Kites, Flagstaffs & Lightning Conductors

1/05/2012     General

The only set of its kind?

Pictured is the Falkland Islands 1935 1s slate and purple Silver Jubilee stamp in a block of four from the upper left corner of the sheet. The first stamp of the bottom pair has a shorter additional flagstaff slightly to the left of the main flagstaff atop the Round Tower, Windsor Castles dominant feature.

This "short extra flagstaff" is sometimes found in position 1 of row 2 on the 1935 Silver Jubilee stamps printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. and along with other popular constant varieties, particularly on the central Castle vignette, are highly prized amongst collectors of both the 1935 Jubilees or the issuing colony.

The concept of a Royal Silver Jubilee was a new one, never before had a British Monarchs first 25 years on the throne been officially celebrated, there had been few Royal events to celebrate so the country took this holiday to its heart with thousands of events held on 7th May 1935 throughout the Empire.

The "Castle" stamps were the first common design to be used throughout the Empire and pretty soon philatelists began to notice small flaws in the designs that were not random but consistent, often the same varieties would appear across many different colonies, and best still, they could be given interesting names as they appeared to be lightning conductors, kites, birds, additional flagstaffs and so on…

These varieties were unique to the three different printers contracted to produce the stamps, namely Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co (who were responsible for, amongst others, the Falkland issue above), De La Rue & Waterlow. The non-common designs, of much less interest to variety hunters, were printed by Bradbury & Waterlow only.

The rarest complete set of varieties (the same variety on each of the four values, from the same colony) is the "short extra flagstaff" set from the Falkland Islands. The 1935 Jubilee varieties are almost always sold as individual stamps, yet here we have the "short extra flagstaff" Falkland Islands set complete in matching positional blocks of four, in perfect never hinged mint condition, this may be the only set of its kind…

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