Faroe Islands Stamps: Ancient Postal Routes

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08 April 2020
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The 'difficult and challenging' postal routes in the Faroe Islands are the subject of the Faroes Europa set for 2020, with two stamps showing the dangerous routes taken by postal workers in the past.

One of the most challenging postal routes on land was from Klaksvík to Viðareiði, and it is this route which is shown on the first stamp. According to Posta, navigating the route required 'hardy mail carriers to vanquish one of the most inaccessible mountain areas in the Faroe Islands'.

The coloured lines on the map stamp represent different stories from the island's postal history, not all of them had a happy ending.

The route marked in yellow recalls the journey of the very first postman in the Northern Islands, Jacob Eliassen (1836 - 1887) in November  1887. Sadly, Postman Jákup was never seen alive again and the search and rescue party soon discovered that he had fallen down a mountain and a cliffside. 

The red line on the map indicates the route travelled by two postmen, who are also depicted on the stamp label which accompanies the stamp. The two men became stranded in a snowstorm and, after building a stone shelter, soon realised they were at risk of freezing to death. They spent the night deconstructing and re-building their shelter, in a bid to keep moving and keep warm. The plan worked and the pair were eventually saved.

The second stamp recalls the Vestmanna to Vágar route, which involved a treacherous trip across dangerous waters.

Sadly, this stamp also recalls tragedy. In October 1920, the mailboat, a traditional open Faroese boat, set out across the waters with four people on board, including the postman. Half way across the vessel capsized and no trace of the passengers was ever discovered.

Following the accident in 1920, a ban was imposed on mail deliveries in open boats across the strait of Vestmanna.

Stamp Details

  • Date of issue: 27.04.2020
  • Artist: Anker eli Petersen
  • Values: 17 & 20 DKK
  • Stamp size: 56,00 x 27,0 mm
  • Printer: Cartor Security printing, France
  • Numbers: FO 930-931

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