The Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic is a territory of Mystery to the world. This archipelago of some 778 islands has been claimed by many nations. The French were the first to come, followed by the other European Power such as the UK, Spain Argentina and Chile. A British naval force arrived in 1833 to formally assert the islands’ status as a British colony.
With settlers came a need for mail service, post offices, and postage stamps. The first Falkland Islands stamps were issued in 1878-79. From 1878 to 1929, only the monarch’s head had been used.
In 1929, the charming little ‘Whale and penguins’ design was introduced. Though the central feature was still the head of King George V, a Sperm whale and Penguin was placed in a miniature marine landscape below the portrait.
In 1933, to celebrate the centenary of the permanent occupation of the islands as a British colony, the Falkland Islands issued a stunning set of 12 bicolour pictorial stamps with engraved designs which convey a good idea of the diversity of the islands.
A collector favourite among the stamps of the 1933 set is the 5 Shillings stamp depicting a handsome king penguin. When the idea of issuing new stamps was announced, the colonial engineer George Roberts came forward who was an amateur photographer.
The stamp design was taken from one of the photographs of Mr Roperts. This lovely stamp depicting striking black and a yellow colour combination of this his noble bird became an immediate favourite with collectors, and it remains so to this day.
An unused example of the scarcer shade now commands a catalogue value of £3250.
Image Curtsey: https://www.linns.com