World Stamps

Guernsey issues its own heat-sensitive stamps for the solar eclipse

Jul 9, 2017, 3 PM

By Denise McCarty

Like the United States Postal Service, Guernsey Post used a heat-sensitive ink on postage stamps to mimic the upcoming total solar eclipse.

The United States issued its first postage stamp with thermochromic ink, the Total Solar Eclipse forever stamp, on June 20, two months ahead of the Aug. 21 eclipse.

On July 20, Guernsey Post issued six image-changing stamps for Alderney, the most northerly of the Channel Islands and part of the bailiwick of Guernsey.

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The stamp designs represent “six coastal locations that will be treated to a partial eclipse,” according to Guernsey Post. The issue is called Coastal Eclipses.

The locations are Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on the 44-penny stamp; Miami, Florida, 59p; Hamilton, Bermuda, 60p; Dakar, Senegal, 73p; Saint Anne, Alderney, 80p; and Anadyr, Russia, 90p.

Guernsey Post said, “Created using heat sensitive ink, the stamps reveal full eclipses, as well as the altitude and direction of the eclipse for each location upon coming into contact with warm hands.”

For example, when the 59p Miami stamp is warmed by touch, it is revealed that the altitude is 64.29 degrees, and that the direction is 242.44 degrees, west-southwest.

Bridget Yabsley, head of philately at Guernsey Post, said: “We are delighted to release six stamps that celebrate this celestial event, particularly as we are able to feature Alderney, which has exceptionally good visibility for astronomical events and where the partial eclipse begins at 19.41. Stargazers on the island should cast their eyes upwards at 20.07 to enjoy the maximum view of the eclipse.”

The Potting Shed designed the stamps. Joh. Enschede printed them by offset-lithography.

A souvenir sheet includes all six stamps se-tenant (side-by-side). An inscription  on the sheet explains that they are thermochromic stamps and includes this warning, “Keep them out of direct sunlight for colourfast longevity.”

For more information, visit Guernsey Post’s philatelic website.