World Stamps

Guernsey pays homage to old regional stamps in new quartet

Jul 10, 2023, 11 AM
Guernsey Post features the designs of regional stamps of 1945, 1948, 1958, 1966 and 1964 on four stamps issued July 19.

By Molly Goad

Guernsey Post will issue four stamps on July 19 depicting the country’s first regional stamps, which were issued prior to its postal independence in 1969.

Following the Channel Islands’ liberation from German occupation on May 9, 1945, an inter-island conference was held where the idea was floated for Jersey and Guernsey each to have their own distinctive postage stamps.

King George VI eventually approved the measure, and on May 10, 1948, two stamps were issued to mark the third anniversary of the liberation of the Channel Islands.

Those stamps are replicated on two of the stamps in the new set: the 56-penny and 87p denominations. The images depict seaweed gathering, known as vraicking, and the profile of King George VI.

Vraic (pronounced vrak) is a type of seaweed, which has been used over the centuries in several ways, including as currency, fuel and natural fertilizer, according to Jersey Heritage.

Today, vraicking is less common due to the decline in agriculture.

Two regional stamps, one from 1958 and the other issued in 1966, showing the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, are featured on the new £4.38 stamp. The regional stamps also depict the crown of William the Conqueror and a Guernsey lily.

The lily (Nerine sarniensis) has been associated with the island since the middle of the 17th century. According to the Postal Museum, “Legend has it that the bulbs had been washed ashore from a ship in distress and had taken root on the island — hence the name ‘Nerine,’ a sea nymph, daughter of Nereus and ‘Sarniensis,’ the old name for Guernsey.”

The final design in the quartet is denominated £1.86 and shows a regional stamp from June 8, 1964, showing a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, a lily and the crown of William of Normandy.

The original Queen Elizabeth II stamps were designed by Eric A. Piprell, who was born and educated in Guernsey.

The new self-adhesive stamps were designed by Andrew Robinson and printed by offset lithography in panes of 10 by Brebner Print.

The products available for this issue include a set of four, presentation pack folder, first-day cover, and a prestige booklet with information about the regional stamps.

The new stamps and products are available online from Guernsey Post.

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