Jamaica: Local Artist Comes to the Rescue

Jamaica’s 1932 pictorial definitives were issued to support the growth in tourism that was sweeping the Caribbean and bringing a much needed economic boost to the islands. The issue featured vignettes selected by the Government Printing Works who were unfamiliar with the stamp design process. Local artist, Stella Shaw, came to the rescue and deliveredContinue reading “Jamaica: Local Artist Comes to the Rescue”

Sarawak: Sir James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak – a life story worthy of film

Sarawak – a place name that has an exotic ring to it and its history is none the less interesting. British trading rights had been established in countries such as India and Malaysia and by the beginning of the nineteenth century, Singapore had become a major trading port. However, further east the influence was lessContinue reading “Sarawak: Sir James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak – a life story worthy of film”

British Guiana: Democratising the Philatelic Holy Grail

It’s the most famous philatelic artefact and the holy grail for philatelists – the British Guiana 1c Magenta (featured image courtesy of Wikipedia:Contents). Stamps from this former British colony in South America, now Guyana, are considered some of the rarest in the world. The 1c Magenta comes with quite a back story and that taleContinue reading “British Guiana: Democratising the Philatelic Holy Grail”

Papua New Guinea: A Pantomime Tale

The East Indies were first visited by Europeans in 1606 when the explorer Luiz Vaz de Torres passed through the Straits that now carry his name, between New Guinea and Australia. The native inhabitants of New Guinea consisted of numerous close-knit tribes that were wild, feudal and cannibalistic. The island was and still is coveredContinue reading “Papua New Guinea: A Pantomime Tale”

Barbados: Tale of Two Kings

Barbados, the most easterly island of the Caribbean group, is argued to have first been visited in the early 16th century by the Portuguese who named it ‘Los Barbados’ after its bearded fig trees. It was claimed in the name of King James I in 1625 by the captain of an English trading ship. ItContinue reading “Barbados: Tale of Two Kings”

New Guinea: Imperial Struggles

New Guinea is the most eastern of the islands formerly known as the Dutch East Indies. The island is mountainous, covered with jungle, infested by mosquitos and in the 19th century, the native tribes remained feudal and cannibalistic. The sea around the island was littered with coral reef and shoals making sea navigation difficult aroundContinue reading “New Guinea: Imperial Struggles”

Cyrenaica: 1950-51 Issue for Services Rendered

The race for overseas colonies and territories by European nations in the 19th and 20th centuries had been predominantly led by the British and French. The political far right aspirations of the Germans and Italians did not manifest itself until the early to mid 20th century. In the case of Italy, Mussolini championed the invasionContinue reading “Cyrenaica: 1950-51 Issue for Services Rendered”

St Lucia: A Case of Unfortunate Timing

The 1936 King George V definitive issue was to be the first St Lucia definitive set for more than 20 years, replacing the portrait illustrations that had dominated for half a century. It was an impressive pictorial set of 12 pictorial designs in values from ½d to 10/ and each featuring a portrait of theContinue reading “St Lucia: A Case of Unfortunate Timing”