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The South Atlantic

Ascension Island


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED: 2 November 1922.


CURRENCY

1922, sterling.

1971, decimal currency.



Previously administered by the British Admiralty as a naval base, the island became a dependency of St Helena in November 1922. At present it is on lease to the USA as a naval base and tracking station.


Postal History
A datestamp was supplied February 1858. Before 1887 the datestamp was usually applied to the cover rather than to the stamp. Regular surface mails were carried by the Union Steamship Co. and its successors from 1863 until 1977. Airmail services since1972 have been routed to London in sealed bags by US military aircraft to Miami and thence by British Airways (earlier services were flown via Trinidad in 1958-60 or via Antigua in 1967-72).


Used stamps of Britain from 3 March 1867 to 1922.


The Island was an important staging point for the British Task Force in 1982.


St Helena


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED: January 1856.


CURRENCY

British



British Crown Colony with a population of c.5000. Revictualling station of the East India Company from 1673, the island was administered militarily during the exile of Napoleon (1815-21). Surrendered to the British Crown in 1834. Its importance declined with the opening of the Suez Canal. It housed Boer prisoners-of-war from 1900-2.


Postal History
Letters exchanged by ships before 1815 are known but rare. Early connections were generally via Cape Town; in late-Victorian days the mail to England by Union or Castle packet averaged 18-20 days. A 'Packet Letter' handstamp is known from 1816. The first datestamp was supplied in 1858. There was only one PO and no inland service before 1880.


Stamps used before 1912 are often found with fancy cancellations made locally from corks, and are seldom struck by datestamp before the 1880s.


Tristan da Cunha


FIRST STAMPS: Britain from c.1918.

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED: 1 January 1952.


CURRENCY

British
(Except for issue of 15 April 1961 in South African cents and rand; demonetized on evacuation).



Volcanic island group named after the Portuguese discoverer Trist~o D'Acunha, colonized c. 1817 from St Helena of which it is a dependency. Known as HM s Atlantic Isle in 1942-5. Evacuated from 10 October 1961 until April 1963 following a violent eruption.


Early mail (known from 1881) was sent unstamped by casual ship through a variety of ports of call (after 1935 mostly via South Africa) and charged on arrival.


Used stamps of Britain (when available) from c.1918. Cachet of origin (occasionally used to cancel stamps from c.1918.



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