Postage stamps from Saint Helena

Collecting postage stamps from Saint Helena offers a fascinating journey into the history and culture of this remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Saint Helena has a rich philatelic history, reflecting its strategic importance and unique heritage. Here is a guide to help you explore and collect postage stamps from Saint Helena:

### Key Periods and Notable Stamps

#### 1. **Early Issues (1856-1902)**
– **First Issues**:
– **Design**: The first stamps of Saint Helena were issued in 1856 and featured the profile of Queen Victoria.
– **Notable Stamps**: The 1856 6d blue and 1s green, often referred to as the “Victoria issues.”

#### 2. **Edwardian and Georgian Period (1902-1952)**
– **King Edward VII and King George V**:
– **Design**: Stamps featuring King Edward VII were introduced in 1902, followed by King George V.
– **Notable Stamps**: The 1902-1913 issues of King Edward VII and the 1922-1937 issues of King George V, including the popular “Badge of the Colony” series.

– **King George VI**:
– **Design**: The issues during King George VI’s reign often featured the monarch’s portrait alongside island scenes and symbols.
– **Notable Stamps**: The 1938-1949 King George VI definitive series with various denominations showing local flora, fauna, and landscapes.

#### 3. **Post-War and Elizabethan Period (1953-Present)**
– **Queen Elizabeth II**:
– **Design**: Stamps issued during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign showcase a variety of themes, including historical events, local culture, and significant anniversaries.
– **Notable Stamps**: The 1953 Coronation issue, the 1961 Tristan Relief Fund overprints, and the modern commemorative issues.

### Collecting Focus Areas

#### **Thematic Collections**
1. **Historical Figures**:
– Stamps featuring notable historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte, who was exiled to Saint Helena.
– **Notable Series**: The 1971 Napoleon issue commemorating the 150th anniversary of his arrival on the island.

2. **Island Scenes and Wildlife**:
– Stamps depicting the unique landscapes, flora, and fauna of Saint Helena.
– **Notable Series**: The 1965 definitive series featuring local wildlife and the 1993 “Birds of Saint Helena” series.

3. **Maritime History**:
– Stamps illustrating Saint Helena’s maritime history and its importance as a stopover for ships.
– **Notable Series**: The 1981 “Maritime Heritage” series.

4. **Anniversaries and Commemorations**:
– Issues commemorating significant events and anniversaries in Saint Helena’s history.
– **Notable Series**: The 2002 issue celebrating the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Saint Helena.

### Collecting Tips

1. **Condition and Authenticity**:
– **Quality**: Ensure stamps are in good condition, free from damage such as tears, creases, or heavy cancellations.
– **Authentication**: Be cautious of forgeries and reproductions. Purchase from reputable dealers or obtain certificates of authenticity for high-value stamps.

2. **Storage and Display**:
– **Albums and Mounts**: Use high-quality, acid-free albums and mounts to protect your stamps from damage.
– **Climate Control**: Store stamps in a cool, dry place to avoid humidity and temperature fluctuations, which can affect their condition.

3. **Sources and Research**:
– **Catalogs and Guides**: Utilize stamp catalogs like Stanley Gibbons or Scott catalogs to identify and value stamps from Saint Helena.
– **Online Communities**: Join philatelic societies and online forums to connect with other collectors and stay updated on new issues and discoveries.

### Conclusion

Collecting postage stamps from Saint Helena offers a unique opportunity to explore the island’s rich historical and cultural heritage. Whether focusing on thematic collections like historical figures, island scenes, and maritime history, or period-specific issues from the early colonial era to modern commemoratives, Saint Helena stamps provide a diverse and enriching collecting experience. By focusing on quality, authenticity, and careful preservation, you can build a valuable and enjoyable collection of stamps from Saint Helena.