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Articles on Herm stamps

Herm's local stamps by Dr Bob Forrester
 
A brief history of Herms postal services, and the introduction to a range of articles about Herms stamps and other postal matters

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The postal history of Herm began on 1 May 1925 when the British post office established a sub office on the island. This was open for only half an hour each day but as even this limited operation was uneconomic the office was closed on 30 November 1938. The datestamp used is now rare and eagerly sought by collectors.

The 1948 the new Tenant, Mr A G Jefferies, was seeking to exploit the island's tourist potential and asked for the office to be re-opened. However, the Postmaster General refused to do so and Mr Jefferies decided to establish his own local postal service with Herm stamps which would pay for the carriage of mail to St Peter Port in Guernsey where it would be handed over for onward transmission to its destination via the normal postal channels. This meant that all mail had also to carry British stamps with the Herm stamps on the back of envelopes or in the top left corner on the front of postcards. A single stamp was also issued to pay for urgent messages carried by pigeon post as Herm did not have a telephone link to Guernsey until late 1949.


 

 

 

 

Herm's First issue of 26 May 1949

The local mail service continued under Major Peter Wood, the next Tenant, and the stamps proved to be popular with tourists and philatelists. Renowned designers and printers were engaged to produce an attractive and interesting range of issues.

8 doubles (1d) value of the 1962 Europa issue used on a tourist's postcard

1s6d Europa stamp of 1964 paying the local postage on a registered letter

8 doubles (1d) stamp of the 1954 Crest issue bisected for use as a d stamp during a shortage of that value. This also shows an error of date in the local datestamp.

1d value of the final issue used on the last day of the local post's operation

On 1 October 1969 the reorganisation of the British Post Office meant that the government of Guernsey became responsible for its own postal service. A new sub post office was established on Herm and use of the local stamps ceased.

In the twenty years of the local service there had been twenty-seven issues totalling one hundred and twelve stamps. During four periods between 1953 and 1957 stock shortages of the d value, used to pay the local postage on tourists' postcards, led to 1d stamps being bisected - literally cut in two to serve as d stamps.

Since 1969 the Guernsey postal authorities have featured Herm on a number of their stamps and an issue of 1999 reproduced four of Herm's local stamps together with island scenes.

Illustrations from the collections of Dr Bob Forrester and David Ackroyd

Scanning and editing by Peter Hewitt

 

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