Commonwealth Red Cross Centennial Stamps

I don’t know about you, but I like Commonwealth stamps. I think they are particularly interesting in that they teach us about the state of affairs in the British overseas empire as if taking a snapshot of the territories which were still under British rule at the time and at the same time they show an awesome organization (at least if we were to judge the postal system) of the said empire.

I have written before about Commonwealth stamps – more specifically about the 1953 Coronation stamps; and I think alongside Coronation, the Freedom from Hunger campaign and the Red Cross Centennial are some of the most interesting Commonwealth stamps.

The Commonewealth Red Cross Centennial stamps were all issued on 02-Sep, 1963, with two exceptions (the South Arabian Federation issued the stamps later on 25-Nov, 1963 and Tristan da Cunha issued the stamps on 01-Feb, 1964). But just imagine the logistic process of releasing simultaneously in so many territories in times that were not by far as reachable and in a world that for sure did not boast the mobility we now enjoy.

Each of the releases is made of 2 stamps with similar design – one in violet blue and one in anthracite black and feature for their most part the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and the red cross. Few varieties from the common design are noticeable; for instance the New Hebrides and South Arabian Federation releases do not feature the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II at all (with the New Hebrides issue featuring in addition the note ‘RF’ for République française (English: French Republic); and the Tonga issue showing the effigy of Queen Salote Tupou III instead of Queen Elizabeth II. Also of note is the fact that the South Arabian Federation stamps are no. 1 and 2 respectively in catalog numbers, being the first issues of the territory.

Pictured above the releases of: Antigua; Acension; Bahamas; Basutoland; Betchuanaland Protectorate; Bermuda; British Guyana; British Honduras; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Dominica; Falkland Islands; Federation of South Arabia; Fiji; Gambia; Gibraltar; Gilbert & Ellice Islands; Grenanda.

Pictured above: Hong Kong; Jamaica; Malta; Mauritius; Montserrat; New Hebrides Condominium; Pitcairn; Seychelles; British Solomon Islands; St. Christopher & Nevis & Anguilla; St. Helena; St. Lucia; St. Vincent; Swaziland; Tonga; Turks & Caicos Islands; Tristan da Cunha.

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Stamps featured in post: 70; Period: modern (1963-1964); Pricing: low and moderate;  Michel Catalog no’s and prices: Antigua Mi128-129; Ascension Mi90-91; Bahamas Mi188-189; Basutoland Mi84-85; Bermuda Mi182-183; Betchuanaland Protectorate Mi170-171; British Honduras Mi177-178; Cayman Islands Mi170-171; Dominica Mi178-179; Falkland Islands Mi142-143; Fiji Mi175-176; Gambia Mi168-169; Gibraltar Mi164-165; Gilbert & Ellice Islands Mi75-76; Grenada Mi190-191; Guyana Mi218-219; Hong Kong Mi212-213; Jamaica Mi205-206; Malta Mi283-284; Mauritius Mi263-264; Montserrat Mi152-153; New Hebrides Mi196-197; Pitcairn Islands Mi37-38; Seychelles Mi213-214; Solomon Islands Mi102-103; South Arab Federation Mi1-2; St. Helena Mi161-162; St. Kitts Mi136-137; St. Vincent Mi184-185; Swaziland Mi109-110; Tonga Mi140-141; Tristan da Cunha Mi69-70; Turks & Caicos Islands Mi181-182; Virgin Islands Mi137-138. Catalog price for the entire collection: 202.4EUR. Availability: not readily available, but quite difficult to assemble a whole collection, especially in mint never hinged condition. Unlike the Commonwealth Coronation stamps, does not often surface as whole collection in online auctions.

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