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Cayman Islands - The Jamaica Stamp Forerunners

Although the first Post Office to be opened in the Cayman Islands was in 1889, the first Cayman Is stamps didn’t appear until November 1901, prior to that the stamps of Jamaica were used as the Cayman Islands were a Dependency of Jamaica.

Although a British Colony, little interest was shown in these remote islands, largely as they were not suitable for large plantations and had limited natural resources. As a result no viable stops for the Royal Mail Packets were created as they were too far off the regular routes for mail, and what little mail went to and from the islands was carried by private ship.

Mail for Cayman Islands residents, was from 1859 addressed to George Orwitt in Kingston, who had become an agent for the islands, he then forwarded them via ships sailing to the islands, and this arrangement lasted until 12th April 1889. The first modernisation of the local Government included the setting up of a Post Office at Georgetown, under the supervision of the Governor of the Cayman Islands. Further Offices were opened at Stake Bay and at Cayman Brac in 1898.

The same postal arrangements and rates as the Jamaican Post Office were in force, and supplies of the Jamaica 1883 ½d green, 4d orange and 1889-91 1d were purchased by the Colony to be used, to pay the rates for envelopes (1d), postcards (½d), and foreign mail (4d per ½oz). 1890 saw a rate change to 2½d on Foreign mail per ½ oz. , and 2d for registration, with new supplies of the Jamaican 1889 2d and 2½d used for this. Later values were also used, the latest being the 1900 1d Falls stamps which are very elusive with Cayman postmarks as they were only used for a very short time. Official ½d, 1d and 2d stamps were also used, all extremely elusive.

The postmarks used, for Georgetown were an oval “Grand Cayman/Post Office”, and cds’s for “Grand Cayman P.O”., and “Grand Cayman/Cayman Islands” and for Stake Bay a boxed “Cayman Brac/Cayman Islands”, or the same inscription in a cds – this being very rare as it was only introduced in 1900 just before the new stamp issue.

Over the years, several famous name sales have included a small range of these stamps, including the famous Byl, Booth, Rew, and Marston, eagerly competed for as they do not come onto the market very often.

Sandafaye sale 5221 lot 5987 is a ½d green with a large part upright 1890 Grand Cayman oval cancel SG Z14

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