7th April 1941

The first ever Guernsey stamp is issued

Guernsey has had its own postal service since the 1700s. Guernsey Post Office was established in March 1794, and the island got its first postbox in 1853. Yet, it took until the occupation for the island to first get its own stamp.

Guernsey Post Office was controlled from the mainland until 1969. In that year, the Royal Mail underwent a radical reorganisation, Guernsey Post span off as a separate entity and, for the first time, it needed to issue its very own stamps.

Wartime issues

But during the occupation, with Guernsey under German rule and Britain still independent, it couldn’t get hold of British stamps. A solution had to be found which was, initially, to simply cut the local stamps in half. This effectively created a pair of one pence stamps out of every two penny postage. Half a stamp would be attached to anything that cost a penny, and two or more to everything else.

This was only ever going to work as a stopgap measure, though, and on on 7 April 1941, the occupying powers issued Guernsey’s first ever locally-produced stamps. They had done the same in Jersey six days earlier.

The occupation stamps weren’t as picturesque as the ones we know today, and aside from the colour and value, they were identical. Each carried a sheild bearing three crouching lions with the words “Guernsey” and “Postage” above and below. The half penny stamp was emerald green, and the full penny stamp, red. They were joined in 1944 by a two and a half pence stamp, which was ultramarine.

The stamps were all designed by EW Vaudin and printed by the Guernsey Press.

Guernsey stamps today

It’s relatively easy to buy Guernsey’s wartime stamps on auction sites, so they don’t raise a great deal of money.

Of more interest are the current issues, which Guernsey Post has been creating since it gained its independence in 1969. Many of these are now bought by collectors rather than locals who need to send letters and parcels. Around 10 new collections are released annually.

Current and recent stamp collections can be purchased through the dedicated Guernsey Stamps website.

Guernsey stamps catalogue

 

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Other events that occured in April

Guernsey’s first female murderer goes on trial 1st
A French fisherman is arrested and escorted to St Peter Port 2nd
Guernsey’s new population law comes into force 3rd
Guernsey’s oldest resident dies, aged 110 4th
An occupation-era minefield is discovered at L’Ancresse 5th
Birth of Stone de Croze, the original Guernseyman 6th
The first ever Guernsey stamp is issued 7th
Antiquarian William Collings Lukis was born 8th
Guernsey hosts its first Parkrun at Pembroke 9th
Alderney residents lined the coast to watch Titanic pass 10th
Norfolk pupils spend a week in Guernsey 11th
A plane hit a car while landing at Guernsey Airport 12th
Battery Mirus was test fired for the first time 13th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry fights at Ypres 14th
Guernsey Mormon Sampson Avard dies in Illinois 15th
Lieutenant Governor, Lord Ruthven, died in Bath 16th
Death of the Vicar General of the Channel Islands 17th
TV’s Jeeves is rushed to hospital on Guernsey 18th
Guernsey Airport’s new terminal opened for business 19th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie film opened 20th
Death of Guernsey-born footballer Len Duquemin
Three Jewish women are deported from Guernsey 21st
Guernsey bigamist got married for the second time 22nd
Aurigny pilot Ray Bowyer spots a UFO near Alderney 23rd
The States of Guernsey registers the gov.gg domain 24th
Guernsey-set film The Sea Devils hits cinemas 25th
Hydrofoil Condor 1 completed its final sea trials 26th
The first Muratti football match takes place 27th
Guernsey passengers stage a ferry sit-in 28th
Guernsey abolishes the death penalty for murder 29th
Murder suspects steal visitor’s boat from St Peter Port 30th