"From my Collection"
Some interesting examples from our collections

 

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY - LEEWARD ISLANDS 1956

At the end of the listing for the Leeward Islands, the Commonwealth Catalogue states  "The stamps of the Leeward Islands were withdrawn and iinvalidated on 1 July 1956 when the federal colony was dissolved"

 

The colony was indeed dissolved on that date and in readiness for this the Stamps (Invalidation) (No 2) Order 1955 (SRO 1955 36) was issued. Unfortunately there were deficiencies in this SRO and it was revoked and replaced by the more comprehensive SRO 1956 13, that invalidated the University of the West Indies stamps of 1951, the QEII definitives and all denominations of the King George VI definitives and postal stationery from 1 July 1956.

 

However one stamp had been overlooked - the federal Coronation stamp of 1953. by the time this was realised, the federal colony had already been dissolved and in October 1956 each of the former presidencies that were now separate Crown Colones, issued its own SRO invalidating this stamp from 31 October 1956 and allowing copies held to be exchanged for current stamps until 31 January 1957.

 

So in theory you could find Leeward Islands 1953 Coronation stamps used after 1 July 1956 despite what the catalogue says, although unless there were collectors in the West Indies who were avid followers of the colonial Government Gazettes at the time, it must be extremely unlikely that any were used during this period.

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With only sixteen days to go - Letter from Road Town, Virgin Islands to New South Wales sent on 14 June 1956 bearing federal and presidency stamps. (The obsolescent Virgin Islands King George VI definitives were not replaced until 1957).

THE ANOMALY OF THE LEEWARD ISLANDS

The federal colony of the Leeward Islands was formed in 1871 comprising the presidencies of Antigua, Domonica, Montserrat, Nevis, St Christopher and the Virgin Islands, each of which continued to issue its own stamps until replaced by a single federal issue in 1890 - using the new "General Key Plate design". However the 1890s were a period of financial hardship in the West Indies and in 1899 the Virgin Islands was allowed to re-introduce its own stamps, and the other presidencies followed in 1903.

 

However the federal stamps remained in use and until 1956 the colony was unusual in that for all but a few denominations, two sets of stamps were in use concurrently, including the colonial omnibus issues.  In 1953, the Colonial Office correspondence described the situation as unusual but accepted by philatelists, although drewing the line at retaining the federal issues after the federal colony had been dissolved, as was being advocated by the Governor.

(There was a slightly similar situation nearer home - in 1958 when the first British Regional stamps were issued, Monmouthshire was technically part of England. The Welsh regional stamps were issued in the county - listed by Gibbons under "Wales & Monmouthshire", but customers at post offices in the county were given the option of buying the standard British definities if they specifically requested them).

All the federal definitves utilised the Key plate designs, and were the only QEII definitives so to do.

29/6/2020

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