The Bahamas: 1967 Definitive Issue

In 1966 the Crown Colony of The Bahamas introduced decimal currency, transitioning from the former imperial currency used almost extensively across the British Commonwealth, to The Bahamas dollars and cents. On 25 May, an earlier 1965 definitive issue was overprinted with surcharges in the new currency. Later that year, three commemorative issues celebrating the World Cup Football Championships, Inauguration of the World Health Organisation Headquarters and the 20th Anniversary of UNESCO, also carried the new currency. It was not until 25 May 1967 that the first definitive issues featuring the new currency appeared.

The design of the 1967 issue is very similar to that of the aforementioned 1965 definitive issue with each of the horizontal format stamps bearing an Anthony Buckley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to the right. The set comprises 15 stamps of different denominations from 1c to $3, printed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Son Ltd. on toned, C.A. block watermarked paper. The offset vignettes feature images of various scenes, services, pastimes and fauna of The Bahamas.

The Bahamas 1967 1c stamp featuring the Coat of Arms
The Bahamas 1967 1c featuring the Coat of Arms
The Bahamas 1967 4c stamp featuring the Caribbean Flamingo
The Bahamas 1967 4c featuring the Caribbean Flamingo

The 1c stamp features an image of The Bahamas Coat of Arms granted in 1728 consisting of a crown on a red background above a naval scene and motto ‘Expulsis Piratis Resititua Commercia’ that alludes to the end of piracy under the Governorship of Woodes Rogers in 1728. Woodes Rogers was himself a privateer and is best known as the captain of the vessel that rescued the marooned Alexander Selkirk whose story is believed to have inspired Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. In 1973 The Bahamas achieved independence and the Coat of Arms was replaced with national symbols including a shield supported by a marlin and a flamingo.

The 4c stamp features an image of the scarlet-hued Caribbean Flamingo which is regarded as the King of Bahamian Birds. In the account of his first voyage, Columbus referred to the creatures as the ‘tall red bird’ and they can reach heights of 4.6ft and a wingspan of 5ft. Flamingo populations in The Bahamas are fragile and in 1959, The Bahamas National Trust was established to protect the birds’ remaining colonies on the islands of Inagua and Andros. It became illegal to eat the birds and to fly aircraft below 2,000ft in the vicinity.

The Bahamas 1967 12c stamp featuring the Rawson Square
The Bahamas 1967 12c featuring the Rawson Square
The Bahamas 1967 50c stamp featuring the Aircraft
The Bahamas 1967 50c featuring the Aircraft

The 12c stamp features an image of Rawson Square in Nassau which is named after Sir Rawson W. Rawson who was Governor of The Bahamas during the late 1860s. The buildings were modelled on a group of public buildings in new Berne, North Carolina and built by Loyalists who fled from North Carolina after the American War of Independence. In the middle of the square is a bronze bust of Sir Milo Butler, the first Bahamian Governor General after independene. The area immediately south of Rawson Square is known as Parliament Square and is the site of the colonial-influenced pink buildings including the House of Assembly, the Senate Building and the Supreme Court of The Bahamas. Today, Rawson Square is recognised as the gateway to the city for cruise ship passengers.

The Bahamas 1967 $1 stamp featuring the Williamson Film Project
The Bahamas 1967 $1 featuring the Williamson Film Project
The Bahamas 1967 $2 stamp featuring the a Conch Shell
The Bahamas 1967 $2 featuring the a Conch Shell

Between 1970 and 1971 further printings were made of the stamp issue on white paper as needed – in the case of the 12c, $1, $2 and $3 only weeks before the issue was withdrawn. Due to limited runs on this stamps, they are generally of higher collectable value to the philatelist and in many cases introduce a variety of hues and shades.

To view postal issues of Bahamas, please visit the M&S Philately HipStamp store.

Published by nigelmandsphilatelycom

Nigel Matthews has been a philatelist for more than 30 years. He has a particular interest in the postal history of the Caribbean including associated British Commonwealth countries (incl. Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Monserrat, St Lucia, St Vincent, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos) as well as Cuba, Danish West Indies, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Netherlands Antilles and Puerto Rico.

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