamps do not have a letter prefix.

These stamps are sold only at post offices in their respective nations, but are valid for postage throughout the United Kingdom.

The Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers lists local stamps that fall within the range of the Linn's definition of being used within a limited area and requiring additional postage for service beyond that area. These stamps include those of the many local posts that carried the mail on a private route or within a city.

Figure 9 shows the 25¢ Mounted Pony Express Rider local post stamp (Scott 143L8) from the famous Wells Fargo Pony Express.

What local stamps lurk in your albums?