The Fascinating Local Stamps of Herm in The Channel Islands
After the Second World War was over and the German occupation of the Channel Islands had ended, Mr A G Jefferies - new tenant on the island - started looking at ideas to capitalise on Herm's potential for tourism. As part of these efforts Mr Jeffries requested that the GPO consider re-opening the sub post office. The GPO weren't agreeable to the proposal which spurred Mr Jefferies to start his own local post with Herm's own stamps used to transfer mail to St Peter Port in Guernsey where it could enter the main GPO postal system.
This arrangement meant that items of mail had to have normal British postage stamps applied along with the local Herm stamps. The Herm stamps were usually placed on the reverse side of envelopes or the top left corner on the front to avoid confusion or automated postmarking issues. One Herm local stamp was also issued in May 1949 to cover the cost of urgent messages flown to Guernsey by pigeon post as there was no telephone connection between the islands until later that year.
The next Herm tenant, Major Peter Wood, continued to operate the Herm local post service and the stamps slowly grew in popularity with both tourists visiting the island and philatelists. As a result talented designers and professional printers continued to be employed in the production of the island's stamp issues many of which featured subjects that will appeal to topical collectors.
A new sub post office was once again established on Herm after Guernsey gained its own postal administration in 1969 and this meant the end for Herm's local stamps. The local service had produced some 27 stamp issues made up by 112 individual stamps. On four occasions between 1953 and 1957 stamp shortages of the ½d values meant 1d stamps were bisected for use on postcards and these, properly used on cards, are well worth looking out for.
Since 1969 the stamps of Guernsey have featured Herm quite frequently and in 1999 they reproduced some of Herm's original local stamps in addition to island scenes and these would certainly add interest to any "stamps on stamps" thematic collection.
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