Ascension 1934 Pictoral Set

1/05/2012     Ascension Island

Ascension, a tiny island in the South Atlantic Ocean is a long way from anywhere; the West Coast of Africa being around 1000 miles to the South East and the coast of South America being some 1400 miles distant. Apparently the Portuguese Armada commander Alfonso de Albuquerque "rediscovered" this lonely isle on Ascension Day 1503, and despite a long history of British involvement the name "Ascension" has stuck! Today it is part of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, and is a strategic location for communications as well as hosting several military installations.

The 1934 pictorial set of ten stamps was designed and recess printed by Thomas de la Rue and Sons in London and forms part of the spectacular engraved pictorial issues produced around this time throughout the Empire, with five of the designs being carried forward and re-issued for the more well known King George the Sixth set of 1938-53.

Two of the designs however were only in use for the original 1934 set, the 1s value showing the Sooty Tern and Widewake Fair (the "Wideawake Fair" is the glorious name celebrating the mass nesting of Sooty Terns on Ascension), and the tall values featuring a map of Ascension Island with the Green Turtle in the centre, conjuring up those groundbreaking Australian Kangaroo designs of 1913!

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