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Commonwealth

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Photo opportunity

Photo opportunity

Tasmania’s pictorial series of 1899 proved a perfect showcase for the colony’s scenery, even if its recess-printed heyday was all too brief

Champlain celebration

Champlain celebration

1908 was a champagne moment in Canada’s history, and the Tercentenary of Quebec was celebrated by a fine recess-printed set of portrait and pictorial stamps

Boer necessity

Boer necessity

The newly conquered Boer republic of the Transvaal required stamps portraying the British monarch in 1902. Bicoloured printing helped to give them a touch of elegance

Natal: Last but not least

Natal: Last but not least

The stamps of Natal were not always inspired, but ended on a high note with the characterful 1902 postage and revenue series, including some high value rarities

Australia: Victim of the paparazzi

Australia: Victim of the paparazzi

A chance encounter in the remote Australian outback produced an iconic stamp image. And the first chance for an Aborigine to say: I’m a celebrity. Get me out of here!’

Egypt: Stamps to die for?

Egypt: Stamps to die for?

If you thought speculation fever made for some tense scenes in English post office queues in 1966, there was a riot on a very different scale in Egypt 40 years earlier

Sierra Leone: Mixed message

Sierra Leone: Mixed message

An attractive early example of multicoloured stamp printing by Sierra Leone was turned into a chimaera in 1963-66 by overprints on overprints on overprints

Canada: The accidental forger

Canada: The accidental forger

A novice Canadian stamp dealer's remaindered stock was worth a small fortune, but his attempts to market it in a classy way put him on the wrong side of the law

Sudan: Designed on the hoof

Sudan: Designed on the hoof

Sudan's first stamp issue was sketched in a hurry in 1898, even as British troops fought for control of the country. Yet the Camel Postman would become one of the most enduring designs ever

Queensland: Second time around

Queensland: Second time around

The Chalon portrait of Queen Victoria which had graced Queensland's first issue was revived to even more spectacular effect for its high values of 1882

Ceylon: Disappearing act

Ceylon: Disappearing act

The exquisite first issue of Ceylon is universally admired, but strangely elusive. In fact, one opportunistic collector saw it vanish before his very eyes!

One Borneo every minute!

One Borneo every minute!

The 1894 low values of British North Borneo broke the mould with eye-catching pictorial designs. But collectors learned to be wary of cancelled-to-order varieties

Falklands: From desolation to delight

In 1933 the Falkland Islands' splendid first pictorial issue gained rave reviews from local inhabitants and philatelists, but not from Argentinians and Darwinians

Jamaica's first issue: Curate's egg?

Jamaica's first issue: Curate's egg?

Critics were distinctly unimpressed by Jamaica's first postage stamps in 1860. But they have some unique redeeming features

Ceylon: Rubber stamped

Ceylon: Rubber stamped

Separated by less than three years, the George V and George VI pictorial issues of Ceylon were broadly similar. Until it came to rubber production...

Zanzibar: A sultan battery

Zanzibar: A sultan battery

Zanzibar's first two stamp issues in 1896 and 1899 were printed in an unusual mixture of recess and letterpress. Their other claim to fame is being interspersed by the shortest war in history

Turks & Caicos: A pinch of salt

The first issue of the Turks & Caicos Islands in 1900 neatly encapsulated the salty story of the two chains, in one of the finest examples of a colonial badge design

Ionian Islands: off the wall

When the British introduced stamps to the Ionian Islands it appeared a rushed job. But surely the design was handsome enough not end up being used as wallpaper?

Burma: feathering the nest

Striking design and crisp printing ensured that Burma's first stamps made a big impact in 1938. But was that a subliminal imperial message in the peacock motif?

St Vincent's first high value

St Vincent's first high value design in 1880 eschewed Queen Victoria's profile in favour of the arms of the colony. Its classic beauty would make it a recurring theme for the island's stamps

Top 5 Commonwealth

Queensland: Second time around

The Chalon portrait of Queen Victoria which had graced Queensland's first issue was revived to even more spectacular effect for its high values of 1882

Sierra Leone: Mixed message

An attractive early example of multicoloured stamp printing by Sierra Leone was turned into a chimaera in 1963-66 by overprints on overprints on overprints

Egypt: Stamps to die for?

If you thought speculation fever made for some tense scenes in English post office queues in 1966, there was a riot on a very different scale in Egypt 40 years earlier

Australia: Victim of the paparazzi

A chance encounter in the remote Australian outback produced an iconic stamp image. And the first chance for an Aborigine to say: I’m a celebrity. Get me out of here!’

Natal: Last but not least

The stamps of Natal were not always inspired, but ended on a high note with the characterful 1902 postage and revenue series, including some high value rarities

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