Britain’s local stamps


10 November 2011
Caldey-Island-stamps-27421.jpg Britain’s local stamps
We take a look at the various local stamps issued by UK districts and islands including the first Lundy Island Stamps issued in 1929.

Collecting British stamps isn't just limited to the whims of Royal Mail's stamp advisory board. There are many 'local' stamps, produced by eager enthusiasts or proud landowners, which represent tiny postal services and unusual destinations dotted around the British Isles.

The first local stamps were issued by Lundy Island in 1929, when the owner of the Bristol Channel island created two local stamps, known as the half Puffin Pink and 1 Puffin Blue. Half a million of these stamps were printed by Bradbury Wilkinson and Co Limited, and these issues were supplemented by 6, 9 and 12 Puffin values the following year.

Initially, local stamps were created purely to be used by the people of the district in question, but over the years, they attracted the attention of collectors and became an area of collecting in their own right, with dozens of islands having issued these stamps over the years.


Bardsey Island local stampsBardsey Island

Location: Two miles off the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales

Stamps: Local stamps haven’t been issued by Bardsey for several years, but the most recent issue, featuring local birds, is still available from Bardsey Island Trust.

Contact: John Griffiths, Bardsey Island Trust, Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Llanbedrog, Pwllheli LL53 7TT; tel: 0845 811 2233; website:


Bernera Islands

Location: Part of the Western Isles, off the north west coast of Scotland

Stamps: A range of stamps have been issued over the years, celebrating events such as the 1997 handover of Hong Kong back to China, the death of Princess Diana, and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. Most major royal occasions for the past thirty years have been featured on Bernera Islands stamps.

Contact: Bernera Islands local stamps are available from dealers, with prices starting at a few pounds, up to hundreds of pounds for original artwork.


Caldey Island local stampsCaldey Island

Location: Situated two miles from the mainland close to Tenby in Pembrokeshire, South Wales

Stamps: In the 1970s and 1980s, the monastic community who live on Caldey produced a range of local stamps, sold from the island’s post office, which helped fund renovation work on the island. The island’s first stamps were issued in 1973 and showed various views of the religious buildings on Caldey, including the abbey church shown on the first stamp. The stamps were issued with a currency in ‘dabs’, the name of a local fish. In 1979, the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of members of the Cistercian Order was commemorated by a black and gold stamps showing the monastery buildings.

Contact: Souvenir stamps are still sold through the island post office: Caldey Island, Off Tenby, Pembrokeshire SA70 7UJ; tel: 01834 844453; website:

Older Caldey stamps are still available from dealers.


Lundy Island

Location: An island in the Bristol Channel, twelve miles off the coast of Devon.

Stamps: As the island with the longest history of British local stamps, collectors have more than seventy years worth of issues to choose from. Many of these feature images of the puffin after whom the stamp’s currency is named. Also available are overprints for the sixtieth anniversary of the stamps (1989) and the Red Cross (1940). The island’s most recent issue is a 2010 Island Wildlife stamp.

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Contact: Lundy Shore Office, The Quay, Bideford EX39 2LY; tel: 01271 863636; website:  

The British Library holds the Landmark Trust Lundy Island Philatelic Archive, as featured in the July 2009 issue of Stamp & Coin Mart.


Rona Island

Location: A Scottish island in the north Atlantic, off the coast of north-west Scotland

Stamps: Rona’s first official issue was a set of perforated stamps in 2003, produced by Reidar Fioran of Norway, which showed island scenes and wildlife. Limited supplies of this stamps are still available, together with annual issues from 2004 to 2010. The most recent issue is a 2010 ‘vessels’ set, which was produced by Juergen Schwantz of Germany. Further annual issues are planned.

For a catalogue of Rona Island stamps for sale, contact: Bill Cowie, Rona Lodge, Island of Rona IV51 9RA; e-mail: [email protected]; website:


Shuna Island

Location: An island off the west coast of Scotland, twenty miles south of Oban.

Stamps: The first Shuna Island stamp was designed by Lady Selby, whose family owned the island at the time. It was issued in October 1949 and shows a map of the island. A second map stamp was issued the following year. Shuna Island stamps are available at £10 each from Shuna Farm Cottages.

Contact: Mr & Mrs Lloyd, Shuna Farm Cottages, Island of Shuna, Arduaine, Oban PA34 4SZ; website:


Staffa Island

Location: Part of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland.

Stamps: Over the years, Staffa stamps have been issued for subjects such as flora, fauna and wildlife. Among the best-known issues are gold Staffa stamps such as a 1982 issue to celebrate the birth of Prince William, which is embossed with 23-carat gold and is now worth around £20.

Contact: Available from dealers.


Summer Isles

Location: An archipelago of islands off the coast of north-west Scotland

Stamps: The first stamps from the Summer Isles were issued in 1979 and featured local wildflowers. Since then, there has been a variety of further issues which celebrate local traditions and events outside the islands, including the centenary of Scouting (2007), the Queen’s Golden Jubilee (2002) and a map of the islands (1996).

Contact: Summer Isles Philatelic Bureau, West Croftnuisk, Edradynate, Aberfeldy PH15 2JU; tel: 01887 840213.